Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced on Thursday, May 31st that a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum will go into effect at midnight on May 31 on imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Those countries had previously been granted temporary exemptions from the initial tariffs announced in March as a result of investigations under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. According to Secretary Ross, while discussions with the European Union were ongoing, the progress did not warrant another temporary exemption. Additionally, this announcement comes in the middle of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) re-negotiations with Canada and Mexico. Ross stated that those talks have taken longer than expected and there is no precise end date in sight.
Continue Reading Tariffs to Be Imposed on Imported Steel and Aluminum from the EU, Canada, and Mexico

President Trump announced today, May 8, 2018, that the United States will withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and will begin reimposing previously waived sanctions on Iran.  The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was signed by the U.S. in July 2015 along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Iran. The White House issued a statement which explained that “President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.”

Continue Reading President Trump Announces Decision to Withdraw from Iran Nuclear Deal and Reimposition of Previously Waived Sanctions

Stainless steel factoryOn April 30, 2018, the President issued two new Proclamations regarding the 232 tariffs imposed on imports of steel and aluminum articles into the United States.  The new Proclamations modify the previous steel and aluminum Proclamations with respect to imports from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

Continue Reading President Continues 232 Exemptions for Certain Countries, Announces Quota on Imports of Steel from South Korea

globe AsiaThe Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Sunday that it would be imposing duties on 128 different U.S. products beginning today, April 2. They provided the list of products last week, particularly targeting U.S. agriculture. The tariffs are on an estimated $3 billion worth of goods.

There will be a tariff of 15% on commodities such as fruits and nuts, wine, seamless steel pipes and modified ethanol. The 15% tariff will apply to 120 tariff lines, including the following:
Continue Reading China Announces New Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Goods

North America MapOn March 23, 2018, the President signed into law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018” which, in addition to authorizing certain full-year federal appropriations, also included the renewal for the Generalized System of Preferences through December 31, 2020. The Generalized System of Preferences (commonly referred to as GSP) allows duty-free entry for over 5,000 goods from a wide range of designated beneficiary countries. The program was authorized by the Trade Act of 1974 to promote economic growth in developing countries and was implemented on January 1, 1976.

Continue Reading Congress Renews Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with Retroactive Effect

Stainless steel factoryCountry Exemptions

On March 22, 2018, the President issued new Proclamations temporarily exempting imports from certain countries from the steel and aluminum tariffs that were announced in Proclamations 9704 and 9705 of March 8, 2018. The President had previously exempted imports from Canada and Mexico and the new Proclamations add exemptions for imports from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, European Union member countries, and South Korea. However, the Proclamations make clear that the exemptions, including the exemptions for Canada and Mexico, are temporary and that tariffs will go into effect on imports from an exempted country on May 1, 2018 unless the country has reached an agreement with the United States on an alternative means to remove the threat to national security posed by imports of steel articles from the country. If any agreements are reached and any countries are exempted on a long term basis, the President will consider adjustments to the tariff level imposed on non-exempt countries.

In the meantime, the President may consider quotas on imports from exempt countries. If a quota is imposed, the quota amount imposed will take into account all imports of steel and aluminum since January 1, 2018.

While the country exemptions may extend beyond May 1, depending on the progress on trade negotiations, there is no guarantee of such extensions.


Continue Reading President Exempts Countries from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Makes Product Exclusions Retroactive

globe AsiaOn March 22, 2018, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum in which he announced the actions the United States will take in response to China’s allegedly unfair trade practices found by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its Section 301 investigation of China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. The actions are as follows:

Continue Reading President Announces Actions against China for Intellectual Property Practices

White HouseOn Monday March 19, 2018, the Department of Commerce published its interim rule for the submission of exclusions requests for Section 232 tariffs announced by the White House on March 8, 2018.

The rules published by Commerce are interim rules and comments on the rules must be received by Commerce no later than May 18, 2018. Meanwhile, the rules announced will be in effect.

U.S. importers and users now will need to manage to understand, navigate, and plan, based upon the onerous task of requesting exclusions. There are two different exclusion processes, which are distinct: (1) country exclusions which are handled by the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) office; and (2) product specific exclusions which will be handled by Commerce.


Continue Reading Section 232: Process and Procedure for Requesting Exclusions for Steel and Aluminum Imports

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?