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Author: John M. Foote With the signing of the “Phase 1” U.S. – China economic and trade agreement last week, I wanted to offer some extended analysis on the state of affairs for companies importing and purchasing from China. We know that modest duty relief will arrive February 14 in the form of list 4A tariff reductions, but also that significant tariffs remain in effect on Lists 1, 2 and 3. Beyond hoping for the…

On January 22, 2020, the US Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice of modification of action (an advance copy of which was previously posted on the USTR website on Jan. 15) reducing the rate of additional duty on certain products of China (List 4A) from 15 percent to 7.5 percent. The reduction will be applicable as of 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on February 14, 2020, for products covered by Annex…

On January 17, 2020 (filed on January 13), the US Department of Treasury (Treasury) issued two anticipated final rules (the “Final Rules”) that replace the existing regulations governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). The Final Rules implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”) enacted in August 2018, which expanded the United States’ foreign investment review regime. FIRRMA mandated pre-closing notification of certain foreign investments and expanded the scope…

On January 21, 2020, the Diario Oficial (Federal Official Gazette) published the Presidential Decree approving the Protocol Modifying the Treaty between the United Mexican States, the United States of America and Canada, made in Mexico City on December 10, 2019, as well as two parallel agreements between the Government of the United States Mexicans and the Government of the United States of America, held in Mexico City, on December 10, 2019. The Agreement must still…

On January 15, 2020, President Trump and China’s Vice Premier Liu He signed “Phase One” of the “Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China.” The Agreement provides for the purchase by China of $200 billion worth of agricultural (including beef and poultry), energy and manufactured goods over the next two years as well as provide market access for US financial services (like banks, insurance companies and…

On January 16, 2020, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA] Implementation Act (HR 5430) was approved in the US Senate by a vote of 89-10, sending it to the President. The House of Representatives had approved the bill on December 19, 2019 by a 385-41 vote. The USMCA is an revised and updated agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The administration had worked with Democratic members of Congress to resolve labor and environment…

On January 15, 2020, the US Trade Representative (USTR) posted an advance copy of a Federal Register notice of modification of action reducing the rate of additional duty on certain products of China (List 4A) from 15 percent to 7.5 percent. The reduction will be applicable as of 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on February 14, 2020, for products covered by Annex A of the August 20, 2019 notice (84 Fed. Reg. 43304). On August…

On January 13, 2020, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it had delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. In this Report, Treasury reviewed and assessed the policies of 20 major US trading partners. Treasury also assessed developments over the last several months with China and its currency practices. The announcement said: The Report concluded that while the currency practices…

The 8 senior Iranian government officials were targeted for their involvement and complicity in Iran’s ballistic missile strikes on US bases in Iraq on January 7, 2019 and include the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces, and the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In addition, in an effort to constrain Iranian sources of revenue used to fund and…

On January 6, 2020, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register an interim final rule (with request for comments) [Docket No. 191217-0116] that amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to make certain items subject to the EAR and to impose a license requirement for the export and reexport of those items to all destinations, except Canada. Specifically, this rule classifies software specially designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery,…