CHS Inc. SEC filing discloses FCPA violations.

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Tell me more about the CHS FCPA violation:
In an August 31, 2018 Form 10-K filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CHS Inc. disclosed FCPA violations related to:

“a small number of reimbursements the Company made to Mexican customs agents in the 2014-2015 time period for payments the customs agents made to Mexican customs officials in connection with inspections of grain crossing the U.S.-Mexican border by railcar. We are fully cooperating with the government, including with the assistance of legal counsel, which assistance includes investigating other areas of potential interest to the government. We are unable at this time to predict when our or the government agencies’ review of these matters will be completed or what regulatory or other outcomes may result.”

The full 10-K filing can be found here (link opens in a new window).

Who is CHS?
CHS is a Fortune 100 business based in Minnesota and operates food processing and wholesale, farm supply, Cenex brand fuel, financial services, and retail businesses. CHS employs 12,000 people and are also large operators in grain, soybean and sunflower production and transport.

What is the FCPA?
In short – the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Payments, promises to pay or even authorization for payment is a violation and the definition of a foreign official is also very broad.

What does the FCPA have to do with importers and exporters?
Everything! The FCPA applies to all U.S. persons and many of our clients have FCPA risks without even knowing they do. FCPA violations and penalties are severe and individuals have also been found to be personally liable for violations that were committed by the company. The CHS FCPA violations highlight just some of the risks US based exporters face when doing business (exporting) overseas.

FCPA consultation and audit at no obligation or cost to you.
If you don’t have a FCPA compliance program in place or have not updated your compliance program – call experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

The FCPA penalties and compliance risk to you and your company is high, call David Hsu today.

 

 

China set to resume importing oil from the US.

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According to the Financial Tribune, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec and largest buyer of US crude oil – Unipec, will resume purchase of US crude oil very soon at a significant volume.

Unipec has not imported US crude oil in August or September of this year. However, since the “truce” in the US and China trade war in early December where both sides agreed to suspend raising tariffs for an additional 90 days, Chinese refiners have started to look to the US for crude oil.

US-China Trade Deadline – March 1, 2019.

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As reported by the Guardian, over the weekend, Robert Lighthizer appeared on TV and spoke regarding several trade issues:

  1. The Trump administration is set to impose further duties on Chinese goods on March 1, 2019 if a trade deal is not reached. The March 1st deadline marks the end of 90 days starting December 1 of this month.
  2. The US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer was chosen by Trump to negotiate the trade deal and Lighthizer told CBS’s Face the Nation that March 1, 2019 is “a hard deadline”.
  3. In other news, at Trump’s last meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, both sides announced a truce and delay in the scheduled January 1, 2019 increase in tariffs to 25% from 10% on approximately $200 billion of Chinese goods.
  4. In response to last Monday’s arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Lighthizer indicated the two issues are separate (trade on one side and law enforcement on the other side).
  5. Lighthizer indicated that part of the negotiations require China to increase purchases of US goods along.
  6. Other requirements for China would be changes to the rules requiring American firms to provide technology to Chinese partners as a condition of doing business.

Check back for more information as it becomes available. Also, if you have any goods scheduled under “List 3” and have questions about what the delay may mean to your imports under List 3, feel free to give me a call, 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

US Trade Representative Lighthizer will meet with tech CEOs.

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According to anonymous sources, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with CEO’s from Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Oracle today in Silicon Valley.

The topics likely center around intellectual property protections, the ongoing trade war, reports of bias in news searches, emerging technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics.

Other topics could include the Trump Administration’s plan to increase restrictions on exports of new technologies to China due to national security concerns. The new technologies include AI, quantum computing, and speech recognition.

Check back for more news as they become available.

US Treasury Secretary Mnunchin may travel to Beijing for trade talks.

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77th United States Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin

Earlier this week, current US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters he may travel to Beijing for trade negotiations to ease U.S.-China tensions.

In recent weeks both countries have announced tariffs on goods imported from the other country and the tensions between the US and China (the world’s two largest trading partners) has raised concerns of an impending trade war. The US first proposed tariffs totaling $150 billion on Chinese imports and Beijing has proposed tariffs on American goods such as soybeans.

In response, the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China would “welcome” the move by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

More updates as they become available.

Does President Trump want the US to become the 12th TPP member?

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According to a Daily Caller website article published today, President Trump asked Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow to look into rejoining the trans-pacific partnership. The Daily Caller cites Senators Ben Sasse and Pat Roberts as the source of the news.

Sasse noted that Trump “deputized” Kudlow to “go get it done” and explore the possibility of rejoining TPP as the 12th party now that the other 11 nations have struck a deal. “It might be easier for us to join now, as opposed to long process,” he elaborated.

No other details are mentioned in the article but updates will be posted they are available.

China files WTO complaint over U.S. tariff actions.

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According to a World Trade Organization (WTO) report, the Chinese have requested a consultation with the United States under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement process about recent US tariff measures on Chinese goods.

Specifically, China claims the tariffs would be above the US bound rates of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). A request for consultation begins the dispute process in the WTO. After a consultation has been requested, the parties have an opportunity to discuss the matter and find a solution without litigation. If a solution is not reached between the two parties after 60 days, China may then request a panel to adjudicate the matter.

For more information, contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu, 832-896-6288, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.