On May 29, President Trump announced in a White House news conference the US government would “begin the process” to revoke the “full range of agreements” providing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China separate treatment from mainland China under US law on topics including “export controls on dual use technologies,” among others, “with

On Friday, May 1, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to the threat posed to the United States bulk-power system by certain equipment potentially liable to exploitation by “foreign adversaries.” Under the Executive Order, certain foreign-supplied equipment used in the US bulk-power system will be subject to US government

A recent letter from former high-ranking European Commission officials to the current Commission President Ursula von der Leyen raises various trade and market protection concerns and urges the Commission to take certain actions.

The letter raises legitimate areas of concern both as regards the current crisis in global trade and EU trade policy more generally.

On Tuesday, May 19, the Department of Commerce issued a Notice requesting comments on a newly initiated Section 232 national security investigation into electrical transformers, and key components of the transformers, which we addressed earlier in one of our blog posts. The investigation focuses on liquid and dry transformers above 1 KVA power handling capacity. As set forth in the notice: “[T]he investigation has been undertaken to determine the effect on the national security of imports of Laminations for Stacked Cores for Incorporation into Transformers, Stacked Cores for Incorporation into Transformers, Wound Cores for Incorporation into Transformers, Electrical Transformers, and Transformer Regulators (hereinafter “Products”). If the Secretary finds that Products are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security, the Secretary shall so advise the President in his report on the findings of the investigation.” 


Continue Reading Commerce Seeks Comments in National Security Investigation Involving Imports of Electric Transformers, Key Components of Transformers

On Friday, May 1, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13920, “Securing the United States Bulk-Power System.” In EO 13920, the President declared a national emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) with respect to the threat posed to the US bulk-power system (BPS) by equipment liable to exploitation by “foreign adversaries.”

The EO directs the secretary of energy, in coordination and consultation with other heads of agencies, to impose restrictions on transactions involving bulk power system electric equipment that could raise national security concerns. Furthermore, the EO broadly delegates implementation authority to the secretary of energy, who is required to publish rules and regulations to implement the EO within 150 days, or by September 28.


Continue Reading Client Advisory: Trump Administration Pursues Restrictions to Secure US Electricity Grid

On May 4, 2020, the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced in a press release that it will initiate an investigation pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (the TEA) into whether laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.

According to the Commerce press release, “{l}aminations and cores made of grain-oriented electrical steel are critical transformer components” and “{t}ransformers are part of the U.S. energy infrastructure.”


Continue Reading Department of Commerce Initiates National Security Investigation into Transformer Components

On April 19, following the issuance of an executive order by President Trump, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and the US Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) announced a 90-day deferral of certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees that an importer of record would ordinarily be obligated to pay on merchandise imported into the United States.  The temporary final rule will extend the due date of covered duties, taxes, and fees, without interest, for a period of 90 days from the date that the duty deposit would otherwise have been due.  The temporary final rule includes a waiver of the regulatory requirement to deposit estimated duties, taxes, and fees for the purpose of establishing the time of entry in those instances where it would otherwise be required under 19 C.F.R. § 141.68, but otherwise does not modify existing procedures for entry.  Duty deferrals will be granted only for entries, or withdrawals from warehouse, for consumption, made on or after March 1, 2020 and no later than April 30, 2020, and no deferrals will be granted in any case where payment has already been made.

Continue Reading Trump Administration Announces 90-Day Duty Deferral

Click here to visit Steptoe’s COVID-19 International Trade Resource Page to learn how COVID-19 is impacting international trade.

How is COVID-19 shaping the US-China trade dispute? Will the pandemic affect pending US trade remedy proceedings? What will happen to US international trade negotiations?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, significant

On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed the “Economic and Trade Agreement,” commonly referred to by the parties as the Phase One agreement. US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the text in Washington, and the Vice Premier read aloud a congratulatory letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced December 13, 2019 that the US and China have reached a “historic and enforceable agreement” on a Phase One trade deal, though significant questions remain as to its terms and the future of the current US-China trade conflict. 

While the text of the agreement has