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The laws and regulations governing international trade are especially complex and can be overwhelming for companies doing business across national borders. The rapidly expanding global marketplace, however, has made compliance more important than ever. Failure to heed these laws can have serious and lasting consequences as dire as criminal charges against the company and individual employees.

The International Trade Law Compass is a blog that offers a steady stream of updates on a broad range of international trade issues, including customs/import compliance, export controls and sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and cross-border contracts.

Recent Blog Posts

  • CIT Finds Fabric Pet Carriers Are Not “Bags” In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) found, at least in part, in favor of the producer of pet carriers, by excluding the items from a catch-all baggage classification. Since 2013, Quaker Pet Group, LLC (“QPG”)  has been challenging the government’s classification of various styles of cloth carriers for dogs, cats, and other animals.  The government has classified the carriers under subheading 4202.39 for “travel, sport and similar bags” and assessed a 17.6% duty rate.  QPG argues... More
  • Rubber Bands from China, Sri Lanka, and Thailand: New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions On January 30, 2018, the Alliance Rubber Co. filed antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) petitions on rubber bands from China, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The petitioner alleges that the subject merchandise from these countries is being sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. The petitioner also alleges the governments of China, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are subsidizing the foreign producers, giving them an advantage in the U.S. market. Importers of subject merchandise are liable for any potential... More
  • CIT Upholds Commerce’s New Take on Antidumping Duties of Vietnamese Fish Fillets In an Opinion made public last week, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) sustained the U.S. Commerce Department’s (“Commerce”) change of opinion with regard to antidumping duties assessed on frozen fish fillets from Vietnam.  Ultimately, the CIT found that Commerce had “reasonably explained” its shift in position based on Commerce’s new understanding of the evidence presented to it and the company in question’s failure to present evidence to rebut the assumption Commerce had applied. In January 2017, the CIT granted... More
  • Educational Solar Panels Spared from Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders Last week, the U.S Department of Commerce announced that it was revising the definition of solar panels from China which are subject to countervailing and antidumping duties to exclude educational solar energy kits which had been lumped in with panels designed for industrial and other applications in a recent Order. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced the preliminary results of an administrative review of countervailing and antidumping duties originally ordered in December 2012.  The Commerce Department began its initial investigation... More
  • Temporary Fix: President Trump Extends the Iran Nuclear Deal On January 12, 2018, President Trump issued a statement announcing that he will approve certain sanctions waivers necessary in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. At the same time, he called on the U.S.’s European allies to work with the U.S. to fix the flaws of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the JCPOA), or he would terminate the deal. President Trump began his statement by condemning the Iranian regime as the world’s leading state... More
  • Shenzhen Creating One Arbitration Center In an attempt to become a modern hub in Southern China for domestic and international arbitration, the Government of Shenzhen announced at the end of December 2017 that it was combining two arbitration centers. The previous Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (“SCIA”) and the Shenzhen Arbitration Commission will be combined into one center called the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration. The merger of the two institutions will help integrate the resources of both institutions and further build the Shenzhen arbitration platform. This... More
  • Revisions to FCPA Enforcement Policies Still Pose Tough Questions for Honest Companies In recent remarks, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced significant revisions to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) policies for enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The policy revisions make permanent many of the aspects of the FCPA Pilot Program which began in 2016 and sought encourage voluntary self-disclosures of FCPA violations by formalizing the benefits to corporations for doing so.  The recent policy revisions even went a step farther than the Pilot Program, announcing that if company voluntarily discloses FCPA... More
  • Chemical Duties: Federal Circuit Affirms Decision of U.S. Court of International Trade In a customs classification case, Chemtall, Inc. v. United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) ruling that the vinyl polymer acrylamide tertiary butyl sulfonic acid was properly classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). The Federal Circuit was called on to distinguish between “Amides” and “Other” in a heading of the HTSUS that covers amides, their derivatives and salts thereof. The case considered the appropriate... More
  • E.U. Financial Leaders Respond to the Proposed U.S. Tax Plan Some of the most important trade partners of the U.S. are raising concerns about the proposed U.S. plan to overhaul its tax code. The finance ministers of Europe’s five largest economies voiced concerns about the tax plan in a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, December 11, 2017. The letter was signed by Germany’s Peter Altmaier, France’s Bruno Le Maire, the U.K.’s Philip Hammond, Italy’s Pier Carlo Padoan and Spain’s Cristobal Montoro Romero. The E.U. leaders are generally concerned... More
  • Enhanced Sanctions on Russia’s Energy Sector In consultation with the Department of State and pursuant to Executive Order 13662, the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has updated Directive 4, which will expand sanctions on the Russian energy industry. The new rules issued by OFAC prohibit certain activities by a U.S. person or within the United States, except where such activities are otherwise authorized by law or a license. The rules bar persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing, exporting, reexporting (directly or indirectly)... More