A weekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
More Consultation Needed Before Taking Sec. 301 Trade Actions, CRS Report Says
The Congressional Research Service, an independent advisory body, on November 23, issued an updated report addressing various issues pertaining to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 as it is currently being employed by the Trump administration. In its concluding remarks, the CRS pointedly recommends that lawmakers “consider amending Section 301 to require greater consultation or approval before a President takes new trade actions, or to establish a formal product exclusion process.” It also suggests that Congress should require “an economic impact study of how such actions may affect the U.S. economy, global supply chains, and the multilateral trade system.”
Bloc Legislation Aims to End Dairy Concessions in Trade Deals
A private member’s bill introduced this week by Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon would amend existing legislation to state that the federal government “must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement” that would increase the tariff rate quota applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota. If Plamondon’s proposal gains enough support to pass before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the UK to reach a permanent, comprehensive economic trade deal post-Brexit.
U.S. Lobster Industry Gets Trapped in the Trade Wars
Global Trade Magazine takes a deep dive into the plight of the American lobster industry, which these days finds itself trapped in a complex and rapidly shifting trade war being fought on multiple fronts. While the United States is battling China on one major front and the European Union on another, it’s Canadian lobster production that is actually winning the war, thanks to its free trade agreement with the EU that gives Canadian lobsters a significant price advantage in the European market over rival U.S. producers that are also suffering from lost sales in China.
USITC Approves Extending Safeguard Measures on Washer Imports
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Wednesday made an affirmative determination to extend safeguard restrictions on imports of large residential washers and parts. The five commissioners unanimously found that Section 201 duty relief the Trump administration provided to the U.S. industry in 2018 “continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury to the U.S. industry” while also noting that “the domestic industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition.” Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp. requested that TRQs be extended an additional 3 years owing to alleged import spikes, stockpiling, and other competitive conditions that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business/Industry Coalition Pushes for Renewal Ahead of Looming GSP Expiration
A group of American companies and trade associations is currently in the process of drumming up additional support for a letter they plan on sending to Congressional leaders urging “immediate passage” of the Generalized System of Preferences, ideally in early December. GSP, which is set to expire at the end of the year, allows for duty-free entry into the U.S. for 3,500 products from more than 100 beneficiary countries. The coalition of business and industry groups, says its goal is educating policymakers about the benefits of GSP to American companies, workers, and consumers.
EU Hopes to Reach a “Broader Cooperation Agreement” with Biden Administration
In an interview earlier this week, European Commission executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that despite a fresh start to EU-US relations under a Biden administration, he doesn’t think it would be feasible to try again to negotiate a deep and comprehensive trade deal like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Nonetheless, the Commission this week formally adopted a resolution going forward to use the momentum generated by the recent limited tariff deal with the U.S. to advance toward a “broader cooperation agreement” that goes beyond tariff reductions.
Do You Require A Federal Export Permit To Sell Your Software Abroad?
As more companies facing an economic slowdown in North America as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly look to new markets around the world for their software solutions, it is imperative they investigate whether the sale of their software outside of Canada requires a federal export permit. If your software solution is considered a “dual-use product” that is the subject of export controls, you could be in violation of the law if the software is emailed or otherwise transferred abroad without first getting an export permit, warn two experts from the law firm MLT Aikins LLP in this informative article.