Brexit has focused the public conscience on the importance – or otherwise – of free trade agreements (FTAs). While most of the discourse around FTAs has focused on goods, this article considers how the international trading rules apply to cross-border trade in services, including the basic obligations on World Trade Organisation members, the general exceptions to the rules and the role of FTAs, challenges for digital trade and the key issues for providers of cross-border services.
Now that United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has officially assumed office, there have been some early developments to take ownership of both the ongoing investigations regarding digital service taxes and the EU Airbus dispute. These developments are consistent with Tai's goal of rebuilding US alliances while continuing to address the challenges posed by China and other countries.
It has been almost three years since the 25% duties on steel imports and the 10% duties on aluminium imports pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962 were first imposed and legal challenges are proliferating and there is renewed legislative interest in Section 232 reform. This article highlights legal challenges worth following and provides an update on the status of World Trade Organisation litigation and recent legislative proposals for Section 232 reform.
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The US Court of International Trade recently issued a lengthy opinion which was sceptical of the longstanding use of first sale appraisement in non-market economies, causing an uproar in the import community – but is this much ado about nothing? Companies that have implemented first sale should rest assured that the programme is legally sound. Nonetheless, this decision may trigger increased US Customs and Border Protection scrutiny of the first sale programme.
Following its exit from the European Union, a key aspect of the United Kingdom's trade policy has been to conclude free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries and trading blocs. To that end, the United Kingdom has been negotiating 'roll over' FTAs to replace the European Union ones. While FTAs offer significant benefits, they also raise new challenges for businesses which are not accustomed to navigating the complex rules of origin set out in these agreements.
An interim rule which introduces expansive changes to General Prohibition 7 of the Export Administration Regulations by including new controls on military-intelligence end uses and users recently took effect, making the already tricky process of conducting business with foreign entities that much more complicated. Companies should be prepared to conduct additional due diligence for any transactions involving entities in the countries enumerated in this rule.
Companies should review their supply chain and establish compliance plans because forced labour laws are here to stay. Two bills, both titled the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, have been reintroduced in Congress and may effectively ban all goods produced in whole, or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region unless importers can prove that the goods were not made with forced labour.
The government has published its response to the consultation on the sectors that will be subject to a mandatory notification regime under the National Security and Investment Bill. The bill proposes to create a domestic investment screening regime in the United Kingdom. This article sets out an important reminder of what businesses need to be considering now in the context of this new screening regime, particularly in light of its retrospective nature.
The Department of Commerce has issued subpoenas on multiple Chinese companies that provide information and communications technology and services (ICTS) in the United States, signalling that Biden may continue the push to decouple US ICTS infrastructure from equipment and services providers over concerns that they might pose a national security risk. The targeting of Chinese companies is significant, with additional actions targeting Chinese companies potentially around the corner.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that an Enforce and Protect Act investigation had been initiated with implementing measures against importers suspected of evading anti-dumping/countervailing duties (AD/CVDs) on quartz surface products from China via trans-shipment through Malaysia. The investigation names an unusually high number of importers as having evaded AD/CVDs on imports from China, continuing CBP's aggressive and evolving tactics through this enforcement tool.
This article provides a primer on free trade agreements (FTAs). It considers where FTAs sit in the context of the World Trade Organisation rules, the nature of FTAs and their purpose in the context of international trade and the key elements for businesses to consider in the context of seeking to benefit from FTAs, including preferential rules of origin, tariff classification and direct transport.
President Biden recently signed the long-awaited Executive Order on America's Supply Chains, which initiates a 100-day process of reviewing and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of supply chains across key industries and separate one-year reviews of certain other sectors. The administration's goal is to reduce the reliance on foreign-made inputs needed by critical US industries and determine whether any changes to US legislation, regulation or policy are needed to reverse shortages of crucial supplies.
Following the region-wide withhold release orders (WROs) against cotton and tomato products produced in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided XUAR-specific FAQs. The FAQs clarify CBP's approach to enforcement of the WROs and publish its requirements to satisfy the burden of proof to evidence that goods were not produced with forced labour. However, underlying challenges remain.
The growing role that international trade rules are playing has led many corporate leaders to look beyond regularly imposed tariffs. Recent additions to trade agreements include deep-reaching requirements on non-tariff issues, such as labour provisions, which have become intrusive to the entire supply chain – and none more so than the automotive parts industry. This article examines what is in store for the automotive industry under the Biden administration.
The US Court of International Trade recently took long-awaited action on the nearly 4,000 cases challenging the Section 301 duties imposed on goods from China. Chief Judge Timothy C Stanceu assigned the cases to a three-judge panel, which is expected to issue a case management order so that active litigation can proceed. Companies which have paid Section 301 duties on products from China that are included on Lists 3 or 4(a) may still have an opportunity to file a suit to potentially recover the duties.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a $1.2 million fine against glue manufacturer Chemence, Inc for violating a 2016 consent order requiring the company to qualify its Made in USA claims in its promotional materials and on its product packaging. To date, this is the largest fine issued over a Made in USA claim.
The new General Import and Export Duties Law recently entered into force, introducing a number of changes to tariff items. In addition, several accords and decrees have been modified in order to ensure that the non-tariff regulations and restrictions and preferential general import tax rates are applied to goods correctly.
EU state aid law ceased to apply to the United Kingdom on the expiry of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020 – save for limited exceptions as set out in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement 2018. In its place, the UK government proposes to establish a domestic subsidy control regime, on which it has launched a public consultation. This article explores the current state of play and what will happen next.
As one of the last official actions of the Trump administration, the US Department of Commerce issued the Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain interim final rule. If implemented by the Biden administration, the rule would significantly affect companies that have an international nexus in numerous sectors, including telecoms service providers, internet and digital service providers and data hosting or computing equipment manufacturers.