Amid Uncertain Trade Climate, a Look at Top Imports, Exports With Mexico

Auto companies, computer manufacturers and oil producers are closely watching how the trade relationship evolves between the U.S. and Mexico under President Donald Trump. Their products are among the top U.S. exports to Mexico, as well as the top Mexican imports to the U.S.

President Trump has said that Mexico is taking American jobs. He’s floated the idea of a border tax. He’s also called the North American Free Trade Agreement “a disaster.” NAFTA has been in place about 25 years, and – for better or for worse – it has boosted trade with Mexico enormously.

Given the uncertainty about where trade policy is heading, it’s worth examining what sorts of goods currently cross our southern border. After all, Mexico is our third-largest trading partner when you factor in all the goods that move back and forth, according to federal data. Here are the top imports and exports:

MX image Continue Reading

Trading with Cuba: Time to light up the Cohibas?

Classic vintage car and coloful colonial buildings in Old HavanaGuest Author: Eric H. Cottrell, Partner and Business Litigation and Government Investigations Practice Group Leader

Frequent flier miles burning a hole in your e-wallet? Feeling the need for some sun, sand, and salsa music? Why not visit the land of Hemingway?  No, not Key West … Cuba!  Beginning in 2016, American, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, and United began to offer regular flights to Cuba.  However, before you pack your suntan lotion and favorite pair of shades, make sure you know what you can and cannot do as a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction on your Cuban adventure.

The Obama administration significantly relaxed the Cuban embargo and re-established U.S.-Cuban travel and trade relations. Although travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel, including: (1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and meetings; (5) educational activities; (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, athletics, competitions, or the production of art, film, or music; (8) support for the Cuban people; (9) humanitarian projects; (10) activities of private foundations or research and educational institutions; (11) exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and (12) certain authorized export transactions.  Under a general license, travelers no longer have to obtain prior permission to travel so long as their travel falls within the scope of one of those general licenses.  Continue Reading

Form I-9 Update: Three Important Questions Answered

Man Filling Out Form on Table

Guest Author: Sarah Ford, Employment Partner and Diversity Committee Chair   

Given increasing federal attention to the issues of immigration and authorization to work, let’s do a quick “check in” on your new hire procedures.

  1. A new version of the Form I-9 became mandatory on January 22, 2017. You already know that you must begin the Form I-9 process with each new employee no later than his/her start date. But how do you know whether you are using the correct version? It’s easy. The new version says “Form I-9 11/14/2016 N” in the lower left-hand corner. Moving forward, you should use this new version for every new hire. The “N” signifies that older versions of the form, e.g. the 03/08/13 version, are no longer acceptable.  
  2. What if you need to re-verify the employment authorization of an employee whose original Form I-9 is one of the older versions? Can you still use the Section 3 Reverification section of the employee’s original form? The answer is no. For any reverifications that are taking place after January 22, 2017, use the new Form I-9. Don’t discard the original form, of course! Just keep both the old form and the new form together in your I-9 binder.   Continue Reading