On December 6, 2019, Commerce announced in the Federal Register the opportunity to request an annual administrative review for products that are currently subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.  As part of this annual review process Commerce intends to select respondents based on U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data for U.S. imports during the period of review. Any party wishing to participate in the antidumping and countervailing duty review process or who may be affected by duties on the products identified in the Federal Register notice should file a request for review no later than December 31, 2019.  In order to be eligible to participate in the review, a party must either be an exporter or importer of the specific products and during the specific time periods identified in the Federal Register notice.

If your company or your suppliers are affected by these cases, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain group for assistance on how the annual review process works.

White HouseAt a NATO meeting on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, President Trump declared that he was prepared to wait to negotiate a trade agreement with China until after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, dashing hopes that “phase one” of an interim agreement was to be reached soon.  The 15% Section 301 List 4b tariffs are likely to go into effect on December 15, 2019 if the U.S. and China do not reach a partial agreement soon.

In the same series of meetings, President Trump also threatened to authorize tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion worth of imports from France in retaliation for France’s 3% digital services tax (“DST”) on tech companies.  The unexpected impact of tariffs on French imports could affect numerous consumer articles, including cheese, Champagne, handbags, cosmetics and fine dinnerware.  The threat of tariffs on consumer goods comes right before the holiday buying season, and following a report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) published on Monday, December 2, 2019 concluding that the French DST is “unreasonable, discriminatory, and burdens U.S. commerce.”  While French President Emanuel Macron said he is confident that he and President Trump can find a solution regarding the DST, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated that the European Union would retaliate against the U.S. if Trump authorizes the tariffs.  The USTR is soliciting comments from the public on the proposed trade action against France, in addition to comments on the option of imposing fees or restrictions on French services. Comments must be submitted by January 6, 2020.

After having found that France’s DST is discriminatory and disproportionately harms U.S. businesses, a World Trade Organization (“WTO”) challenge from the U.S. could follow.  However, after December 10, 2019, the WTO appellate body will have only one judge remaining and will no longer be able to hear new cases due to an American block on replacing the judges, meaning this trade dispute with France may have to be settled bilaterally.  President Trump later said on the trade dispute with France that “we’ll probably be able to work it out” and described the dispute as “minor.”

We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide future updates as additional details become available.  If you have any questions regarding the new tariffs on France or the upcoming List 4b tariffs on China, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team.

In Husch Blackwell’s November 2019 Trade Law Newsletter, you’ll learn about the following updates in international trade and supply chain law.

  • USTR Announces New Round of Product Exclusions
  • U.S.-China Trade Dispute Status Update
  • WTO Authorizes China to Impose Tariffs against U.S.
  • An update on U.S. Department of Commerce decisions
  • U.S. International Trade Commission – Section 701/731 proceedings
  • An update from U.S. Customs & Border Protection
  • Summary of decisions from the Court of International Trade
  • Updates from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • November export controls and sanctions

If you have questions about our November Trade Law Update, please contact a member of Husch Blackwell’s International Trade & Supply Chain team.

President Trump unexpectedly announced via Twitter on Monday, December 02, 2019 that the 25% Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs that were enforced globally in 2018 would be reinstated on imports from Argentina and Brazil, claiming that a “massive devaluation” of the countries’ currencies has given them an unfair trade advantage.  Like Canada and Mexico, Argentina and Brazil had previously achieved a temporary exemption from the steel and aluminum tariffs after negotiating a deal with the United States.  The application of Section 232 tariffs on national security grounds is currently being contested at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and also faces legal challenges in the U.S.  As of the time of this post’s publication, an official announcement from the White House has not yet been released, but more can be read about the tariffs here.

Brazilian steel and aluminum exports account for approximately 9% of total exports to the U.S. and the Brazilian real has depreciated against the dollar significantly over the last two years due to a series of interest rate cuts.  The Argentine peso has lost approximately 60% of its value against the dollar in 2019 due to capital flight, however, exports of steel and aluminum only account for approximately 3% of its total exports to the U.S.  As a result, the impact of these increases may not be known for a while.  Additionally, there is the concern as to whether this unanticipated increase is an overreach of presidential authority given the recent decision by the Court of International Trade.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide future updates as additional details become available.  In the meantime, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team for more information.

On November 26, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) issued another round of product exclusions pertaining to the 25% Section 301 List 3 Tariffs. The new list of exclusions includes 32 specifically crafted product descriptions that cover 39 separate exclusion requests. To see the full list of products click here. According to the USTR, the product exclusions apply retroactively to entries going back to September 24, 2018 and remain in effect until August 7, 2020. The products affected include lollipops, outdoor products, bicycles, and carts, among other products. We encourage clients and companies to review the listed exclusions and contact Husch Blackwell’s Trade and Supply Chain Group with any questions or concerns.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced on Monday, November 18, 2019 the issuance of a new 90-day extension which will allow U.S. companies to continue doing business with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (“Huawei”) under the Temporary General License (“TGL”). BIS did not make any changes to the TGL other than to extend the period until February 16, 2020.  Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross indicated in a statement that “[t]he Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark . . . .  [However,] the Department will continue to rigorously monitor sensitive technology exports to ensure that our innovations are not harnessed by those who would threaten our national security.”

As previously reported, Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant deemed a national security threat by U.S. policymakers, was added to BIS’s Entity List in May of 2019. This designation prohibits anyone, anywhere in the world from exporting, re-exporting or transferring “items subject to the EAR” to Huawei or its designated affiliated companies.

Husch Blackwell’s Export Controls & Economic Sanctions Team continues to monitor the developing Huawei situation.  Please contact Cortney Morgan or Grant Leach should you have any questions concerning transactions with Huawei and application of the BIS Entity list restrictions.

Doubts over the progress of negotiations between the U.S. and China have been raised today as President Trump announced that the U.S. has not agreed to roll back tariffs as part of an agreement to end the trade dispute, contradicting statements from China’s Ministry of Commerce and several news reports. Based on recent news reports, it appeared that the United States and China had agreed in principle to gradually reduce and eliminate tariffs that have been imposed by both countries in an effort to relieve to markets beleaguered by the global economic slowdown.

In prior negotiations, China demanded that all new tariffs authorized by President Trump be eliminated prior to making any concessions. However, no official agreement to bring an end to the trade war between the U.S. and China has been signed yet. That is expected to occur sometime in November, though the time and location of the signing is still to be determined.  President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were originally intending to meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Chile, which was abruptly cancelled by the Chilean government due to the civil unrest there.

At the time of this post’s publication, there is only speculation as to how extensive the roll back of tariffs will be and which of the United States’ tariff actions will be included in “phase one” of the agreement. Phase One, expected to be signed within the next few weeks, could include eliminating September’s 15% Section 301 List 4a tariffs as one of the terms. It is also likely that Phase One of the interim truce will include an agreement to eliminate the upcoming 15% tariffs on List 4b, which are currently scheduled to take effect on December 15, 2019.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide future updates as additional details become available.  In the meantime, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team for more information.

On November 1, 2019, Commerce announced in the Federal Register the opportunity to request an annual administrative review for products that are currently subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.  As part of this annual review process Commerce intends to select respondents based on U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data for U.S. imports during the period of review. Any party wishing to participate in the antidumping and countervailing duty review process or who may be affected by duties on the products identified in the Federal Register notice should file a request for review no later than November 30, 2019.  In order to be eligible to participate in the review a party must either be an exporter or importer of the specific products and during the specific time periods identified in the Federal Register notice.

If your company or your suppliers are affected by these cases, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain group for assistance on how the annual review process works

In Husch Blackwell’s October 2019 Trade Law Newsletter, you’ll learn about the following updates in international trade and supply chain law.

  • The current and future status of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement
  • Opening Day, start date and new list of excluded products for Section 301 List 4 exclusion process
  • ITC opens MTB process; petitions due by December 10, 2019
  • U.S. levies tariffs on E.U. imports over World Trade Organization’s Airbus decision
  • An update on U.S. Department of Commerce decisions
  • U.S. International Trade Commission – Section 701/731 proceedings
  • An update from U.S. Customs & Border Protection
  • Summary of decisions from the Court of International Trade
  • Updates from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • October export controls and sanctions

If you have questions about our October Trade Law Update, please contact a member of Husch Blackwell’s International Trade & Supply Chain team.

For the first time since China gained membership in 2001, the World Trade Organization (WTO) on November 1, 2019 authorized China to impose $3.6 billion worth of punitive and retaliatory tariffs on American imports.  The WTO ruled that U.S. antidumping duties on imports of Chinese steel were overinflated because the methodologies used by the U.S. in antidumping proceedings were inconsistent with WTO rules. WTO Arbitrators suggested that China could impose the countermeasures as early as this month.

The WTO decision was announced  as U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to sign “phase one” of an interim truce in the trade war later in November at a venue that has yet to be determined, as the meetings scheduled for the Chile APEC summit were cancelled because of unrest. Though the $3.6 billion figure is a small fraction of the $75 billion in retaliatory tariffs China has already implemented, imposing these WTO-authorized countermeasures could be seen as an escalation of the trade war by the U.S. and could possibly delay progress on an interim deal.

According to the Financial Times, however, U.S. government officials in Washington, while disappointed by the WTO’s decision, believed that the ruling would not have an impact on the trade negotiations between the American and Chinese governments. The origins of this particular WTO case dates back to a Chinese complaint filed nearly six years ago to December 2013, long before the current trade dispute. The case is concerned with the methodology the U.S. used to calculate the antidumping duties, not the general trade policies the current administration has chosen.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide future updates as developments occur. Please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team for more information.