“PROTECTIONISM BECOMES DESTRUCTIONISM; IT COSTS JOBS”
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, JUNE 28, 1986
NEW UPDATE US CHINA TRADE WAR JUNE 25, 2015 —TAA AND TPA PASS CONGRESS AND GO TO PRESIDENT — NOW HEAVY LIFTING OF TPP NEGOTIATIONS BEGINS
On June 25, 2015, the House of Representatives passed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (“AGO”) by a vote of 286 to 138, which includes Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”), and the bill, has been sent to President Obama. On June 24, 2015 the US Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) bill by a vote of 60 to 38 and President Obama has signed the bill into law. As the Senate and House leadership promised, both TPA and TAA are on President’s Obama’s desk at the same time.
Now the heavy lift begins. Now is the time for any US company that is having export problems with exports to the 12 Trans Pacific Partnership countries, specifically Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore or Vietnam, to bring these problems to the attention of US negotiators and also their Congressional representatives so the issue can be included in the ongoing negotiations.
On June 23, 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan predicted that with the TPA vote TPP could be finalized in a month. That simply not going to happen. With all the negotiating objectives in the TPA bill, including currency manipulation, I firmly believe that TPP negotiations will go on until at least the end of the year and probably into 2016, an election year.
As Senators Hatch and Wyden stated on June 24th on the Senate Floor and Representatives Ryan, Levin and Sessions stated on the House floor on June 25th and below, this is just the beginning of the process. This TPP negotiating process has a very long way to go.
TPA AND TAA NOW LAW—THE HEAVY LIFTING NOW BEGINS AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE ON TPP
As stated in the Wall Street Journal and on the Senate and House Floor, the heavy lifting now begins on Trans Pacific Partnership (“TPP”). In light of numerous Congressional negotiating objectives, the TPP negotiations are going to take time and will not be an easy lift. Congress will be involved in the negotiations every step of the way so this will not be simple.
Anyone who thinks TPP negotiations will be finished in a month is simply wishful thinking. This is just the start of the process.
As the Wall Street Journal stated today on its June 15th front page:
The White House and Republican leaders notched a significant victory Wednesday with the Senate’s passage of divisive trade legislation, but the win kicks off a grueling, months long process to complete a Pacific trade pact that still faces domestic opposition and must win final congressional approval.
As Democratic Congressman Sander Levin, ranking member of House Ways and Means, stated on the House Floor today, the battle now switches to the actual negotiations and words in the TPP itself:
The debate these last weeks and months has been about how do we get a strong and effective trade policy and trade agreement. That debate only intensifies now. Supporters of trade promotion authority, T.P.A., sought vague negotiating objectives and passive role for Congress in the process was the way to go, in part because many on the majority side feel that more trade is essentially better no matter its terms or conditions. The opponents of T.P.A. wanted to ensure that T.P.P. negotiations were on the right track with no blank check to USTR and there are so many outstanding areas, where we are not satisfied with the status of negotiations, where we are uncertain of their outcome, now we can focus like a laser beam on those issues.
The argument about the process of T.P.A. is now behind us. And the challenge of the substance of T.P.P. smack in front of us. Automatic embrace of centuries’ old doctrines does not meet the challenges of intensifying globalization. So we will continue to shine a bright light on the critical issues like market access, state-owned enterprises, intellectual property and access to medicines, worker rights, environment, currency manipulation and investment provisions that could put at risk domestic regulations.
Our calls for improvements to the negotiations will only grow louder. In order for T.P.P. to gain the support of the American people, it will need to gain the votes of a much broader coalition of members of Congress than voted for T.P.A. the issue is not pro-trade versus anti-trade, but whether we shape trade agreements to spread the benefits broadly, including the middle class of Americans. . . .
Finally this bill includes a re-authorization of trade adjustment assistance. I’m an ardent supporter and introduced a bill earlier this year with Adam Smith to re-authorize it. I support 1295. To be sure this T.A.A. is not perfect, it falls short of the high water mark we established for the program in 2009. At a time when trade is expanding and is expected to expand even further with new trade agreements, we should be ensuring adequate funding for workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade . . . . T.P.A., T.P.P., T.A.A., it might seem like a word scramble, but going forward, T.P.P. to the American people will be about jobs and wages. They expect us to work hard to get it right as it is being negotiated, not simply leaving their elected officials with a yes or no vote after T.P.P. is done. We have a lot of work to do. And there is no ducking these issues.
As Republican Congressman Pete Sessions stated on the House Floor today, Congressional Representatives will have their chance and these negotiations are going to take time:
But I would respond and say to the gentleman, you’re going to have an opportunity and I can’t wait to get you invited to every single round of these and have you find time to go do exactly what you think members of Congress ought to be doing. Because in fact that’s the way the T.P.A. is written. . . . But this whole process — as soon as that takes place, the gentleman will have all the opportunity he wants to go and take part of every round of the discussions. But, you know, I don’t believe that’s what we were elected for. I don’t believe we were elected to go and have to do all the work that is described, that the gentleman said, to get back into the fight, to go do the negotiating. But he’ll be given that chance. He’ll be given that chance every single day. As soon as it’s signed by the President, he can go at it. He can maybe even just tell the President he wants to do this for a full time job. I don’t know. But he will have that opportunity and every member of this body will have that same chance. He and every member will have a chance to go and negotiate, be in the room, be a part of the discussion and make sure these — all these big multilateral corporations that he talks about that will be in the room, which they won’t be, because that would not be the right thing, there would be ethics violations, I’m sure the White House, the executive branch can notify him on that, but he will be allowed as a member of Congress.
So, Mr. Speaker, the things which are being talked about most as negative points about this bill, there’s already an answer to it. That’s what Republicans did. This is a Republican bill. This is about the authority of the House of Representatives, the United States Congress, to make sure we are involved. That has never been allowed before. Fast track is what we used to have. That’s what we did have. We now have a bill before us today which will help us complete the entire process, to make sure members of Congress are involved, not just the United States negotiators, but all the world will know . . . the parts about how we’re going to negotiate the trade deal and if it doesn’t come back that way, we’ll vote it down. Do we need to second guess them now today? I don’t think so. But if any member wants to be involved in this, they can just get on their plane and go wherever they want and get it done. And by law they’ll be allowed that opportunity.
All those pundits that say the TPP negotiations will be concluded in a month simply have not listened to the arguments on the House and Senate Floor. To see those arguments, watch CSPAN at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326700-1/us-house-legislative-business . To get a TPP, which will pass Congress, will require much more negotiation and a much longer time. The TPP negotiations will not conclude until the end of the year at the earliest and possibly 2016, an election year.
HOUSE VOTES TO PASS AGOA AND TAA ON JUNE 25, 2015 AND BILL GOES TO THE PRESIDENT
On June 25, 2015 the African Growth and Opportunity Act (“AGOA”) with Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) passed the House by a 286 to 138 vote and has gone to the President Obama for signature. As promised by House Speaker John Boehner and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, TAA was brought to the floor of the House and passed. As Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, a co-sponsor of the TAA bill, stated on the House Floor:
Also included in this legislation is a renewal of trade adjustment assistance and I’m proud as Mr. Ryan said, to sponsor the House legislation to renew it because there is a need for this program. I believe increased trade is good for all Americans and it creates jobs. It makes America stronger. But I also understand that among and along the way, as we create jobs and trade and our jobs change over the next few years, along the way, some workers may need extra assistance and additional training. That’s why T.A.A. is so important. We’ve made great strides this past week by sending T.P.A. to the President’s desk . . . So now, Mr. Speaker, we must move forward, pass T.A.A. and AGOA today.
As Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer on the House Floor stated today, the Republican leaders kept their promise on TPA and TAA:
It’s at times trust is in short supply in this institution for a whole host of reasons but we were given ironclad assurances from the Speaker, from the President, from the Chairman, from Senator Wyden, Senator Hatch, Leader McConnell that T.A.A. would come back to this floor to be voted on. And I think it’s important that that has in fact occurred. Because to adapt, respond and grow a 21st century work force we need trade adjustment assistance. And what we have before us is an improvement over current law. It’s not as good as what we had in 2009, and I hope that we will be able to build on this and move forward, but this program has helped more than 100,000 Americans, including 3,000 of my fellow Oregonians who received job training and financial support. And there will continue to be winners and losers in the global economy. Whether we have trade agreements with countries or not like with pressures from China, it’s important that we provide this for our workers. With our vote today we do so.
US CHINA TRADE WAR JUNE 24, 2015 UPDATE — SENATE PASSES TPA AND IT GOES TO PRESIDENT FOR HIS SIGNATURE; TAA PASSES SENATE AND GOES TO THE HOUSE
As predicted, today the US Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) bill by a vote of 60 to 38 and it has gone to President Obama’s desk for signature. Now is the time for any US company that is having export problems with exports to the 12 Trans Pacific Partnership countries, specifically Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore or Vietnam, to bring these problems to the attention of US negotiators and also their Congressional representatives so the issue can be included in the ongoing negotiations.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan predicted that with the TPA vote TPP could be finalized in a month. I suspect not. With all the negotiating objectives in the TPA bill, including currency manipulation, I firmly believe that TPP negotiations will go on until at least the end of the year and probably into 2016, an election year.
As Senators Hatch and Wyden stated today on the Floor and below, this is just the beginning of the process.
SENATE PASSES TPA AND THE BILL GOES TO PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DESK FOR SIGNATURE
After jumping over a major procedural hurdle on June 23rd, on June 24th the Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) bill by a vote of 60 to 38 and the House has sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. Set forth below are some of the major statements by the proponents and one opponent of the bill. To see the entire debate, watch CSPAN.org at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326775-1/us-senate-advances-taa-passes-tpa&live .
Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) also passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 77 to 23 votes. The House is expected to vote on TAA tomorrow and that means it will go to the President by Friday at the latest.
All the Senators emphasized during the debate the importance of the Customs and Trade Enforcement bill going through Congress. This bill will crack down on US importers that attempt to evade antidumping and countervailing duty laws by importing transshipped merchandise. This Customs and Trade Enforcement Bill is directed straight at the problem of transshipment by certain Chinese companies around US antidumping and countervailing duty orders. That bill will now go to conference in the House of Representatives to reconcile differences in the House and Senate bills.
Before the vote, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell stated:
Yesterday’s T.P.A. vote [was a] the long overdue victory for the American worker and the American middle class. It wasn’t easy. Many thought it would never happen. We even saw corks pop in the facts optional lobby a few weeks ago, but that proved to be premature because here’s what we’ve always known about the legislation we’ll vote to send to the President today. It’s underpinned by a simple but powerful idea, for American workers to have a fair shot in the 21st century economy, it just makes sense to remove the unfair barriers that discriminate against them and the products that they make. Some may disagree. They certainly weren’t quiet in voicing their opinions. It’s okay if they don’t share our passion for ending this unfair discrimination against American workers. It’s okay if they would rather rail against tomorrow.
But a bipartisan coalition in the House and the Senate thought it was time for forward progress instead. We were really pleased to see President Obama pursue an idea we’ve long believed in. We thank him for his efforts to help us advance this measure. We thank all of our friends across the aisle for their efforts too. Senator Wyden, most of all. Over in the house, I commend Speaker Boehner and Chairman Ryan for everything they’ve done. It hasn’t been easy, and without them it wouldn’t have been possible. And of course let me thank Chairman Orrin Hatch for demonstrating such patience, persistence and determination throughout this process. He never lost sight of the goal, never gave up. The people of Utah are lucky to have him. The Senate’s work on trade doesn’t end today. I said the Senate would finish pursuing the rest of the full trade package, and it will. We’ll take another cloture vote today to that end. That process continues. But the key victory for American workers and products stamped “Made in the U.S.A.” comes today. The bill we’re about to pass will assert Congress’s authority throughout the trade negotiation process. It will ensure we have the tools we need to properly scrutinize whatever trade agreements are ultimately negotiated and it will make clear that the final say rests with us. We had plenty of bumps along the road. Frankly, a few big potholes too. But we worked across the aisle to get through all of them. That’s an example of how a new Congress is back to work for the American people. I thank everyone who helped us get where we are. Now let’s vote again to support the American worker and American middle class by approving the bipartisan T.P.A. bill.
Before the vote, ranking Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of the Senate Finance Committee emphasized that the TPA bill would go through along with a Customs and Trade Enforcement bill, which includes major changes to the US Customs and Trade laws, including a sharp crack down on transshipment around US antidumping and countervailing duty laws. As I have stated many times on this blog, the transshipment issue is a burning issue in Washington DC and now it has resulted in legislation, which will be going to Conference Committee with the House of Representatives. Senator Wyden stated today on the Floor:
Mr. President, today the Senate is taking major steps towards a new, more progressive trade policy that will shut the door on the 1990’s North American Free Trade Agreement once and for all. One of the major ways this overall package accomplishes this goal is by kicking in place a tough new regime of enforcing our trade laws. . . . And it has long been my view, Mr. President, that vigorous enforcement of our trade laws must be at the forefront of any modern approach to trade at this unique time in history. One of the first questions many citizens ask is, I hear there’s talk in Washington, D.C. about passing a new trade law. How about first enforcing the laws that are on the books? And this has been an area that I long have sought to change, and we’re beginning to do this with this legislation, and I want to describe it. And for me, Mr. President, this goes back to the days when I chaired the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade and Competitiveness, and we saw such widespread cheating, such widespread flouting of our trade laws, my staff and I set up a sting operation. We set up a sting operation to catch the cheats. In effect, almost inviting these people to try to use a web site to evade the laws. And they came out of nowhere because they said cheating has gotten pretty easy, let’s sign up. And we caught a lot of people. So we said from that point on that we were going to make sure that any new trade legislation took right at the center an approach that would protect hardworking Americans from the misdeeds of trade cheats.
And in fact, the core of the bipartisan legislation that heads into conference is a jobs bill, a jobs bill that will protect American workers and our exporters from those kind of rip-offs by those who would flout the trade laws. And the fact is, Mr. President, when you finally get tough enforcement of our trade laws, it is a jobs bill. A true jobs bill, because you are doing a better job of enforcing the laws that protect the jobs, the good-paying jobs of American workers. And I guess some people think that you’re going to get that tougher enforcement by osmosis. We’re going to get it because we’re going to pass a law starting today with the Conference Agreement that’s going to have real teeth in it. Real teeth in it to enforce our trade laws. Foreign companies and nations employ a whole host of complicated schemes and shadowy tactics to break the trade rules. And they bully American businesses and undercut our workers.
So what we said in the Finance Committee on a bipartisan basis, that the name of the game would be to stay out in front of these unfair trade practices that cost our workers good-paying jobs. My colleagues and I believe that the Senate has offered now the right plan to fight back against the trade cheats and protect American jobs and protect our companies from abuse. It really starts with what’s called the Enforce Act, which is a proposal I first offered years ago that will give our customs agency more tools to crack down on the cheaters. Then we have a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the need for an unfair trade alert. That’s another major upgrade that responds to what we heard companies and labor folks say again and again, Mr. President. What they would say is the trade enforcement laws get there too late. They get there too late. The plant’s closed, the jobs are gone, the hopes and dreams of working families are shattered. So what we said is we’re going to start using some of the data and the information that we have to have a real trade alert so that we can spot what’s coming up, get that information in our communities, in our working families and our companies to protect our workers. This unfair trade alert is another major upgrade in how we tackle, Mr. President, enforcing our trade laws. My view is that any bill that comes out of that enforcement conference, the customs conference, needs to reflect important American priorities. And that should certainly include smart protection of our environmental treasures. When our trade agreements establish rules on environmental protection, they’ve got to be enforced with the same vigor as the rules that knock down barriers for businesses overseas. . . .
And it’s been too hard, too hard in the past for our businesses, particularly our small businesses, to get the enforcement that matters, the enforcement with teeth, the enforcement that serves as a real deterrent to cheating. So this legislation is our chance to demonstrate that strengthening trade enforcement, enforcement of the trade laws, will now be an integral part of a new modern approach to trade, an approach that says, we’re not part of the 1990’s on trade where nobody had web sites and iPhones and the like; we’ve got a modern trade policy with the centerpiece enforcing our trade laws. Our policies are going to give America’s trade enforcers the tools they need to fight on behalf of American jobs and American workers and stop the trade cheats who seek to undercut them. I strongly urge my colleagues to vote “yes” later today on the motion to send the enforcement bill to conference and work on a bipartisan basis, as we did in the Finance Committee, to put strong trade enforcement legislation on the President’s desk. . . .
My friend and colleague on the Finance Committee, Senator Brown, offered a proposal that goes a long way, in my view, to strengthening our enforcement of key trade laws. It’s called leveling the playing field. . . .if you look at the Committee’s debate, level the playing field was a top priority for those in the unions, the steel unions and others, and it was a also a top priority for their companies. And so having this policy in the trade adjustment assistance is exactly the kind of bipartisan work that the American people want done. Business, labor, Democrats, Republicans — a strong record of evidence as to why it’s needed. This legislation is going to be the difference between steelworkers and paper workers being on the job or being laid off, because it ensures that the remedies of trade law — what’s called Counter-Veiling Duty Law, Anti-Dumping Law — is going to be available to workers and their companies earlier and in a more comprehensive way. It’s going to protect jobs, and it is a priority of both political parties.
I made mention how important this was to me. . . . Hugely important to my state. I said my first hearing was going to be on trade enforcement, and my good friends from the steel industry spoke about how American workers wants to see the Senate and the Finance Committee stand up for them and finally fix the shortcomings in our trade remedy laws. That’s what we have done now. Getting behind Sherrod Brown’s proposal to strengthen our trade laws, to stop unfair trade so that foreign companies do not undercut American workers and manufacturers ought to be an American priority, a red, white, and blue priority, a priority for every member of this body. . . . The three programs — the trade adjustment assistance program, the health coverage tax credit, Senator Brown’s leveling the playing field act — are now moving through the Senate alongside legislation that creates new economic opportunities for impoverished countries in Africa and other places around the world. . . . I urge all of my colleagues to vote yes to support these important programs when we vote later today.
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio speaking against TPA pounded on the enforcement bill:
Its authority to amend trade agreements, should not pave the way for a trade deal that looks like it’s going to be more of the same. Corporate handouts, worker sellouts. We’ve seen it with NAFTA. We saw a similar kind of move on PNTR with China where the trade deficit, our bilateral trade deficit has almost literally exploded since 2000, when this body and the other body moved forward on PNTR. . . . . We also have a responsibility to look out for the American worker who we know will be hurt by this deal. . . . Last, Mr. President, we have an opportunity in this bill today to once again support the level the playing field act to make sure it gets to the President’s desk. This will be the vote after this — after the T.P.A. vote. This vote is essential to protecting our manufacturers from illegal foreign competition. We can’t have trade promotion without trade enforcement. It shouldn’t be bipartisan, regardless of how you vote on T.A.A. we need to make sure our deals are enforced. Level the playing field to against unfair trade practices, it’s critical for our businesses, our workers who drown in the flood of illegally subsidized import. It has the full support of business and workers, Republicans and Democrats. . . . No matter where you stand on T.P.A. we should be able to come together to have enforce — enforceable laws. We have trade. We know these agreements cause wages to stagnate, we know these agreements cause factories to close . . . This is a terrible mistake we will make which we’ve made over and over and over and over if we pass this today. If we pass T.P.A. it’s the same mistake we made with NAFTA. Big promises, job increases, wages going up, bad results. We did it when we passed PNTR, when we passed CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, with the Korean Free Trade Agreement, we’re about to do it again, shame on us. At least take care of workers if we’re going to pass this legislation.
Prior to the vote, Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called the TPA bill and accompanying trade legislation the most important bill to pass in the Senate this year. Senator Hatch stated:
This is a critical day for our country. In fact I’d call it an historic day. It’s taken us awhile to get there, longer than many of us would have liked but we all know anything worth having takes effort and this bill is worth the effort. This is perhaps the most important bill we’ll pass in the Senate this year. It will help reassert Congress’s role over U.S. trade negotiations and reestablish the United States as a strong player in international trade.
Renewing T.P.A. has been a top priority for me for many years and as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I am pleased that with the help of ranking member Wyden, we’ve been able to deliver a robust and bipartisan bill. It’s also been a high priority for the Senate Majority Leader. And thanks to his strong support and leadership, we’re one step away from completing this important task. This bill will help farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs throughout our country get better access to foreign markets and allow them to compete on a level playing field. This bill will help give these job creators and the workers they employ greater opportunities to grow their businesses which will help create a healthier American economy. The business and agricultural communities understand the importance of strong trade agreements. That is why they came together in strong support of this important legislation. We’ve heard from all of them throughout this debate, and I appreciate their enthusiasm and support.
This has from the outset been a bipartisan effort, and I’m glad it remained that way. Throughout this entire debate here in the Senate, over in the House and here in the Senate again we’ve been able to maintain a bipartisan coalition in support of T.P.A., fair trade, and expanded market access for U.S. exporters. This is no small feat, Mr. President, and I’m appreciative of everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible. With this final vote, we can complete the work that we began so many years ago. But let’s be clear, passing T.P.A. is not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, I intend to remain vigilant in our oversight as the administration pursues the negotiating objectives that Congress has set with this legislation. And if they fall short, I will be among the first to hold them accountable. But that is for another day. Today I urge my colleagues to help us finalize this historic achievement and join me in voting in favor of this bipartisan T.P.A. bill. If the vote goes the way I think it will today, today will be remembered as a good day for the Senate, the President, and the American people. Mr. President, once we vote to pass T.P.A., we will then be voting to invoke cloture on the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. . . . In addition to these preferences programs, the bill we’ll be voting on includes legislation introduced by Senators Portman and Brown to strengthen the enforcement and administration of our anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws. As I have noted in the past, anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws are among the most important trade tools we have to protect U.S. companies from unfair foreign trade practices. A number of Utah companies do benefit from these laws which allow them to compete against imports that unfairly benefit from support from foreign governments. I’m pleased we were able to include this legislation in the preferences bill. Finally, also included in this bill is an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance, or T.A.A. program. I think I’ve said enough about my opposition to this program here on the floor over the past several weeks. I won’t delve too deeply into that issue here. However, I do understand that for many of my colleagues who want to support T.P.A. and free trade, passage of T.A.A. is a prerequisite. From the outset of this debate over trade promotion authority, I’ve committed to my colleagues to working to ensure that both T.A.A. and T.P.A. move on parallel tracks. I plan to make good on this commitment and today will show that. That is why despite my misgivings about T.A.A. and with the entire picture in view, I plan to vote for this latest version of the trade preferences bill.
On June 23, 2015, former Senate Majority leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott, in the Wall Street Journal congratulated Senator McConnell with pushing the TPA/trade legislation through the Senate stating:
It is a relief to see an institution that we both devoted so much of our lives to working again. And it is an encouraging development for the country to see the Senate addressing big problems after years of inaction when it was controlled by Democrats.
JUNE 23, 2015 UPDATE
SENATE JUMPS OVER MAJOR PROCEDURAL HURDLE AND PUSHES TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY FORWARD
There was a major development in the Senate today on Trade Promotion Authority. The Senate has jumped over a major procedural hurdle and moved the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) bill forward. The final TPA vote will be tomorrow and it will pass because only a simple majority is needed. For US companies, this means now is the time to bring to the attention of US trade negotiators any export problems they have with the 12 TPP countries, specifically Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore or Vietnam, so the issue can be included in the ongoing negotiations.
The TPA fight has also raised questions as to whether the Free Trade Agreements can actually pass Congress or whether the US will slip backward into a protectionist mindset and no longer be a free trade leader.
If you have any questions about this topics, please feel free to contact me.
SENATE PASSES TPA PROCEDURAL HURDLE AND MOVES IT FORWARD SO THAT THE TPA BILL WILL BE ON THE PRESIDENT’S DESK BY FRIDAY
On June 23, 2015, in a key procedural vote in the Senate, which required a minimum of 60 votes to pass, the Senate passed cloture 60-37 for Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”). To pass cloture and bring the TPA bill up for vote, the Senate requires 60 votes. This means that tomorrow the Senate will have the final vote on TPA and only 51 votes are required for passage.
To recap since the last blog post, after passing the Senate on May 22nd, the linked TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) bills went to the House of Representatives. Despite Herculean efforts by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, on June 12th progressive Democrats and tea party protectionist conservative Republicans joined together to defeat Trade Adjustment Assistance and pursuant to the procedural rules kill TPA. But pro-trade Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House worked with President Obama to come up with an alternative strategy and delinked TAA from TPA.
On June 18th, the House passed the TPA as a stand-alone bill. See Paul Ryan’s statement on the House Floor at http://waysandmeans.house.gov/ .
In response, today, June 23rd, the Senate with no extra votes, overcame the procedural hurdle of the 60 vote requirement, and voted to move forward with the House TPA Bill, which had passed on June 18th. Tomorrow the Senate will vote on TPA and only a simple majority is required, which means TPA will pass and go to President Obama’s desk for signature by the end of the week.
One can see the Senate vote and the entire speeches up to and after the vote on Cspan at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326681-1/us-senate-debate-trade-promotion-authority . Prior to the vote, Republican Majority Mitch McConnell stated in part:
The Bipartisan Trade Legislation Trade Legislation we’ll vote on today. . . . It’s demonstrating that both parties can work together to strengthen America’s National Security at home and America’s leadership abroad. Instead of simply ceding the future and one of the World’s fastest-growing regions from Chinese aggression and it’s proven that our friends can rally with us in support of 1.4 Million additional jobs in our country, including over 18,000 in Kentucky alone. . . .
Today is a very big vote. It’s an important moment for the country. It sets in motion the completion of a project we set out on literally months ago. Completing work on all four of the bills reported by the Finance Committee. That is what my friend on the other side said they wanted and that is what can be achieved by continuing to work together. . . .
So this is where we are, Mr. President. Let’s vote today. Let’s vote today to move ahead on T.P.A., an important accomplishment for the country. Then we can vote to move ahead on T.A.A. and AGOA and preferences. And then we can vote to move ahead on customs. If we all keep working together and trusting each other, then by the end of the week the President will have T.P.A., T.A.A., and AGOA and preferences on his desk. With Customs in the process of heading his way as well.
As Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated in part prior to the vote:
On Trade Promotion Authority, the Senate has voted on this before each time demonstrating strong bipartisan support for T.P.P. — T.P.A. My hope is we can get a similar result in the Senate. We need to be clear about what is at stake. The United States is clearly negotiating a number of trade agreements with our most important trading partners in the world. . . .
As we all know, most of the World’s consumers live outside of our borders. 95% of them. In addition, the vast majority of economic growth in the world is likely to occur outside of the United States over the next decade if our workers, farmers, ranchers and service providers are going to be able to compete in these growing markets, we must have open access to these markets and fair trade rules to boot. Without strong trade agreements neither is possible. When it comes to International Trade, we cannot stand still. If we don’t lead and set the rules of the game, other nations will and our economy will be left behind.
The United States continues to be a leader in agricultural exports throughout the World. In fact, we still export more agricultural goods than any other country. In addition, the United States continues to boast an enormous manufacturing base which supplies consumers in every corner of the globe. We also lead the World in technology, digital services and innovation. Indeed not only do we lead the World in creation of intellectual property, America essentially created the modern digital landscape. The U.S. also continues to lead in trade and services, exporting more than $700 Billion in services in 2014 alone. That is more than twice as much as the United Kingdom, the World’s second-highest services exporter. . . .
This [TPA] bill, which is the product of a great deal of work and a lot of bipartisan cooperation, will have a powerful and positive impact on industries throughout our economy, on consumers and of course on American workers as well. Mr. President, in an America that embraces International Trade, I believe even those individuals who encounter temporary setbacks can find new opportunities, can outwork, out-produce and out-innovate our global competition so long as the groundwork has been laid to give them those opportunities. That is why we need strong trade agreements and that is why we need T.P.A. . . .
I am very appreciative of all the support we have received from members on both sides of the aisle. We couldn’t have gotten this far without that support. Now it is time to finish the work to pass this bill and get it to the President’s desk. We need this bill to ensure that our constituents’ voices are heard in the trade negotiating process. We need this bill to give our trade negotiators the tools they need to get a good deal. And we need this bill to extend access to foreign markets so we can grow our economy and create good, high-paying jobs here at home. That, Mr. President, is what this bill is all about and why we have been working on this process for so long. We’re very close to the finish line, Mr. President. We need just one more burst of energy and a few more steps to get us there.
I urge all of my colleagues who support free trade, open markets, and the advancement of American values and interests abroad to join me once again in supporting T.P.A. and working with me and with my colleague, Senator Wyden, to get all the pending trade bills passed in the Senate and signed into law. . . .
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, stated prior to vote:
If you believe that those policies of the 1990’s fail to protect American workers and strengthen our economy, this is our chance to set a new course. This is our chance to put in place higher standards in global trade on matters like labor rights and environmental protection, shine some real sunlight on trade agreements and ensure that our country writes the rules of the road. The fact is in 2016, globalization is a reality. The choice is whether to sit back and allow globalization to push and pull on our economy until in effect we face some of the same kind of dictates that you see in China. So our choice is either to move now, get into the center of the ring and fight for a stronger economic future, protect our workers and promote our values or remain tethered to many of those old policies of the 1990’s. . . .
China is certainly not going to take up the banner for American values in trade. So if you believe America should stop a race to the bottom on labor rights, environmental safeguards and human rights, this legislation is our chance to lift global standards up.
Now, I want to talk for a moment about the economic potential of this legislation. What we all understand we need to do is make things here, grow things here, add value to them here and then ship them somewhere. My state knows how to make this happen, and so do many others. About one out of five jobs in Oregon depends on International Trade. Almost 90% of them are small and medium-sized, and what we know is that in many instances, those jobs pay better, but the fact is if our farmers want to sell their products in Japan – and this is true of agriculture all over America, Mr. President – a lot of our farmers face average tariffs of 40%. That’s right. If you want to export some jam to Vietnam, it will be marked up by 90%. If you want to sell a bottle of wine – and we’ve got wine growers with prosperous businesses all over the country, you’ve got to fork over 50% of the value to the government. So if you believe that other countries should open their markets to American exports, like the U.S. is open to theirs, this is our chance to bring down the tariffs and other barriers . . .
While the goal of enacting trade policies is a tool to give all Americans a chance to get ahead, trade adjustment assistance is an absolute must-pass bill. And I am confident that it is going to get through Congress and the President’s Desk. . . .
In my view, the Congress has an opportunity with this legislation to show that it can work in a bipartisan way to take on one of the premier economic challenges of our time. Our job is to get past the policies of the 1990’s and move towards getting trade done right. Colleagues, let’s open – let’s pry open foreign markets and send more of our exports abroad. Let’s fight for the American brand and the Oregon brand against the trade cheats and the bad actors who are blocking our way. And let’s raise the bar for American values and open up our trade policies to sunlight. I urge all in the Senate to vote “Yes” on cloture today and to support this package as it advances this week and in effect we get three of the important bills done this week and set in motion the fourth.
After winning the procedural vote today, Senator McConnell stated:
Have voted aye on the Cloture Motion. I want to say to our colleagues this is a very important day for our country. We’ve demonstrated we can work together on a bipartisan basis to achieve something that is extremely important for America. Not only when we confirm this trade promotion authority will we have the mechanism in place for the President to finalize an extraordinarily important deal with a number of different Asian countries, it will indicate that America is back in the trade business, it will also send a message to our allies that we understand they’re somewhat wary about Chinese commercial and potentially military domination and that we intend to still be deeply involved in the Pacific. So I want to congratulate Senator Hatch, Senator Wyden. This has been a long and rather twisted path to where we are today, but it’s a very, very important accomplishment for the country.
In response to the Senate vote, on June 23rd Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, issued the following statement:
I want to congratulate my colleagues in the Senate for voting to advance TPA. Only with TPA can the U.S. win a fair deal for the American worker in trade negotiations. And only with TPA can the U.S. rebuild its credibility on the world stage. I’m proud of my colleagues—in both houses, on both sides of the aisle—for working together to promote American trade. Some work remains to complete our trade agenda, but this has been a good day.
What is the effect of this vote on companies? The bottom line is that by the week’s end President Obama will be able to sign into law Trade Promotion Authority and the negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership and the TTIP negotiations with Europe will continue.
For any company facing problems with exports to the 12 countries in the TPP, specifically Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore or Vietnam, now is the time to present your concerns to the trade negotiators in the US government and your Congressional representatives so the issue can be included in the ongoing negotiations.
WILL CONGRESS FOLLOW THE SIREN CALL OF PROTECTIONISM AND TAKE THE US BACK OR MOVE IT FORWARD TO RESUME ITS FREE TRADE LEADERSHIP
In light of the Senate vote today, one hopes that the Congress is moving away from the protectionist brink, but with a 60-37 procedural vote, when 60 votes were required, nothing can be taken for granted. Listening to the anti-trade rhetoric in the US Senate and House of Representatives one is reminded of the original Greek tale in which Ulysses on his way back home had to pass the Siren rocks. The Greek Sirens would cry so sweetly they lured sailors and ships to their doom.
Many Democrats and some Republicans are now listening to the Sirens of protectionism from the labor unions and other activists that the US should move inward, put America first and protect workers and US factories at all costs from import competition created by free trade agreements. Although trade pundits acknowledge that TPA will pass, they argue that the Agreements, the TPP and TTIP Agreement with the EC, will die because the United States simply cannot withstand the protectionist attacks. If that is true, the US will give up trade leadership and could well return back to the 1900s. See the statement by Senator Bernie Sanders on June 23rd on the floor of the US Senate at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326681-1/us-senate-debate-trade-promotion-authority&live .
As John Brinkley, a Forbes commentator, stated on June 22, 2015, the day before the vote in the Senate on TPA:
Whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership lives or dies, it will probably be America’s last free trade agreement for a very long time.
No future Congress will want to walk into a war zone like the one now extant to pass a trade deal based on nebulous benefits. You may have noticed that the Obama administration has offered no estimate of how many jobs the TPP would create. Rather, its strategy has been to say that ratifying the TPP would empower the United States to write the rules of global trade and not ratifying it would cede that power to China. . . .
If the administration and Congress can’t convince people that free trade will facilitate those things – and they can’t – why should people care?
The next free trade agreement in the queue is the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which would connect the economies of the United States and the European Union. Given the amount of combat that’s been waged over the TPP, you wouldn’t want to bet on ratification of the TTIP.
Congressional leaders don’t want to put their members through another grueling trade fight like they one they’re in now, and they have no doubt made that clear to Obama. If the next president is a Democrat, he or she won’t touch the TTIP with a ten foot pole. A Republican president might ignore the opposition and try to get it done, but he’d probably lose. . . .
The TPP’s detractors have been louder and more prolific in attacking it than its proponents have been in defending it. And most of what they’ve been saying is exaggerated or wrong. They’ll probably fail to derail the TPP. But they’ve probably already succeeded in killing the TTIP and any future trade agreement that the next president or two might envision.
For Mr. Brinkley’s entire article see http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbrinkley/2015/06/22/farewell-free-trade .
Another commentator predicted that the real impact of the Trade fight will be on the Democratic Party stating:
Just as the tea party wing of the Republican Party has pulled the entire GOP to the right and hampered attempts at compromise on Capitol Hill, some now fear a similar dynamic is taking shape on the left. . . .
The revival of the trade package inflamed labor unions and liberal groups that had fought ferociously to block it, including by running ads against otherwise friendly House Democrats and threatening to mount primary campaigns against them. Unions say past trade deals bled American jobs and tanked wages. They argue that granting Obama the power to finalize trade deals that Congress can accept or reject, but not amend, would lead to more of the same, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership the White House has worked on for years.
“Democrats who allowed the passage of fast-track authority for the job-killing TPP, should know that we will not lift a finger or raise a penny to protect you when you’re attacked in 2016, we will encourage our progressive allies to join us in leaving you to rot, and we will actively search for opportunities to primary you with a real Democrat,” Jim Dean, head of Democracy for America, said in a statement following Thursday’s House vote. . . .
To illustrate the pressure on Congressional lawmakers, in discussing the situation with knowledgeable trade professionals, they mentioned that a Union sent demonstrators to the school where one Democratic Congressman placed his kids.
Why is the protectionist America first trade policy wrong policy? Because all of “international/WTO” trade law is based on reciprocity. What the United States can do to other countries, those countries can do back to the United States. In effect, the United States can be hoisted by its own petard, killed by its own knife.
That is the reason Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, are so concerned about currency manipulation. Yes, currency manipulation is now a negotiating objective as set forth in the TPA. But enforcing currency manipulation is a problem because there is no internationally accepted definition of currency manipulation. When the US Federal Reserve used quantitative easing in the last financial crisis, was that currency manipulation? Could other countries retaliate against the US for using quantitative easing? That is the fear of free traders. In international trade what goes around comes around.
The Siren Call of protectionism of putting America first by protecting companies and worker job from imports, the vast majority of which “must be unfairly traded”, however, has echoed throughout American history. Many politicians apparently have not learned the lessons of history. In the 1930s, President Hubert Hoover promised to help the United States dig out of the recession by raising tariff walls against imports and Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930. Countries around the World retaliated by raising barriers to imports from the United States. Exports and imports stopped and the World was plunged in the depression, which, in turn, was one of reasons for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the cause of the Second World War.
As one article on Capitalism states:
What was the end-result of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act? As other countries placed tariffs on American exports in retaliation, these tariffs actually led to the reduction of American exports and thus jobs: With the reduction of American exports came also the destruction of American jobs, as unemployment levels which were 6.3% (June 1930) jumped to 11.6% a few months later (November 1930). As farmers were unable to pay back their loans to banks, their loan defaults led to increasing bank crashes, particularly in the West and Mid-West.
The State Department itself states on its website:
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of June 1930 raised U.S. tariffs to historically high levels. The original intention behind the legislation was to increase the protection afforded domestic farmers against foreign agricultural imports. . . . During the 1928 election campaign, Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover pledged to help the beleaguered farmer by, among other things, raising tariff levels on agricultural products. But once the tariff schedule revision process got started, it proved impossible to stop. Calls for increased protection flooded in from industrial sector special interest groups, and soon a bill meant to provide relief for farmers became a means to raise tariffs in all sectors of the economy. When the dust had settled, Congress had agreed to tariff levels that exceeded the already high rates established by the 1922 Fordney-McCumber Act and represented among the most protectionist tariffs in U.S. history.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was more a consequence of the onset of the Great Depression than an initial cause. But while the tariff might not have caused the Depression, it certainly did not make it any better. It provoked a storm of foreign retaliatory measures and came to stand as a symbol of the “beggar-thy neighbor” policies (policies designed to improve one’s own lot at the expense of that of others) of the 1930s. Such policies contributed to a drastic decline in international trade. For example, U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334 million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from $2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by some 66% between 1929 and 1934. More generally, Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster trust and cooperation among nations in either the political or economic realm during a perilous era in international relations.
The Smoot-Hawley tariff represents the high-water mark of U.S. protectionism in the 20th century. Thereafter, beginning with the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, American commercial policy generally emphasized trade liberalization over protectionism. The United States generally assumed the mantle of champion of freer international trade . . . .
In fact, it is the political impact and the security implications of the trade agreements, that has caused Secretary of Defense Carter and on May 8th, a bipartisan collection of 7 former US defense secretaries, including Harold Brown, William S. Cohen, Robert M. Gates, Chuck Hagel, Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, Donald H. Rumsfeld along with well-known Generals, such as General David H. Petraeus and General Colin Powell, to call for the passage of TPA, stating:
By binding us closer together with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia, among others, TPP would strengthen existing and emerging security relationships in the Asia-Pacific, and reassure the region of America’s long-term staying power. In Europe, TTIP would reinvigorate the transatlantic partnership and send an equally strong signal about the commitment of the United States to our European allies.
The successful conclusion of TPP and TTIP would also draw in other nations and encourage them to undertake political and economic reforms. The result will be deeper regional economic integration, increased political cooperation, and ultimately greater stability in the two regions of the world that will have the greatest long-term impact on U.S. prosperity and security.
Indeed, TPP in particular will shape an economic dynamic over the next several decades that will link the United States with one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic regions. If, however, we fail to move forward with TPP, Asian economies will almost certainly develop along a China-centric model. In fact, China is already pursuing an alternative regional free trade initiative. TPP, combined with T-TIP, would allow the United States and our closest allies to help shape the rules and standards for global trade.
The stakes are clear. There are tremendous strategic benefits to TPP and TTIP, and there would be harmful strategic consequences if we fail to secure these agreements.
In a June 28, 1986 speech President Ronald Reagan indicated that he had learned the Smoot Hawley lesson stating:
Now, I know that if I were to ask most of you how you like to spend your Saturdays in the summertime, sitting down for a nice, long discussion of international trade wouldn’t be at the top of the list. But believe me, none of us can or should be bored with this issue. Our nation’s economic health, your well-being and that of your family’s really is at stake. That’s because international trade is one of those issues that politicians find an unending source of temptation. Like a 5-cent cigar or a chicken in every pot, demanding high tariffs or import restrictions is a familiar bit of flimflammery in American politics. But cliches and demagoguery aside, the truth is these trade restrictions badly hurt economic growth.
You see, trade barriers and protectionism only put off the inevitable. Sooner or later, economic reality intrudes, and industries protected by the Government face a new and unexpected form of competition. It may be a better product, a more efficient manufacturing technique, or a new foreign or domestic competitor.
By this time, of course, the protected industry is so listless and its competitive instincts so atrophied that it can’t stand up to the competition. And that, my friends, is when the factories shut down and the unemployment lines start. We had an excellent example of this in our own history during the Great Depression. Most of you are too young to remember this, but not long after the stock market crash of 1929, the Congress passed something called the Smoot-Hawley tariff. Many economists believe it was one of the worst blows ever to our economy. By crippling free and fair trade with other nations, it internationalized the Depression. It also helped shut off America’s export market, eliminating many jobs here at home and driving the Depression even deeper.
Well, since World War II, the nations of the world showed they learned at least part of their lesson. . . .
As many famous statesmen have stated in the past, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
With the extreme rhetoric in the international trade area, however, the question is whether the United States truly has learned its lesson or whether it will raise the protectionist walls, and give up on free trade. So the question is does the United States give up on Free Trade and ignore the historical lesson or does it move forward with these free trade agreements, open up markets around the World, and retake its leadership position in international trade?.
MAY 27 UPDATE
TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE (“TAA”) FOR COMPANIES
As the battle for Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) moves to the House of Representatives, the merits of the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms/Companies program, which is linked with the TPA bill, needs to be discussed. Many Republican Senators and Representatives oppose TAA. On the Senate Floor, Senate Finance Committee (“SFC”) Chairman Orrin Hatch stated that he was “generally opposed” to TAA, but realized that his Democratic colleagues, led by SFC Ranking member Senator Ron Wyden, needed TAA to support TPA.
In the House, however, many Republican Representatives oppose TAA because they see TAA as an entitlement. But when talking to Republican staff in the House, it soon becomes apparent that many Representatives do not understand that there are two TAA programs. The first TAA program is TAA for Workers (“TAAW”), which is a $450 million job retraining program for workers that have been displaced by international trade. That is the program, Democratic Senators and Representatives need to support, to help the Unions, their constituents.
The second TAA program, however, is TAA for Companies (also called TAA for Firms or TAAF). TAA for Companies is set at only $16 million in the Senate and $12.5 million in the House nationwide. TAA for Companies targets small and medium size business (SMEs) and helps them adjust to import competition. The irony is that SMEs are the Republican sweet spot. These companies are Republican constituents.
What are the Republican arguments against TAA for Companies? The first argument is that the program does not work. To the contrary, the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (“NWTAAC”), which I have been working with, has an 80% survival rate since 1984. In other words, NWTAAC has saved 80% of the companies that got into the program since 1984. See the attached Wall Street Journal article, REVISED FEBRUARY242011TAACLETTERWSJ – Perry .
The transformative power of TAA for Companies is illustrated by this video from the Mid-Atlantic TAA Center with statements from four small business owners on how TAA For Companies has saved their business– http://mataac.org/media . See also the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCef23LqDVs&feature=youtu.be&a .
If you save the company, you save the jobs that go with the company and all the tax revenue paid into the Federal, State and Local governments. This is the Transformative Power of TAA for Companies. TAA for Companies does not cost the government money. It makes money for the government.
In fact, I truly believe that President Ronald Reagan himself endorsed the TAA for Companies program. Why? Jim Munn. I started working with NWTAAC because Ronald Reagan himself asked Jim Munn to look into the program in the early 80’s. Who was Jim Munn? He was a Republican organizer, a criminal lawyer in Seattle who won every case that he handled, and yes a personal friend of Ronald Reagan. See his attached 2002 obituary, JIM MUNN .
What did Jim Munn find out when he investigated the program? Lo and behold the program works. Companies are saved, and Jim Munn stayed around as the NWTAAC board chairman for 22 years.
TAA for Companies will be a very important program that Congress can use to help their constituent businesses that will be hurt in the future by trade agreements. The Trans Pacific Partnership will create many winners, such as agriculture, but losers too, and those losing companies will need help adjusting to the trade tsunami of imports created by the TPP.
The other Republican argument against TAAF is that this program is another Solyndra and picks winners and losers. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, TAA for Companies does not provide money directly to companies. TAA provides matching funds to consultants to work with companies to help them create and implement strategic plans to compete effectively in a trade intensive environment.
Second, there is no picking winners and losers. Companies have to meet certain statutory criteria (including a decline in business). Company plans are then vetted by business experts at regional TAAF centers, which helps create a business recovery or adjustment plan. TAAF then provides a matching fund for outside expertise to help implement that adjustment plan. When companies are helped at the local level with an adjustment plan created specifically for that company, even companies facing severe import competition can survive and can prosper.
The only limitation on TAA for Companies is the low level of financial support in the Congress. Many companies wait for long periods of time to get into the program because there simply is no funding. In five states in the Pacific Northwest, for example, only about 10 companies begin the program each year, which is only a small fraction of the companies facing strong import competition.
Another argument made by Senator Hatch’s Legislative staff is that TAAF is duplicative of other Federal business programs. That again is not true. Helping companies that have been injured by imports is an entirely different objective from other business programs.
In the first place, Trade injured companies must change their business significantly to adapt to the new intensive trade environment in order to survive and grow. While there are other programs that offer business planning help, such as SBDC, they generally focus on very small business (often retail or services). TAAF specializes in helping larger trade injured companies, often manufacturers (as well as agricultural and some services companies).
Whereas other programs offer a fixed set of services or specific solutions (e.g. manufacturing technology or lean practices), a one size fits all, from a narrow pool of consultants, TAAF offers a highly flexible solution linking a consultant to a company to solve its specific import problem. Often the consultant hired by TAAF is one that the company already knows but simply does not have the resources to hire.
Today’s SMEs are lean operations, which rely on a network of project based specialists to keep them competitive. TAAF’s strength is the flexibility of linking a specific service provider with a specific skill, matched to the individual needs of the company facing immediate threat from import competition. TAAF does not compete with the private consulting industry, but facilitates access to it. This is the power of the market working to cure the disease and is perfectly in line with Republican principles.
The Transformative Power of TAA for Companies is illustrated by companies in Senator Hatch’s Utah saved by the program. Today there are 19 Utah companies active in TAAF, including a medical device, a precision metals, a furniture and an aluminum extrusions manufacturer. Because of TAAF, these 19 companies with a total of more $2 billion in sales have retained 1000s of high paid manufacturing jobs and added 1000s more jobs. Total cost to the US tax payer for these 19 companies – $1.2 million over a five year period. But saving those 19 companies and the jobs associated with them has resulted in substantial tax revenue at the Federal, state and local level. What TAAF has done in Utah, it has also done throughout the United States.
In addition to TAA for Companies, there are a number of other amendments to the trade laws going through the US Congress with TPA, including changes to the US antidumping law to make it easier to bring trade cases. As stated in past blog posts and as Ronald Reagan predicted in the attached 1986 speech, BETTER COPY REAGAN IT SPEECH , the problem with antidumping and countervailing duty cases is that they do not work. The Steel Industry has had protection from steel imports under US antidumping and countervailing duty laws for 40 years. Have the cases worked? Is the US Steel Industry prospering today?
All US antidumping and other trade cases can do is slow the decline in an industry. The only program that cures the disease is the TAA for Companies program and with the trade tsunami created by the TPP, this program will be needed to teach companies how to swim in the new competitive environment. That is why this program should be supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the upcoming votes in Congress. TAAF is better targeted and more effective than any other trade remedy available today.
TPA UPDATE—LATEST NEWS FROM THE HOUSE
On May 28th, it was reported that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives intends to bring up Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) the week of June 8th and will hold two separate votes on its constituent parts. The House is considering taking up the Senate-passed bill, H.R. 1314, which contains both the TPA and TAA renewals, but then vote on each part separately. This could be done using a parliamentary procedure called “division of the question,” which could be written into the rule governing House consideration of the legislation. This rule, however, would have to be approved on the House floor prior to the vote on the bill itself.
The reason for holding the TPA vote in the second week of June after the House returns from recess is to give both Republicans and Democrats time to increase support for TPA to ensure they have the 217 or more votes needed to pass the bill. It takes 217 votes, instead of 218 votes, to approve the bill because of two vacancies in the House. But there are indications that the vote could slip until the third week of June to provide supporters more time to gather the votes together.
Sources are stating that they expect between 40-55 Republican no votes, although the no votes could be much higher. With 245 Republicans in the House, the 40 to 55 range would require between 17-22 Democrats voting “yes” in order to get to the required 217 votes. Democratic Congressmen can provide more than 20 votes, possibly 25 or 27, given that 17 members of the caucus have already endorsed the TPA bill.
On May 27th, Washington State Democratic Congressman, Rick Larsen, came out in favor of TPA. In the announcement, Congressman Larsen stated:
“TPA is a cornerstone of the President’s trade agenda. It is the vehicle for Congress to set standards and goals for new trade agreements the President is seeking to finalize. I believe presidents should have the authority to negotiate trade agreements based on Congressional direction. The specifics of that direction are important, and they are laid out in the 2015 TPA bill.
“I have decided to support the 2015 TPA bill because trade matters for the Second Congressional District and for Washington State. Trade matters for manufacturers of all sizes in the Second Congressional District. Opening up new markets for our businesses to sell their goods and services is a key way to help them grow their operations and create jobs here at home. We have manufacturers of all sizes in my district that trade with other countries, supporting more than 68,320 jobs. That is a sizeable piece of our economy that we simply cannot ignore. Trade matters for these factories and workers.”
“Trade matters for a variety of industries in Washington State, from agriculture to electronics to tourism. In Washington State, about 40 percent of all jobs are tied to trade in some way, and the pay for these jobs is nearly 20 percent higher than the average annual wage. Our state exported more than $90 billion in goods and services in 2014, making us the largest exporting state per capita in the country.
“I agree with a comment Secretary John Kerry made during his recent visit to the Boeing factory in Renton. He said our state is a trade leader because we discovered a long time ago that it is in our best interest to do business with the world. Helping our state’s businesses sell their products in new markets worldwide means more growth, jobs and opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. . . .
A key factor in the Vote will be the positions of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Before bringing the Bill to a vote, however, TPA supporters in the House will want to make sure that they have a comfortable margin of votes beyond the required 217. Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has already agreed, that the House will consider TPA and TAA renewal on the same day as a customs and enforcement bill and legislation to renew several trade preference programs.
On May 27th, it was reported that Chairman Paul Ryan in a May 22nd letter to Senators Hatch and Wyden stated that he intended to seek to include in the House version of a customs and enforcement bill four amendments that failed to make it into the fast-track bill in the Senate. His commitment is part of an agreement with Hatch and Wyden to use the customs bill conference as a forum to resolve outstanding issues related to fast track and potentially other trade legislation, without requiring a conference on the fast-track bill itself.
The first change Ryan agreed to make is to include in the House customs bill the trade remedy law changes championed by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), which are pending in the House as H.R. 2523. Ryan, however, did not address how he wants to reconcile another key difference in the two customs bills, which is their provisions aimed at fighting the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties. In addition to Trade Remedy, Ryan indicated interest in including in the House customs bill amendments on human trafficking, immigration and US seafood exports.
US CHINA TRADE WAR NEWSLETTER MAY 27, 2015
Been very busy over the last two months on a number of different cases, but now I can now get back to the blog.
TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY (“TPA”) BILL PASSES THE SENATE AS FIGHT ON CAPITOL HILL CONTINUES
The major trade issue is Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
On May 22, 2015, after another close cloture vote, the TPA bill passed the Senate by a majority vote of 62 to 37 votes. The Short Title of the TPA Bill is the “Trade Act of 2015” and the long title is the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015”.
The action next switches to the House of Representatives, which will take up Trade Promotion Authority in June. The fight in the House will be even more difficult than the Senate because reportedly there is more opposition to TPA, but there are no requirements for a super majority in the House.
To see the debate on the Senate Floor, see http://www.c-span.org/video/?326202-2/us-senate-debate-trade-promotion-authority . Be prepared to move the video bar at the bottom of the screen to cycle through the trade arguments.
On May 21st in a close vote, 62-38 vote, with 60 votes required, the Senate agreed to cloture, to end debate, and to go to a final vote on the TPA bill. Two of the most important votes came from Democratic Senators Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington, who only agreed to vote to move the TPA bill forward after the Republicans agreed to a vote in June on the Ex-Im Bank, which is very important for the Boeing Company in Washington. Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, where Boeing is located, joined the Murray/Cantwell fight on the Senate Floor.
Attached is the revised TPA Bill with the Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) bill joined with it. TPA AS AMENDED MAY 22ND This combined bill happened as a result of a compromise after the Senate Democrats blocked the TPA bill on May 12th.
On May 22nd, another amendment on Currency Manipulation from Senators Wyden and Hatch was passed as a compromise. The attached Amendment Hatch-Wyden HANDWRITTEN AMENDMENT 1411 states as follows:
Foreign Currency Manipulation—The principal negotiating objective of the United States with respect to unfair currency practices is seek to establish accountability through enforceable rules, transparency, reporting, monitoring, cooperative mechanisms, or other means to address exchange rate manipulation involving protracted large scale intervention in one direction in the exchange markets and a persistently undervalued foreign exchange rate to gain an unfair competitive advantage in trade over other parties to a trade agreement consistent with existing obligations of the United States as a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.
On May 22, 2015, Senator Hatch made a very strong argument against the Currency Amendment proposed by Senators Stabenow and Portman, which requires enforceable provisions, stating that the President will veto the TPA bill and if passed could lead to international sanctions against the United States by international tribunals. See Testimony of Senators Wyden and Hatch at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326202-1/us-senate-debate-trade-promotion-authority&live . See part of the speech below.
One of the key arguments for TPA was made by Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida on the Senate Floor on May 22nd when he stated that a major reason for his vote was when the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Department of Defense come to Congress and unanimously told the Armed Forces Committee that the TPA and TPP are one of the most important issues for National Security in that area of the World. As Senator Nelson stated, “I believe that this Bill will pass.”
On May 12th, after the Democrats in the Senate blocked the TPA bill from coming to the floor by a vote of 52 to 45, the TAA bill was put together with the TPA bill and started to move again. The Grand Bargain between the Democrats and Republicans is that TAA will be joined to the TPA bill. Republican Senator Hatch on the floor stated several times that although he was personally opposed to TAA, he realized that his Democratic colleagues needed TAA to vote for TPA.
Four bills have been crafted to move together. They are the TPA bill, Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) for workers and companies, Customs and Trade Enforcement Bill, formerly The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“TFTEA”), and the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (“TPEA”). The TFTEA Bill passed the Senate on May 11, 2015 and the TPTEA Bill passed on May 14, 2015, but both bills now go to the House where there survival is questionable. Copies of those bills and Legislative History are attached. TRADE PREFERENCES ACT TPA LEGISLATIVE HISTORY SENATE FINANCE TPA AS AMENDED MAY 22ND TAA LEGISLATIVE HISTORY LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TRADE AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT BILL Hatch-Wyden HANDWRITTEN AMENDMENT 1411 CUSTOMS AND TRADE ENFORCEMENT BILL Preferences.Bill.fin
The key problem is the Customs TFTEA bill because Senators Brown and Portman have put in the bill a specific provision that currency manipulation can be considered a countervailable subsidy. That is a major problem for Republicans and also President Obama because a currency manipulation bill could be used to retaliate against US Exports because of the Federal Reserve Policy. Remember Quantitative Easing? Currency manipulation has not been defined and this is why Treasury Secretary Lew has been so cautious in going after China and other countries. All trade law is based on reciprocity and what the United States can do to one country, the other country can do back. President Obama has stated that if enforcement provisions regarding currency manipulation are tied to the TPA bill, he will veto the bill.
Also see speech by Senator Hatch at minute 40 at this link http://www.c-span.org/video/?325918-9/senators-mcconnell-reid-wyden-hatch-cornyn-trade-promotion-authority to get a better idea of what is going on. Senator Hatch described currency manipulation as “a killer amendment” to the TPA. See also Senator Hatch speech on the floor below.
Negotiations continued. See Paul Ryan’s response that the entire world is watching, including China http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000379026
The key point is not the Democrats opposed to TPA, but the pro-trade Democrats. After the TPA bill was blocked in the Senate on May 12th, Obama met with a group of pro-trade Democrats at the White House in an effort to secure their support. In addition to Senator Caper from Delaware, that group includes: Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and co-author of fast-track legislation.
That is an additional 9 votes, along with the two missing Republican votes. When the additional 11 votes are added, the TPA overcame the filibuster and passed the Senate. Now the TPA battle continues in the House.
This blog post will discuss brief various trade issues, including antidumping and customs, then discuss Trade Policy, including the TPA bill in detail, followed by sections on IP, Antitrust and Securities.
STEEL TRADE CASES ARE COMING
A number of companies have contacted me with questions about potential Steel trade antidumping and countervailing duty cases against various countries with a primary target being China. In discussions with a number of companies, the major steel targeted products are likely to be imports of cold rolled steel and galvanized steel from China and other countries and possibly hot rolled steel from other countries because Chinese hot rolled steel is already covered by antidumping and countervailing duty orders.
On March 26, 2015, the Congressional Steel Caucus held a major hearing on Capitol Hill on the State of the Steel Industry. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFUbn6lnNFM
The announcement for the hearing described it as follows:
Amidst the ongoing market turbulence in our domestic steel industry, the bi-partisan Congressional Steel Caucus will feature testimony from steel industry leaders, including several Pittsburgh-based experts. Earlier this month, U.S. Steel announced that its Keewatin, Minnesota facility would shut down operations as a result of the US market being flooded with low-cost imported foreign steel. Anticipated questions to be discussed include international trade practices, currency valuation; meeting steel market needs.
At the March 26th hearing the large US steel companies urged Congress to take action against “illegal trade practices” threatening the domestic steel industry. At the Steel Caucus hearing, U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi and Nucor Corp. Chairman, CEO and President John Ferriola and others stated that the US government has been too easy in confronting foreign companies over unfair trade practices.
Mario Longhi of US Steel stated:
“This nation’s safety, security and prosperity depend upon indigenous capacity to respond to our essential national needs, in peacetime and in times of crisis. [However], not since the late 1990s have we witnessed the torrent of steel imports. The last time we were at these levels, nearly half of American steel companies disappeared … American steel companies are being irreparably harmed by illegal trade practices.”
Longhi called for revised injury standards in the US antidumping and countervailing duty laws arguing that the ITC is too focused on operating profit margins. At the meeting Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio pledged to help the steel companies through his “The Leveling the Playing Field Act”.
That pledge resulted in the proposed changes to the US Antidumping and Countervailing Duty laws in the Customs Enforcement Bill formally entitled ‘‘Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015’’Act, which passed the Senate. That Bill is the one that includes the Currency Manipulation provision.
One provision in that Bill would change the way the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) does its injury investigations. Specifically the Bill proposes to add an additional provision to the Material Injury provision used by the ITC in antidumping and countervailing duty cases to provide:
“(J) EFFECT OF PROFITABILITY.—The Commission shall not determine that there is no material injury or threat of material injury to an industry in the United States merely because that industry is profitable or because the performance of that industry has recently improved.’’
In talking with one friend at the ITC, he did not believe that the change would have that much impact on an ITC investigation, but the passage of the law will have an impact.
With this much smoke in the air regarding Steel imports, that usually means fire will follow. I suspect we will see a number of trade cases against steel imports, probably at the end of June or early July.
When looking at Steel Trade problems one should understand that the US Steel Industry has had various amounts of trade protection from steel imports for close to 40 years. Presently there are outstanding antidumping and countervailing duty orders against the following steel imports from China: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar (“Rebar”), Oil Country Tubular Goods (“OCTG”), Hot Rolled Carbon Steel, Carbon Steel Plate, Carbon Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings, Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe, Light-Walled Rectangular Pipe and Tube, Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Line Pipe, Circular Welded Austentic Stainless Pressure Pipe, Steel Threaded Rod, Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand, Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe, Grain Oriented Electrical Steel, Non-Oriented Electrical Steel, and Prestressed Concrete Steel Rail Tie Wire.
Against China, it is easy to bring steel trade cases because Commerce does not use actual prices and costs in China to determine dumping. But when actual prices and costs are used against market economy countries, such as Korea, it is a much bigger problem.
When I was at the ITC in the 1980s, I was the Commission staff lawyer on the first Oil Country Tubular Goods (“OCTG”) case filed against Korea in 1984. When Commerce uses actual prices and costs against countries like Korea in antidumping cases, the companies can run computer programs and make sure that they are not dumping. Since the Korean companies know they will be targeted, they are certainly running computer programs to eliminate all dumping.
With 40 years of protection from steel imports, the question should be asked is Bethlehem Steel alive today? Did the Steel Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Cases actually protect the steel industry and allow them to grow and expand or simply delay their decline?
As advocated several times in prior posts on this blog, the only way to save companies injured by imports, such as the steel companies, is a robust trade adjustment assistance program to help the companies adjust to import competition. Antidumping and countervailing duty cases do not work. They only delay the decline because a US industry cannot put up walls to unstoppable waves of imports. Instead the US industry has to adjust and learn how to compete effectively in the US market against imports, which are often fairly traded.
COMMERCE RAISES BARRIERS TO CHINESE IMPORTS BY MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO GET SEPARATE RATES IN ANTIDUMPING CASES AGAINST CHINA
As stated in prior newsletters, as a result of an appeal in the Diamond Sawblades case, Commerce has raised the bar for Chinese companies to obtain their own antidumping rates by proving that they are independent of government control. The issue is especially significant for Chinese companies, which are owned in whole or in part, by the PRC State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).
In the Diamond Sawblades redetermination, Commerce determined that it had “further scrutinized the record” and concluded that, because the 100 percent SASAC owned majority shareholder was the only shareholder with the right to nominate all board members, including board members active in the selection of respondent’s managers, the company was not independent from the Chinese government.
Even though there was no evidence that export prices had been affected, in an investigation involving carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from the PRC, Commerce stated that, in light of the Diamond Sawblades case, it has “concluded that where a government entity holds a majority ownership share, either directly or indirectly, in the respondent exporter, the majority ownership holding in and of itself means that the government exercises or has the potential to exercise control over the exporter’s operations generally. … Consistent with normal business practices, we would expect any majority shareholder, including a government, to have the ability to control and an interest in controlling, the operations of the company, including the selection of management and the profitability of the company.”
Meanwhile, until recently Chinese respondent companies were given 60 days from the date of Commerce initiation of an investigation or review to submit a separate rate application (“SRA”) to show that it is independent and separate from the Chinese government. Commerce has now reduced the time period to submit the SRA to 30 days and eliminated the option for early filing that previously provided NME companies with the opportunity to clarify an application Commerce deems insufficient.
COURT OF APPEALS RULES AGAINST CHINA IN GPX CASE
On March 16, 2015, in the attached GPX International Tire Corp. and Hebei Starbright Tire Co. vs. United States, GPX CAFC DECISION the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) turned away the second constitutional challenge to the 2012 amendment to the Countervailing Duty law affirming the U.S. Department of Commerce’s ability to apply countervailing duties on imports from nonmarket economies like China. The CAFC held that the Amendment did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause even though it applied the duties retroactively.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY LAW IN CUSTOMS TRADE ENFORCEMENT BILL
Accompanying the Trade Promotion Authority Bill is the attached Customs Enforcement Bill, the ‘‘Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015,” and its legislative history which includes minor changes to the antidumping and countervailing law and significant changes to the US Customs law to stop evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty law. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TRADE AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT BILL CUSTOMS AND TRADE ENFORCEMENT BILL
Although the bill has passed the Senate, there is a substantial question whether the House of Representatives will agree. One House aide expressed confidence that the provision would eventually become law. But Congressional and business sources have pointed out the possibility that the customs bill was merely a tool that Senate Finance leaders used to funnel amendments away from Trade Promotion Authority and other bills, and that it will never become law.
This is in part because there are key differences between the House and Senate bills, meaning the Senate and House will go to conference to negotiate a comprimise bill. Among these differences in the Customs/Trade bills are the ways the two bills address the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties, and the inclusion in the Senate bill of changes to trade remedy law that make it easier for petitioners to secure the affirmative determination necessary for duties to be imposed. On April 29th, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told reporters that he hoped the customs bill would become law, but did not provide strong assurances.
But on May 20, 2015, Senator Ron Wyden stated on the floor of the Senate that Chairman Paul Ryan has already agreed that there will be a conference committee on the Customs Enforcement Bill so a bill will pass both the Senate and the House, but what is that final bill after conference committee is still an open issue.
One key provision in the Customs and Trade Enforcement bill, however, would make currency manipulation a countervailable subsidy. Chairman Hatch has already stated on the Senate Floor if that provision is in the TPA bill it would not pass the House and would be vetoed by President Obama. If it passes the Senate, that provision will be thrown out by the House at the Conference Committee so the situation regarding this Customs and Trade Enforcement Bill is still very fluid and not settled yet in the Congress.
AMERICAN LAWYER ARTICLE ABOUT US TRADE ACTIONS AGAINST CHINA
On March 12, 2015, the American Lawyer published the attached article on The U.S. Offensive in the China Trade War, which quotes me extensively. BETTER COPY The U.S. Offensive in the China Trade War _ The American Lawyer
STAINLESS STEEL SINKS
On April 30, 2015, the Commerce Department published the attached preliminary determination in the Stainless Steel Sinks case with dumping margins ranging from 0.81 to 5.55 %. DOC STEEL SINKS PRELIM Specifically the rates ranged from 0.81% for Guangdong Dongyuan Kitchenware Industrial Co., Ltd. to 5.55% for Guangdong Yingao Kitchen Utensils Co. with separate rates companies obtaining 2.14%.
The final determination will be in October. Attached is the Federal Register notice initiating the second antidumping and countervailing duty review investigations in the Stainless Steel Sinks case covering Chinese sinks imported during the antidumping review period April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015 and 2014, the countervailing duty review period. MAY INITIATIONS COMMERCE REVIEWS
BOLTLESS STEEL SHELVING
On March 25, 2015, in the attached factsheet, factsheet-prc-boltless-steel-shelving-ad-prelim-032515 the Commerce Department announced an affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping (AD) case on Boltless Steel Shelving Units from China. Commerce found preliminary antidumping rates ranging from 22.64 percent to 112.68 percent.
ITC GOES NEGATIVE NO INJURY IN 53 FOOT DRY CONTAINERS ANTIDUMPING CASE AGAINST CHINA
On May 19, 2015, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that the establishment of a U.S. industry is not materially retarded by reason of imports of 53-foot domestic dry containers from China that Commerce determined are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value. As a result of the ITC negative determinations no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued on imports of these products from China.
COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE RULES FOR CHINA IN TAISHAN KAM KIU AND SINCE HARDWARE CASES
In the attached two determinations, Since Hardware v. United States and Taishan Kam Kiu v. United States, SINCE HARDWARE TAISHAN CITY KAM KIU the Court of International Trade remanded the Ironing Tables and Aluminum Extrusions antidumping and countervailing duty determinations back to Commerce.
SOLAR PRODUCTS ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY ORDERS
On February 18, 2015, the attached final antidumping and countervailing duty orders in the Solar Products cases from China and Taiwan were issued. SOLAR PRODUCTS TAIWAN AD ORDER AD CVD ORDERS SOLAR PRODUCTS CHINA
MAY ANTIDUMPING ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS
On May 1, 2015, Commerce published the attached Federal Register notice, regarding antidumping and countervailing duty cases for which reviews can be requested in the month of May. MAY REVIEWS The specific antidumping cases against China are: Aluminum Extrusions, Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Line Pipe, Citric Acid and Citrate Salt, Iron Construction Castings, Oil Country Tubular Goods, Pure Magnesium, and Stilbenic Optical Brightening Agents. The specific countervailing duty cases are: Aluminum Extrusions, Citric Acid and Citrate Salt, and Wind Towers.
For those US import companies that imported Aluminum Extrusions, Circular Steel Line Pipe, Citric Acid, Iron Construction Castings, Oil Country Tubular Goods, and Pure Magnesium and the other products listed above from China during the antidumping period May 1, 2014-April 30, 2015 or during the countervailing duty review period of 2014 or if this is the First Review Investigation, for imports imported after the Commerce Department preliminary determinations in the initial investigation, the end of this month is a very important deadline. Requests have to be filed at the Commerce Department by the Chinese suppliers, the US importers and US industry by the end of this month to participate in the administrative review.
This is a very important month for US importers because administrative reviews determine how much US importers actually owe in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty cases. Generally, the US industry will request a review of all Chinese companies. If a Chinese company does not respond in the Commerce Department’s Administrative Review, its antidumping and countervailing duty rate could well go to the highest level and for certain imports the US importer will be retroactively liable for the difference plus interest.
In my experience, many US importers do not realize the significance of the administrative review investigations. They think the antidumping and countervailing duty case is over because the initial investigation is over. Many importers are blindsided because their Chinese supplier did not respond in the administrative review, and the US importers find themselves liable for millions of dollars in retroactive liability. In the Shrimp from China antidumping case, for example, almost 100 Chinese exporters were denied a separate antidumping rate.
Attached is the May 26th Federal Register notice initiating antidumping and countervailing duty review investigations against steel sinks, activated carbon, magnesium metal and steel threaded rod for imports during the period April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015. MAY INITIATIONS COMMERCE REVIEWS
IMPORT ALLIANCE FOR AMERICA
This is also why the Import Alliance for America is so important for US importers, US end user companies and also Chinese companies. The real targets of antidumping and countervailing duty laws are not Chinese companies. The real targets are US companies, which import products into the United States from China.
As mentioned in prior newsletters, we are working with APCO, a well-known lobbying/government relations firm in Washington DC, on establishing a US importers/end users lobbying coalition to lobby against the expansion of US China Trade War and the antidumping and countervailing duty laws against China for the benefit of US companies.
On September 18, 2013, ten US Importers agreed to form the Import Alliance for America. The objective of the Coalition will be to educate the US Congress and Administration on the damaging effects of the US China trade war, especially US antidumping and countervailing duty laws, on US importers and US downstream industries.
See the Import Alliance website at http://www.importallianceforamerica.com.
We will be targeting two major issues—working for market economy treatment for China in 2016 as provided in the US China WTO Agreement for the benefit of importers and working against retroactive liability for US importers. The United States is the only country that has retroactive liability for its importers in antidumping and countervailing duty cases.
We are now in the process of trying to gather importers to meet with various Congressional trade staff as soon as possible to discuss these issues. If you are interested, please contact the Import Alliance through its website or myself directly.
TRADE POLITICS AND TRADE AGREEMENTS
TRADE NEGOTIATIONS—TPA, TPP, TTIP/TA AND BALI/DOHA ROUND
TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY (“TPA”) BATTLE IN THE SENATE
As stated above, with the passage of the TPA Bill at 9PM at night on May 22nd, the TPA battle moves to the House of Representatives. This section of the newsletter will provide more background on the TPA bill and the pressure on both the Senate and the House as the bill moves through Congress.
During the Senate debate, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah spoke against the enforcement provisions of the proposed currency manipulation amendment to the TPA bill because it will “kill” TPA. Instead, the Senate TPA bill would make currency manipulation a major negotiating objective.
But Democrats want more. They want enforcement actions against currency manipulation. But Senator Hatch is concerned that such a provision could be used against the United States.
Other Senators are worried about possible changes to US immigration laws, environmental and labor issues. USTR has been told in no uncertain terms that touching immigration is a third rail for trade policy, and USTR has stated during Hearings on Capitol Hill that there is nothing that would “change laws and regulations with respect to immigration,”
Although TPA passed the Senate, the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives is far more uncertain. Paul Ryan, however, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, has pledged to take the TPA bill across the Finish Line so his credibility is riding on the bill. That means the TPA bill should pass in the House, probably in June.
To summarize the situation, as mentioned in past newsletters, in the trade world, the most important developments may be the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic (TA)/ the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP negotiations and the WTO. The TPP is a free trade agreement being negotiated by officials from the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These trade negotiations could have a major impact on China trade, as trade issues become a focal point in Congress and certain Senators and Congressmen become more and more protectionist.
This has been a problem because the protectionism is coming from the Democratic side of the aisle. Democratic Senators and Congressmen are supported by labor unions. Although Democratic Congressmen have expressed interest in the TPP, to date, President Obama could not get one Democratic Congressman in the House of Representatives to openly co-sponsor Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) in Congress. Without bipartisan/Democratic support for these Trade Agreements, Republicans will not go out on a limb to support President Obama and risk being shot at by the Democrats as soft on trade.
As mentioned in prior blog posts, on January 29, 2014, the day after President Obama pushed the TPA in his State of the Union speech in Congress, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid stated that the TPA bill would not be introduced on the Senate Floor.
But then came the November 4th Republican wave election changing Trade Politics dramatically in Washington DC. Elections have consequences and in 2015 Republicans have taken the Senate and increased their numbers in House. The TPA Bill has now passed the Senate. The Title of the Bill is the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which is posted above. The short tile of the bill is the Trade Act of 2015. The bill has been revised on the Senate Floor to add Trade Adjustment Assistance and a currency amendment, which are set forth above.
There are changes in the bill as compared to original 2014 Bill to increase transparency, but the major objective of the two bills is the same. The TPA bill gives the Administration, USTR and the President, Trade Promotion Authority or Fast Track Authority so that if and when USTR negotiates a trade deal in the TPP or the Trans-Atlantic negotiations, the Agreement will get an up or down vote in the US Congress with no amendments.
Under the US Constitution, Congress, not the President has the power to regulate trade with foreign countries. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, of the Constitution empowers Congress “to regulate Commerce with foreign nations.” Thus to negotiate a trade agreement, the Congress gives the Executive Branch, the Administration/The President and United States Trade Representative (“USTR”), the Power to negotiate trade deals.
Because trade deals are negotiated with the foreign countries, the only way to make the system work is that under the TPA law when the Trade Agreement is negotiated, the Congress will agree to have an up or down vote on the entire Agreement and no amendments to the Agreement that has already been negotiated will be allowed.
One should understand that 90% of the negotiations of these Agreements are not conducted by political appointees of President Obama. Other than United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, who is respected by both Democrats and Republicans, most of the negotiators have been at the Office of USTR for years, if not decades, and are truly professional trade negotiators. So TPA does not truly cede power to President Obama. In fact, there will be substantial oversight of the trade negotiations by Congress.
Since my last blog post in mid-February, many groups, including 35 religious groups, labor unions, environmental and consumer advocacy organizations, complained that the Trade Negotiations are too secret and not subject to public scrutiny. At the same time, President Obama and the Administration have put on a full court press to pass the TPA. As early as February 23, 2015, President Barack Obama used his national weekend address to repeat his call on Congress to give him Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), arguing that “95 percent of the world’s potential customers” live outside the U.S.:
“Many of them live in the Asia-Pacific — the world’s fastest-growing region. And as we speak, China is trying to write the rules for trade in the 21st century. That would put our workers and our businesses at a massive disadvantage. We can’t let that happen. We should write those rules. That’s why Congress should act on something called ‘trade promotion authority.”
“This is bipartisan legislation that would protect American workers, and promote American businesses, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but are fair. It would level the playing field for American workers. It would hold all countries to the same high labor and environmental standards to which we hold ourselves.”
On March 11, 2015, the AFL-CIO upped the cost to Democrats of supporting the TPA legislation and the TPP deal, stating that it would freeze all political action committee donations to federal candidates until further notice. While Paul Ryan and President Obama were talking up TPA, on March 18, 2015 AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka vowed to kill the “rotten”. As Trumka stated:
“Every single thing in our trade deals should be openly discussed and subject to public oversight and the full legislative process. There should be no question about that. Fast track is wrong and undemocratic, it’s a rotten process, and the American labor movement intends to kill it.”
In response to the Congressional criticism on transparency, on March 19, 2015 the Obama Administration announced new measures to provide lawmakers and their staff members the opportunity to review the TPP negotiating text. USTR set forth several changes to the USTR’s policies, the most important being placing the TPP text in the Capitol for members to view at their leisure without an administration official in attendance. Congressional members are also allowed to review the text with a personal staff member with security clearance.
Complaints, however, about access to the details of trade negotiating texts grew louder because the massive TPP deal would encompass 40 percent of global commerce. On March 26, 2015, it was reported that the protracted standoff between Wyden and Hatch centered around this very issue, transparency and oversight, with Wyden pushing for language that would make it easier for Congress to essentially “turn off” fast track with a resolution of disapproval if the negotiating standards are not met.
On March 25th, Wikileaks released a draft treaty of the TPP from the Investment Group, which led to a strong debate on Investor Arbitration Panels. This led to Senator Warren introducing an amendment to do away with investment panels, which was defeated on May 22nd, prior to the vote on the TPA. Public Citizen argued that the Investor State Dispute Settlement (“ISDS”) system provides foreign investors with more rights than those given to domestic firms and that the mechanism stands as an affront to a government’s right to regulate in the public’s interest.
On the other side, the National Association of Manufacturers praised the text and stated that the U.S. approach to investment talks has been a matter of public record for three years. As the NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey stated:
“The investment provisions of our trade agreements, which are backed up by the neutral and well respected ISDS dispute settlement mechanism, are an important tool particularly for small and medium-size businesses that have been the most prevalent users of the ISDS dispute settlement mechanism.”
On March 26, 2016, Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, called for a “full-court press” on TPA, TPP, TTIP because expanding and deepening trade relationships provides stronger national security, stating:
“We also need Congress’ support for some of the most important investments we can make in our future prosperity—new trade agreements, including Trade Promotion Authority for the President. We must be allowed to clinch new and historic trade agreements spanning from Europe to Asia.
I offer this as a Secretary of Defense, convinced that a full-court press to strengthen our nation’s trade relationships will reinforce our nation’s security—while neglecting them could undercut it.
The arithmetic is straightforward.
We know that 95% of the world’s customers live beyond our borders, and the spending power of middle-class consumers in today’s emerging markets is expected to increase by 20 trillion dollars over the next decade. . . . And this trend will continue as Asia’s 570 million-strong middle class grows to about 2.7 billion consumers over the next 15 years. . . .
The bottom line is that, as global trade intensifies, we need to be both at the helm, and in the thick of it. Three years ago, trade accounted for about a third of global GDP. In a decade, it could approach half of global GDP. America’s economy, and our security that depends on it, cannot afford to be left behind. . . .
Shared growth generates magnetism: attracting new partners from around the region. While far from a guarantee, strong trade patterns also help build trust and raise the cost of conflict, while assuring our allies and partners of our long-term commitment to a shared and interdependent future…something that Secretary and General Marshall clearly understood.”
On March 26, 2015, former Republican and Democratic Commerce Secretaries, including Pete Peterson, Frederick Dent, Barbara Franklin, Mickey Kantor, William Daley, Norman Mineta, Donald Evans, Carlos Gutierrez, Gary Locke and John Bryson, urged Congress to pass the TPA Bill, but also argued that anti-currency manipulation should not be tied to trade deals.
On March 31, 2015, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Tuesday mounted a strong defense of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, blasting the system’s critics as “doomsayers” attempting to thwart the U.S. trade agenda with hyperbolic arguments, stating:
“The way [the critics] tell it, ISDS panels are corporate shills that gut public-safety regulations and undermine U.S. sovereignty. The truth is, there are few better tools for holding other countries accountable to the agreements they make — especially when they harm American job creators.”
Calling ISDS “one of the more mundane procedures of trade law,” Ryan stated that there is some version of the mechanism on the books in more than 3,000 trade and investment agreements around the globe, 90 percent of which have never even seen an investor dispute arise. Ryan also stated an ISDS panel does not have the power to change a country’s laws and can only fault the application of a given law.
On April 6, 2015, Defense Secretary Carter warned that “time’s running out” for the TPP deal. Failing to pass the proposed trade deal would cause the U.S. to “take ourselves out of the game”:
You may not expect to hear this from a Secretary of Defense, but in terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier. It would deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and underscore our lasting commitment to the Asia-Pacific. And it would help us promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values.”
On April 6, 2015, a bipartisan coalition of 76 U.S. Congress members in a letter to Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urged the Obama administration to ensure that the final deal opens new doors for the dairy industry, particularly in Canada and Japan.
On April 16, 2015, Senators Hatch and Wyden introduced the final bipartisan TPA Bill, the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015”.
The 2015 TPA bill creates a new “transparency officer” in the USTR and establishes House and Senate advisory groups to oversee ongoing negotiations. Under the 2015 TPA bill, the Administration would also be required to make finalized trade deals available to the public for 60 days before Presidential signature and up to four months before a Congressional vote. If the deal does not meet Congressional objectives, a 60-vote majority in the Senate would strip the deal of fast-track protection and allow amendments.
But critics continued to attack the bill with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stating:
“We can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs,” That’s why Congress must reject Fast Track and maintain its constitutional authority and leverage to improve the TPP and other trade deals.”
On April 16th, USTR Froman made clear that the Trans Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) did not contain any changes to the US immigration system, telling lawmakers that no such modifications would be made, even though other nations involved in the negotiations are making temporary entry deals.
Although critics attacked the new TPA bill, American Agriculture Associations praised the new bill with one magazine reporting:
“Pork, corn, dairy, wheat—you name it—the American agriculture industry is standing firmly behind a new bipartisan trade promotion authority bill introduced last week.”
The Agriculture Associations supporting the bill include the American Farm Bureau, The National Association of Wheat Growers, The National Chicken Council, The National Pork Producers Council, The American Feed Industry Association, The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, The Corn Refiners Association, the Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, and the USA Rice Federation.
On April 20, 2015, House Ways and Means released an e-mail stating:
TPA: Good for the Farm and Ranch
Support for TPA is strong among the American agriculture industry. Industry after industry has talked about how breaking down trade barriers is critical to selling more U.S. grown and raised food abroad. But the industry also supports TPA because of the important negotiating objectives that it lays out. These guidelines help ensure that the administration is making progress on issues important to American agriculture, like directing it to:
Obtain Enforceable SPS-Plus Rules: Directs the Administration to obtain robust and enforceable rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and require the use of science based standards.
End Improper Use of Geographical Indications: Seeks elimination of the improper use of GIs, including registration of generic terms, which undermine market access for U.S. products.
Maintain Domestic Protections: Ensures that countries may protect human, animal, or plant life or health, consistent with international obligations.
Address Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers: Instructs USTR to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as subsidies that decrease market opportunities for U.S. exports.
Preserve Family Farm Supports: Includes provisions seeking preservation of family farms and rural communities.
Facilitate Import Relief: Ensures that import relief mechanisms for perishable and cyclical products are accessible and timely.
Assess Compliance with Existing Obligations: Requires USTR to evaluate whether countries have made meaningful agriculture commitments in the WTO and whether they are living up to their commitments in the WTO and under other trade agreements.
Ensure Special Consultations on Import-Sensitive Products: Takes into account the effect of trade agreements and negotiations on import-sensitive products, and requires additional Congressional consultations on such products.
Make Tariff-Rate Quota (TRQ) Administration Transparent: Ensures transparency in the administration of TRQ programs.
On April 21, 2015, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senate Finance Chairman, called arguments by Democratic Senators that Republicans were trying to ram the Bill through the Committee “nonsense”:
“This is well-covered territory for this committee. So, while I understand and respect that there are sincerely held views on this topic, some of which are different than mine, any arguments that we’ve been less than forthcoming and transparent with this TPA legislation are, not to put too fine a point on it, nonsense.”
Hatch further stated that the Finance Committee convened nine total trade hearings during the last session of Congress and has already held three such hearings in the 2015 session. Hatch also stated that the new TPA bill closely mirrors the bipartisan TPA legislation introduced in 2014 stating:
“True enough, in our discussions, Sen. Wyden, Chairman Ryan and I made some improvements to that original bill. But, the fundamentals remain the same, and we’ve been very transparent as to what the changes have been.”
On April 21, 2015 the American Textile Industry endorsed the TPA. The National Council of Textile Organizations announced, “We are pleased to lend our support to this renewal of Trade Promotion Authority.” The Council specifically stated that the US government supports a balanced outcome, including the yarn-forward rule of origin, which requires that the yarn production and all operations forward occur in either the United States or the territory of our trading partner.
On April 22, 2015, the TPA bill cleared the Senate Finance Committee and proceeded to a fight on Senate floor. Senator Ron Wyden, ranking Democratic Member, showing a profile in courage, led the negotiations with Paul Ryan in the House, and stated after the passage of the TPA Bill in the Committee:
“The U.S. is going to aim higher in trade deals, our enforcement will be much tougher, and the process of negotiating and voting on agreements will be more transparent and more democratic. This legislation will safeguard American sovereignty and promote American values. Congress will be sending U.S. trade policy in a more progressive direction than it ever has before.”
On April 23, 2015, President Obama stated that TPP will correct the shortcomings of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) because TPP would put in place tough labor and environmental standards that NAFTA did not. TPP would also contain provisions fighting illegal wildlife trafficking and logging, and protecting oceans and against overfishing. Additionally, it would ensure an open Internet, protect consumers from fraud and deception, require anti-corruption and transparency measures and simplify export rules for small businesses. As President Obama stated,
“Trade has always been tough, and it’s always been tough especially in the Democratic Party. A lot of people are skeptical of trade deals, and a lot of times it’s for good reason. For decades now, technology made good jobs obsolete, global competition meant jobs were being shipped overseas, past trade deals didn’t always live up to the hype.
“[But] we’re not going to stop a global economy at our shores. That’s the wrong lesson to draw. We can’t go back to the past.”
Meanwhile, on April 23, 2015, the TPA bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee with Chairman Paul Ryan stating:
“We have a unique opportunity to write the rules of these trade deals to tear down those barriers and open markets for American products. TPA will increase our bargaining power so we get the most effective trade deals possible — so we tear down more trade barriers and create more opportunity right here in America.”
In the Ways and Means Committee, Democrats were unable to amend the TPA’s language on foreign currency manipulation to enact enforceable rules that would punish trading partners for manipulating their currency to gain a competitive advantage.
On April 27, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee announced that the High Tech Industry Backs TPA:
“There’s no doubt about it: The tech industry is going big for the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. . . .These are America’s moviemakers, software developers, and computer manufacturers—the people who drive American innovation. They understand that promoting American trade requires protecting American intellectual property. That’s the only way to keep our competitive edge in the 21st century. And that’s exactly what TPA will do.
TPA lays out almost 150 negotiating objectives for the administration to pursue in trade deals. Among them is to “ensure that governments refrain from implementing trade-related measures that impede digital trade in goods and services, restrict cross-border data flows, or require local storage or processing of data.” . . . .
Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith echoed this sentiment:
“Passage of renewed TPA, with its updated objectives for digital trade, is critical for America to be able to pursue its interests. And passage is important for Microsoft and our network of more than 400,000 partners, the majority of which are small businesses, to compete in the global economy.”
On April 27, 2015, House Ways and Means announced that more Conservative organizations are speaking out in favor of TPA, stating in part:
“Just last week, Americans for Tax Reform and 19 other conservative groups signed a letter in support of TPA. . . . The American Conservative Union, Citizens for Limited Taxation, Americans for Job Security, the National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute—all voiced their support for expanding American trade.
The editors at Investor’s Business Daily echo this argument:
[TPP] also would reinforce the American presence on the Pacific Rim through economic strengthening, offsetting at least to some extent President Obama’s deep naval defense cuts.
But the main thing is, for every party involved, it would contribute to decades of prosperity and economic growth, as study after study on the impact of free trade agreements has found.”
On April 27, 2015, from a Ways and Means Press Release, Paul Ryan in a radio address, on the show Morning in America, made the case for TPA, stating:
“The reason we need trade agreements with other countries is twofold.
Ninety six percent of the world’s consumers live in other countries; they don’t live in our country. And if we want to have a mature economy where we have more jobs, higher-paying jobs, we have to make and grow more things in America and sell them overseas so we can keep full employment—you know, more people working. So we have to open [markets] to our products. That’s point number one.
“Point number two is all these other countries are going around getting trade agreements for their countries that are better, that give them more access to these foreign markets. And, as a result, Americans don’t get access to those markets, which means we face higher barriers and we can’t sell our products to other markets. China is a perfect example. They’re running around the world right now trying to get better trade agreements to meet China’s needs, to run by China’s rules. And so, right now what’s happening in this global economy is the rules of the global economy are being written, and the question for us is: ‘Who writes those rules?’ Is it China writing those rules, for China’s benefit? Or are we going to write the rules, for our benefit?”
On holding the administration accountable:
“Trade promotion authority is done in a way this time very differently than others because of our mistrust of the executive. So, we tell the executive—meaning, in this case, Obama—and the next president: Here’s what you need to put in a trade agreement, here’s how you go about getting it. You have to be transparent. Members of Congress have to see it. The public has to see these agreements before they’re signed to. And Congress reserves the power to veto it. Congress gets the final say. Congress has to approve it. And if the president doesn’t put together the kind of trade agreement, the process we spell out, then we can say: ‘You didn’t do it the right way.’ And we can revoke trade promotion authority and that trade agreement. So, we’re putting sort of a belts-and suspenders approach to making Congress, the legislative branch, in charge of this so that the executive cannot go beyond his reach.”
On leveling the playing field for American workers and job creators:
“[W]e think we have done this in the right way, and the president has to go out and get the right kind of an agreement. We want to open our dairy markets. We want to open our agriculture markets, our manufacturing. Here’s the deal . … We already give these countries—in this particular case I’m talking about Asia, non-China Asian countries—we already give them pretty good access to our country. Just walk into Wal-Mart or Farm & Fleet or wherever you go, and you’ll see a bunch of goods made in Asian countries. The problem is they don’t give us the same kind of access to their markets. So what we’re trying to get here is the same kind of access to their markets that they have to ours and to give us zero tariffs.”
In response to the TPA movement, however, on April 28th, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka repeated labor’s stance against TPA, TPP and all free trade agreements:
“All across the country, workers are leading a fierce and broad social movement to defeat fast track. We are rebelling against corporate-written free trade agreements — and we are succeeding.”
The labor movement opposes fast-track. We expect those who seek to lead our nation forward to oppose fast-track. There is no middle ground … [and] in the 2016 campaign, there will be no place to hide for those who aspire to lead America.”
On April 30th Paul Ryan issued another press release from the House Ways and Means Committee stating that the way to hold President Obama accountable is TPA:
The bottom line is, TPA will make the trade negotiations much more transparent and hold the president accountable. Here are the top eight ways TPA will empower Congress:
- Read the negotiating text
Right now, nothing requires the administration to allow a member of Congress to read the negotiating text of an agreement. But under TPA, every member will be able to read the text of the agreement all throughout the talks.
- Receive up-to-date briefings
Sometimes, reading the text isn’t enough. A member of Congress wants to know where the talks are headed. TPA will require the U.S. trade representative’s (USTR) office to brief any member who asks on the status of the negotiations.
- Attend negotiating rounds
If that’s not enough, how about actually attending the talks? Under TPA, any interested member will be able to become a “congressional adviser” to U.S. negotiators. All designated congressional advisers will be able to attend negotiating rounds.
- Consult with negotiators
TPA will also create House and Senate Advisory Groups on Negotiations to oversee the talks and receive regular briefings, according to a fixed timetable. Any member will be able to submit his or her views to the group.
- Provide public summaries
Right now, there’s little public information about how an agreement is shaping up. TPA will require USTR to post up-to-date summaries of each chapter of the agreement so people can see what’s up.
- Create a new transparency officer
TPA will create a chief transparency officer at USTR that will consult with Congress and the public on transparency policies.
- Make the text public
The ultimate judge is the American people, so they should be able to read the text themselves. For the first time ever, TPA will codify in law the public’s right to review the agreement before the President puts his signature on it. TPA will require the administration to publish the text of a completed trade agreement at least 60 days before agreeing to it. That’s even before Congress considers a vote.
- Tell Congress how he will implement the agreement
Finally, at least 30 days before Congress considers the final bill, the president must tell Congress how he intends to enact the agreement if Congress passes the implementing bill.
All of these tools will shed greater light on the negotiations. We need them to get the most effective trade deals possible. We need them to hold the president accountable. And that’s why we need to establish TPA.
Meanwhile on May 5, 2015, Senator Harry Reed announced that he would convince his fellow Democrats to hold off on a TPA vote until the passage of highway infrastructure funding and surveillance legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, rejected the Reid motion and pushed on.
On May 6, 2015, a Press Release from the House Ways and Means Committee stated:
Opponents of free trade agreements are raising a stink about transparency in trade negotiations. But the truth is, if they really want to shed light on the negotiations, the best thing they can do is pass trade promotion authority (TPA). . . .
Most notably, TPA requires the president to make public the text of a trade agreement at least 60 days before he finalizes it. And at least 30 days before he submits an implementing bill to Congress, the president must send the final legal text of the agreement and a description of how he proposes to implement the agreement. So long before the agreement comes up for a vote, the American people will have plenty of time to read and debate it. . . .
So, question: How can we make trade negotiations more transparent?
Answer: Pass TPA.
On May 8th, a bipartisan collection of former US defense secretaries, including Harold Brown, William S. Cohen, Robert M. Gates, Chuck Hagel, Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, Donald H. Rumsfeld along with well-known Generals, such as General David H. Petraeus and General Colin Powell, called for passage of TPA, stating:
We write to express our strongest possible support for the enactment of Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which is critical to the successful conclusion of two vital trade agreements: the . . . TPP . . . and the TTIP.
While the economic benefits of both these agreements would be substantial, as former Secretaries of Defense and military leaders we believe there is an equally compelling strategic rationale for TPP and TTIP.
First and foremost, the conclusion of these agreements would be a powerful symbol of continued U.S. leadership and engagement globally. They would reinforce relationships with important allies and partners in critical regions of the world. By binding us closer together with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia, among others, TPP would strengthen existing and emerging security relationships in the Asia-Pacific, and reassure the region of America’s long-term staying power. In Europe, TTIP would reinvigorate the transatlantic partnership and send an equally strong signal about the commitment of the United States to our European allies.
The successful conclusion of TPP and TTIP would also draw in other nations and encourage them to undertake political and economic reforms. The result will be deeper regional economic integration, increased political cooperation, and ultimately greater stability in the two regions of the world that will have the greatest long-term impact on U.S. prosperity and security.
Indeed, TPP in particular will shape an economic dynamic over the next several decades that will link the United States with one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic regions. If, however, we fail to move forward with TPP, Asian economies will almost certainly develop along a China-centric model. In fact, China is already pursuing an alternative regional free trade initiative. TPP, combined with T-TIP, would allow the United States and our closest allies to help shape the rules and standards for global trade.
The stakes are clear. There are tremendous strategic benefits to TPP and TTIP, and there would be harmful strategic consequences if we fail to secure these agreements. In both Asia-Pacific and the Atlantic, our allies and partners would question our commitments, doubt our resolve, and inevitably look to other partners. America’s prestige, influence, and leadership are on the line. With TPP originating in the Bush administration, these agreements are fundamentally bipartisan in nature and squarely in our national security interest. It is vitally important that we seize the new strategic opportunities these agreements offer our nation.
Despite criticism from fellow Democrats, on May 8, 2015, President Obama responded to the Democratic critics of the TPA bill at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon, home state for Senator Ron Wyden, stating:
“Vietnam would actually for the first time have to raise its labor standards. It would have to set a minimum wage. It would have to pass safe workplace laws to protect its workers. It would even have to protect workers’ freedom to form unions for the very first time. That would make a difference.”
On May 22, 2015, just prior to the passage of the TPA, on the Senate Floor Senator Orrin Hatch, in the attached speech, HATCH SPEECH ON CURRENCY MANIPULATION responded to the attempt to amend the TPA bill and add the Currency Amendment of Senators Portman and Stabenow. Senator Hatch stated in part:
Mr. President, I want to take some time today to talk about proposals to include a currency manipulation negotiating objective in trade negotiations and the impact this issue is having on the debate over renewing Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.
Currency manipulation has, for many, become the primary issue in the TPA debate. . . .However, I want to be as plain as I can be on this issue: While currency manipulation is an important issue, it is inappropriate and counterproductive to try to solve this problem solely through free trade agreements.
Nonetheless, I do not believe we should ignore currency manipulation, which is why, for the very first time, our TPA bill would elevate currency practices to a principal negotiation objective. This is important. It means that, if the administration fails to make progress in achieving this or any other objectives laid out in the bill, then the relevant trade agreement is subject to a procedural disapproval resolution . . . .
Of course, I understand that a number of my colleagues want to see more prescriptive language, which would limit the range of tools available and require that trade sanctions be used to keep monetary policies in line. . . .
But, first, I think we need to step back and take a look at the big picture. I think I can boil this very complicated issue down to a single point: The Portman-Stabenow Amendment will kill TPA.
I’m not just saying that, Mr. President. It is, at this point, a verifiable fact.
Yesterday, I received a letter from Treasury Secretary Lew outlining the Obama Administration’s opposition to this amendment. The letter addresses a number of issues, some which I’ll discuss later. But, most importantly, at the end of the letter, Secretary Lew stated very plainly that he would recommend that the President veto a TPA bill that included this amendment.
That’s pretty clear, Mr. President. It doesn’t leave much room for interpretation or speculation. No TPA bill that contains the language of the Portman-Stabenow Amendment stands a chance of becoming law. . . .
at this point, it is difficult – very difficult, in fact – for anyone in this chamber to claim that they support TPA and still vote in favor of the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. The two, as of yesterday, have officially become mutually exclusive. . . .
But, regardless of what you think of Secretary Lew’s letter, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment raises enough substantive policy concerns to warrant opposition on its own. Offhand, I can think of four separate consequences that we’d run into if the Senate were to adopt this amendment, and all of them would have a negative impact on U.S. economic interests.
First, the Portman-Stabenow negotiating objective would put the TPP, agreement at grave risk, meaning that our farmers, ranchers, and manufactures – not to mention the workers they employ – would not get access to these important foreign markets, resulting in fewer good, high-paying jobs for American workers.
We know this is the case, Mr. President. Virtually all of our major negotiating partners, most notably Japan, have already made clear that they will not agree to an enforceable provisions like the one required by the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. No country that I am aware of, including the United States, has ever shown the willingness to have their monetary policies subject to potential trade sanctions. Adopting this amendment will have, at best, an immediate chilling effect on the TPP negotiations, and, at worst, it will stop them in their tracks.
If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the letter we received from 26 leading food and agriculture organizations . . . urging Congress to reject the Portman-Stabenow amendment because it will, in their words, “most likely kill the TPP negotiations” Put simply, not only will this amendment kill TPA, it will very likely kill TPP as well.
Second, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment would put at risk the Federal Reserve’s independence in its ability to formulate and execute monetary policies designed to protect and stabilize the U.S. economy. While some in this chamber have made decrees that our domestic monetary policies do not constitute currency manipulation, we know that not all of our trading partners see it that way.
Requiring the inclusion of enforceable rules on currency manipulation and subsequent trade sanctions in our free trade agreements would provide other countries with a template for targeting U.S. monetary policies, subjecting our own agencies and policies to trade disputes and adjudication in international trade tribunals. We have already heard accusations in international commentaries by foreign finance ministers and central bankers that our own Fed has manipulated the value of the dollar to gain trade advantage.
If the Portman-Stabenow language is adopted into TPA and these rules become part of our trade agreements, how long do you think it will take for our trading partners to enter disputes and seek remedies against Federal Reserve quantitative easing policies? Not long, I’d imagine.
If the Portman-Stabenow objective becomes part of our trade agreements, we will undoubtedly see formal actions to impose sanctions on U.S. trade, under the guise that the Federal Reserve has manipulated our currency for trade advantage. We’ll also be hearing from other countries that Fed policy is causing instability in their financial markets and economies and, unless the Fed takes a different path, those countries could argue for relief or justify their own exchange-rate policies to gain some trade advantage for themselves.
While we may not agree with those allegations, the point is that, under the Portman-Stabenow formulation, judgments and verdicts on our policies will be taken out of our hands and, rather, can be rendered by international trade tribunals. . . .
Put simply, we cannot enforce rules against unfair exchange rate practices if we do not have information about them. Under the Portman-Stabenow Amendment, our trading partners are far more likely to engage in interventions in the shadows, hiding from detection out of fear that they could end up being subjected to trade sanctions.
Mr. President, for these reasons and others, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment is the wrong approach. Still, I do recognize that currency manipulation is a legitimate concern, and one that we need to address in a serious, thoughtful way.
Toward that end, Senator Wyden and I have filed an amendment that would expand on the currency negotiating objective that is already in the TPA bill to give our country more tools to address currency manipulation without the problems and risks that would come part and parcel with the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. . . .
TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSITANCE PROGRAM—REAUTHORIZATION
As stated in my last blog posts, I have made the case for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Firms/Companies, which has been cut to $12.5 million nationwide. The TAA Bill, which is attached to the TPA bill, in the Senate brings the TAA for Firms program back to $16 million. In the House, however, TAA has been cut to $12.5 million. So the question is what happens in the Conference Committee?
To summarize the history, at the end of 2014, because of the efforts of Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressmen Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer and Sander Levin in the House, the TAA for Firms/Companies program was reauthorized in the Cromnibus Bill, which went through the Senate and the House and was signed into law by President Obama. Although Senator Brown advocated that the assistance for US companies in the TAA for Firms program be increased to $50 million, in fact, the program was cut from $16 million to $12.5M.
As the TPP, TTIP and other trade agreements come into force changing the US market by government action with the force of a government tsunami, TAA for firms/companies is the only program that will give companies the tools they need to adjust to increased trade/import competition from so many different countries.
RUSSIA—US SANCTIONS AS A RESULT OF UKRAINE CRISIS
On May 21, 2015, the Commerce Department announced changes to the export rules to allow unlicensed delivery of Internet technology to Crimea region of Ukraine, saying the change will allow the Crimean people to reclaim the narrative of daily life from their Russian occupants. Under the attached final rule, FINAL COMMERCE RULE , individuals and companies may deliver source code and technology for “instant messaging, chat and email, social networking” and other programs to the region without first retaining a license from the federal government, according to Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
“Facilitating such Internet-based communication with the people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine is in the United States’ national security and foreign policy interests because it helps the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine communicate with the outside world.”
On September 3, 2014, I spoke in Vancouver Canada on the US Sanctions against Russia, which are substantial, at an event sponsored by Deloitte Tax Law and the Canadian, Eurasian and Russian Business Association (“CERBA”). Attached to my blog are copies of the PowerPoint or the speech and a description of our Russian/Ukrainian/Latvian Trade Practice for US importers and exporters. In addition, the blog describes the various sanctions in effect against Russia.
Pursuant to the OFAC regulations, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting transactions, dealings, or business with Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDNs). The blocked persons list can be found at http://sdnsearch.ofac.treas.gov/ . See also: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/pages/ukraine.aspx . The list includes the Russian company, United Shipbuilding, and a number of Russian Banks, including Bank Rossiya, SMP Bank, Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank OAO, Russian Agricultural Bank, VEB, and VTB Bank. The “Sectoral Sanctions Identification List” (the “SSI List”) that identifies specific Russian persons and entities covered by these sectoral sanctions can be found at www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/pages/ssi_list.aspx .
The sanctions will eventually increase more with the Congressional passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which is attached to my blog, which President Obama signed into law on December 19, 2014. Although the law provides for additional sanctions if warranted, at the time of the signing, the White House stated:
“At this time, the Administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the Administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.”
The law provides additional military and economic assistance to Ukraine. According to the White House, instead of pursuing further sanctions under the law, the administration plans to continue collaborating with its allies to respond to developments in Ukraine and adjust its sanctions based on Russia’s actions. Apparently the Administration wants its sanctions to parallel those of the EU. As President Obama stated:
“We again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and implement the obligations it signed up to under the Minsk agreements.”
Russia, however responded in defiance with President Putin blasting the sanctions and a December 20th Russian ministry statement spoke of possible retaliation.
One day after signing this bill into law, the President issued an Executive Order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine” (the “Crimea-related Executive Order”). President Obama described the new sanctions in a letter issued by the White House as blocking:
New investments by U.S. persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine
Importation of goods, services, or technology into the United States from the Crimea region of Ukraine
Exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply of goods, services, or technology from the United States or by a U.S. person to the Crimea region of Ukraine
The facilitation of any such transactions.
The Crimea-related Executive Order also contains a complicated asset-blocking feature. Pursuant to this order, property and interests in property of any person may be blocked if determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, that the person is operating in Crimea or involved in other activity in Crimea.
The EU has also issued sanctions prohibiting imports of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, and providing financing or financial assistance, as well as insurance and reinsurance related to the import of such goods. In addition, the EU is blocking all foreign investment in Crimea or Sevastopol.
Thus any US, Canadian or EU party involved in commercial dealings with parties in Crimea or Sevastopol must undertake substantial due diligence to make sure that no regulations in the US or EU are being violated.
There are significant changes to Customs law in the Customs and Trade Enforcement Bill, formerly The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“TFTEA”), which passed the Senate on May 11, 2015. Some of those provisions include tough enforcement provisions for evasion of US antidumping and countervailing duty laws. The question, however, is whether these changes will ever become law because the Bill has to pass the House and then go to Conference Committee.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY AND TRADE—HOW CHINESE ACTIONS CAN DESTROY LARGE US IMPORT COMPANIES/RETAILERS
Quality problems with Chinese imported products can hit US import companies and retailers like a trade tsunami, potentially driving large US companies out of business. Nothing illustrates this problem better than the major issues facing Lumber Liquidators because of imports of low quality, high formaldehyde laminate flooring from China.
Lumber Liquidators Inc. has been hit with close to a hundred class action complaints for products liability, consumer actions and even securities cases because of its sale of formaldehyde-laden Chinese flooring. The Actions accuse Lumber Liquidators of defrauding US consumers by falsely stating that its Laminate Flooring meet state emissions standards for the toxic Formaldehyde chemical.
The Complaints allege that Lumber Liquidators routinely sells Chinese-made flooring that greatly exceeds California and other State Air Resource Board standards for safe formaldehyde emissions. Yet Lumber Liquidators advertises on its website and elsewhere that it ensures all of its suppliers comply with California’s “advanced environmental requirements,” even for products sold in other states.
These Actions have originated from a 60 Minutes program, a well-known nationwide news investigative program, which revealed that independent testing of dozens of boxes of Chinese flooring from Lumber Liquidators stores in four states, revealed that all but one of the samples surpassed the California Formaldehyde limit and some went more than 13 times beyond the mark. This 60 Minutes New Report led to the filing of dozens of lawsuits against Lumber Liquidators under Products Liability law and consumer protection/false advertising law. Reportedly the number of complaints is now over one hundred.
Meanwhile, in Sept. 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement service carried out a search warrant at Lumber Liquidator’s corporate offices in Richmond, Virginia. Multiple media reports have reported that the raid was linked to wood suspected of having originated from the Siberian tiger’s habitat.
On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (“CSPC”) announced that it was investigating the formaldehyde content of Chinese laminate tile flooring imported by Lumber Liquidators Inc. following the 60 Minutes investigation. In a 2013 report, the CPSC said formaldehyde has been linked to cancer in humans and lab animals but added that some people are more susceptible to the chemical effects than others. In response to the announcement, Lumber Liquidators reported that it was cooperating with other agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control, Federal Trade Commission and others.
On April 29th, Lumber Liquidators announced that in addition to the more than 100 class action cases filed against it, the US Justice Department (“DOJ”) will seek criminal charges against Lumber Liquidators for violating a conservation law in connection with imported wood flooring products. Specifically the DOJ stated that it is seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act, a conservation law that prohibits import of products made from illegally logged woods.
With all the class action cases, earnings fell, which resulted in a Securities Class Action against Lumber Liquidators by stock investors alleging securities fraud, arguing that its record-high profits were based on creative “sourcing initiatives” when in fact they came from illegal wood harvesting and the sale of cheap formaldehyde laced floors. The company and its entire board of directors were named as defendants in the April 15 derivative complaint by Amalgamated Bank, the trustee for an index fund that has invested in Lumber Liquidators stock. See actual complaint below.
Specifically, the securities complaint alleged that Lumber Liquidators reported gross margins that were significantly higher than those of its major competitors, Home Depot and Lowe’s Companies Inc., because partnerships in China allowed it to cut out middlemen and work directly with suppliers. In reality, the company was buying engineered and laminate flooring manufactured in China that contained and emitted dangerously high and illegal levels of formaldehyde, as well as wood that had been illegally harvested from protected forests in the Russia, home to the critically endangered Siberian tiger and Far East leopard.
According to the suit, the directors breached their duties to shareholders by failing to prevent possible violations of environmental and consumer protection laws and by failing to disclose the illicit practices in public U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. As the Complaint states at paragraph 14:
“Moreover, as a result of defendants’ breaches of their fiduciary duties, the Company is now subject to several complex and expensive securities class action lawsuits alleging violations of the CARB Regulations; the Lacey Act; the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”); the Magnuson -Moss Warranty Act; breach of express and implied warranties; violation of Consumer Protection/Deceptive Practices acts; unjust enrichment; and lawsuits alleging violations of California’s Proposition 65. On March 10, 2015, The New York Times reported that the Attorney General of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, had opened an inquiry into whether the Company violated safety standards and that officials in California are also likely to investigate.”
According to paragraph 17 of the complaint,
“Although Lumber Liquidators has been severely injured, defendants [Board Members] have not fared nearly so badly. During the relevant time period, defendants collectively pocketed millions in salaries, fees, stock options, illicit insider trading profits and other payments that were not justified in light of the violations of state and federal law at Lumber Liquidators that occurred on their watch. . . .”
According to the shareholders, the scandals have exposed Lumber Liquidators to “millions of dollars in potential liability” from various investigators and allegedly wiped out more than $1.2 billion in shareholder equity. As further stated in paragraph 116 of the complaint:
“Moreover, these actions have irreparably damaged Lumber Liquidators’ ‘environmentally conscientious’ corporate image. For at least the foreseeable future, Lumber Liquidators will suffer from what is known as the ‘liar’s discount,’ a term applied to the stocks of companies that have been implicated in improper behavior and have misled the investing public, such that Lumber Liquidators’ ability to raise equity capital or debt on favorable terms in the future is now impaired.”
The Complaint also details the allegations against Lumber Liquidator’s Chinese suppliers at paragraphs 82-96, stating in part in paragraph 98:
Moreover, defendants were fully aware of the risks of importing wood from China-a country often associated with the export of wood products with excess formaldehyde levels and illegally sourced timber. For example, in February 2012, the leading Chinese hardwood flooring company, Anxin Weiguang Flooring, was forced to pull its wood flooring products from shelves pending an investigation by Shanghai’s Bureau of Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine because of claims that the flooring emitted excessive levels of formaldehyde. One study, entitled “Formaldehyde in China: Production, consumption, exposure levels, and health effects,” 35 Environment Int’l (Nov. 2009), found that over the last 20 years, China’s formaldehyde industry has experienced unprecedented growth, and now produces and consumes one-third of the world’s formaldehyde. More than 65% of the Chinese formaldehyde output is used to produce resins which are mainly found in wood products. These are also the major source of indoor air pollution in China. The study documented numerous instances of hazardous occupational exposure to formaldehyde in Chinese wood workers.
On May 7, 2015, Lumber Liquidators announced that it was suspending sales of laminate flooring from China that prosecutors and consumers have alleged contain toxic levels of the building chemical formaldehyde, and will conduct a review of its suppliers who had labeled the product as meeting California’s limits for the carcinogenic chemical. Lumber Liquidators also hired former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh’s consulting firm to advise it on compliance issues.
On May 21, 2015, Lumber Liquidators announced that its CEO Robert M. Lynch has resigned “unexpectedly”.
The Lumber Liquidators problems illustrate the importance of quality control of Chinese products and how actions in China can seriously damage, if not destroy, their US customers, well-known US companies and brands.
SOME OF THE LUMBER LIQUIDATOR COMPLAINTS
False Advertising and Consumer Protection
On March 6, 2015 Sara Latta filed a class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. LATTALL
On March 9, 2015, Jerry Green and Twala Scott filed a class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. GREEN LL
On March 12, 2015, Mary Kleinsasser filed the attached class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. KLEINASSERLL
On March 12, 2015, Adam White and Julia White a class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. WHITE LUMBER
On March 27, 2015, Thomas P. Phelan filed a class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. PHELAN LUMBER LIQUIDATORS
On March 27, 2015, James Silverthorn filed a class action case against Lumber Liquidators for false advertising and consumer protection violations. SILVERTHORN LUMBER
SECURITIES CASES AGAINST LUMBER LIQUIDATORS
On April 15, 2015, Amalgamated Bank filed the attached shareholder derivative complaint for breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste and unjust enrichment against Lumber Liquidators and its directors and officer. AMALGAMATED BANK LUMBER LIQUIDATORS CASE
IP/PATENT AND 337 CASES
CAFC MAKES DOMESTIC INDUSTRY AN ISSUE IN 337 CASES
Under section 337, owners of US patents, trademarks and copyrights can filed a case against infringing imports. After a year-long proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge and the ITC itself, if the Commission finds that these unfair imports have injured a US industry, it can issue an exclusion order and the infringing imports will be kept out at the border.
On May 11, 2015 in the attached decision, Lelo Inc, v, International Trade Commission, CAFC LELO DOMESTIC INDUSTRY , the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) increased the domestic industry standard, reversing the ITC and determining that there was no domestic industry in a section 337 case, stating:
In Certain Kinesiotherapy Devices and Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-823, Initial Determination at 50 (Jan. 8, 2013) (“Initial Determination”), “the Administrative Law Judge determined initially that the domestic industry requirement had not been met because the ALJ rejected Plaintiff’s arguments that its U.S. purchase of the four components constituted a “significant investment in plant and equipment,” or a “substantial investment in its exploitation, including engineering, research and development, or licensing,” under prongs (A) and (C), respectively, of the § 337 domestic industry requirement.”
Specifically, the ALJ concluded that Standard Innovation’s U.S. purchases were not relevant to a prong (A) analysis because Standard Innovation failed to establish what portion, if any, the purchase price actually contributed towards a domestic investment in plant or equipment. . . . The ALJ also decided that the components were off-the-shelf items and not relevant to prong (C) because there was no proof that the components were developed specifically for Standard Innovation’s devices, or what portion, if any, of the purchase price was allocable to research and development costs incurred in the development of the components.
Further, the ALJ determined that even if the purchases were relevant, they were neither “substantial” nor “significant” under prongs (A) or (C). . . . . The total purchase prices accounted for less than five percent of the total raw cost of the devices.
The CAFC went on to state:
The Commission, however, reversed the ALJ’s domestic industry determination, finding that “Standard Innovation has satisfied the domestic industry requirement based on its expenditures on components produced domestically that are critical to [its devices].” . . .The Commission rejected the ALJ’s economic prong analysis because Standard Innovation “established that the components were critical for [its devices], which the ALJ found to be protected by the patent. This is sufficient for us to consider the component expenses in our economic prong analysis.”
The CAFC found:
The Commission determined that Standard Innovation’s investment and employment under prongs (A) and (B) were quantitatively “modest,” . . ., which we take to mean “insignificant.” The Commission also found that Standard Innovation did not establish prong (C). . . . We agree with the Commission’s finding that investment and employment under prongs (A) and (B) were modest and insignificant. The Commission erred when it disregarded the quantitative data to reach its domestic industry finding based on qualitative factors. Qualitative factors cannot compensate for quantitative data that indicate insignificant investment and employment. As such, Standard Innovation did not establish a “significant” “investment” or “employment” under prongs (A) or (B), and did not set forth evidence of relevant investments under prong (C). Accordingly, Standard Innovation did not satisfy the domestic industry requirement of § 337.
The CAFC then determined:
We hold that qualitative factors alone are insufficient to show “significant investment in plant and equipment” and “significant employment of labor or capital” under prongs (A) and (B) of the § 337 domestic industry requirements. The purchase of so called “crucial” components from third-party U.S. suppliers are insufficient to satisfy the “significant investment” or “significant employment of labor or capital” criteria of § 337 where there is an absence of evidence that connects the cost of the components to an increase of investment or employment in the United States.
NEW 337 COMPLAINTS
On April 30, 2015, Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, Inc. filed a new section 337 case at the ITC against imports of Electric Skin Care Devices, Brushes, Chargers and Kits Containing Same from the follow companies:
Our Family Jewels, Inc. d/b/a Epipur Skincare, Parker, CO; Accord Media, LLC d/b/a Truth in Aging, New York, NY; Xnovi Electronic Co., Ltd., China; Michael Todd True Organics LP. Port St. Lucie, FL; Mtto LLC, Fort St. Lucie, FL; Shanghai Anzikang Electronic Co., Ltd., China; Nutra-Luxe M.D., LLC, Fort Myers, FL; Beauty Tech, Inc., Coral Gables, FL; Anex Corporation, Korea; RN Ventures Ltd., United Kingdom; Korean Beauty Co., Ltd., Korea; H2Pro Beautylife, Inc., Placentia, CA; Serious Skin Care, Inc., Carson City, NV; Home Skinovations Inc., Canada; Home Skinovations Ltd., Israel; Wenzhou AI ER Electrical Technology Co., Ltd. d/b/a Cnaier, China; Coreana Cosmetics Co., Ltd., Korea; and Flageoli Classic Limited, Las Vegas, NV
PATENT AND OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CASES
SIX CHINESE CITIZENS CHARGED WITH ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE
On May 19, 2015, the US Justice Department announced that it has indicted six Chinese individuals for economic espionage. The Justice Department stated in the attached announcement, DOJ CHINA PROFESSORS :
Chinese Professors Among Six Defendants Charged with Economic Espionage and Theft Of Trade Secrets for Benefit of People’s Republic of China
Chinese Professors Alleged to Have Stolen Valuable Technology from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions to Benefit a PRC University
On May 16, 2015, Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in connection with a recent superseding indictment in the Northern District of California . . . .
The 32-count indictment, which had previously been sealed, charges a total of six individuals with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of universities and companies controlled by the PRC government.
“According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive U.S. technologies to illegally obtain and share U.S. trade secrets with the PRC for economic advantage,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Economic espionage imposes great costs on American businesses, weakens the global marketplace and ultimately harms U.S. interests worldwide. The National Security Division will continue to relentlessly identify, pursue and prosecute offenders wherever the evidence leads. . . .
“As today’s case demonstrates, sensitive technology developed by U.S. companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology,” said U.S. Attorney Haag. “Combating economic espionage and trade secret theft remains one of the top priorities of this Office.” . . .
According to the indictment, PRC nationals Wei Pang and Hao Zhang met at a U.S. university in Southern California during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering. While there, Pang and Zhang conducted research and development on thin-film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) technology under funding from U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After earning their doctorate in approximately 2005, Pang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Avago Technologies (Avago) in Colorado and Zhang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Skyworks Solutions Inc. (Skyworks) in Massachusetts. The stolen trade secrets alleged in the indictment belong to Avago or Skyworks.
Avago is a designer, developer and global supplier of FBAR technology, which is a specific type of radio frequency (RF) filter.
Throughout Zhang’s employment, Skyworks was also a designer and developer of FBAR technology. FBAR technology is primarily used in mobile devices like cellular telephones, tablets and GPS devices. FBAR technology filters incoming and outgoing wireless signals so that a user only receives and transmits the specific communications intended by the user. Apart from consumer applications, FBAR technology has numerous applications for a variety of military and defense communications technologies.
According to the indictment, in 2006 and 2007, Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators prepared a business plan and began soliciting PRC universities and others, seeking opportunities to start manufacturing FBAR technology in China. Through efforts outlined in the superseding indictment, Pang, Zhang and others established relationships with officials from Tianjin University. Tianjin University is a leading PRC Ministry of Education University located in the PRC and one of the oldest universities in China.
As set forth in the indictment, in 2008, officials from Tianjin University flew to San Jose, California, to meet with Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators. Shortly thereafter, Tianjin University agreed to support Pang, Zhang and others in establishing an FBAR fabrication facility in the PRC. Pang and Zhang continued to work for Avago and Skyworks in close coordination with Tianjin University. In mid-2009, both Pang and Zhang simultaneously resigned from the U.S. companies and accepted positions as full professors at Tianjin University. Tianjin University later formed a joint venture with Pang, Zhang and others under the company name ROFS Microsystem intending to mass produce FBARs.
The indictment alleges that Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators stole recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential and proprietary from the victim companies and shared the information with one another and with individuals working for Tianjin University.
The six indicted defendants include: Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang, Professor Wei Pang, Professor Jinping Chen, Huisui Zhang (Huisui), and Chong Zhou, a Tianjin University graduate student, and Zhao Gang, the General Manager of ROFS Microsystems.
The maximum statutory penalty for each one of these violations is more than 10 years imprisonment and 100s of thousands of dollars in fines. The case is USA v. Wei Pang.
On May 21, 2015, Tianjin University denied the charges against the three professors, pledged legal support to the professors and accused U.S. officials of “politicizing” the issue and endangering academic exchanges between the two countries.
NEW PATENT AND TRADEMARK CASES AGAINST CHINESE, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN COMPANIES
Complaints are attached to each citation.
On February 13, 2015, e.Digital Corporation filed the attached patent case against Shenzhen Gospell Smarthome Electronic Co., Ltd. (dba Oco Camera); Ivideon LLC (dba Oco Camera); Global Innovations; and, New Sight Devices Corp. SHENZHEN GOSPELL
On February 17, 2015, Parthenon Unified Memory Architecture LLC filed a patent complaint against ZTE. PARTHENON ZTE COMPLAINT
On February 27, 2015, Innovation Works, Inc. filed a trademark case against Innovation Works (Beijing) Ltd., IW North America. INNOV BEIJING
On March 2, 2015, Optis Wireless Technology LLC et al filed a patent case against ZTE Corporation et al. OPTIS ZTE
On March 2, 2015, Skyworks Solutions, Inc. filed a patent complaint against Kinetic Technologies, Kinetic Technologies Hong Kong and China. SKYWORKSKIN
On March 4, 2015, Petmatrix LLC filed a patent complaint against Wenzhou Yuxiang Pet Product Co., Ltd. WENZHOU PATENT CASE
On March 5, 2015, Magnet Products International Group filed a trade secrets fraud case against Maghold LLC, Mary Zhang, and Dongguan Maghard Flexible Magnet Co, and Xiaodong Wang. MAGNET TRADE
On March 9, 2015, Orlando Communications LLC filed a patent case against ZTE Corp., et al. ZTE ORLANDO
On March 10, 2015, Saint Lawrence Communications filed a patent complaint against ZTE. STLAWRENCE ZTE
On March 12, 2015, Anki Inc. filed a patent case against China Industries Ltd T?A Wow Stuff. ANKI CHINA INDUSTRIES
On March 13, 2015, China Central Television, Dish Network LLC et al filed a copyright and trademark case against Create New Technology (HK) Ltd., Hua Yang International Technology Ltd., Shenzhen GreatVision Network Technology Co., Ltd., Club TVPAD, Inc., Bennet Wong, Asha Media Group Inc. d/b/a TVPAD.com, Amit Bhalla, NewTVPad Ltd., Liangzhong Zhou, and Honghui Chen. CCTV
On March 18, 2015, Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. filed a copyright case against uCool, Inc. and uCool Ltd. LILLITH GAMES SHANGHAI
On March 24, 2015, Wetro Lan filed a patent complaint against Huawei. HUAWEI PATENT COMPLAINT
On March 25, 2015, Streamlight Inc. filed a patent complaint Ningbo Highlite Technical Co., Ltd. NINGBO PATENT
On March 26, 2015, Tianhai Lace, a Chinese company, filed a copyright case against Posh Shop, a US company. TIANHAI COPYRIGHT
On April 1, 2015, Crafty Productions, Inc. et al filed a copyright and fraud case against Fuqing Sanxing Crafts Co. Ltd., a China company, Tony Zhu, MRF Associates, Inc., Michelle Faherty, The Michaels Companies, Inc., Michaels Stores, Inc., ZheJiang HongYe Co. Ltd., a China company, Fuzhou Bomy Trading Co., Ltd., a China company, Fuzhou Great Suns Co. Ltd., a China company, Sunface Crafts Co. Ltd., a China company, and a number of other US retail companies. CRAFTY COPYRIGHT
On April 2, 2015, Trans-Texas Tire, LLC filed an unfair competition and breach of contract case for unfair misappropriation of molds against Tianjin Wanda Tyre Group Co., Ltd, and Zhang Guanghhui and Li Xue Yong. TIRE MOLDS UNFAIR COMPETITION
On April 6, 2015, Express Mobile filed a patent case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ALIBABA EXPRESS
On April 17, 2015, Synaptics Inc. filed a patent case against Goodix Technology Inc., Shenzhen Huiding Technology Co., Ltd. a/k/a Shenzhen Goodix Technology Co., Ltd. and Blu Products, Inc. SHENZHEN PATENT
On April 24, 2015 Nova Intellectual Solutions LLC filed a patent complaint against ZTE. NOVA ZTE CASE
On April 30, 2015, Cellular Communications Equipment LLC filed a patent case against ZTE Corp and a number of other companies. CELL ZTE
On May 1, 2015, Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, Inc. filed patent complaints against Wenzhou Ai ER Electrical Technology Co., Ltd. dba Cnaier and Shanghai Anzikang Electric Co., Ltd. PACIFIC BIO WENZHOU PACIFIC BIOSCIENCE
On May 4, 2015, Ti Beverage Group, Ltd. and Michael Machat filed a trademark infringement case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Ebay Inc. TIBEV ALIBABA
On May 4, 2015, Anthony California, Inc, filed a copyright and trade secret case against Fire Power Co., Ltd., New Bright Jet Lighting (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., Interest Plus Investments Ltd., Chien Tsai Tsai, Chien Ho Tsia, James Moran and M&M Sales, and Direct Lighting LLC. CHINA SHEN NEW BRIGHT
On May 12, 2015, Nuhertz Technologies, LLC filed a copyright and trademark case for software piracy against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alibaba.Com Hong Kong Ltd., Alibaba. Com Ltd., Alibaba.Com Investment Holding Ltd., Other Alibaba Companies, Taobao Holding Ltd., Taobao China Holding Ltd., Taobao (China) Software Co., Ltd., and Alipay.Com Co., Ltd. NUEHERTZ ALIBABA
On May 15, 2015, Gucci filed a major trademark and counterfeiting case against Alibaba. Specifically, on May 15, 2015, Gucci America, Inc., Balenciaga S.A., Balenciaga America, Inc., Bottega Veneta S.A., Bottega Veneta Inc., Yves Saint Laurent America, Inc. Luxury Goods International (L.G.I.) S.A. and Kering S.A. filed the trademark and counterfeiting case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alibaba.Com Hong Kong Ltd., Alibaba. Com Ltd., Alibaba.Com Investment Holding Ltd., Other Alibaba Companies, Taobao Holding Ltd., Taobao China Holding Ltd., Taobao (China) Software Co., Ltd., and Alipay.Com Co., Ltd. GUCCI ALIBABA
Complaints will be posted on my blog, www.uschinatradewar.com.
There have been major developments in the antitrust area in China.
CHINA ANTI-MONOPOLY CASES
DORSEY ARTICLE BY PETER CORNE
Peter Corne, who heads Dorsey’s Shanghai office, published the following article on March 13, 2015 about China’s antimonopoly law:
NDRC’s Qualcomm Decision Sends Mixed Messages
Chinese New Year celebrations culminated in a big way for foreign multinationals in China with the news at the end of February that the head of the National Development and Reform Commission’s (“NDRC’s”) Antitrust Bureau had been removed. Xu Kunlin had made his name by initiating numerous investigations against sectors involving multinationals such as auto parts and bearings, cars, and contact lenses. Former Director Xu (who is still director of the NDRC’s Price Department) was widely regarded as a fine leader, and his Antitrust Bureau hit monopolies with hefty penalties of RMB 7.9 Billion (US$1.29 Billion) from 2014 through February 10, the date the Qualcomm decision was announced as discussed below. He has been replaced by Zhang Handong (former deputy director of the Healthcare Reform Office under the State Council), whom we presume will take time to settle into his new position. Based on his familiarity with the medical sector, we would caution clients in that sector to continue to pay close attention to antitrust compliance.
The full content of the long-awaited result of the Qualcomm decision was published in early March (following the February 10 announcement of the result). In only three prior cases has the NDRC published the full content of an antitrust decision. Qualcomm was ordered to cease its infringing activities and was assessed a fine of RMB 6.1 billion (US$975 million), which represented about 8% of its 2013 revenue in China. The NDRC found Qualcomm guilty of abuse of market dominance and implementing monopolistic activities that eliminate and restrict competition. The following activities were deemed illegal: (1) charging unfairly excessive patent royalties, (2) tying patents that are not standard-essential patents in the telecom industry without a legitimate reason, and (3) imposing unreasonable conditions in the sale of baseband chips. During the investigation Qualcomm cooperated with the authorities and raised a series of rectification measures including the following:
(1) calculating patent royalties on the basis of 65% of net wholesale price of the device sold in China,
(2) when Qualcomm licenses its patent to Chinese licensees it will provide a list of patents and not charge royalties over patents that have already expired,
(3) Qualcomm will no longer require that Chinese licensees provide a compulsory (and royalty-free) cross-license for Qualcomm customers,
(4) where wireless standard-essential patents are concerned, Qualcomm will not tie in non-standard-essential patents without a legitimate reason, and
(5) unreasonable conditions will not be included in the license agreements when selling baseband chips, such as conditions prohibiting licensees from challenging the terms in the license agreement.
The Chinese press celebrated the decision as a victory for China. But Qualcomm was not forced to change its business model by the NDRC, so the decision could have been far worse for Qualcomm, reflected in a rise in the stock price of Qualcomm by 4.69% on the second day after the decision was announced.
Qualcomm’s core business model is to impose royalties on the net selling price of the entire device rather than the chips or other components, so it need now only change the calculation of the royalty base rather than the business model itself, leading some commentators to claim that the decision was a victory for Qualcomm.
Although the media claims victory for both sides, many problems seem to have been forgotten. For example, why was a formal investigation only initiated at the end of 2013 when publicly-available information indicates that the first complaint was made as early as 2008 by Texas Instruments? Further, under the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law a guilty decision requires that illegal gains be confiscated, but this case resulted only in the imposition of a fine.
The NDRC required such a confiscation in the LCD maker case. So if the NDRC agreed that 65% (mentioned above in Qualcomm’s rectification plan) was the correct calculation base, then Qualcomm should at least have been asked to return the portion of royalties calculated on the other 35% (which could amount to billions of dollars). In addition, the law provides that a fine should be charged on the basis of the revenue of the previous year, i.e. 2014, and not 2013, which was used in the decision. Some even questioned the jurisdiction of the NDRC in the first place because, judging from the decision, most of the illegal activities listed were not price-related, indicating that it would have been more appropriate for SAIC to launch the investigation.
On the other hand, Qualcomm dropped its request for a hearing at the last minute, and paid up the fine in only three days. All of the above clues lead us to believe that the decision was the result of a compromise between the investigator and the investigated, in the context of which the investigator somehow lost sight of the fact that it was deviating from the national law. But we have seen this before. For example, in the Liquor Case involving Chinese spirits (Moutai and Wuliangye), the NDRC limited its investigation to provincial level, only in Guizhou and Sichuan.
The moral of the story seems to be to make sure that you proactively engage the authorities up front. It may be best to do so before any investigation is even contemplated. Regardless of the timing, it appears that open engagement during an investigation should lead to a much better result.
ANJIE LAW FIRM
On March 16, 2015, Michael Gu, a Chinese antitrust lawyer at the Anjie Law Firm in Beijing, sent out the attached 014 review of Chinese anti-monopoly law. Public competition enforcement_China 2015_AnJie_20150316 .
T&D JANUARY REPORT
On May 2, 2015 T&D also sent us the attached April report on Chinese competition law. T&D Monthly Antitrust Report of April 2015
FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT (“FCPA”)
DORSEY MAY ANTI-CORRUPTION DIGEST
Dorsey recently published its attached May anti-corruption digest. Anti-Corruption-Digest-May2015 With regards to China and Ukraine, the Digest states:
China has continued with its ongoing anti-corruption campaign.
In the energy sector, a senior executive at the state energy firm China Sinopec Group is reportedly under investigation for suspected “serious disciplinary violations”, a phrase which has become synonymous with allegations of corruption. China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has reportedly confirmed the investigation but has not disclosed further details about the case. The Chairman of Sinopec, Fu Chengyu, said in an interview with Chinese media that the company supports “the government’s long-term anti-corruption effort, not just cracking down on illegal acts but disciplinary wrongdoings as well”.
In the healthcare sector, it has been reported that the head of Yunnan’s No. 1 People’s hospital is under investigation for allegedly receiving bribes of ¥35 million ($5.6 million/£3.6 million) in cash, 100 properties worth approximately $13 million (£8 million) and a number of car parking spaces. It is alleged that Dr. Wang Tianchao used his position to seek bribes related to medical device procurement and employment positions. Dr. Wang, who was reportedly in the running to become the head of the region’s food and drug regulator, has been removed from his post.
In the retail motor industry, a former top executive at Volkswagen’s joint venture with FAW Group Corporation has been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly accepting bribes. Shi Tao was reportedly convicted of taking ¥33 million ($5 million/£3.2 million) in bribes in exchange for giving business to advertisers and car dealers from FAW-Volkswagen. In a statement, Volkswagen said that it was aware of the case, noting that “globally, Volkswagen is strictly against any kind of illegal conduct, and attaches great importance that all applicable anti-corruption laws are adhered to”.
In its global efforts to trace alleged “economic fugitives”, the Chinese government has published a list of 100 individuals suspected of corruption. The “most wanted” list, which displays the individuals’ photographs, identification numbers and likely whereabouts, is said to be composed of former local government officials, police officers and accountants who are suspected of accepting bribes, misappropriating funds and money laundering.
A new law has been enacted requiring companies to have compliance programs in place. The law applies to most companies participating in public tenders and state-owned enterprises over a certain size and in essence requires companies to appoint a compliance officer with responsibility for implementing the compliance program and reporting to shareholders. The law does not include penalties for failing to implement a compliance program; however companies are encouraged to:
Conduct regular risk assessments.
Develop programs to raise employee awareness of anti-corruption.
Include compliance provisions in contracts with third parties.
Despite the apparent lack of enforcement in place, it is said that officials may consider the establishment of a compliance program when deciding whether to pursue an action against a company.
On February 11, 2015, Claire Rand filed a class action securities case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Jack Yun Ma, Joseph C. Tsai, Jonathan Lu and Maggie Wu. RANDALIBABA
On March 3, 2015, the SEC filed a securities case against China Infrastructure Investment Corp., Li Xipeng and Wang Feng. SEC CHINA INFRASTRUCTURE
On March 13, 2015, Felipe Garcia filed a class action securities case against Lentuo International, Inc, Hetong Guo, Jing Yang and Yang Jiangyuluo. GARCIA LENTUO
On March 24, 2015, Placidius Silva filed a class action securities case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Jack Yun Ma, Joseph C. Tsai, Jonathan Lu and Maggie Wu. ALIBABA PLACIDUSE
On March 25, 2015 Qiang Wang filed a class action securities case against Yoliku Tudou, Inc., Victor Wind, Chelfng Koo, and Michael Gexu. WANG YOKOU
On March 26, 2015 Edward Martindale filed a class action securities case against Yoliku Tudou, Inc., Victor Wind, Chelfng Koo, and Michael Gexu. MARTINDALEYOKOU TUDOU
On March 27, 2015, the SEC brought an action against Macquarie Capital (USA), Inc., Aaron Black, and William Fang, the Underwriters of Puda Coal, a Chinese company. SECPUDA COAL
On April 2, 2015, Troy Hung filed a class action securities case against Idreamsky Technology Ltd., Michael Xiangyu Chen, Jun Zou, Anfernee Song Guan, Jeffrey Lyndon, Ko, Steven Xiaoyi Ma, Erhai Liu, Mingyao Wang, David Yuan, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Stifel Nicolas & Company, In Corpora Ted, and Piper Jaffra. HUNGIDREAMY
On April 14, 2015 Rashid Jahm filed a class action securities case against Yoliku Tudou, Inc., Victor Wind, Chelfng Koo, and Michael Gexu. JAHM YOKOU
On April 15, 2015, James Patrick Griffith filed a class action securities case against Idreamsky Technology Ltd., Michael Xiangyu Chen, Jun Zou, Anfernee Song Guan, Jeffrey Lyndon, Ko, Steven Xiaoyi Ma, Erhai Liu, Mingyao Wang, David Yuan, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Stifel Nicolas & Company, In Corpora Ted, and Piper Jaffra. GRIFFITHIDREAM
On April 21, 2015, Francis J. Bonanno filed a class action securities case against Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc., Wei Cao and Tony Liu. CELLULAR SECURITIES
On April 29, 2015, the SEC filed an insider trading case against two Chinese nationals, Xiaoyu Xia and Yangting Hu. SECHUAXU
On May 5, 2015, Abraham Jeremias, Roger Mariani and Michael Rubin filed a class action securities case against Idreamsky Technology Ltd., Michael Xiangyu Chen, Jun Zou, Anfernee Song Guan, Jeffrey Lyndon, Ko, Steven Xiaoyi Ma, Erhai Liu, Mingyao Wang, David Yuan, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Stifel Nicolas & Company, In Corpora Ted, and Piper Jaffra. JEREMIASIDREAM
On May 8, 2015, Steve Surrey filed a class action securities case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Jack Yun Ma, Joseph C. Tsai, Jonathan Lu, Masayoshi Son, Daniel Young, Chee Hwa Tung, Walter The, Ming Kwauk, J. Michael Evans, and Jerry Yang. SURREY ALIBABA
On May 19, 2015, Paul Heller filed a class action securities case against Vishop Holding Ltd., Ya Shen and Donghao Yang. HELLERVISHOP
If you have any questions about these cases or about the trade politics, US trade law, trade adjustment assistance, customs, 337, patent, US/China antitrust or securities law in general, please feel free to contact me.