Trade and Manufacturing Monitor

News and Insight from our International Trade Practice Group

On January 31, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13858 entitled Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects. The Order is designed to strengthen the “Buy American principle” for Federal infrastructure spending by encouraging Federal funding recipients to use more American-made products in their infrastructure projects. “By signing this order today, we renew our commitment to an essential truth: It matters where something is made, and it matters very greatly,” said President Trump.…
On January 29, USTR Ambassador Lighthizer delivered to Congress a list describing changes to U.S. laws that would be required to fulfill obligations agreed to under the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).  This action, taken in accordance with procedures set forth in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (also known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA), brings the agreement one step closer to Congressional consideration by identifying the legal changes…
Introduction On 11 January 2019 and 18 January 2019, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) and the European Commission (“Commission”) released their respective negotiating objectives for a U.S.-EU trade agreement, potentially marking a new phase in the transatlantic trade relationship.  The release follows from the joint agenda agreed to in July 2018 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump to work together toward “zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies…
Yesterday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) listed Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PdVSA”) as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) pursuant to its authority under Executive Order 13850. As a result of the designation, all property and interests in PdVSA property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the entity and its 50-percent owned subsidiaries. Concurrent with the designation, OFAC amended one existing and issued…
On January 22nd, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts estimated that federal courts can sustain paid operations through January 31, 2019 – but “no further extensions beyond February 1st will be possible.”  See https://www.uscourts.gov/judiciary-news. This deadline had previously been extended from January 18th to January 25th; see https://www.ustrademonitor.com/2019/01/jan-16-2019-update-on-government-shutdowns-impact-on-federal-court-system/ and https://www.ustrademonitor.com/2019/01/government-shutdown-closes-in-on-the-federal-court-system-including-the-trade-courts/. If the shutdown continues after the courts’ existing funds expire, it’s difficult to predict what will actually happen, given that all previous shutdowns…
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington on January 30-31, in connection with further discussions to resolve the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Vice Premier Liu is expected to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Liu is a key economic advisor to President Xi Jinping and is leading the Chinese delegation in talks with the United States. This next round of talks follows last…
On January 15, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) revoked McDonald’s registered trademark, “Big Mac.”   The name “Big Mac” had been protected in the EU for more than 20 years under international classes 29, 30, and 42 for foods, sandwiches, and services of franchise restaurants, respectively.  Trademarks, which provide legal protections for names, among other things, can be extremely valuable assets for businesses and protect consumers in their purchasing decisions.  The January 15 decision…
On January 16th, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts announced that it “now estimates that federal courts can sustain paid operations through Jan. 25, 2019” (extending its previous estimate by one week).  See https://www.uscourts.gov/judiciary-news See also Jan. 11, 2019 Trade and Manufacturing’s Blog entitled:  “Government shutdown closes in on the federal court system (including the trade courts)” available at: https://www.ustrademonitor.com/2019/01/government-shutdown-closes-in-on-the-federal-court-system-including-the-trade-courts/
Despite the partial government shutdown since December 22nd, the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have remained open by drawing on non-appropriated funds and court fees. Federal courts will be able to continue operating with their limited funds during the shutdown until January 18th, as reported on January 7th by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (“Administrative Office”).  See https://www.uscourts.gov/judiciary-news.  This deadline is one week longer than its previous estimate.  To meet this…
On Friday, January 4, 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the United States has requested consultations with Peru under the auspices of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) to address an alleged violation by Peru of the environmental chapter of the agreement.  According to USTR, Peru’s recent decision to move its previously-independent Agency for the Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR) to a subordinate position within the country’s Ministry…