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

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)

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

An updated version of this article was posted on January 16, 2020.

With round after round of tariffs on Chinese goods, announcements, removals, exclusions, delays, increases and, of course, tweets regarding all of the above, it can be easy to get lost on where, exactly, things stand with respect to Tariffs implemented under Section 301 of the Trade Act. Below we provide a brief overview and reference chart, complete with links to the relevant notices. We will update the chart as the U.S. government adds, removes, or changes the tariffs.

** Updated as of September 3, 2019 **


Continue Reading China Trade War Scorecard: Keeping Track of Tariffs

*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*

President Trump has stated that he would impose tariffs on imports from China ranging from ten to forty-five percent. Can he do it? And will it cause a trade war?

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.


Continue Reading Predicting the Unpredictable: Will Tariffs Under President Trump Cause a Trade War With China?

Boy, does it sound convincing when Mr. Trump states he will submit notice under section 2205 of NAFTA to let Mexico and Canada know that the U.S. will withdraw from NAFTA. The problem is, while the president-to-be is capable, we presume, of writing, signing, and sending (or possibly tweeting) such a notification, that notification would not have a legal significance because withdrawing from NAFTA, ab initio, is not a power accorded the President.
Continue Reading The Undoing Project – Why NAFTA Can’t be Undone, but Can be Re-Done