On August 23, 2019, President Trump announced via Twitter that the tariff rates on Lists 1, 2, and 3, worth approximately $250 billion worth of goods imported from China, will increase from 25% duty to 30% beginning October 1, 2019. Additionally, the President indicated that the tariff rate on the List 4 tariffs currently set to begin on September 1 will increase to 15% from 10%. It is unclear if the tariffs currently set to go into effect on December 15 will also be increased to 15%. Continue Reading President Trump Announces Increases to Tariff Rate on Products from China

In May of 2019, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) added Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (“Huawei”) and sixty-eight of its affiliated companies to BIS’s Entity List.  These designations prohibit anyone, anywhere in the world from exporting, re-exporting or making an in-country transfer of “items subject to the EAR” to the listed Huawei Companies (“Items subject to the EAR” generally consist of US-origin commodities, software or technology, items produced outside the US which include qualifying US-origin content and items that are physically present in or transiting through the US).  Shortly after making these designations, BIS issued a Temporary General License which authorized limited ongoing transactions with Huawei to support existing networks and Huawei equipment and handsets. Continue Reading BIS Extends Huawei Temporary General License with Major Changes and Adds New Affiliates to Entity List

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced on August 13, 2019 that several goods included on the upcoming tranche 4 of Section 301 tariffs, including laptops, computer monitors, cell phones, video game consoles, certain toys and certain items of footwear and clothing, will not face additional 10 percent tariffs until December 15, 2019. The agency also said there will be some products excluded entirely from the new set of tariffs for health, safety, national security or “other factors.”  Continue Reading USTR Delays Implementation of Section 301 Duties on Certain Tranche 4 Products

In the last year or so, it has become clearly evident to us that ocean carriers are treating European and other forwarders differently than how they deal with U.S. forwarders, creating a distinctly competitive disadvantage for U.S. ocean forwarders, NVOCCs and Customs brokers. The bottom line activity is that ocean carriers are creating beneficial sell rates to “forwarders”, usually in ocean carriers’ tariffs, for use exclusively by European forwarders located in certain locations in Europe and elsewhere (not the U.S.). We are using the term “forwarders” here in the U.S. sense. But for our narrative here, the European forwarder, located in Europe and other locations[1], will dispatch cargo from Europe based on lump sum rates formulated from the sell rates offered to them by the ocean carriers, but will not hold out as NVOCCs, nor issue house bills of lading. Many of these forwarders are neither licensed nor registered with the FMC as NVOCCs. In fact, U.S. forwarders under the current definition of “forwarders” could similarly issue lump sum rates under the current FMC regulations for export transport from the U.S. Unfortunately, the ocean carriers, probably sensitive to U.S. regulatory structures do not provide U.S. forwarders similarly competitive rate structures for exports from the U.S. or for inbound traffic controlled by U.S. consignees. But also, more egregiously, if a U.S. forwarder, who also may be an NVOCC/Customs broker, controls import cargo to be shipped to the U.S. on a “collect” basis, the U.S. Ocean Transportation Intermediary (“OTI”) may have to “purchase” a favorable rate from the unlicensed, unregistered forwarder in Europe who does have the benefit of the competitive rate, even though it may not be a licensed or registered NVOCC.  The question: Is this legal? After discussing this with FMC officials, the answer is, “Probably.” Continue Reading Ocean Transportation Intermediaries’ U.S. Regulatory Scheme: European Ocean Freight Forwarders and Freight Pricing

On Thursday, August 1, 2019, President Trump announced via twitter an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese products (“List 4”). This is the fourth round of tariffs in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. The List 4 tariffs were proposed on May 13, 2019 (see our previous post here). Continue Reading President Trump Announces Tariffs on $300 Billion of Chinese Products

Court of International Trade

Summary of Decisions

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On July 1, 2019, in the ongoing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum extrusions from the People’s Republic of China, the Court concluded that jurisdiction over this action exists because Plaintiff Perfectus’s complaint seeking review of the scope ruling was filed within thirty days of the mailing by post of that ruling as required by statute and was therefore timely and the Court sustains Commerce’s finding that the pallet products fall within the plain language of the scope of the Orders.

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On July 2, 2019, in the classification case of stringed light sets, the Court granted Plaintiff Target’s motion for summary judgment and denied the Defendant’s cross-motion. The CIT concluded that the subject merchandise based on the principal of use and commercial fungibility with other products was incorrectly classified by Customs. In the Opinion, the CIT stated, “there can be no genuine issue of material fact that the lighting sets at issue are not principally used as Christmas tree lights and are not fungible with Christmas tree lights.”

Continue Reading July Trade Law Update: Court Decisions

U.S. International Trade Commission

Section 701/731 Proceedings

Investigations
  • Quartz Surface Products from the People’s Republic of China: On July 5, 2019, the ITC released the final determinations in the Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Investigations.
  • Steel Trailer Wheels from the People’s Republic of China: On July 23, 2019, the ITC released the final revised schedule for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations.
  • Polyester Textured Yarn from the People’s Republic of China: On July 29, 2019, the ITC released the final schedules for the Final Phase of the Countervailing Duty and Antidumping Duty Investigations.
Continue Reading July Trade Law Update: U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Investigations

  • Certain Steel Wheels 12 to 16.5 Inches in Diameter from the People’s Republic of China: On July 9, 2019, Commerce released the final affirmative Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty determinations and final affirmative determinations of Critical Circumstances.
  • Diamond Sawblades and Parts Thereof: On July 16, 2019, Commerce released its final determination of Anti-Circumvention Inquiry.
  • Certain Steel Racks and Parts Thereof from the People’s: On July 24, 2019, Commerce released the final affirmative Countervailing Duty determination and Antidumping Duty determination.
  • Glycine from the People’s Republic of China: On July 25, 2019, Commerce released a notice of correction to the final affirmative Countervailing Duty determination and Countervailing Duty Order.

Continue Reading July Trade Law Update: U.S. Department of Commerce Decisions

USTR Proposes New Tariffs on EU Products under Section 301

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced on July 1, 2019 a proposed list of tariffs on approximately $4 billion worth of products from the European Union (EU). This is a supplemental list to the April 12, 2019 proposed tariffs with an approximate trade value of $12 billion.

According to USTR, this action is designed to pressure the EU to implement the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body recommendations in regard to the United States’ WTO dispute against the EU’s subsidies on large civil aircraft.

Interested parties can appear at a public hearing or file comments on the proposed list. Continue Reading July Trade Law Update: Presidential Actions