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

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

*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*

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

In what has become his trademark Trumpian manner, the President announced last Friday that new tariffs and trade restrictions against China are on again, at the same moment that his senior Commerce and Treasury Department negotiators were trying to work out a deal in Beijing. This came just a handful of days after Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the trade war with China was “on hold.” The President has declared again in a tweet Saturday that America “can’t lose” a trade war with China. We’ve debunked that fallacy here. But even if one accepts the premise that we should prosecute a trade war, it’s well established that a micromanaging general quickly loses the confidence of his ground troops. Wars have been lost for less. On trade, the President’s conflicting directives have everyone a little confused. Here are the highlights for the time being:
Continue Reading Another Day Another Tariff… and Other Recent Restrictions on China

On April 3, 2018, President Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative released a list of 1300 categories of Chinese goods that will be subject to 25% tariffs. That followed a tit-for-tat exchange in which President Trump announced a round of steel and aluminum tariffs on March 8, and China announced tariffs on U.S. imports worth around $3 billion on April 2 (including American pork, fruit, wine and steel pipes). On April 5, China responded with a list of $50 billion of U.S. goods that will be subject to increased tariffs (including aircraft, automobiles, and soybeans). That same day, Mr. Trump announced that he is looking for $100 billion additional Chinese goods to tax.
Continue Reading Five Things You Must Know About Trade Wars

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?