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On 24 August 2019, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) announced that delegations from Member States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) convened in Buenos Aires on 20 to 23 August to continue their talks on a broad-based free trade agreement. This tenth round allowed the Parties to conclude the negotiations in substance in all areas. Note by the EFTA Secretariat states:…

The US International Trade Commission has issued Revision 11 to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of he United States. Revision 11 includes: Changes needed to implement the recent exemptions from absolute quotas on steel from Argentina, Brazil and South Korea and aluminum from Argentina (Effective Aug. 30, 2018); Changes to the US Bahrain FTA rules of origin (Effective Sept. 1, 2018); and Modified subheading 9705.00.0085 (Effective July 1, 2018)

On 18 July 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17 July 2018 imposing provisional safeguard measures with regard to imports of certain steel products. On 26 March 2018, the Commission published a Notice of Initiation of a safeguard investigation concerning imports of 26 steel product categories (2018/C 111/10) in the Official Journal. The Commission decided to initiate the investigation in the light of sufficient evidence that imports of those products might cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the Union producers concerned. On 28 June, the investigation was extended to two additional product categories. There was also a high risk of further increase of imports resulting from trade diversion due to the measures against imports of steel adopted by the United States under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (‘Section 232’). The 28 product categories (‘the product concerned’ or the ‘product categories concerned’) are all covered by the steel surveillance mechanism introduced by the Commission in May 2016. They are also subject to the US tariff measures under Section 232.

The WTO announced that Members expressed their concerns over possible measures by the United States regarding extra duties on the import of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans, light trucks and automotive parts, at the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) held on 3 and 4 of July. Over 40 members — including the 28 European Union members — took the floor to warn of the “serious disruption” to world markets and the multilateral trading system that may arise as a result of these potential measures, particularly in light of the large proportion of global trade accounted for by these products. The announcement said:

On June 5, 2018, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) posted (Amended) QB 18-122, which provides information on annual absolute quota quantities for Argentina and Brazil steel imports as of June 1, 2018. Additional information may be issued at the end of each quarter for convenience of importers of steel products under absolute quota.   On June 4, 2018, CBP posted QB 18-123 Announcement for Steel Mill Articles: South Korea,  provides information on annual absolute quota…

On May 31, 2018, the President issued Proclamation of May 31, 2018 – Adjusting Imports of Aluminum into the United States (Aluminum Proclamation) and Proclamation of May 31, 2018 – Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States (Steel Proclamation).  The Aluminum proclamation eliminates the exemptions from the 10% tariff granted to Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the EU on behalf of its Member States, in earlier proclamations. In addition, quotas are established for aluminum imports from Argentina and steel imports from Argentina and Brazil, in addition to the quotas previously established for S. Korea. Proclamation 9740 provided that the exemption afforded to steel articles from Canada, Mexico, and the member countries of the EU shall apply only to steel articles of such countries entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, through the close of May 31, 2018, at which time such countries shall be deleted from the article description of heading 9903.80.01 of the HTSUS.  The Steel Proclamation does not extend this exemption, so Canada, Mexico and EU countries will now be subject to the 25% steel tariffs.

On May 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce published notice of its periodic request for comments on subsidy programs provided by countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the United States.  Commenters have 30 days from today – or until June 6, 2018 – to submit written materials or commentary regarding (1) the country providing the subsidy; (2) the name of the subsidy program; (3) a brief description of the subsidy program; and (4) the government body or authority that provided the subsidy.   All comments should be filed via regulations.gov with reference to Docket No. ITA-2018-0002. 

On April 30, 2018, the President signed Presidential Proclamation Adjusting Imports of Aluminum into the United States.  The Proclamation states that the United States has agreed in principle with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil on satisfactory alternative means to address the threatened impairment to our national security posed by aluminum articles imported from these countries, so they will remain exempt from the tariff in Proc. 9704 until details are finalized. The United States is continuing discussions…