International Business

Tariff Turbulence Continues to Fly!

USA Mexico Trade War

Photo credit: iStock.com/wildpixel

By Susan Kohn Ross

Putting all the hyperbole and posturing to one side, the recent agreement between Mexico and the U.S. which averted the tariffs can be found in the U.S. – Mexico Joint Statement released June 7, 2019. It consists of a few broad policy statements:

  1. Mexico will deploy its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border – meaning the border with Guatemala;
  2. Mexico will take “decisive” action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations and their illicit financial and transportation networks;
  3. The U.S. and Mexico will strengthen bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions to better “protect” and “secure” their common border;
  4. The U.S. will immediately expand the existing Migrant Protection Protocols so that those crossing into the U.S. to seek asylum will be “rapidly” returned to Mexico where they “may” await adjudication of their asylum claims;
  5. Mexico agrees to “authorize” the entrance of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await adjudication of their claims;
  6. Mexico will offer jobs, healthcare and education to those individuals according to its principles; and
  7. The U.S. commits to “work to accelerate” the adjudication of asylum claims and “conclude removal proceedings as expeditiously as possible.”

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Trade Trouble – East, West and South, but North is Settled for Now!

Container Ship Enroute to Port

Photo credit: iStock.com/Darwin Brandis

By Susan Kohn Ross

Agriculture Secretary Perdue recently stated the trade damages to be addressed in a new round of farm aid is $15 to $20 billion! The general press is replete with stories about how, as these tariffs continue, companies are making sourcing changes that will be hard to reverse. So, what is the latest news?

First, there is trade with China. It seems clear that unless there is a breakthrough at the G-20 meeting in Tokyo, or shortly thereafter, the anecdotal headaches we hear about will get far more costly. The American Chamber of Commerce in China and the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai conducted a survey before List 3 was announced. Even at that point, American companies operating in China acknowledged higher production costs, decreased demand for products, reduced staffing, reduced profits, increased inspections at importation, increased bureaucratic oversight and regulatory scrutiny, slower approval of licenses and permits, higher product rejections, and increasing plans to relocate (but not back to the U.S.). (more…)

Tariff Turmoil

USA and Chinese flags on mountain signpost.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Darwel

By Susan Kohn Ross

The last few days have seen some startling developments regarding trade between the U.S. and China. Perhaps none of this is remarkable given the current climate, but trying to keep track has caused untold whiplash!

On May 10, we learned from USTR the timing of the 25% tariff on List 3 was changed. It is now applicable to goods entered on or after June 1, 2019. Given that CBP originally programmed its computer and the 25% on List 3 goods applied so long as the arrival date was May 10 or later, if you get caught in the payment timing cycle of having to pay the 25%, you will want to coordinate with your customs broker to file a Post Summary Correction and seek a 15% refund. (more…)

The Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Tariff, Taxes on Imported Goods

Photo credit: iStock.com/Olivier Le Moal

By Susan Kohn Ross

In yesterday’s “Talking Trade” Periscope broadcast, we made the point that the wording in the China 301 tariff notice left confusion which needed to be cleared up, and now, it has been. As is common knowledge, the 10% tariff on the goods on List 3 or Traunch 3 went up to 25% at 12:01 a.m. on May 10, 2019. How this applies is, however, a bit more nuanced. The Federal Register Notice reads: “Effective with respect to goods (i) entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 10, 2019, and (ii) exported to the United States on or after May 10, 2019…” (more…)

OFAC Brings the Hammer

Logistics and transportation of Container Cargo ship and Cargo plane with working crane bridge in shipyard at sunrise, logistic import export and transport industry background

Photo credit: iStock.com/thitivong

By Susan Kohn Ross

In March, there was a good deal of consternation in the general press trying to understand news that President Trump had overruled the actions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) to impose additional sanctions on North Korea. Beside the oddity of a President overruling actions by a part of the Executive branch after they had been taken, it remains a mystery what the President was seeking to overrule. Not being deterred, OFAC marched on, and in so doing, it provided multiple examples again how compliance programs need to not be just written, but also followed and enforced, and cost at least one American company $1,869,144 plus significant compliance upgrade costs. (more…)

China 301 Tariffs Took Effect – What Happens Next?

China tariffs

Photo credit: iStock.com/ANNECORDON

By Susan Kohn Ross

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…)

Trade Trifecta!

USA and Chinese flags on mountain signpost.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Darwel

By Susan Kohn Ross

Some events rather significant to international traders occurred in the last few days. First, on Friday, March 23, 2018, President Trump signed the latest spending bill. It includes a provision to renew Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) benefits retroactive to December 31, 2017, when the program last expired. GSP is now authorized through December 31, 2020.

With history as a guide, we should expect Customs and Border Protection to shortly publish a message advising when its programming is updated, the deadline by which to file refunds and similar details. In the past, so long as the entry was filed with an “A” or similar indicator, refunds were routinely issued, but importers would still be wise to make sure their list of eligible entries is current, and then to track their refunds. Since the bill was signed into law on Friday, the deadline to file refund requests will be 180 days later, which works out to September 18, 2018. (more…)

New Tariffs: Definition & Exclusion

storehouse

Photo credit: iStock.com/Evening_T

By Susan Kohn Ross

When President Trump announced the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs on March 8, 2018, he instructed the Secretary of Commerce to issue regulations explaining how American companies could seek exclusions from those tariffs no later than March 19, 2018, and that deadline has been met. These new regulations can be found here.

Before we discuss the new regulations, we should start with the data Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released with its programming updates to implement these safeguard tariffs. (more…)

Trump’s Cuba Course Clarified

Trade Concept

Photo credit: iStock.com/XtockImages

By Susan Kohn Ross

“Trump cracks down on Cuba” or variations on that phrase have peppered the general press since Friday, when the President announced his policy towards Cuba.  When you read what was actually written, you come away with a more tempered reaction. Yes, there will be changes, and the most critical one is yet to come, but we focus here on what was actually written.

First, the format is not an Executive Order but rather a June 16, 2017 “National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba” accompanied by a Fact Sheet. The memo can be found here, and the Fact Sheet here. So, nothing changes right away.

Taken together, there are two points that could impact international traders. (more…)

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…)