The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently announced new sanctions on entities and individuals in Iran and Mexico. These sanctions were designated against individuals associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (“the Quds Force”), Iranian entities involved in hacking against American financial institutions in 2011 and 2012, and Mexican businesses and individuals associated with drug trafficking.
In guidance released August 28, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded carriers whose ocean vessels have been diverted from their intended port of unlading by Hurricane Harvey to amend their manifests to reflect the new port of unlading. Amending the manifests ensures that the automated terminals at the new port of discharge will receive the appropriate notifications. But who must pay the additional costs that are incurred when cargo is rerouted because of extreme weather?
Shippers Usually Bear Disaster Expense
Hurricane Harvey has disrupted shipping in Texas and Louisiana, forcing carriers to divert vessels to alternate ports. This raises the question of whether shippers must assume the risk and additional costs of receiving cargo at a port to which it was not destined and for on-carriage to get the cargo to its ultimate destination. Additionally, shippers that intended to export cargo from ports impacted by Hurricane Harvey may face terminal demurrage charges for containers that were delivered before the hurricane but have not been shipped.
On Tuesday, August 22, the Trump Administration unveiled new sanctions against Chinese and Russian individuals and entities in order to restrain North Korea’s development of its nuclear and missile programs. The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added ten companies and six individuals accused of trading coal, oil, and mineral resources with North Korea to its Specially Designated Nationals List. The Department of Treasury says that North Korea generates nearly $1 billion a year in coal exports and imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies that it determined to have imported North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.
On August 24, 2017, Titanium Metals Corporation filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Titanium Sponge from Japan and Kazakhstan.
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The product covered by these investigations is all forms and grades of titanium sponge, except as specified below. Titanium sponge is unwrought titanium metal that has not been melted.
On Friday, August 18, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) formally initiated a Section 301 investigation into China’s intellectual property practices. The decision to open the investigation came from President Trump’s executive memorandum on August 14, 2017. For more information on the executive memorandum, please see our recent post. Continue Reading Section 301 Investigation against China Begins
On Wednesday, August 16, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. began the opening round of renegotiations to NAFTA in Washington, D.C. The opening round lasted through Sunday and was largely closed-door; however, the U.S. put forth its objectives for the negotiations last month. The three top negotiators, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, began the day with opening statements. Continue Reading NAFTA Renegotiations Kick Off
On August 16, 2017, the Coalition of American Flange Producers, composed of Core Pipe Products, Inc. and Maass Flange Corporation, filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Stainless Steel Flanges from the People’s Republic of China and India.
On August 14, 2017, the Trump Administration moved toward self-initiating a case against China under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That legal provision is broad, and authorizes the President to “take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.” Past administrations have been hesitant to use the broad powers of the act to impose additional tariffs and quotas due largely to the possibility of retaliation and the uncertain effect on US companies. The Trump Administration announced that it was using the broad statute to zero in on issues involving U.S. intellectual property rights, theft of such trade secrets, and pressures by China forcing U.S. companies to transfer technological knowledge before setting up operations in China.
On August 9, 2017, North Pacific Paper Company filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Certain Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada.
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The merchandise covered by this petition includes certain paper that has not been coated on either side and with 50 percent or more of the cellulose fiber content consisting of groundwood pulp, or deinked pulp made from recycled ONP (old newspapers), weighing not more than 90 grams per square meter. Groundwood pulp includes all forms of pulp produced from a mechanical process, such as thermomechanical process (“TMP”), chemithermo mechanical process (“CTMP”), or bleached chemithermo mechanical process (“BCTMP”) or any other process other than the bleached Kraft process. The scope includes paper shipped in any form, including both rolls and sheets.
Today, President Trump officially signed H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) into law. CAATSA originated as a bill which was focused on only Iran. However, partially in response to Russian cyber-interference with the 2016 election, the Senate expanded CAATSA to impose additional sanctions against Russia and also codify into law various sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration in the form of Executive Orders. The House of Representatives then approved these additions and added further sanctions against North Korea. Eventually, the House and Senate approved the final version of CAATSA by a margin of 419-3 and 98-2, respectively. For additional detail on CAATSA’s legislative history, please see our previous alerts here, here and here.