International Trade & Supply Chain

Stainless steel factoryThe recent announcement by the White House that it intends to unilaterally impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico has created significant uncertainty among foreign exporters.

It is of great import that Canada and Mexico are excluded from the imposition of section 232 duties for the time being. The European Union, Australia and South Korea have expressed a desire for similar exclusions to be applied to them. In fact, the EU and Australia are almost assured of an exemption based upon press reports. But where does that leave other important allies such as Turkey, India, Brazil and a host of other steel-exporting nations?

Continue Reading Can U.S. Allies Sidestep New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs?

Treasury DepartmentOn March 15, 2018 the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) exercised its authority to issue cyber sanctions under Executive Order 13694 and the new Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by imposing blocking sanctions against 5 Russian entities and 19 Russian individuals connected to previous Russian cyber operations directed towards the United States. In an accompanying press release, OFAC stated that these sanctions were intended to counter Russian destabilizing activities such as interference in the 2016 US election, the 2017 global NotPetya cyber-attack and other cyber-attacks directed at critical U.S. infrastructure sectors. One aspect of this move was somewhat puzzling, because 9 of the total 24 sanctioned entities and individuals were already subject to blocking sanctions for their previous activities. For those 9 sanctioned entities and individuals, (which include Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (the GRU), whose initial designation we covered here), it is unclear what OFAC seeks to accomplish by imposing blocking sanctions against them for a second time.

Continue Reading OFAC Imposes More Russian Cyber Sanctions and Foreshadows Future Oligarch Sanctions

White HouseThe recent announcement that the White House will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico has created significant uncertainty and concern for foreign exporters and U.S. importers. Our attorneys answer some of your FAQs. (Read our previous alert about President Trump’s tariff proclamation.)

Scope of the Investigation

The merchandise covered by this investigation is Laminated woven sacks or bags consisting of one or more plies of fabric consisting of woven polypropylene strip and/or woven polyethylene strip, regardless of the width of the strip; with or without an extrusion coating of polypropylene and/or polyethylene on one or both sides of the fabric; laminated by any method either to an exterior ply of plastic film such as biaxiallyoriented polypropylene (“BOPP”) or to an exterior ply of paper that is suitable for high-quality print graphics (i.e., it has an ISO brightness of 82 or higher and a Sheffield Smoothness of 250 or less); printed; displaying, containing, or comprising three or more colors, regardless of the type of printing process used; with or without lining; whether finished or unfinished; whether or not closed on one end; whether or not in roll form (including, but not limited to, sheets, lay-flat tubing, and sleeves); with or without handles; with or without special closing features; not exceeding one kilogram in weight. Laminated woven sacks subject to the scope are typically used for retail packaging of consumer goods such as pet foods and bird seed. Laminated woven sacks produced in Vietnam are subject to the scope regardless of the country of origin of the fabric used to make the sack.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Laminated Woven Sacks From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, filed March 2018

White House

President Trump announced on Thursday, March 1, that he will impose tariffs on imports of certain steel and aluminum products. We anticipate the President will formally sign the trade measures announced today next week and that they will include an additional tariff of 25% on imports of steel products and 10% on imports of aluminum products covered under the proclamation.

Continue Reading Trump Announces Decision on Steel and Aluminum Section 232 Investigations

shipping containersOn Friday, February 23, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed blocking sanctions against one individual, twenty-seven entities and twenty-eight vessels known to have previously provided maritime support to North Korean coal and petroleum transactions. OFAC added the individuals, entities and vessels to its Specially Designated Nationals List (the “SDN List”), which will generally prohibit the fifty-six sanctioned parties from transacting with the United States or any United States person.
Continue Reading OFAC Issues Additional North Korean Sanctions and Guidance for Shipping Companies

cargo ship

The Department of Commerce released its reports recommending remedies with respect to the Section 232 investigations of steel and aluminum today, February 16. The steel report was submitted to the White House on January 11, 2018 and started a statutory 90-day clock for the President to make a decision on a course of action. The aluminum report was submitted on January 19, 2018 and similarly started the statutory 90 days for the decision. Continue Reading Commerce Releases Steel and Aluminum Section 232 Reports

solar panels - energyThe Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that anyone interested in having a product excluded from the safeguard measures imposed on imports of solar products must submit an application by March 16, 2018. Comments in response to exclusion requests must be filed by April 16, 2018. USTR set these deadlines and established the requirements for requesting product exclusions in a Federal Register notice published on February 14, 2018. This follows the President’s imposition of safeguard measures on imports of certain solar products on January 23, 2014. Under the safeguards, imports of cystalline silicon photovoltaic (CPSV) cells are subject to a tariff-rate quota and imports of other CSPV products are subject to an increased duty rate. For more information on this issue, please contact Jeffrey Neeley or Stephen Brophy.

globe AsiaCAATSA Overview

Congress enacted the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) on August 2, 2017 in response to Russia’s continuing occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and cyber-interference in the 2018 United States Presidential elections. We previously covered CAATSA in blog posts here and here. CAATSA was notable because it passed the House of Representatives with a 419-3 approval margin and passed the Senate with a 98-2 approval margin. Among other things, CAATSA required President Donald Trump to take certain actions on the 180-day anniversary of CAATSA’s adoption, which included (but were not limited to): (i) imposing sanctions (commonly referred to as the “CAATSA Section 231 sanctions”) against persons engaged in “significant transactions” with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors; and (ii) preparing and submitting a report (commonly referred to as the “CAATSA Section 241 report”) to various congressional committees identifying senior political figures and oligarchs within Russia. January 29, 2018 marked CAATSA’s 180-day anniversary and, as a result, it sparked a flurry of activity related to the CAATSA Section 231 sanctions and the CAATSA Section 241 report. Continue Reading Russia Sanctions Developments Incite Controversy and Signal Possible Future Changes