Section 301 Tariff Changes Draw Industry Criticism

July 3, 2024 – Solar manufacturers requested retroactive relief from Section 301 tariffs on manufacturing equipment last month in response to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s request for comments. Key concerns arose regarding the planned increase in Section 301 tariffs from 7.5% to 25% on lithium-ion batteries outside the automotive sector, effective January 1, 2026, which would impact a wide range of goods.

Auto industry players also raised concerns about higher tariffs on mature chips and new tariffs on EV battery materials. Read the comments.

BIS Export Enforcement Hits Record

July 3, 2024 – The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released a new report this week on Export Enforcement, and the investigations of export control and antiboycott violations set a record for convictions last year. “Export Enforcement’s efforts in 2023,” said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matt Axelrod, “resulted in the highest number ever of convictions, temporary denial orders, and post-conviction denial orders, as well as the largest standalone administrative penalty in BIS history.”

The BIS report outlines the results of many of these investigations, including the BIS penalty announced this week against the U.S.-based subsidiary of Airbus U.S. Space & Defense for three antiboycott violations in 2019.

Read the BIS publication, “Don’t Let This Happen to You.

Raimondo: New Rule Could Block Chinese Cars to Secure U.S. Data

July 3, 2024 – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that a rule on connected vehicles could ban Chinese cars in the U.S. due to concerns about the ability for surveillance by advanced cars.

The rule could require American-made software and data storage within the U.S. She said that she hopes the rules will be released this Fall and will work with industry to avoid unintended consequences.

Watch the hearing here.

Study on De Minimis Highlights Economic Benefits

July 3, 2024 – A new academic study found that de minimis shipments, which are exempt from paying duties on imported goods valued below $800, benefit lower-income communities more than higher-income areas of the U.S. “Lower-income zip codes are more likely to import de minimis shipments, particularly from China,” say the study’s authors, “suggesting that the tariff and administrative fee incidence in direct-to-consumer trade is pro-poor.”

The study found that eliminating de minimis would cause lower-income communities would spend 74% of their direct purchase money on de minimis imports and disproportionately raise the cost of living for minority households.

Download the de minimis study.

USTR Sends Report on USMCA and Automobile Industry to Congress

July 3, 2024 – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) submitted its mandated report on USMCA to Congress this week, highlighting the positive economic impact on the U.S. and North American auto industry.

The report also says that challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and global supply chain vulnerabilities have hindered full implementation. USTR highlights the need for a robust EV supply chain and fair competition, emphasizing the upcoming six-year review as an opportunity to address these issues and maximize the trade agreement’s benefits.

Read USTR’s Second Biennial Report on the Operation of the USMCA with Respect to Trade in Automotive Goods.