As a candidate for President, Donald J. Trump was widely reported to despise the Iran nuclear agreement, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As President, he responded to reports of Iranian missile tests by putting Iran “on notice.” While observers have speculated whether that portends a naval escalation in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Aden, or perhaps some form of probation, the most likely next steps in our view will not include tearing up the nuclear agreement.
CFIUS has the power to unwind your M&A deal. That power will likely expand. That is the headline.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews acquisitions by foreign parties of “critical industries” and “critical infrastructure” in the United States. The inter-agency committee’s actions warrant plenty of explanation, and you can find much of it here.
The Effects of Increased Tariffs
In the 18th Century, tariffs were considered a method of generating revenue and protecting domestic industry. The first U.S. customs duties were imposed in 1789, and were considered vital to the economic survival of the young nation. That mercantilist approach has since been overwhelmingly rejected by mainstream economists. Even by the time of the American Revolution, specialization and comparative advantage were being touted (including by Adam Smith, whose Wealth of Nations was published in 1776) as the true route to national prosperity.
“We must distinguish between the unlikely and the impossible.”
– P.G. Wodehouse
President Trump’s successive executive orders restricting immigration caught many people off guard, and many businesses had to scramble to react. But we propose that predicting the future is not as challenging under the new Administration as it may sometimes seem. For example, if you wished to know whether there would be an immigration ban (whether you favor or oppose immigration restrictions), you could do worse than to take the President at his word about what he is going to do: Candidate Trump promised immigration restrictions targeting, variously, Muslim people, Muslim majority countries, and countries listed as state sponsors of terrorism. Which countries would Mr. Trump target? Several of those listed could have been predicted in advance based on campaign promises. More broadly, a suspension of immigration from Syria and Libya was an explicit campaign promise, so certainly that much was predictable.
*This is an updated version of the February 21st blog post.
Many U.S. companies continue to struggle under the burden of President Trump’s tariffs on imports from China. The President has postponed a scheduled March 2, 2019 deadline to increase the tariff rate on many Chinese products from 10 to 25 percent.
When we went to press with the first version of this article (February 21, 2019), negotiations between the United States and China had failed to reach an agreement that would prevent the tariff increase.
Now the President has decided that progress in those negotiations has been “substantial.” On that basis, he directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to postpone the March 2 tariff increase until further notice. Continue Reading Update from the Trump Trade War Front: Tariffs Will Not Increase March 2*
We’ll give him this: President Trump has an ambitious trade agenda. This fire has many irons in it, and some of them are getting hot. Here at the Global Trade Law Blog, we’ve been following trade law for approximately 250 years and we’ve never seen anything like it in breadth or scale. The administration asks us to trust that there is a disruptive and innovative grand strategy behind it, but to some of us it looks (particularly in comparison to a mostly orderly international trading system in place since 1945) like madness. The question of whether “yet there is method in’t” may only be answered by future historians. For the time being, herewith is our snapshot of the Trump trade agenda, late June 2018 edition. Continue Reading 5 Weird Things About the Trump Trade Agenda: Disruptive Innovation On a Global Scale
‘Tis the season to wonder, what will 2018 bring? We may speculate on things like a private company making a moon landing or a peace accord with North Korea. We may be certain of things like well-intentioned gym memberships and a host of new-you products.
Somewhere between speculation and certainty we find the U.S. Government’s scrutiny of foreign direct investment in the United States. The recently proposed Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reform introduced in Congress sheds some light on the future of CFIUS reviews. Continue Reading The Future of CFIUS: Perhaps Not So Happy a New Year
According to reports published this week, the Trump Administration is preparing to release the results of its policy review on Cuba in the “coming weeks.” We don’t have a crystal ball (or a leaking insider). But we continue to believe that when you eliminate the impossible, what you have left (however improbable) may be the truth. That adage, from Conan Doyle, has guided our predictions of many Trump administration policies. Continue Reading Our Armchair Santería on Cuba Policy: What Will President Trump do on Cuba?
As the Trump administration comes into its third month, we have clues, but must speculate on how that administration will modify Iran sanctions, NAFTA, foreign investment, and tariffs on China. In contrast, recently issued executive orders shed clear light on the Trump administration’s approach to antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD). (See our August 2016 blog for a general background on AD/CVD.)
On March 26, 2012, U.S. medical device maker Biomet, Inc. (Biomet) agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges related to alleged bribes paid to obtain business in Argentina, Brazil, and China. This is the third – though almost certainly not the last – Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) settlement with medical device manufacturers.
In the wake of recent setbacks in the Shot Show and Lindsey cases, the settlement serves as a reminder that the U.S. government is still aggressively enforcing the FCPA and broadly interpreting its provisions. Continue Reading Continuing the Trend: Medical Device Maker Biomet Settles FCPA Charges For More Than $22 million