While the Trump administration’s latest trade restrictions may get the most attention, there also have been developments in some of the older ones as well. Here’s a summary.
No More GSP for Turkey and India
We knew these moments were coming, and now here they are. India’s loss of “beneficiary developing country” status under the Generalized System of Preferences was effective on June 5, 2019, and Turkey’s on May 17. Previously-eligible merchandise from those countries is now subject to regular customs duties.
Section 232 Tariff Rate Halved on Turkish Steel; Tariff Eliminated for Mexico and Canada
In a spot of good news for Turkey, the 50 percent tariff imposed on that country’s steel imports pursuant to Section 232 has been reduced to “only” 25 percent, effective on May 21. 2019. And in even better news for Canada and Mexico, the special tariff has been eliminated entirely on steel products from those countries.
Cuba Travel Restricted Again
Already pared in 2017, authorized travel to Cuba now has further restrictions. The Bureau of Industry and Security amended the terms of License Exception AVS (Aircraft, Vessels and Spacecraft) to exclude non-commercial air flights (“general aviation”) from coverage, as well as “remove passenger and recreational vessels from eligibility for temporary sojourn to Cuba.” These forms of travel will now require a BIS license, which may prove difficult as the agency maintains a general policy of denial.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a complementary notice eliminating the “the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel,” with a “grandfathering” exception for travel that “previously was authorized where the traveler has already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019.”
Both the BIS and OFAC measures were effective on June 5, 2019.
Product Exclusion Process for “Round 3” Section 301 Tariffs
As it did with the first and second groups of merchandise subject to the Section 301 tariffs, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has announced a process for seeking product exclusions for the Round 3 tariff. The request period will last from June 30, 2019 through September 30, 2019. Any resulting exclusions will be effective as of September 24, 2018 and remain in effect for a one-year period.
And a Punt on Automobiles and Auto Parts
Remember that Section 232 investigation on automobiles and auto parts? There’s been a decision, sort of. President Trump announced his concurrence “in the Secretary’s [of Commerce] finding that automobiles and certain automobile parts are being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security of the United States.” Rather than impose tariffs, as he did with the steel and aluminum cases, El Jefe directed USTR “to pursue negotiation of agreements contemplated in 19 U.S.C. 1862(c)(3)(A)(i) to address the threatened impairment of the national security with respect to imported automobiles and certain automobile parts from the European Union, Japan, and any other country the Trade Representative deems appropriate, and to update me on the progress of such negotiations within 180 days.”
Whether there’s a resolution short of tariffs will depend on how those negotiations go. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.