On Thursday, January 11, the U.S. Department of Commerce formally submitted to the President the results of its investigation into the effect of steel mill product imports on U.S. National Security. The President now has 90 days to decide on any action on steel imports. Continue Reading Commerce Submits Steel Section 232 Report to the President
The U.S. Department of Commerce self-initiated trade cases for the first time since 1991 on Tuesday, November 28, on Chinese common alloy aluminum sheet. While Commerce normally opens antidumping and countervailing duty investigations only after requests from the domestic industry, the agency is authorized to self-initiate cases. Commerce last exercised this power for a countervailing duty case in 1991 and for an antidumping case in 1985.
Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Tuesday, “President Trump made it clear from day one that unfair trade practices will not be tolerated under this administration, and today, we take one more step in fulfilling that promise. We are self-initiating the first trade case in over a quarter century, showing once again that we stand in constant vigilance in support of free, fair and reciprocal trade.” Continue Reading Commerce Department Self-Initiates Trade Case on Aluminum Sheet from China
The fifth round of NAFTA talks ended last week in Mexico City, making limited headway on the renegotiations.
During the round, the parties made progress on certain technical issues of the trade agreement, including digital trade, telecommunications, anti-corruption, and customs procedures. Continue Reading NAFTA Renegotiations Update
On October, 6, the U.S. Department of State announced it will issue a report to President Donald Trump which will express the Department’s conclusion that the Government of Sudan (“GOS”) has sustained the positive actions necessary in order to repeal the majority of current U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan. The Department of State will formally publish a copy of this report in the Federal Register on Thursday, October 12, 2017, but has provided an advance copy on their website.
On September 22, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) voted in the affirmative and found that U.S. producers are being seriously injured or are threatened with serious injury by imports of silicon photovoltaic cells and modules. This case was brought under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. Section 201 cases have two main parts: (1) the case is filed at the ITC which determines if there is such serious injury by imports, and if there is, then recommends a remedy, and (2) if there is a finding of such serious injury, the case goes to the President of the United States for final review and decision on the remedy. The President may modify or agree with the recommendation of the ITC on remedy.
On Thursday, September 21, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea designed to curb its nuclear weapons program. President Trump, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, announced the sanctions at a United Nations luncheon.
The President said he had authorized the U.S. Department of Treasury to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with North Korea. The sanctions are also intended to disrupt shipping from North Korea by prohibiting aircraft and vessels that have been to North Korea within 180 days to call at a port or land in the United States.
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
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.
Reports from numerous sources, including the New York Times and Politico, indicate that the Trump Administration is on the verge of 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. It appears that the Trump Administration may have a very different attitude toward such risks.