In this video blog, MSK Partner & International Trade Practice Chair Susan Kohn Ross discusses the latest developments surrounding the 232 tariffs on steel & aluminum products, automobiles and auto parts, the 301 trade dispute with China, and reviews best practices.
The U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) issued a press release on July 6, 2018 in which the process companies can use to seek exclusion from the 25% tariff imposed on the same day on goods from China was announced. The timeline requires all original exclusion requests to be filed by October 9, 2018. Each will be reviewed to insure completeness and will then be posted for public review, and 14 days from the date of any posting, all objections are due. No more than 7 days later, any applicant may file its reply. All such submissions are filed through regulations.gov and must reference Docket No. USTR-2018-0025. (more…)
In a compromise to avoid a ballot measure, at the very last moment on the very last day, just before the stroke of midnight, on June 29, 2018, the California legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “Act”), which takes effect on January 1, 2020. Many of its provisions are similar to the General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”), which took effect in Europe at the end of May, and required companies to institute new internal data privacy regimes. So, while those companies which prepared for the GDPR are well on their way to gaining compliance with this new law, there is still much to be done by them and especially those companies which were not impacted by the GDPR. (more…)
In the current tit for tat environment that overhangs international trade, below is an update regarding the 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, the 301 tariffs related to China’s intellectual property rights and other business practices, and the 232 tariffs threatened on automobiles and parts.
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs:
As everyone by now knows, effective March 23, 2018, the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on selected steel products and a 10% tariff on selected aluminum products. The basis for this action was a finding by the Dept. of Commerce that foreign competition had essentially undermined U.S. steel and aluminum production capabilities and so triggered national security concerns. In this context national security equates to economic security. The shorthand reference in this context is 232, the section of the law -The Trade Expansion Act of 1962 – under which the Administration acted. (more…)
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today issued two lists of products on which the U.S. seeks to impose tariffs on goods made in China at a 25% rate. The lists together cover 1,102 tariff lines valued at approximately $50 billion. According to the USTR’s release, the list of products settled on was intended to focus on “products from industrial sectors that contribute to or benefit from the ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial policy,” and include aerospace, information and communications technology, robotics, industrial machinery, new materials and automobiles. Cellular telephones and televisions are not included. (more…)
The Federal Register notice advising the timeline which applies to the Administration’s 232 investigation regarding automobiles and parts was published on May 30, 2018. The relevant time frame requires that written comments are due by June 22, 2018 and rebuttal comments by July 6, 2018. A public hearing will be held on July 19 and 20, 2018. All comments should be filed through www.regulations.gov referring to Docket Number DOC-2018-0002.
In particular, Commerce wants information about:
- The quantity and nature of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts and other circumstances related to the importation of automobiles and automotive parts;
- Domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements;
- Domestic production and productive capacity needed for automobiles and automotive parts to meet projected national defense requirements;
- The existing and anticipated availability of human resources, products, raw materials, production equipment, and facilities to produce automobiles and automotive parts;
- The growth requirements of the automobiles and automotive parts industry to meet national defense requirements and/or requirements to assure such growth, particularly with respect to investment and research and development;
- The impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of the U.S. automobiles and automotive parts industry;
- The displacement of any domestic automobiles and automotive parts causing substantial unemployment, decrease in the revenues of government, loss of investment or specialized skills and productive capacity, or other serious effects;
- Relevant factors that are causing or will cause a weakening of our national economy;
- The extent to which innovation in new automotive technologies is necessary to meet projected national defense requirements;
- Whether and, if so, how the analysis of the above factors changes when U.S. production by majority U.S.-owned firms is considered separately from U.S. production by majority foreign-owned firms; and
- Any other relevant factors. (more…)
Living true to the times, it is nearly impossible to find predictability in current events. That fact makes it quite challenging for businesses, and we have recent events adding to the confusion.
One notable example is that on June 1, the suspension of the 232 tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) expire on the relevant goods from Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the EU member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Last reports indicate that negotiations with Australia continue, while the NAFTA renegotiations with Canada and Mexico seem mired in the automobile domestic content requirement. (more…)
On May 25, 2018, important European regulations regarding data privacy and protection go into effect that will have a major impact on American companies, many of whom don’t realize they will be subject to compliance with its requirements. The General Data Protection Regulations (the “GDPR”) will have severe penalties for non-compliance (as high as €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover). The GDPR will also have very broad territorial reach applying not only to European entities, but also to entities located outside of Europe (including those in the U.S.) that process the personal data of living European individuals residing in the covered countries, including if the company:
- Offers goods or services to individuals in the covered countries (e.g., e-commerce, capital raising, fund raising, immigration);
- Employs individuals in one or more of the countries;
- Monitors the behavior of individuals in any of these countries; and
- Collects, stores, or processes the personal data of affected individuals on behalf of others.
For these purposes, the European definition of personal data mirrors nicely the American definition of personally identifiable information. Given the severe penalties and broad reach, it is important that each company in the U.S. consider whether the GDPR applies to its operations and, if so, how best to comply. (more…)
The U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) has prepared for publication a Federal Register Notice (“Notice”) that identifies a list of approximately 1,300 tariff lines on which it proposes to levy additional duties of up to 25% on goods made in China. The pre-published copy of the Notice was released yesterday, April 3, 2018, and includes an Annex identifying the products on which USTR proposes to assess the additional duties. The notice can be found here. According to an accompanying press release, the sectors targeted for the proposed tariffs “include industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery.” The press release further indicates these tariffs are intended to combat China’s “industrial plans, such as ‘Made in China 2025.’” The tariffs, therefore, are intended to “target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the U.S. economy.”
The Notice announces a public hearing and an opportunity for interested parties to submit written comments. The public hearing will take place on May 15th; interested members of the public must file requests to appear at that hearing, and a summary of expected testimony as well as any other pre-hearing submissions are due by April 23rd. Written comments must be filed by May 11th, and any post-hearing rebuttal comments are due May 22nd. (more…)
In off the record comments on March 28, 2018, an official of the Dept. of Commerce provided some clarification as to how the product exemption process will work relative to steel and aluminum tariffs. Of course, the starting point is: if your product is subject to the steel or aluminum tariffs and is not from an exempted country, the 25% or 10%, respectively, will have to be paid. After that, things get trickier.
If you decide to seek exemption for your product, the first step obviously is to gather the needed details and file your exemption request. The way the process is intended to work is once the exemption request is uploaded to regulations.gov, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) will review it for completeness. If not complete, the application will be rejected. If complete, it will be officially posted on the regulations.gov website. That date is key. Because, if your exemption request is later granted, while not official until five days after it is published, you will be able to seek refunds on any entries filed between the date the exemption request is posted and when it is granted. (more…)