International Trade, USA updates

Team Telecom emerges from shadows and FCC cracks down on Chinese telecoms companies
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 22 May 2020

A new executive order has formalised Team Telecom, a previously ad hoc committee which for many years has reviewed applications for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorisations involving non-US parties, typically for US-international telecoms service or submarine cable landings. The committee has the primary responsibility of reviewing applications for FCC authorisations which involve foreign ownership to identify national security or law enforcement risks.

Selective decoupling: phasing out domestic deployment of Chinese telecoms technology
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 22 May 2020

Through an array of legislative and administrative measures, the government has made significant strides in recent years to limit, and perhaps end altogether, the proliferation of Chinese-origin telecoms technology in US infrastructure. While some of the legislation is company agnostic, Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which remains on the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List, is a primary target.

Commerce Department takes aim at China's military-civil fusion policy
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 15 May 2020

The Commerce Department recently took significant steps to revise the Export Administration Regulations to address military-civil fusion. Specifically, the Bureau of Industry and Security issued two final rules regarding licence exception civil end users and military end-use and end-user controls, as well as a proposed rule which would eliminate a provision of the licence exception additional permissive re-exports that currently authorises certain re-exports to China and other countries.

OFAC's COVID-19 response: existing exceptions, filing and compliance flexibility and some relief for Iran
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 15 May 2020

Recognising that COVID-19 is further straining humanitarian needs in sanctioned countries and complicating compliance with economic sanctions, the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control recently issued web-based guidance to remind the public of the many ways in which medical exports and other humanitarian services, supplies and donations can legally flow to sanctioned countries, offer reporting and compliance flexibility and provide some Iran secondary sanctions relief.

CBP takes first step towards full USMCA implementation
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 08 May 2020

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released the long-awaited United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Interim Implementing Instructions, which signal the transition from the North American Free Trade Agreement to the USMCA. For companies operating in the United States, selling into the United States or buying from the US marketplace, these instructions should be viewed as an indication that the USMCA is on track for a possible Summer 2020 entry into force.

DDTC announces COVID-19-related regulatory relief
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 08 May 2020

Like many other US government agencies, the State Department, Directorate of Defence Trade Controls (DDTC) has announced certain measures, effective immediately, to alleviate burdens caused by COVID-19 in relation to compliance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The changes affect registration, compliance, licensing and outreach to the DDTC.

FEMA: certain exports of respirators, masks and gloves exempt from ban
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 01 May 2020

In a notification of exemptions action recently published for public inspection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) set out a list of exemptions to its requirement for prior approval to export previously identified scarce medical personal protective equipment. However, despite its attempt to clarify previous rules and guidance, FEMA's notice has raised nearly as many questions as it answers.

Importing and COVID-19: companies suffering financial hardship granted reprieve to pay duties
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 01 May 2020

Effective 20 April 2020, the government has introduced a temporary 90-day postponement of certain import payment deadlines for companies and individuals experiencing significant financial hardship due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement follows a previously abandoned US Customs and Border Protection action to provide relief, intense lobbying on both sides of the issue and mixed signals from the Trump administration.

New export prohibition on face masks and respirators – video
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 24 April 2020

In this video, International Trade Partners Kay C Georgi and Marwa M Hassoun explain how the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new rule restricting the export of face masks, respirators and other medical personal protective equipment works, as well as how to get a licence and what the penalties are.

FEMA temporarily halts exports of certain PPE
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 24 April 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has exercised its delegated authority under the Defence Production Act to issue a temporary final rule (Prioritisation and Allocation of Certain Scarce or Threatened Health and Medical Resources for Domestic Use) to prohibit the export of five types of medical personal protective equipment that the government previously identified as scarce and threatened materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importing under COVID-19: some relief for medical supplies, but no universal duty deferral
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 17 April 2020

To facilitate the import of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government continues to waive some tariffs, but balks at broad relief. Among the recent developments in this respect are the launch of a new US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) COVID-19 website. In addition, CBP and the Food and Drug Administration have issued updated guidance for importing COVID-19 supplies and new Section 301 tariff exclusions have been published.

Import and distribution of face shields and respirators during COVID-19 pandemic
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 17 April 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the US Food and Drug Administration has expanded its Enforcement Discretion Policy for the import, distribution and use of certain masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for medical use. In addition, US Customs and Border Protection has updated some previous guidance for importing PPE and other medical devices during the pandemic.

DPA: four takeaways for companies that make or sell medical PPE and related commodities
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 10 April 2020

The Defence Production Act (DPA) allows the president to shape the domestic industrial base for national defence preparedness, which includes emergency preparedness activities. This article addresses a number of DPA-related questions that have arisen in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how the administration has used the DPA in response to the crisis, what the impact of the administration's DPA-related orders and memoranda will be and what this means for exporters.

COVID-19 duty deferral option withdrawn by CBP amidst continued requests by Congress
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 10 April 2020

As individuals and businesses face the growing health and economic crisis stemming from the global COVID-19 outbreak, the government has searched for balanced ways to provide relief to those struggling, and trade measures are no exception. However, after initially accepting requests from importers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to defer payment of duties, US Customs and Border Protection recently issued guidance withdrawing this option.

COVID-19 and Section 301 tariffs: USTR excludes some products and solicits requests to exclude more
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 03 April 2020

The US Trade Representative recently requested comments on the removal of Section 301 tariffs from Chinese medical care, including those that have previously been denied an exclusion, which are needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. As manufacturers of medical care products increase production and unrelated supply chains shift to aid the global fight against COVID-19, parties should consider whether Section 301 tariffs are impeding their ability to contribute to the cause.

Importation of personal protective equipment for COVID-19 treatment
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 03 April 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical items such as masks, ventilators and gowns are difficult to find. With people looking overseas to source these items, this article provides some basic guidance for importing them in a way which satisfies US import requirements and facilitates quick processing through clearance. Many of these items are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as medical devices and are also subject to US Customs and Border Protection regulations.

COVID-19 trade update: potential duty payment deferrals and border shutdowns
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 27 March 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all elements of society, including the import, trade and transport sectors. The Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have recently announced that the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders have been closed to 'non-essential' traffic for 30 days and that duty payments may be deferred. CBP has also announced the impact of COVID-19 on operations. For now, cargo shipments remain unaffected.

OFAC sanctions reporting rules: a discussion
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 06 March 2020

The Office of Foreign Assets Control recently issued two new FAQs clarifying that it was serious when it expanded the scope of the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations with regard to reporting blocked, unblocked or rejected transactions to include any US person (or person subject to US jurisdiction) instead of just financial institutions, as previously required. In this video, Marwa M Hassoun and Kay C Georgi discuss the ramifications of the change and suggest possible clarifications.

New strategy to combat forced labour in US imports announced
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 28 February 2020

The US Department of Homeland Security recently released a department-wide strategy to combat human trafficking, child exploitation and forced labour in the supply chain. The strategy will build on current efforts to interdict imports of goods made with forced labour that US Customs and Border Protection has been enforcing since the passage of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act in 2016.

Trump administration cracks down on counterfeit and other goods imported contrary to law
Arent Fox LLP
  • USA
  • 28 February 2020

The Trump administration recently took the first step to implement its plan to crack down on counterfeit goods online when it issued an executive order allocating more federal resources to the inspection and oversight of imports that are at risk for counterfeits and other illicit goods. The executive order was issued one week after the US Department of Homeland Security issued a plan setting out steps to combat counterfeit goods.

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