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

On October 15, 2020, CFIUS will officially tie mandatory filings to U.S. export control regimes, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  While that change may draw a clearer line of what constitutes a mandatory filing, it also pulls your CFIUS review into the complex (and somewhat nerdy) world of export regulations.
Continue Reading Lend Me Your EARs: CFIUS Makes Export Controls a Trigger for Mandatory Filings

The UK government has now made a show of force in its foreign direct investment (FDI) reviews.

For the first time, the UK Secretary of State issued an order to prevent a transaction for raising public interest considerations. Specifically, the UK Government blocked the prospective deal on national security grounds. In the September 5, 2020 notice, the UK Government accepted commitments from Gardner Aerospace Holdings Limited (Gardner) to not proceed with its proposed acquisition of Impcross Limited (Impcross), a UK-based manufacturer of components for the aerospace and military aircraft industry.
Continue Reading CFIUK? The UK Brings Heavier Scrutiny to Its Foreign Investment Reviews

On September 19, 2020, China took a new strategic position in its ongoing trade confrontation with the United States. The Ministry of Commerce of the PRC (“MOFCOM”) issued Regulations on Unreliable Entity List (“UEL”) and drew wide public attention to the beginning of the PRC government’s retaliation against the Trump Administration’s recent restrictions on Chinese entities including Huawei, TikTok and WeChat. It is notable that MOFCOM deliberated with more than a year of internal discussion before implementing the UEL.
Continue Reading Certainties and Uncertainties Under China’s New Unreliable Entity List