Tricks of the Trade

Privacy Shield Takes More Hits

By Susan Kohn Ross

Just in the last week, both the European Parliament and the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) published findings holding the currently proposed EU-US Privacy Shield to be seriously deficient, and calling for further negotiations to deal with those “holes”.

On May 26, 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution, see EU Parliament Resolution, basically saying nice try, no cigar!  While acknowledging that great strides were made, the Parliament felt that too many gaps remained. Not surprising were the on-going concerns about the broad gathering of private data (i.e., bulk collection) by the U.S. government and what is viewed as the less than clearly defined circumstances in which that data may be used for recognized national security and law enforcement reasons, and what else? (more…)

SOLAS: Saves Lives? Causes Ulcers?

By Susan Kohn Ross

On July 1, 2016, the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) requirement for shippers to provide steamship lines with the verified gross mass (“VGM”) of each shipment takes effect internationally.

While under development at the International Maritime Organization for years, these requirements caught many in the U.S. by surprise last summer when the deadline was emphasized. Perhaps equally surprising was the response of the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency with enforcement jurisdiction. Coast Guard management has been publicly quoted as saying the SOLAS VGM requirements are not mandatory under U.S. law! Rather, they are simply one business means to achieve compliance.  U.S. terminals have been weighing export containers for OSHA compliance reasons for years, but the same is not true in other countries.  (more…)

Everyone Deserves To Have Secrets – Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

By Susan Kohn Ross and Brett Thomas

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) which brought with it a new era of accountability and expediency in protecting employers’ intellectual property. Whether proprietary lines of code in a software program, the secret recipe for fried chicken or highly-valued customer lists, “trade secrets” provide a competitive advantage for businesses. While the DTSA provides new avenues for employers to protect their trade secrets, it also imposes additional burdens, creating new whistleblower protections and imposing new notice requirements. (more…)

The Art of Self Defense

By Susan Kohn Ross

Corporate compliance programs come in all shapes and sizes and apply whether your company is privately owned or publicly traded. These internal controls take the form of accounting and audit procedures, import-export/regulatory policies, employment guidelines, ethics/anti-corruption initiatives and so on. The intent of any compliance program is to ensure that employees know what is expected of them and that their behavior complies with and is consistent with the “rules of the road” for your business or industry. (more…)

TFTEA – Export Focus

By Susan Kohn Ross

In earlier editions of our Alert, we first summarized the new law (see here), then addressed the intellectual property rights changes it contained (see here), and most recently covered the organizational structure (see here). Now, we turn to the export focused provisions in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (“TFTEA”). Mainly those export provisions have to do with information collection for targeting.  However, new initiatives for promoting U.S. exports are let out in detail in TFTEA. (more…)

TFTEA – CBP Organizational Structure

By Susan Kohn Ross

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act presents many new guidelines for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The labyrinth of the Act is laborious to dissect and is the reason we have created this series of Alerts. This latest edition digs in to the inner workings of CBP’s organizational structure, duties, and implementation expectations. Anyone who works in international trade, whether an importer or exporter of goods or a service provider, will find this piece exceptionally interesting. (more…)

Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 and Intellectual Property Rights

By Susan Kohn Ross

This article was co-authored with Kevin M. Rosenbaum of MS&K.

On February 24, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, PL 114-125 (TFTEA), which includes an assortment of trade facilitation and trade enforcement provisions, including a number of provisions focused on intellectual property rights (IPR). Section III of the new law provides a number of enhancements to U.S. enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) at the border.  In addition, included among a variety of new trade enforcement provisions in Section VI, the new law provides additional resources to assist the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) improve IPR protection and enforcement in foreign markets. (more…)

New Customs Bill Is Now Law

By Susan Kohn Ross

Originally published in the Journal of Commerce in March 2016

On February 24, 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R. 644. Entitled the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015,” it contains a good many technical revisions to existing Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) processes, procedures, laws and regulations. Much more is included, so there are many topics of widespread interest to the broader trade community, import and export. (more…)

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Concluded – Now What?

By Susan Kohn Ross

Originally published by the Journal of Commerce in October 2015

With the news the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have been successfully concluded, the obvious question is what is next? The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is in chaos. As we go to press, the presumptive new Speaker has withdrawn, the caucus is coming apart, the Democrats are smiling, but the country is suffering. Renewal of the ExIm Bank is subject to a parliamentary ploy where the one thing Congress is supposed to do finally happened – a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats reached across the aisle seeking to govern the country. Whether their parliamentary move does the trick remains to be seen. Will the House pass ExIm renewal? (more…)

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Bane or Boon?

By Susan Kohn Ross

Originally published by the Journal of Commerce in November 2015

As every international trader worth his/her salt knows, the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was released on November 5th. Given word from the Executive Branch is the agreement is still being “scrubbed”, it is reasonable to conclude the text is not yet final, but is being released, as some of our Canadian colleagues commented about regarding newly elected Prime Minister Trudeau and his Labor Party, to allow the nay-sayers to get their vitriol out now, so that by the time the vote comes, calmer heads will prevail. Whether that is a prudent approach remains to be seen. (more…)