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In order to ensure that the United States possesses resilient supply chains that protect national security, meet America’s needs during emergencies and keep America competitive globally, the Biden Administration has issued an executive order on “America’s Supply Chains.” The order initiates two tiers of supply chain reviews: a 100-day supply chain review of four specific U.S. industries and a year-long review of six sector-wide U.S. supply chains. These reviews will lead to the issuance of…
On 1 January 2021, the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Japan-UK CEPA) came into force, after only a few months of intense negotiations. Japan and the UK embarked on formal negotiations on 9 June 2020 and reached an agreement in principle on the deal on 11 September 2020. This remarkably speedy achievement reflected enormous pressure from business leaders to have a deal in place before the end of the UK-EU transition period on 31 December…
The European Commission published its Communication on An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy on 18 February 2021 (the Communication). This follows a consultation on the EU’s Trade Policy Review which closed in November 2020. The Communication seeks to reset the course of the EU’s trade policy in the context of global uncertainty and increased competition. Its key theme is “open strategic autonomy”, a concept characterized by three main elements: 1) furthering openness and engagement…
Recent decisions from the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) have clarified the basis for legal challenges to the tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration on imports of steel and aluminum products on the grounds of national security. While the court has generally rejected wholesale challenges to these duties, other cases suggest that parties appealing the denial of specific exclusions to these duties might have some ability to obtain relief. In Universal Steel Products, Inc.…
Jeff Weiss, who is co-chair of Steptoe’s trade policy and negotiations group and leads Steptoe’s Supply Chain team, co-authored an article with Livia Lam titled “US Trade and Domestic Economic Policy Should Align” for Law360.  The article, published on February 1, highlights the long-standing incoherence between US trade policy and domestic economic policy and the consequences of that disconnect.  It then suggests a number of tools that should be integrated into US trade policy to…
Jeff Weiss, who is co-chair of Steptoe’s trade policy and negotiations group and leads Steptoe’s Supply Chain team, co-authored an article titled “Effective Supply Chain Management in an Era of Decoupling” for Bloomberg Law. The article, published January 29, highlights the unstable nature of global supply chains, due to disruptions from Covid-19, China-US trade tensions, and other factors. It notes that, as a result, a significant number of efforts are already underway in…
The Government of Canada intends to add certain Plastic Manufactured Items to the list of substances appearing on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), fulfilling the Trudeau Government’s commitment to act on plastic waste released into the Canadian environment.  Importantly, the listing functions as a regulatory mechanism and necessary first step for later enacting prohibitions on certain plastic wastes, but does not, in and of itself, prohibit the sale or use of…
Since 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland (the UK) has ceased to be part of the Single Market of the European Union (EU).[1]  This date marked the end of the transition period provided for under the Withdrawal Agreement of 31 January 2020 between the UK and the EU.[2] During the transition period, the UK remained in the EU customs territory and thus continued to be integrated…
On January 15, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) published a report detailing the findings of its investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”) into Vietnam’s currency policies. The report concludes that “Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices with respect to currency valuation, including excessive foreign exchange market interventions and other related actions, taken in their totality, are unreasonable and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.”  Although such…
On January 13, 2021 the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that, effective immediately, all cotton and tomato products imported from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) will be barred from entering the United States. The ban, officially called a Withhold Release Order (WRO), is “based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor” according to CBP. This region-wide order joins…