Some Chinese Imports Will Be Cheaper for U.S. Businesses in Spite of This Week’s Tariff News. Here’s Why.

The U.S. moved forward this week with its threat to place tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The tariffs will kick in this Monday and increase duties by 10 percent on more than 5,700 items, a massive list that ranges from frozen beef to handbags to advanced manufacturing components.

But for impacted businesses, there is somewhat of a silver lining as a result of a bipartisan effort in Congress. The U.S. House and Senate resolved their differences on the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act earlier this month, and President Donald Trump signed it into law last week. The bill lowers tariffs on roughly 1,700 items, including many raw materials on the new list aimed at China. Continue Reading

Global Carolina Connections Conference Helps Business Leaders ‘Stay Up to Date’ on Foreign Investment in the Southeast

Foreign direct investment (FDI) continues to be a major engine of growth in our country. Over the past five years, employment by foreign companies has risen much faster than overall private sector employment in the Carolinas and in the U.S. at large. Today, the U.S. remains the number one destination for FDI in the world. And among the states, South Carolina has the second-largest percentage of its workforce supported by global investment, and North Carolina beats the national average.

Those are a few of the highlights that Research on Investment President Steven Jast shared during the sixth annual Global Carolina Connections Conference on August 22. This year’s conference took place in Charlotte and featured presentations by a variety of international business and economic development leaders, including from major manufacturers, state government, and financial services companies. Continue Reading

Uncertain About Tariffs on Chinese Products? Here’s the Updated List

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) Office has confirmed that tomorrow – Friday, July 6 – remains the date that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will start collecting Section 301 tariffs on more than 800 items imported from China. Whether your business is automotive, chemicals, textiles, consumer products, or other products, you may be adversely impacted. We encourage companies to evaluate their international supply chain, including current procurement practices (supply agreements, as well as terms and conditions of purchase), logistics, and how to plan for future international trade restrictions and enforcement. Continue Reading

The ICE-Man Cometh: How to Avoid Becoming the Next Immigration Raid Headline

Last October, Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that 2018 would see a significant increase in worksite related investigations. He pledged a four-fold increase in worksite audits. This seems unsurprising given the Trump campaign and subsequent Trump administration’s focus on reducing or ending illegal immigration to the United States.

In January, ICE announced a new worksite enforcement strategy in conjunction with servicing notices of inspection and the arrest of at least 21 undocumented workers at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores in 17 states across the nation. In February, ICE conducted another targeted operation in Los Angeles to arrest 212 individuals for violating federal immigration laws and to serve 122 notices of inspection to businesses for various compliance violations. In April, ICE conducted a workplace raid in Tennessee pursuant to a criminal search warrant. The employer was suspected of illegally hiring undocumented workers, failure to report wages, and payroll tax violations. The warrant led to the arrest of close to 100 individuals for violations of immigration laws. Continue Reading

Trade Wars: Do the Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Create a Force Majeure to Excuse Contract Performance Under North Carolina or South Carolina Law?

The federal government recently implemented new tariffs on steel and aluminum pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Effective March 23, the government imposed a 25 percent tax on steel and a 10 percent tax on aluminum on imports into the United States from any country other than Canada and Mexico. Other tariffs are being added as well. The newly enacted tariffs raise the question – can a party affected by the tariffs be excused from performance under the force majeure provision included in their respective contracts? Continue Reading

Corporate Responsibility to Migrant Workers: Preventing Exploitation in Your Supply Chain

The exploitation of migrant workers continues to be a problem across the globe as reports surface of forced labor for little to no compensation. The role multinational corporations play – or should avoid playing – in this recurring problem was the topic of many news stories over the past year. The spotlight fell on several companies that failed to prevent exploitation of migrant workers in their supply chain, while other companies were praised for making promising efforts to quash the abuse. These organizations should serve as models – and cautionary tales – to companies whose employees might be at risk. Continue Reading

What Businesses Need to Know Before Transferring Employees to the U.S.

Over the course of the past year, it has become harder for companies to bring foreign employees to the U.S.

Although for the most part current laws governing visas, business meetings, and tourism have not changed, the federal government’s interpretation of those laws has. The result is that, compared to the Obama administration, the Trump administration is applying stricter standards across all categories of immigration that can create challenges for global businesses.

With a clear understanding of the current policies, however, companies can put themselves in a good position to successfully navigate the U.S. immigration system. My colleagues and I routinely work with international businesses who transfer foreign employees to the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. Below are some of the key things to know and steps to take before any foreign national comes to the U.S. Continue Reading

Helping Our Fellow Litigators in Guam

A small group of American attorneys recently flew across the Pacific Ocean to Guam, nearly 6,000 miles west of San Francisco. The American College of Trial Lawyers had been collaborating with an associate justice of Guam’s Supreme Court for nearly a year, laying the groundwork for the trip. On January 17, I joined 10 other Fellows from the College in Hagåtña, the capital city, to stage a three-day trial workshop.

You may be wondering, “Why Guam?” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over the island, an unincorporated U.S. territory with a population of about 170,000. Guam has its own district court, similar to federal district courts in the U.S. It also has a Supreme Court that serves a similar function as state supreme courts. Continue Reading

Countdown to GDPR Deadline: What Your Organization Should Be Doing to Prepare

In late May, the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect, changing the manner in which companies all over the world – not just those in the EU – store and use Europeans’ personal data. GDPR requires any company that collects personal information of European citizens to comply with its data privacy requirements, including:

  • Keeping all records of all personal data processed.
  • Performing data protection impact assessments in cases of high-risk processing activities.
  • Collecting personal information only through opt-in consent of individuals and deleting an individual’s personal data upon request.
  • Notifying individuals within 72 hours of a data security breach.

In order for U.S.-based companies to adequately prepare for GDPR compliance – and avoid massive fines – it is critical to conduct a detailed assessment of the extent to which your organization collects personal data and ensure that proper safeguards are in place throughout all divisions of your organization. Continue Reading