The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may have been replaced effective July 1, 2020 by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but the rules of NAFTA remain alive and well in the halls of the enforcement agencies on both sides of the border.Continue Reading Gone but Not Forgotten: The Continuing Importance of NAFTA Compliance
The North American and global automotive sector is watching closely to see how the United States ultimately responds to the decision of December 14, 2022, made public on January 10, 2023, which upheld Canada’s and Mexico’s position on an important issue for calculation of a vehicle’s regional value content (RVC) under the USMCA. In dispute was whether a Core Part or Super Core Part that qualifies as originating under Articles 3.7 to 3.9 of the USMCA Auto Appendix can then have 100% of its value count as originating content when calculating the RVC of the fully assembled vehicle. The United States had argued that there was a separate “origination requirement” for Core Parts and Super Core Parts which, once satisfied, had no input into the vehicle RVC calculation. Instead, the United States argued, the vehicle RVC calculation would need to proceed from scratch, without the “roll-up” represented by the 100% value of originating Core Parts and Super Core Parts entering the vehicle RVC calculation. One consequence of the U.S. approach would have been on producers’ use of Chapter 4, Article 4.8, which limits them to just one layer of intermediate material roll-up on self-produced intermediate materials.Continue Reading A Closer Look at the Recent USMCA Automobile Disputes Panel Decision
In recent weeks we saw Canada, Mexico and the United States present their respective positions and legal arguments, often in sharply worded exchanges, about how the Auto Core Parts rules of origin under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be interpreted. It is a high-stakes issue because assembly operations for vehicles and their “Core Parts” (engine, transmission, etc.) inevitably involve lengthy bills of materials with components from many countries, and what is being disputed is whether Core Parts once found to meet the USMCA requirements to be “originating” can then have their value counted as originating value (i.e., “rolled up”) in the calculation of the regional value content (RVC) of the vehicle as a whole. Continue Reading Does the USMCA Mean What It Says? The Disputes Panel Hearing on the Auto Core Parts Rules of Origin
For employers who need to hire foreign national talent for STEM or other hard-to-fill positions, an important immigration deadline is around the corner.
The electronic H-1B lottery application window starts on March 1 and ends on March 18 at 12 noon EST / 9 am PST. If you desire to have one or more candidates entered into the H-1B lottery, please let immigration counsel know before March 1.Continue Reading Annual H-1B Visa Lottery Will Open on March 1, 2022
Prior COVID-19 Travel Bans Repealed as of November 8, 2021
On October 25, 2021, President Biden announced the suspension of the COVID-19 travel bans from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Previously, a National Interest Exception waiver was required. With this new Proclamation, the White House announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national air travelers and authorized the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide specific regulations. The White House announcement can be found here.Continue Reading Sheppard Mullin Travel Checklist ‒ New Vaccination Travel Restrictions for Entry Into the United States: Air and Land Rules Effective November 8, 2021
If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In addition, if your company does business internationally, regulators are now focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.
Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?
On July 6, 2021 the U.S. State Department publicly announced that the travel ban waivers related to the world-wide pandemic will now be good for 1 year and multiple entry. The effective date of this new decision is June 29, 2021. Previously they were only good for 30 days and a single entry. In addition, those that have received a waiver in the past may now use it for 12 months if it was granted after June 29, 2020. See: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-validity-for-nies-for-china-iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-uk-ireland-india.html
Continue Reading NIE’s Now Good for 1 Year, More on Navigating the Travel Ban Jungle: National Interest Exception Checklist for the U.S. COVID Travel Bans
The travel bans imposed by the U.S. Government during the COVID-19 national pandemic created enormous logistical challenges for anyone seeking to fly to the U.S. from a country on the travel ban list. Even today, there is still a great deal of confusion regarding who is subject to the travel ban, what are the exceptions, and how to go about applying for a National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver. The checklist below is intended to help simplify an albeit complicated process. Of course, most U.S. Consulates are still operating at limited capacities so significant delays for waivers and visa stamping is still the norm.
Continue Reading Navigating the Travel Ban Jungle: National Interest Exception Checklist for the U.S. COVID Travel Bans
In effect since July 1, 2020, the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). Although the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic largely overshadowed the effective date of this…
Continue Reading New Labor Obligations Contained In USMCA Present Risks for Covered Employers
On January 2, 2021 the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) became law. Importantly, the NDAA included sweeping legislative reforms to anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws, which are now codified in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) (NDAA §§ 6001-6511). Designed to enhance national security concerns, these AML amendments will significantly impact financial institutions, certain types of businesses—both domestic and foreign, and High Net Worth Individuals (“HNWIs”). While HNWIs legitimately seek to maintain confidentiality in their corporate entities or wealth management structures, the AMLA will make that more difficult and potentially more dangerous.
Continue Reading The New Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 and Potential Effects on Foreign Businesses and High Net Worth Individuals
The Biden Administration took office on January 20, 2021. Many executive orders have been executed since that date, some of which directly change the manner of handling immigration matters. However, the U.S. and the world are still dealing with the global pandemic and this directly affects submissions, filings, and consular appointments. This update provides a list of the latest updates to U.S. visas and immigration matters, as well as what we forecast for the months to come.
Continue Reading Visas and Immigration in 2021 Under the Biden Administration