On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) issued an interim final rule governing transactions in Information and Communication Technology or Services (“ICTS”) involving “foreign adversaries.” Although the rule takes effect on March 22, 2021, it allows DOC to review covered transactions initiated, pending, or completed on or after January 19, 2021.
Continue Reading Friend or Foe? The DOC Issues New Interim Rule on Transactions Involving Information and Communication Technology or Services (“ICTS”) and Foreign Adversaries

On January 13, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on cotton and tomato products produced by entities operating in Xinjiang, China. The order is based on information that indicates the use of forced labor in the production of the goods. If you are sourcing these products from the Xinjiang region, you may want to consider proactive compliance steps to mitigate your risk and prevent disruption in your supply chain.  
Continue Reading CBP Stops More Imports Under Forced Labor Rules (Cotton a Jam, Part II)

Key Takeaways:

  • Threatened 25% tariffs on French luxury goods are suspended.
  • USTR is still looking at tariffs in retaliation for taxes on U.S. global tech companies.
  • Biden’s new USTR will face immense pressure to negotiate the digital taxation issue in the first few weeks of her tenure.

In the last few weeks of former President Trump’s term in office, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) suspended its previous plans to impose tariffs on certain French luxury goods, as we discussed here and here.
Continue Reading USTR Suspends Tariffs on Certain French Luxury Goods: A Potential Shift in Trade Talks

Most of you already know Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 because of the Trump Administration’s massive China tariffs under Section 301.[1] Now it’s time to get acquainted with a separate process that may result in tariffs on Vietnamese products too. Section 301 authorizes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to investigate certain foreign trade practices.[2] USTR has initiated a probe into Vietnam’s currency practices, which could lead to tariffs on Vietnamese products, similar to the China tariffs. The Biden transition team has not indicated whether it will follow through with the investigation.
Continue Reading Knock knock: Section 301 Tariffs on Vietnamese Products Could Soon be at Your Front Door

While many of us anxiously await putting 2020 behind us, the start of the new year may have significant import duty implications for many U.S. companies.

On December 31, two significant U.S. import duty relief programs are set to expire: the Section 301 exclusions and the Generalized Systems of Preference (“GSP”). That will cause U.S. customs duties to rise on certain products. Importers should be prepared for these changes.
Continue Reading Don’t Pop the Bubbly Just Yet: Potential Duty Increases for Importers Starting January 1

Key takeaways

The new National Security and Investment Bill expands the UK government’s powers to intercede in acquisitions of UK companies where it determines there is a potential national security threat.

The Bill creates a new government agency, the Investment Security Unit (ISU) to oversee foreign direct investment review, removing the power from the competition/antitrust regulator, the CMA.

Regulators will be able to “call in” transactions that were not notified but that the Secretary of State determines may pose a national security risk.

A mandatory notification will be introduced for certain sectors, including penalties for failure to notify, but the details of those requirements have not been completed.
Continue Reading CFIUK: The United Kingdom Introduces a New Mechanism for Foreign Direct Investment Screening

Over the past few weeks, we have been speculating on the international trends and tides we expect to see in the next four years under a new U.S. presidential administration. So that you can enjoy our prognostications (before our program gets greenlighted as a Netflix special) we provide here:

  1. A recording of our webinar, entitled “The Four Years in International Business Webinar
    (for those playing along at home, see if you can spot the part where Scott’s power goes out while we’re discussing tariff reductions!)
  1. A bulleted summary of the key takeaways of our webinar.


Continue Reading The Next Four Years in International Business

On December 2, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued an order preventing certain imported cotton products from China from being released to the importer. The products were made by Xinjian Production and Construction Corp. (XPCC). The order is based on information that indicates the use of forced labor in the production of the goods.
Continue Reading Cotton a Jam: CBP Withholds Cotton Product Shipments Under Forced Labor Rules

Contrary to some expectations, the Trump Administration Department of Justice imposed record penalties under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from 2017 through 2020. But in each of those years, fewer and fewer new FCPA investigations were initiated. We expect the Biden Administration to continue the trend of increasing FCPA enforcement settlement values, while also increasing the pace of initiating new FCPA investigations. Anticorruption matters present some of the most severe threats to a company’s organizational integrity. Understanding the changing enforcement culture is an important component to addressing those threats.
Continue Reading The Next Four Years of FCPA Enforcement: What to Expect From the Biden Administration

One point all can likely agree on in these divisive times is that the Trump Administration’s international trade policy has been aggressive. Over the past four years, we have been clinging to our seats on the rollercoaster ride with some pretty challenging peaks and valleys:

  • Section 301 tariffs on over $370 billion worth of imports from China, under which over $68 billion in total duties have been assessed;[1]
  • Replacement of NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA);
  • Withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); and
  • Imposition of Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, under which over $9 billion in total duties have been assessed.[2]


Continue Reading Four Ways the Biden Presidency Could Impact Imports, Tariffs, and Trade Agreements