June 28, 2018

Customs and International Trade Team Counsels Clients on Tariff National Security Investigations

More so than any other administration in recent history, the Trump administration has sought to further the economic goals of the United States by challenging conventional norms and the international trade landscape. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the administration’s approach, the Trump administration’s trade policy is affecting a significant portion of the U.S. economy – including investment flows and those manufacturing companies that have global supply chains. One of the administration’s key tactics is the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on as much as $50 billion worth of imports from China in response to alleged Chinese industrial policies, intellectual property practices and intellectual property theft. These tariffs have caused significant concern for our clients. 

Because of our close ties with the administration and the policy community inside the Beltway, the Customs and Trade Group has brought to our clients a “whole of government” approach to ensure that their views are heard by the administration and in Congress. Team members with extensive experience in trade policy, trade remedies and customs law collaborate to represent these clients by either protecting or facilitating their significant business interests.

One of the largest victories concerned Best Buy. Out of the $50 billion worth of imports subject to the 25 percent duties, flat-panel televisions were the largest item, constituting nearly one-fifth of the total. Obviously, a 25 percent tariff on flat-panel televisions would have greatly impacted Best Buy. Through a recommendation from the Retail Industry Leadership Association and our long-standing relationship with the client, Best Buy hired us to represent them in the proceeding. Working with Best Buy’s C-suite, Doug Heffner and Nate Bolin filed comments on behalf of Best Buy and prepared the company’s senior VP for the hearing. In addition, we scheduled meetings and attended meetings with senior Trump administration officials. Concurrently, Kathi Murphy and Nick Guzman worked with Best Buy’s law department and trade compliance personnel to develop a long-term protective strategy for future threats of trade protectionism. Based on our “whole of government” approach, the DBR team succeeded in having flat-panel televisions removed from the list of products subject to the 25 percent tariff.

Additionally, Best Buy was not the only success story. James Sawyer and Nick Guzman represented Polaris and were successful in having motorcycle parts removed from the list of products subject to the 25 percent tariff. Richard Ferrin and Luke Karamyalil also assisted with these matters for our clients.

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