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

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

Opening Salvos: The Proposed Tariffs

On June 26, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice that it is considering new tariffs on exports such as olives, coffee, beer, gin, and trucks coming into the United States from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.[1] The list of potential targets also includes various types of bread, pastries, cakes, and other baked products. That new list of goods may face duties of up to 100%, potentially doubling the price of certain goods [2] The announcement caused European stocks to fall, particularly for shares of beverage companies, luxury goods companies, and truck makers.
Continue Reading A Trade War on Two Fronts: U.S. Considers More Tariffs on European Goods

Is your company in a high-risk zone? Does it have the following risk characteristics?

Your company imports more than $10 million of goods.
You are mid-market: between $50 million and $2 billion in annual turnover.
Your company has experienced higher than average growth in revenues, personnel, or imports over the past 2 – 10 years.

If your company fits this profile, you may be at an elevated risk of customs violations. Many companies in this high-risk zone have outgrown their customs compliance function. Without knowing it, they may be creating violations and, since the statute of limitations is five years, they may not know about the violations until the government comes knocking on their door years after the fact.
Continue Reading Sick without Symptoms: How Multi-Million Dollar Customs Issues are Ailing U.S. Companies Without Warning

*This is an updated version of the February 21st blog post.

Key Takeaways:

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*

The Open Road: Approaching the TPP

Summarizing the behemoth 12-nation TPP agreement in a few-hundred word blog is a task beyond the reach of a practicing attorney . . . assuming he wants to continue practicing. In this article we will examine automobiles, an area of particular interest to two big economies in the TPP, the United States and Japan.
Continue Reading The Trans Pacific Partnership and the Auto Industry: Will Six Thousand Pages Pave the Way for Increased Exports?

On February 12, 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that three U.S.-based importers had agreed to pay more than $3 million to resolve a lawsuit brought by the United States under the False Claims Act (FCA) alleging that they had made false declarations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and conspired with other domestic companies to make false declarations to CBP in order avoid paying “antidumping” and “countervailing” duties.  No government contracts were involved.  These were “reverse” FCA claims based upon underpayment of duties for private sector import transactions.
Continue Reading Add Importers to Those Facing Expanding Whistleblower Claims under the False Claims Act

By:  Thad McBride and Matthew Riemer

On Thursday, March 14, the Census Bureau published a final rule (available here) implementing changes to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), 15 C.F.R. Part 30.  The final rule includes long-awaited revisions to the post-departure filing program commonly referred to as Option 4.  Census is also requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or through AESDirect for all shipments of temporary exports.  The final rule also implements remedial changes to the FTR to improve clarity and to correct errors.
Continue Reading Census Changes Foreign Trade Regulations: New Filing Requirements