Archives: Trade Agreements

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China Raises Tariffs on 128 U.S. Imports in Retaliation for U.S. Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The Chinese government has announced that it is raising tariff duties on 128 products imported from the United States into China in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States. The new Chinese tariffs went into effect on April 2. The 128 targeted products fall into … Continue Reading

US-China Trade Tensions Reflect a Battle for Technological Dominance

The arms race was a defining element of the Cold War between the U.S. and its allies, and the Soviet Union.  President Trump’s recent proposal for $60 billion in unilateral actions against China presages a pitched 21st century battle over technological supremacy, with fateful consequences for the world order. The Trump Administration rightly sees that … Continue Reading

New Wave of Trade Lobbying Presents FARA Registration Concerns

Washington is awash with lobbyists seeking to address new steel and aluminum tariffs, and other potential tariffs, on behalf of both foreign and domestic clients.  Lobbying on trade issues in some circumstances may trigger Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) obligations.  The connection between trade lobbying and FARA was the subject of close scrutiny several decades … Continue Reading

USTR Finds China’s IP Practices Cause at Least $50 Billion in Harm: Proposed Tariffs and Investment Restrictions Ratchet Up U.S.-China Trade Tensions

March 22, 2018 Earlier today, the administration announced its findings that China’s theft of U.S. technologies and intellectual property (“IP”) have caused at least $50 billion in harm to the U.S. economy per year. In response, President Trump issued an order announcing its intent to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports, curtail Chinese investment in … Continue Reading

Administration Announces Procedures for Product-Specific Exclusions from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce published procedures for seeking product-specific exclusions from the tariffs on steel and aluminum announced on March 8, 2018. According to these procedures, an exclusion may be granted only if (1) a particular product is not produced in the United States “in a sufficient and reasonably available … Continue Reading

Export Control Reform Act Introduced in Congress

On February 15, 2018, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation—the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (“ECRA”)⸺to modernize U.S. export control regulation of commercial and dual-use items. The bill is co-sponsored by the committee’s ranking Democratic member, Eliot Engel (D-NY). The proposed legislation seeks to establish a permanent statutory basis … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decision Provides Critical Win to FTC in its Authority over Internet Service Providers

In a ruling with implications for both net neutrality and privacy, the Ninth Circuit ruled en banc today that the common carrier exemption in Section 5 of the FTC Act is activity-based, reversing a 2016 panel ruling that the exemption was status-based.  Today’s decision bolsters the FTC’s authority to bring consumer protection (including privacy) and … Continue Reading

Update on U.S.-China Trade Relations

Recent U.S. Trade Actions Concerns about the possibility of a U.S.-China “trade war” remain strong, especially after the Trump administration announced (Section 201) safeguard decisions against imported solar panels in January, and the Commerce Department released its (Section 232) report in February on the national security impact of steel and aluminum imports recommending additional tariffs … Continue Reading

FTC Enters Into COPPA Settlement With Online Talent Search Company

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) entered into a settlement with Nevada-based Prime Sites, Inc., doing business as Explore Talent, related to charges that Explore Talent violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Explore Talent, an online talent search company, will pay $235,000 in civil penalties. According to the FTC’s complaint, Explore Talent … Continue Reading

Developments in U.S. Iran Sanctions

Administration Also Revises Russia Sanctions, Terminates Most Sudan Sanctions On October 13, President Trump announced that he would no longer certify to Congress that the suspension of U.S. sanctions against Iran pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) is “appropriate and proportionate” to the steps that Iran has taken to terminate its illicit … Continue Reading

Post-AGOA: Moving to a Reciprocal US-Africa Trade Arrangement

The global trade environment is rapidly changing and already affecting the U.S.-Africa trade relationship. Indeed, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was not intended to be permanent. The program was designed as a stepping stone to a more mature trade relationship between the U.S. and the continent. AGOA’s expiration date in 2025 may seem … Continue Reading

Administration submits notice of NAFTA renegotiation

On May 18, 2017, newly-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Trump Administration has indicated that it will request public input on the “direction, focus, and content” of these negotiations, and will publish notice in the Federal Register regarding … Continue Reading

Trump moves on aluminum under Section 232; Steel investigation update

Just one week after launching a national security investigation of steel imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, President Trump has announced plans to institute a similar investigation regarding aluminum. In a memorandum of April 27, 2017, President Trump announced that the Secretary of Commerce had initiated an investigation under Section … Continue Reading

Suniva Requests Global Safeguards For U.S. Solar Industry Under Section 201

On April 26, 2017, the U.S.-based solar manufacturer Suniva, Inc. filed a petition for global safeguards with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”). In particular, Suniva requests the imposition of tariffs on solar cells and the establishment of a minimum price for solar modules imported into the United States. The petition was filed under Section … Continue Reading

Trump Moves on Steel Under Section 232

On April 20, 2017, President Trump issued a memorandum announcing that the Secretary of Commerce had initiated an investigation to determine the effects of imported steel on national security. The investigation was initiated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. I. Conduct of Section 232 Investigations Under Section 232, Secretary … Continue Reading

Trump, Xi Kick Off Economic Relationship

On Friday, April 14, the U.S. Department of Treasury published a widely anticipated semi-annual report detailing the foreign exchange practices of America’s major trading partners. Although he regularly called for China to be labeled as a “currency manipulator” as a candidate, President Donald J. Trump and his administration declined to use the occasion of this … Continue Reading

President Trump Acts on Several Trade-Related Campaign Promises

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made clear his plans to chart a new course on U.S. trade policy. The first few days of his presidency indicate his commitment to follow through on these plans. In his Inaugural Address, President Trump included trade among the policy areas that would be guided by an “America … Continue Reading

Global Policy Watch: Tensions Building Up in Cross-Strait and U.S.-China Relations

Cross-Strait Relations In her year-end press conference on December 31, 2016, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen focused on her administration’s domestic policy agenda but also noted Beijing’s increasing pressure on Taiwan since she took office on May 20. Beijing has cut off high-level communications between the two sides (while maintaining ties with the former KMT party), … Continue Reading

Global Enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol in Life Sciences Industries

In October 2014, the Nagoya Protocol entered into force. It created a new international regulatory system affecting all life science companies that conduct R&D on biological material such as animals, seeds, flowers, viruses, fragrances, flavonoids, essential oils, enzymes, yeasts, and so on. So far, compliance by companies is progressing slowly due to unawareness of the … Continue Reading

Re-Opening NAFTA: Consequences for U.S. Businesses

President-elect Donald Trump made trade policy a key issue in his campaign and has declared his interest in either withdrawing from or renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Government officials from Mexico and Canada have publicly stated that their respective governments are open to renegotiating the treaty. As a result, companies that do … Continue Reading

A New Miscellaneous Tariff-Cutting Process Takes Shape

In a notice published in Friday’s Federal Register, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission) has issued interim rules implementing the new miscellaneous tariff bill process mandated by Congress in the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016.  The rules create a new pathway for U.S. manufacturers to seek temporary suspension or reduction of tariffs … Continue Reading

Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Federal Civil Cause of Action for Trade Secret Misappropriation Backed By Broad Coalition of U.S. Interests

When the dust settles on 2016, and Congress is receiving year-end grades from political pundits, voters and even self-evaluations from the Members themselves, there will no doubt be a common refrain that election year politics, gridlock and a short legislative calendar have yet again left too many important issues unresolved. But one important piece of … Continue Reading

A call for 50 percent tariffs on U.S. imports of aluminum

The United Steelworkers union (USW) on April 18 filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for the U.S. to invoke a global safeguard under Section 201 of U.S. trade law and impose tariffs of up to 50 percent on primary unwrought aluminum. This proceeding could have significant impacts on global aluminum producers … Continue Reading

How Big a U.S. Export Market Could Cuba Be?

Since President Obama announced the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba in December of 2014, U.S. businesses have begun to plan for the eventual lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba.  While the Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to jumpstart interactions between U.S. businesses and the Cuban private sector, including easing travel … Continue Reading
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