Market Letters

CHB Update – 10/12/20

USTR’s Trade Investigation on Vietnam: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has launched a two part investigation in to Vietnam’s practices concerning currency valuation and importation/use of illegal timber.

The initial claim states Vietnam’s currency may have been undervalued for the last three years, and much of the proposed illegal timber is used in exported wooden furniture.

The USTR will be examining the following areas:

• Is there evidence of the currency being undervalued?
• Has the government played a role in any market intervention?
• What is the extent of illegal timber being imported in to Vietnam?
• Are Vietnamese producers (including furniture manufacturers) using illegal timber?
• Are products with components consisting of illegal timber imported into the United States?

If there is evidence to substantiate any of the above points, additional tariffs - similar to what importers have seen on products with country of origin China - could be on the horizon for products imported from Vietnam. The USTR has one year to take action after initiating the investigation.

The USTR has announced a period to submit comments regarding the investigation, which is open now through November 12th. Connect with your Trade Attorney or Laufer Representative for assistance submitting a comment to the USTR.

Section 301 Lawsuit: Although a lawsuit has been filed in the Court of International Trade outlining that List 3 and List 4A were implemented unlawfully, importers should maintain ‘business as usual’, and file PSCs/Protests (as necessary) because a decision may not be made for 1-3 years. Any duty refunds, should the litigation be successful, would not be processed until after this time.

Section 301 (China Tariffs) Exclusion Expirations and Extensions: Exclusions continue to expire, with very few being extended. Some importers are being caught off guard by high duty bills – so be sure you know exactly when your money-saving exclusions will no longer be valid.

The possibility to recoup duties paid prior to a granted exclusion also ends after the exclusion expires, so be sure you have filed all Post Summary Corrections and/or Protests in a timely manner for any paid duty which you are entitled to.

Please reach out if you have questions about when your exclusions are going to expire and to make sure you aren’t leaving any money in the table with past paid duty.

For over 70 years, Laufer Group International Ltd. has been helping customers improve the way they handle their logistics. To see how we can help, or for any questions, contact Ashley Coxey, National Director of Business Development, Customs Brokerage or contact your local sales representative.