Taxes, Tariffs & Trade

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China concluded July 31 without achieving significant progress. Since then, China has allowed its currency to weaken against the dollar, making its exports more affordable despite U.S. tariffs.

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House Democrats continued to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team during the August Congressional recess to discuss concerns about certain aspects of the United States ‒ Mexico ‒ Canada Agreement (USMCA). Specifically, they want to ensure Mexico’s adherence to stricter labor and environmental standards included in the Agreement.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has launched a new portal for exclusion requests. Exclusion requests submitted before June 13 will continue to be addressed via www.regulations.gov.

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NAFEM member Mark Sanford, chief engineer-compliance, Unified Brands, Conyers, Ga., has been working to better understand Mexico’s new requirements to its Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOMs) for imported electrical and electronic goods.

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Good news for NAFEM members who have imported List 2 items from China that have now been excluded from tariffs.

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Through its comments submitted to and testimony before the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), NAFEM helped secure 41 product exclusions from the final List 1 and List 2 of the Section 301 25-percent tariffs on items imported from China. Items excluded from the tariffs include air purifiers powered by compressed air; hand-cleaning/sanitizing dispensers; control boards for stoves, ranges and ovens; some thermometers; some iron and steel parts; and a variety of other items. Additionally, NAFEM secured the removal of multiple component and finished goods from List 3.

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According to media reports, President Trump is now expected to send the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) to Congress after Sept. 1, giving working groups of democrats in the House of Representative more time to address their concerns with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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On June 3, Mexico eliminated exceptions to its Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOMs), or official standards.

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Following the June G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, President Trump put on hold List 4 of the Section 301 tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports to give the two countries more time to discuss a comprehensive trade deal. In return, China agreed to purchase more U.S. farm products, including soybeans. The current Section 301 List 1, 2 and 3 tariffs on $225 of Chinese imports remain in effect.

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