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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

  • Treasury Expands Sanctions for Maduro Supporters In recent weeks, the United Stated Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) expanded the scope of sanctions against current and former Venezuelan government officials who have supported controversial President Nicholas Maduro and his regime of corruption and human rights abuses. The first sanctions implemented against Venezuelan individuals and entities were authorized by President Barrack Obama in March 2015 (Executive Order 13692).  Following President Maduro’s re-election to a second six-year term on May 20, 2018, President Donald Trump... More
  • Importer Sues CBP for Delay in Releasing Products A complaint filed in the United States Court of International Trade (“CIT”) late last week highlights the practical challenges and frustration that come from delayed resolutions and parallel proceedings between federal courts and agencies, such as US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). In the Complaint, One World Technologies, Inc. (“One World”), a manufacturer of garage door openers sought injunctive relief and declaratory judgment against CBP for its continued detention of One World’s products contrary to the CIT’s prior order. This dispute... More
  • Impact of the Government Shutdown on CFIUS The government shutdown, which is now in its fourth week, is causing a backlog of cases that will need to be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investments (“CFIUS”) once the government reopens. CFIUS is an interagency committee chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, which reviews certain transactions involving foreign investment in the Unites States in order to determine the effect of such transactions on national security. The shutdown will ultimately cause a delay in the ability of foreign acquirers... More
  • Foreign Investment Pilot Program Adds New Mandatory Filings The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), signed into law in August, authorizes the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to conduct pilot programs to implement provisions of the legislation that did not become effective immediately upon enactment. On October 10,, 2018, a FIRRMA pilot program was enacted that expands the scope of transactions subject to review by CFIUS to include certain noncontrolling investments made by foreign persons in U.S. businesses involved in critical technologies... More
  • CBP Issues Update on Enforcement of Continuous Bond Amounts This post is authored by Fox Rothschild associate Rocky Rogers: As a result of the new Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs on steel, aluminum, and goods imported from China, United States importers and customs brokers relying upon continuous bonds should review their bond amount to ensure it is sufficient to account for these new tariffs.  The continuous bond should be in the amount of 10% of estimated duties, taxes, and fees to be paid on goods imported over a twelve... More
  • CIT Rejects Government’s Request to Stay Ban on Mexican Seafood In a recent decision, the Court of International Trade (CIT) denied the government’s request for a stay of the preliminary injunction that the CIT had implemented in July, banning the importation of certain seafood from Mexico. In July, the CIT upheld its preliminary order and granted the preliminary injunction sought by conservation groups to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise – of which just 15 remain.  In imposing the preliminary injunction, the Court found that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) properly... More
  • Australia to Join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement Australia will become the newest member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). On October 17, 2018, parties to the GPA unanimously approved a decision to welcome Australia as the 48th WTO member to be covered by the GPA. The GPA is a plurilateral agreement that strives to ensure open, fair and transparent conditions of competition in the government procurement markets. It aims to provide legal guarantees of non-discrimination for the products, services or suppliers of GPA... More
  • Section 301 Update: USTR Imposes Tariffs on List 3 and Announces Exclusion Process On September 17, 2018, the Trump Administration finalized tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and announced the final list (List 3) of tariff line items.   The additional tariffs became effective on List 3 products on September 24, 2018 in the amount of a 10 percent ad valorem duty.  The level of additional tariffs is set to increase to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.  The final list includes 5,745 tariff line items of the 6,031 tariff line items... More
  • Ziploc Tariff Dispute Not Sealed Up Yet In a recent Opinion, the United States Court of International Trade denied cross motions for summary judgment filed by Ziploc bag producer S.C. Johnson & Son (“S.C. Johnson”) and the U.S. government which sought competing classifications for the well-known plastic bags. S.C. Johnson argued that the 6 1/2 inch by 5 7/8 inch version of its polyethylene zipper-sealed bags should be classified under HTSUS Subheading 3924.90.56 covering “tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and hygienic or toilet articles, of plastics: other: other”... More
  • WTO Consultations Between the US and Russia On August 29, 2018, the United States circulated a request for consultations to the World Trade Organization (WTO) members. The US has requested that the WTO help resolve a dispute between the US and Russia concerning additional duties imposed by Russia on certain US goods. A request for consultations is similar to other forms of dispute resolution. The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. If after 60 days of consultations, the parties have not been able to resolve... More