SmarTrade

Timely news and analysis of the latest developments in international trade law

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has issued findings in three more Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted by Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom. In the reports, the USTR found that each of the DSTs  “discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international taxation, and burden or restricts U.S. commerce.” Ambassador Robert Lighthizer stated, “The taxation of companies that engage in international trade in goods and…
On January 13, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new regional withhold release order (WRO) on all cotton and tomato products grown and produced by entities operating in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Through its investigation, CBP found reasonable indications of the use of detainee or prison labor or other situations of forced labor. Specifically, CBP identified forced labor factors including debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of…
Impact of the 2020 Election on U.S. Trade Policy: Trump Transformation to Biden Restoration? Addressing a key 2016 campaign promise, President Trump transformed decades of U.S. trade policy by weaponizing tariffs, ramping up enforcement and focusing on bilateral trade in goods. Will President-elect Biden continue any of these policies or attempt to restore the multilateral trade approach of past presidential administrations? Please join us for the trade policy session of our webinar series examining what the…
On January 11, 2020, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the United States was re-designating Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism for “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.”  In a press release, the State Department noted that with this action, “we will once again hold Cuba’s government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion…
On January 11, 2021, the Department of Commerce published in the Federal Register adjustments for each civil monetary penalty under which its bureaus and agency operate by law.  The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 authorizes such adjustments “to ensure that [civil monetary penalties] continue to maintain their deterrent value and that [such monetary penalties] due to the Federal Government were properly accounted for and collected.”  While over 40 monetary penalty levels have…
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued an interim final rule (“Rule”) extending the temporary 0Y521 series export controls on software specially designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery, issued in January 2020. The Rule, which applies to geospatial imagery software specially designed for training a “Deep Convolutional Neural Network” to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery and point clouds (“Geospatial AI Software”), is effective from January 6, 2021 through January…
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has issued findings in its Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted by India, Italy and Turkey.  In each report, the USTR found that the DSTs: (i) create “a significant new tax burden for U.S. companies, [and] taxes an unusually broad array of digital services”; (ii) are “inconsistent with prevailing international tax principles”; (iii) force U.S. companies to “undertake costly compliance measures”; (iv) impose a…
Key Notes: The ban is effective January 11, 2021. Executive Order 13959 bans U.S. persons from transacting in publicly traded securities or derivatives or similar securities of publicly traded Chinese companies designated by the U.S. Department of Defense as enabling Chinese military aims. OFAC has identified, and will continue to add, subsidiaries of the named companies, which will be subject to the same restrictions. Divestiture of securities is permitted until November 11, 2021 or 60 days…
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of State have announced further sanctions toward Iran by designating and placing on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List a China-based supplier of graphite electrodes, twelve Iranian producers of steel and other metals products, three foreign-based sales agents of a major Iranian metals and mining holding company, and a subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).  According to…
While the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) was set to impose additional import duties of 25 percent starting January 6, 2021, these retaliatory tariffs have now been further suspended according to a press release. These additional tariffs on certain products from France are in response to that country’s continued collection of a Digital Services Tax (DST) that a USTR investigation determined discriminated against U.S. companies. The USTR published a comprehensive report on…