CD: Reflecting on the last 12 months or so, could you provide an overview of the number and significance of disputes arising in connection with imports and exports?

Lee: The ‘Trump trade tariffs’ have greatly increased the number and significance of trade disputes concerning imports and exports. Under Trump, the US has already imposed significant tariffs on imported steel, aluminium, solar panels and washing machines from a number of countries, and additional tariffs on $50bn in US imports from China. Under consideration are new tariffs on automobiles and uranium, and additional tariffs on $200bn in imports from China. In return, other countries have retaliated. Canada, China, Mexico and the EU have imposed or announced plans to impose retaliatory tariffs, including an EU proposal for $7bn of tariffs on US exports to the EU. Canada, Mexico and the EU have also initiated proceedings to challenge the tariffs at the World Trade Organization (WTO). China has also imposed retaliatory tariffs targeting politically-sensitive US exports to China, including soybeans, tobacco products, whiskey, beef and vehicles.

Hansson: As many of these matters are not public, it is difficult to predict with any accuracy the number of ‘disputes’ arising at any one time. However, given the Trump administration’s unilateral re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, imposition of new sanctions on Turkey and Russia, increased tariffs on steel and aluminium, and strong rhetoric on enforcement of such measures, we expect 2018 to go down as one the busiest years in trade enforcement matters in some time.

Oct-Dec 2018 issue

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Jones Day

Reed Smith LLP