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Enforcement & Investigations

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On December 13, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced that United States and China have reached “an historic and enforceable agreement” on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional…

A period of uncertainty is currently affecting the WTO dispute settlement system: Its Appellate Body is normally composed of seven members but currently only has three, the minimum number to function. On 10 December 2019, the mandates of two of the remaining three Appellate Body members expire and the organization will no longer be able to decide on appeals in trade disputes between WTO members. The process to fill the vacancies has faltered in 2016…

On December 10, 2019, at an event in Mexico’s National Palace, the modifying protocol  agreement to finalize the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) (that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA).was signed in the presence of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for North America Jesus Seade, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The signing was made possible by an agreement…

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has posted on its website an advance copy of a Federal Register notice [Docket No. USTR-2019-0003] that advises the public that USTR is reviewing the action being taken in the Section 301 investigation involving the enforcement of U.S. WTO rights in the Large Civil Aircraft dispute. Annex I to the notice contains a list of products currently subject to 10% or 25% additional duties (See 84 Fed.…

On 6 December 2019, the WTO announced that at a meeting of the full WTO membership on 6 December, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo emphasised that for dispute settlement as for rule-making, the choices members make in the coming months would be consequential for the future of the multilateral trading system. He also welcomed a compromise reached in the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration on the WTO’s budget for 2020. In his remarks, the Director-General said…

On December 2, 2019, the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it had completed the first segment of its investigation under section 301(b)(1)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974 (the Trade Act) and concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against US companies. USTR’s investigation began on July 10, 2019, and solicited comments on the DST’s Discrimination, retroactivity and unreasonable tax policy. A report available on USTR’s website sets out the findings of the investigation. The DST…

On December 2, 2019, President Trump sent a tweet which stated ” Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies. which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries. The Federal … Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our…

On November 26, 2019, the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) issued a highly anticipated proposed rule with proposed regulations (“Proposed Regulations”) to implement Executive Order 13873, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (Executive Order 13873). Executive Order 13873 gives the Secretary of Commerce (“Secretary”) sweeping, unprecedented authority to prevent or modify transactions involving information and communications technology and services (“ICTS”) originating in countries designated as “foreign adversaries” which pose an undue risk to…

On November 27, 2019, President Trump signed two bills into law that increase US sanctions and export control restrictions as they relate to China. The bills, approved in response to recent political protests in Hong Kong, had near unanimous support from the US Congress. President Trump previously expressed concerns about the legislation while in the midst of negotiating a trade deal with China but ultimately signed both bills in the hopes that the “Leaders and…

On November 26, 2019, the Department of State published in the Federal Register a notice of receipt of request from Tunisia for cultural property protection [Public Notice: 10957] under Article 9 of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Tunisia’s request seeks US import restrictions on archaeological and ethnological material representing Tunisia’s cultural patrimony. The notification of the request is published…