Trump criticizes India for tariffs on Harley Davidson bikes.

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According to thePrint.in online, President Trump has criticized India several times for their high duties on Harley Davidson motorcycles. As recently as last June, President Trump has told Indian Prime Minister Modi the import duties were unacceptable.

Harley Davidson’s first entered the Indian market in 2007 in exchange for lifting a ban on Indian mango exports to the US (the “Mango” deal). However, in 2018, India incread the duties on “completely knocked down units” of Harley Davidson’s that are shipped to India for assembly. The 13 knocked down units are the lower priced models and are the majority of Harley Davidson motorcycles sold in India.

While Harley Davidson only sells about 2,500 bikes in India per year, President Trump views Harley Davidson and the brand as the “pride of the United States”, which also makes the brand an easy target for foreign governments to irritate the President.

President Trump likely supports Harley Davidson for multiple reasons: (1) the brand is popular among Trump’s voters in the midwest and Southern US, (2) Bikers for Trump is a group of motorcycle riders who also mostly ride Harley Davidson’s and (3) Harley Davidson’s headquarters is in Wisconsin – a Republican state that Trump needs for support in 2020.

Time will tell what products Trump will increase tariffs in retaliation. If you have any questions about duty rates or want to save duties on imports, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

South Korea and Japan – next trade war?

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“Boycott Japan” logo, source: Twitter user: sydbris

Back in May of this year, a South Korean court sided with Korean wartime laborers to be compensated for their forced labor during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula. The court ordered seizure of assets belonging to Nippon Steel and Nachi-Fujikoshi to pay compensation to wartime laborers during 1910 to 1945.

In early July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government announced the restrictions on sales to South Korea of materials necessary to produce vital components in high-tech manufacturing. The restrictions include three products: (1) fluorinated polyimides, used in smartphone displays; (2) photoresists, used to transfer circuit patterns on to semiconductor wafers; and (3) hydrogen fluoride, used as an etching gas when making chips.

Prime Minister Abe has denied the export controls are retailiation for the seizing of assets, but the netizens on both sides are battling it out online.

For example, the #BoycottJapan is trending in South Korea with South Korean netizens proposing South Korean alternatives to popular Japanese brands. Some South Koreans are posting their cancellation confirmations of previously arranged trips to Japan. In addition to individuals, the Korean Supermarkets Alliance, an organization representing more than 23,000 stores, said it would temporarily halt sales of Japanese products, including beers by Asahi and Kirin Holdings Co., and Japan Tobacco Inc.’s Mild Seven cigarettes.

Will be interesting to see what happens next.

Maybe the US courts can also do something – I’m still waiting for Japan to atone for their slaughter of civilian men, women, children in China and throughout Asia, the forced human trafficking of women to be used as “comfort women” and the killing of prisoners of war from the US, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world. Not holding my breath my breath though – one can only hope Japan gets payback for the pain and agony they caused the world.

Canadian Conservative leader Andrew Scheer calls for more inspections on Chinese imports and potential tariffs.

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According to Canada’s National Observer, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step up inspections on all products from China and to consider levying tariffs on imports on Chinese imports.

The request was sent by letter last Friday in which Scheer urged Prime Minister Trudeau to take a harder line on China’s second largest trade partner. China detained two Canadians in December just days after Canada arrested Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant. Additionally, China has increased inspections that have led to the suspension or obstruction of key Canadian agricultural imports, including pork and canola. Last week, China announced an additional suspension of all imports of Canadian meat products because of claimed concerns over fraudulent inspection reports.

In Scheer’s publicly released letter, he writes: “There is no other way to put this: Canada is being bullied by the Chinese government and you have done nothing to stand up for Canada in response”. Scheer asks Prime Minister Trudeau to increase Canadian inspection of all imports from China and the potential of placing tariffs on some of the $75 billion worth of goods imported from China last year.

American economist warns Taiwan not to take sides in US-China trade war.

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According to Taiwan News online, American economist Tyler Cowen said on Monday (July 8) that Taiwan cannot afford to take sides in the U.S.-China trade war, reported Central News Agency.

The publication Business Today (今周刊) invited Tyler Cowen for a panel discussion in Taiwan in which Cowen argued Taiwan may be a loser in the trade dispute between the US and China if they chooe which of the two biggest economic powers to support.

According to Cowen, Taiwan is in a catch-22 situation, Cowen states: “Taiwan is close to China, has made massive investments, and high-income manpower flows into China. On the other hand, China’s increased military deployments in the South China Sea should be a clear sign that China’s intentions are not friendly”.

According to Taiwan News, Tyler Cowen is an economics professor at George Mason University and serves as general director of George Mason’s Mercatus Center, a university research center that focuses on the market economy.

If you have any questions or would like to learn how to save on duties during the current US/China trade war, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Vietnamese Furniture makers win in Trump’s trade war.

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A Bloomberg article highlights one of the winners in Trump’s trade war with China – that being Vietnamese furniture manufacturers.

With imports of Chinese furniture subject to a 25% duty in addition to any applicable anti-dumping or countervailing duties, furniture companies in Vietnam are cashing in as the tariff-free alternative to Chinese manufacturing.

The Bloomberg article quotes, the CEO of Xuan Hoa Vietnam Joint Stock Co., a furniture company that has seen a boom in international visitors – including Ikea. Xuan Hoa is a long time Ikea manufacturer (past 17 years) and their ability to produce cheaper than China is only increasing under the trade war.

In addition to not being subject to 301 duties or AD/CVD duties, the Bloomberg article cites labor costs half of what they are in China and lower electricity costs as it is subsidized by the government. Vietnam’s shared border with China also allows for the ease of materials and components.

If you are a furniture importer from China and want to learn how to save on import duties, contact trade and customs attorney by mobile/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China’s #2, – Premier Li Keqiang eases trade tensions with the US.

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According to the New York Times, China’s Number 2 official, Premier Li Keqiang speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Chinese port city of Dalian, promised to cut tariffs, loosen restrictions on foreign investments, protect intellectual property rights and allow foreign companies to apply for China’s generous subsidies for research and development.

Speaking during a question and answer session, Li also said that China would allow foreign financial services companies into its market a year earlier than previously promised, and that it would rewrite many rules on foreign investment.

The NYT mentioned the lack of details, and indicated previous vague promises by Chinese officials in the past.

In addition to extending an olive branch to foreign companies, Premier Li’s remarks also sought to calm worries about the relocation of manufacturing overseas as a result of the Section 232 and 301 duties levied against China.

If you have questions how the China duties will impact your business, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Will the new US/China trade war truce lead to a trade deal?

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Two big newsworthy events happened over the weekend at the G20 summit. First, Trump said US companies could supply to Huawei (waiting for official guidance at the moment) and second, the US and China agreed to not enact any further tariffs (current proposed Section 301 List 4 duties) in the near future and to start a new round on trade talks.

This may sound like Groundhog Day, and it partially is. Last year at the Argentina G20 summit, Trump and Xi also reached a similar agreement. And the differences that prevented a deal to be reached in Argentina also exist today. Key issues such as intellectual property and China’s 2025 plan are two areas where the two countries still do not reach a consensus.

With an election looming a little over a year away, Trump may be waiting until after next November before moving forward with a final deal – in the meantime, Trump says the US is already benefiting from the tariffs as the US is “taking in a fortune”.

If you have any questions about any of the 232 or 301 duties and how they may impact your business. Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US China Truce (for now)?

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Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

At this week’s G20 meeting, President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary truce and restart trade talks. This means the current U.S. tariffs will remain in place, but the trade penalties proposed for Section 301, List 4 will be put on hold pending an outcome of what will be the 12th round of trade talks.

List 4 covers approximately $300 billion in goods from China, and if in place, Lists 1-4 effectively cover every import from China.

However, both sides still differ on one item that may prevent a long term solution – trade secrets.

In response, China has also placed tariffs on $110 billion in US goods, mostly focusing on agricultural imports. Some believe the tariffs against farm products (and Trump supporters) are aimed towards pressuring Trump as he heads into the general election next year.

If you have goods under List 3 and want to file an exclusion, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China introduces new legislation to placate US IP concerns.

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According to Bloomberg – China’s legislative body has passed new legislation to replace three main laws that impact non-Chinese companies doing business in China:(1) Law of Joint Ventures with Chinese and Foreign Investment, the (2) Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises and the (3) Law on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures.

To summarize, the new legislation includes: (1) promise of equal support to foreign and domestic firms, (2) equal treatment for license applications, (3) foreign companies can participate in setting industry standards and in government procurement, (4) right of foreign companies to appeal non-security related decisions and (5) a complaints mechanism for foreign companies.

The law was passed on March 15th and will take effect on January 1, 2020. Whether this will impact the current trade negotiations is still yet to be seen.

Trump hints at delay of additional duties originally set for March 1st.

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According to CNBC, President Trump says he will delay additional China tariffs originally scheduled to start on March 1. In a series of posts on Twitter, President Trump indicated a delay for the imposition of “List 3” of duties under Section 301 because of “substantial progress” in trade talks currently underway between the US and China.

While the tweets hint at a delay, there was no hint of a revised deadline to reach an agreement with China. Time will tell whether the US and China can reach an agreement on the key issues of intellectual property protection and forced technology transfer.

In other news, a late March meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely occur at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida.

More updates will be posted as they became available.