USMCA Signing Day for the US.

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

Later today, President Trump will sign the house and senate approved USMCA bill. The replacement for the 25-year old trade agreement NAFTA won’t immediately take effect as Canada remains the only country that has not yet approved the USMCA (expected to do so in a few weeks). Give me a call/text if you have questions how the USMCA will impact you or your business – 832-896-6288 or send me an email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US China set to sign a trade deal on Wednesday.

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On January 15th, the US and China are expected to sign phase one of the new trade deal between the two nations. The deal is 86 pages long and the full content has not yet been released.

According to Barron’s, citing a former Trump administration trade negotiator, the deal will cover 5 areas:

1.  Commitment from China to stop forced technology transfers.

2. Process for China to create judicial proceedings to enforce trade law secrets, patent extensions for US pharmaceuticals.

3. No further currency manipulation

4. Commitment by China to buy more agricultural products.

5. Use science-based risk assessment when determining whether to ban US imports.

Will post more details as soon as they are confirmed. If you have any questions about the trade deal or general import and export questions, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

U.S. House passes USMCA, next stop the Senate.

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As you are aware, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an updated version of the USMCA earlier this week. The passage by the House includes revisions to an agreement initially agreed to by the US, Mexico and Canada in September 2018.

The next step for the USMCA is the Senate, where it is not expected to be put to a vote until 2020.

What are some of the changes in the USMCA versus NAFTA?

  • If autos are to qualify for no tariffs, then 75% of the components must be manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States (currently at 62.5%).
  • 30% of the work on the vehicle must be performed by individuals making $16 or more per hour, with a 40% requirement in 2023.
  • The new agreement allows works in Mexico to unionize.
  • The definition of steel and aluminum for Mexico in regards to the automotive rules of origin includes “melted and poured” in North America.
  • USMCA will be subject to mandatory review every 6 years, if all parties agree, then there is a 16 year period for review, with subsequent reviews every 16 years.

If you have any further questions how your business may be impacted by the USMCA if and when it is passed next year, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China leading the way for new trade deal with ASEAN nations.

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This week, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand and one main focus will be the creation of a free-trade pact that will cover 50% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s commerce. The ASEAN nations hope to enact the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade deal that covers a territory from India to New Zealand.
In negotiation for the past few years, the current US China trade war is pushing the effort to create the RCEP. Will post any updates as available.
Do you have any trade or customs law questions, contact your trade and customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status on January 1, 2020.

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Earlier this week, President Trump announced to Congress his decision to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status starting 2020 due to alleged human rights violations  – citing “extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention and torture”.

As of January 1, 2020, Cameroon will be removed from the list of countries benefiting under the African Grown and Opportunity Act of 2000 that encompasses 39 African nations.

Part of the move to end Cameroon’s trade status came from reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports of torture and abuse that included overcrowded conditions, torture and delayed trials.

Overall, Cameroon is the US’s 128th largest trade partner with an estimated $413 million worth of goods exchanged last year.

If you believe you will be impacted by this, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu to explore your options for exporting and importing from Cameroon after January 1st. Phone/text David at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US ends preferential trade for Thai exports.

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Earlier this week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced Friday it was suspending $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) due to Thailand’s failure to protect worker rights.

The worker rights issues have been an issue for over the years and complaints about working conditions have particularly focused on the fishing industry in Thailand.

The loss of GSP for Thai exports are effective next April and Thailand will likely try to negotiate the issue with the US prior to April of 2020.

If you have any questions how the loss of GSP for exports from Thailand will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US and China trade talks to resume in October.

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The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) confirmed on Thursday that a deputy-level meeting would be held in mid-September to discuss plans for trade talks in October.
This past Sunday, new tariffs on US$125 billion of Chinese imports, including shoes and smartwatches, came into effect after President Trump said he was disappointed in China’s lack of effort to buy US farm goods. In return, China responded with duties on $75 billion of American goods, affecting crude oil exported from the US.
The agreed to talks in October will hopefully resolve the 13-month trade war between the two countries.
If you have any questions how your company may be impacted by the US/China trade war – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Commerce issues affirmative preliminary determination in CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued affirmative preliminary determination CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities from China, finding that exporters received countervailable subsidies ranging from 10.97 to 229.24 percent.
As such, Commerce will instruct CBP to start collecting cash deposits from importers of wooden cabinets and vanities from China. Last year, imports of wooden cabinets and vanities from China were valued at an estimated $4.4 billion. The final CVD determination is expected to be on or about December 17, 2019. A final injury determination will then be announced on January 30, 2020.
The announcement and preliminary rates can be found here.
If you have any questions about importing wooden cabinets and vanities, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Trump rallies in Wisconsin for USCMA support.

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According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump had a rally in Wisconsin to promote his trade deal with Mexico and Canada, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Trump was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and recent polling indicates Wisconsin is another battleground state in 2020.

Wisonsin exports $31 million worth of goods to Canada and $15.2 million worth of goods to Mexico; importing $15.5 million in goods from Canada and $9.3 million in goods from Mexico.

The USMCA will likely be ratified in Mexico and Canada, but Congress has not yet supported ratification. Democrat Congress members want strong labor and environmental protections. The AP article said a vote was likely to be held in September at the earliest.

If you have any questions how the new USMCA will impact  your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.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.