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
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
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
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
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
For multinational companies that have been eyeing initial U.S. investments or considering expansion of their existing presence in the U.S., a variety of economic and policy developments make this an ideal time to consider executing on those investment plans.
Most importantly, the U.S. economy has been accelerating and is poised to continue its strong growth during 2018. The unemployment rate has slid under pre-recession levels and, on an annual basis, finished last year at the lowest mark since 2000. In addition, the broadest measure of economic output – gross domestic product (GDP) – has been trending around 3 percent for the past few quarters. Manufacturers, distributors, and companies across industries are benefiting from this rising growth. Continue Reading
Over the last 10 years, 143 companies have paid a combined $10.9 billion to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases.
That staggering price tag shows the U.S. Department of Justice’s willingness to go after alleged bribery of foreign officials, shoddy bookkeeping, and fraud. In recent years, the DOJ has beefed up its enforcement unit focused on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and officials in the Trump administration have made clear that enforcement remains a priority. If you think about FCPA enforcement as a carrot-and-stick approach, the stick isn’t going anywhere.
As for the carrot, the DOJ recently announced changes that give companies even more benefits for self-disclosing violations. The new FCPA corporate enforcement policy expands on a pilot program that had offered mitigation credit for self-disclosures. Continue Reading
Mexico is already a large player in the world economy, and its economic might is growing. Many manufacturers in Europe and the U.S. already have or are considering operations there, especially original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and others in the automotive industry. But what do companies need to know to create a successful subsidiary south of the U.S. border?
There are a variety of challenges that manufacturers and other businesses face when they are starting operations in Mexico, Central America, and South America. I recently detailed some of those challenges at Clemson University during the 2017 International Forum for German and Spanish in the Professions. I shared some insights I’ve learned over the years while working on international business transactions and economic development. Below are some highlights. Continue Reading
When you take your laptop, phone, and other electronic devices across the U.S. border, there are a variety of laws and regulations that come into play. We have created this flyer for international business travelers. It summarizes U.S. laws and regulations and includes tips to ensure compliance. Continue Reading
Global Carolina Connections hosted its fifth annual global business conference on August 9 at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The formation of the Global Carolina Connections Conference is a direct result of feedback that my co-founders and I heard from international business executives in the region seeking to learn more about the resources available to global companies who have already located in the Carolinas and want to continue to expand here. Global Carolina Connections is a chance to gather with hundreds of business and economic development leaders to engage in valuable discussions regarding the unique needs facing U.S. subsidiaries of internationally owned companies. C-level executives share their companies’ challenges and how they’re overcoming them, and economic development leaders and international business service providers detail relevant trends in foreign direct investment (FDI).
We’ve hosted the conference in several cities. Charleston hosted one of the best yet, serving as the perfect venue for a sincere discussion about foreign direct investment and how to support further growth in this area. The Charleston region was a natural fit as it’s one of the most important cities for international trade and investment along the East Coast. Panels focused on banking and finance, major trends among international automotive suppliers in the region, the Trump administration’s potential effect on trans-Atlantic business, and best practices for recruiting and retaining employees, particularly how millennial employees have changed the landscape for all employers in the market. Continue Reading