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

On December 12, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice proposing to impose tariffs of up to 100% ad valorem on a wide range of European products. If enacted, these proposed tariffs would escalate the US response to the European Union’s (EU) subsidization of Airbus, which the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body found to violate WTO rules. USTR has already imposed duties of 10% and 25% – effective October 18, 2019 – on a variety of European goods in response to these subsidies. USTR is currently seeking comments on the December 12 proposal with respect to both product coverage and duty rates, which must be submitted January 13, 2020.

USTR’s proposal to impose additional duties on European products follows recent developments in the decades-old dispute between the United States and Europe at the WTO. In particular, since the imposition of 10% and 25% duties on $7.5 billion of European goods on October 18, which followed an arbitral award permitting the United States to retaliate up to $7.5 billion, a WTO compliance panel determined that the EU had not ceased providing WTO-inconsistent subsidies to Airbus. Citing the compliance panel’s report and the “lack of progress in efforts to resolve this dispute,” USTR announced that it was initiating a process to assess whether it should subject additional European products to duties, and also whether it should increase tariff rates on products covered under the original $7.5 billion action.Continue Reading US Threatens to Ramp Up Pressure on EU in Boeing-Airbus Subsidy Dispute with Tariffs up to 100% on Range of European Products

On Monday, the US Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice proposing the imposition of up to a 100% tariff on $2.4 billion worth of French imports. This proposed tariff is the result of a Section 301 investigation which found that France’s Digital Services Tax is unreasonable, discriminatory, and restricts US commerce. The full Section 301

On October 2, 2019, an arbitrator of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a decision on the level of countermeasures the United States (US) is authorized to impose to offset European Union (EU) subsidies in support of aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The arbitral award concluded the nearly 15-year-old dispute between the two parties, in which the

At a press conference on May 31, 2019, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced that China is going to establish an “unreliable entities list,” to which “foreign entities or individuals that do not obey market rules, deviate from the spirit of contracts, blockade or stop supplying Chinese companies for non-commercial reasons, and/or seriously damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies” will be added.[1]

MOFCOM’s announcement does not explicitly refer to the US Department of Commerce’s recent additions of Chinese entities to its Entity List, but the language it used at its press conference closely echoes the US Department of Commerce’s press statements for some of the Entity List designations. For example, regarding the background for establishing the “unreliable entities list,” MOFCOM has stated that some foreign entities who have stopped supplying Chinese companies have “endangered China’s national security and interests and threated the global industrial chain and supply chain security.”
Continue Reading Surprisingly Not Surprising China’s Announcement of “Unreliable Entities List” Regime