Executive Order Ends Special Treatment for Hong Kong and Expands Sanctions

A Hong Kong Flag flies with a black and white city in the background.

On July 14, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that ends preferential treatment for Hong Kong under provisions of the Export Control Reform Act and the Arms Export Control Act. This executive order also expands export restrictions, revoking all license exceptions for exports to Hong Kong for items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which provide “differential treatment compared to…

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New HTS Code for Medical Face Masks

New HTS Code for Medical Face Masks

Following the release of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on July 1, 2020, a series of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) updates were released that directly impact the importation of safety and medical masks. In the HTS Revision 14, plastic material masks and face shields now have an HTS of their own. Instead of using HTS 3926.90.9990, importers must…

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CBP Issues Several Publications on the USMCA Rules of Origin

CBP Issues Several Publications on the USMCA Rules of Origin

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) took effect on July 1, 2020. To provide guidance, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued several publications regarding the rules of origin for those seeking USMCA preferential tariff treatment. USMCA Interim Final Rule The interim final rule, concerning the USMCA’s rules of origin, was published in the…

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Fact Sheets: Differences Between USMCA & NAFTA

Fact Sheets: Differences Between USMCA & NAFTA

With the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) taking effect on July 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has posted a series of fact sheets on the requirements and differences between USMCA and the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has been in place since January 1994 and will end following the implementation of USMCA,…

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From Civil to Criminal: Increased Enforcement of Forced Labor Violations

From Civil to Criminal: Increased Enforcement of Forced Labor Violations

In the latest series of developments, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to launch criminal investigations—within the next two years—against executives whose companies have benefited from forced labor in their supply chains. This is a considerable step up from limiting prosecutions to civil penalties, as criminal proceedings could end in 20-year prison sentences for…

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Penalties Increase for Export Violations

Penalties Increase for Export Violations

The Department of Commerce and Department of State have increased the civil monetary penalties for export violations to account for inflation. Regardless of when the violation occurred, it is important to recognize that these new amounts are retroactive and can be charged against each violation. Here is a summary of the penalty increases: The maximum…

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U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement: Preferential Tariff Treatment

U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement: Preferential Tariff Treatment

The U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement is effective as of January 1, 2020. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued the requirements for those looking to claim preferential treatment under this trade deal. In order to receive preferential treatment, goods must originate and meet all the requirements under the agreement. The filing instructions are as follows:…

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