According to the American Trucking Association, there is a current shortage of about 51,000 drivers which is impacting U.S. retailers, and it is predicted to get worse in the coming years. The driver shortage is leading to delayed deliveries and higher prices. Also coupled with driver shortages are equipment shortages, including in the maritime container/chassis environment. Many, if not most, retailers are subject to seasonal cycles where timely delivery is key to a “make it or break it” year. Other retailers, such as e-commerce retailers and other lesser known industry groups (the animal feed industry, for example) do not have seasonal peaks, but a substantial percentage of these industry segments have same day or next day delivery requirements essentially on an on-going basis. The retailer industry, including e-retailers, are looking to different solutions for addressing these real bottom-line issues—i.e., getting all kinds of goods to customers in a timely manner. Continue Reading Retailers: Thinking Outside the Box to Address Driver and Equipment Shortages

On December 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further extended the expiration date of certain Ukraine-related general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ) as the entities continue discussions with OFAC to potentially effect “significant changes in control of these sanctioned entities.”   The new  General Licenses 13H (Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in Certain Blocked Persons), 14D (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with United Company RUSAL PLC), 15C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with GAZ Group), and 16D (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with EN+ Group PLC or JSC EuroSibEnergo) supersede their previous versions by extending the expiration date from from January 7, 2019, to January 21, 2019. Continue Reading OFAC Extends Expiration Date of Certain Ukraine-Related General Licenses by Two Weeks

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met to discuss trade relations between the two countries. Following their meeting, President Trump indicated that he would postpone increasing the tariff rate to 25% on certain Chinese goods worth up to $200 billion currently covered under Section 301 List 3. This increase was originally slated for January 1, 2019 (see our previous post here).  The 10% duties on that $200 million in goods will remain in effect, however, as will the 25% tariffs on the goods worth about $50 billion, which appear on the first and second list of additional duties. According to the White House press statement, the parties agreed to “endeavor” on a 90-day period, until March 1, 2019, to discuss the restructuring of China’s trade policies and come to an agreement. Continue Reading President Trump Holds Off on Increase of Section 301 Tariffs

The Department of Commerce published its opportunity to request annual review of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders with anniversary months in December.

Please see here for the published Federal Register.  Contact Jeffrey Neeley, Nithya Nagarajan, or Stephen Brophy if your company is affected by these reviews.

Immediately before the G-20 Summit Meeting on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and Mexican President Nieto ceremonially signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Although each leader signed the Agreement, this does not mean that it will go into effect, as the Agreement must now be approved by the legislature of each country. In regard to the U.S. legislative process, the next steps will be a 60 day period to submit a list of changes to U.S. law that are required for the Agreement to take effect. At the same time, the Agreement must also be reviewed by the U.S. International Trade Commission to assess the impact the agreement will have on GDP, exports and imports, employment, and U.S. consumer interests. The Commission has 105 days after the signing, or until March 15, 2019, to deliver its report to Congress.

Despite moving forward with the signature of the trade agreement, the U.S. continues to have steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada and Mexico pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Prime Minister Trudeau optimistically indicated that Canada and the U.S. will work towards removing these tariffs in the near future.

We will continue to monitor this situation. For more information, please contact Robert Stang,  Jeffrey NeeleyBeau Jackson, or Nithya Nagarajan.

On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended the expiration date for certain Ukraine-related general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ).  The expiration date of General Licenses 13G (Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in Certain Blocked Persons), 14C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with United Company RUSAL PLC), 15B (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with GAZ Group), and 16C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with EN+ Group PLC or JSC EuroSibEnergo) was extended from December 12, 2018 to January 7, 2019.  U.S. persons participating in transactions or activities authorized by these general licenses should provide a detailed report to OFAC within 10 business days of January 7, 2019 (by January 21, 2019).

Continue Reading OFAC Extends Expiration Date for EN+, RUSAL, and GAZ Ukraine-related General Licenses

Iran

On November 5, 2018, the United States fully reimposed sanctions against Iran as part of its decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”).  President Trump announced the decision to withdraw on May 8, 2018, thus beginning the “wind-down” period for businesses to withdraw from Iran.  Continue Reading U.S. Reimposes Tough Sanctions on Iran; More Designations to Come