Showing posts from April, 2011

More on Congressional-Executive Agreements

Many thanks to Brenda Jacobs of Sidley Austin who sent me some additional background on Congressional-Executive Agreements as a tool for implementing free trade agreements. This relates to to a previous post in answer to a question about how the pending FTA's might get implemented if President Obama lacks Trade Promotion Authority (FKA "Fast Track"). Brenda sent on a Congressional Research Service document answering the question "Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements Rather Than as Treaties." The document explains that Congress has previously granted the President temporary trade negotiating authority. The most recent authority under the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002, though, has expired. Trade agreements negotiated under that authority, including agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, remain eligible for approval under the TPA process (although Colombia is not subject to expedited proce

When Does Cycling Season Start?

Here in Chicago, I am starting to see hearty souls out on their bikes. I'm not that hearty. It is still in the low 50's and has been raining, it seems, for weeks. But, I have moved my bike from the basement to the garage, so that is progress. While I contemplate a ride to work, I also think about the danger of "dooring." Apparently, Governor Quinn has been thinking about it as well. According to an AP report , the Illinois Department of Transportation wants data on dooring incidents. One can only hope that means the government is interested in doing something to reduce the risk. For those of you who don't know, "dooring" is the name for the dangerous accident that occurs when a cyclist crashes into an opening car door. The rider often ends up head over heels and can be severely injured. Drivers, remember to check for bikes before opening your door.

U.S. Can't Keep AD Duties

I don't usually cover trade remedies cases on this blog. Nevertheless, I feel like I am seeing more questions than ever from importers about dealing with trade remedies. And, this is just an interesting opinion, which hits both customs and trade issues. In  Canadian Wheat Board v. United States , the question was whether the United States could legally keep antidumping duty deposits on unliquidated entries Customs collected in the enforcement of an antidumping duty order that a NAFTA binational panel invalidated. In reality, the panel has no authority to invalidate an order. Rather, it ordered a remand to the ITC to reconsider injury. On remand, the ITC found no material injury. The NAFTA panel affirmed that finding and Commerce revoked the order. But, Commerce instructed Customs and Border Protection to stop collecting cash deposits as of the revocation date and stated that the revocation would not affect the liquidation of entries prior to that date. In effect, that was an inst

Trade Agreements without Fast Track

In response to my cry for reader-generated content, I received a question from textile guru David Trumbull, the gist of which is: If President Obama negotiates a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement and submits it to congress without Trade Promotion Authority would it be subject to the "Treaty Clause" (2/3 vote in Senate with no House vote needed)? Or, would it be treated as a congressional-executive agreement and would need a simple majority vote in both houses as would any other law? Personally, I have always been suspicious of the congressional-executive agreement as a means of managing international relations (including trade). It simply does not show up in the Constitution, which specifies that the President can make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate. On the other hand, Congress has the power to regulate trade with foreign nations. So, the congressional-executive agreement is basically a delegation of authority from Congress to the President t

Greetings from Chicago & Happy Blogoversary

Yes, I am here. Things have been very busy the past several weeks. That is a good thing; I am not complaining. Also, I have not seen much in the way of developments that merit a much analysis. Of course, I am behind in my reading, so there may be things in the pipeline. On Wednesday, this blog celebrated its sixth anniversary. As blogs go, that is fairly remarkable and I am still pleased with both the content and the traffic. Thanks for helping to make the blog both satisfying for me to write and, I hope, enjoyable for you to read. As an experiment in blogging, I am willing to crowd source the blog. If you have something related to customs compliance, trade law, export controls, cycling, or technology that merits a mention in this blog, send it to me. Keep it to about 100 words or less. If I think it is interesting, I will post it and give you credit. Competing law firms are not excluded but entirely commercial messages will not make the cut. I am here for you 365 days a year. I

CAFC Reverses storeWALL

As the post title might suggest, the Federal Circuit has reversed the Court of International Trade decision in storeWall v. United States . My previous discussion of this case is here . You may recall that this case involves the tariff classification of home storage systems. Specifically, the imported merchandise was specially designed mounting hooks (called tabs) and wall panels. The panels can accept all sorts of storage accessories from baskets and shelves to simple hooks. If you are having trouble picturing this, visit the plaintiff's web site here. The Court of International Trade held that the products were possibly "unit furniture" or parts thereof of heading 9403 based upon the dictionary definitions of the words "unit" and "furniture." According to the Explanatory Notes, unit furniture is designed "to be hung, to be fixed to the wall or to stand one on the other or side by side, for holding various objects or articles . . . ." Wi