If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In particular, if your company does business internationally, regulators are focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.

Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?

Today, the United States Trade Representative issued a notice informing the importing community about a new Section 301 exclusion process and seeking comments from affected importers. The comment period begins on October 12, 2021, and ends on December 1, 2021.

Continue Reading Exclusions 2.0. The USTR Announces a New Section 301 Exclusion Process for Chinese Products

Companies are putting forth more effort, thought, commitment, and resources into environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations across their business lines. The focus of ESG has primarily centered around climate change and sustainability, but the “S” in ESG is becoming increasingly important to consumers and other stakeholders. As global corporate citizens become more vocal about asserting their identity and values, it is critical to think about how their global trade and compliance policies and supply chains reflect those values. Issues like forced labor in the supply chain, third party diligence, and how to build an ethical culture are part and parcel of a strong compliance program. But these issues also present opportunities for companies to reflect their values in a fundamental way and speak to what consumers are demanding with their dollars.

Continue Reading ESG, Global Trade, and Forced Labor: Aligning Compliance with Company Values

This is the second of three articles on the Solar Industry and Forced Labor. Here we focus on interactions with solar module suppliers. Our first article in the series focused on regulations in this area, and our next will focus on investors and their requirements.

Continue Reading Clean Energy’s Messy Problem II: The Solar Industry, I͟t͟s͟ S͟u͟p͟p͟l͟i͟e͟r͟s, and the Complex Task of Combatting Forced Labor

This is the first of three articles on the Solar Industry and Forced Labor. Here we focus on regulation. Articles in the coming weeks will focus on issues facing importers and their suppliers, and on investors and their requirements.

Continue Reading Clean Energy’s Messy Problem: The Solar Industry, the U.S. Government, and the Complex Task of Combatting Forced Labor

  • U.S. Customs halts the import of silica-based products from made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. because the products are suspected of being produced using forced labor.
  • For future imports of solar energy equipment sourced from Xinjiang, China, the United States may use Withhold Release Orders (WROs) to block entry into the United States if there is reasonable suspicion of forced labor in the supply chain.
  • The renewables industry is working together and with regulators to find ways to certify its supply chains are free of forced labor.


Continue Reading Anti-Forced Labor Measures Turn Up the Heat on Chinese Solar Equipment Suppliers

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