On June 16, 2017, the Trump administration issued a national security presidential memorandum entitled “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba” (the “Presidential Memorandum”). Related to this announcement, the White House issued a Cuba Fact Sheet, OFAC issued a new set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the Department of Transportation also issued a new set of FAQs relating to the President’s announcement.
Despite the headlines coming out of Washington, Congress continues to move forward in regular fashion, discussing and acting upon key issues, such as funding the government, addressing the need to raise the debt ceiling and reauthorizing expiring programs.
This afternoon, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, describing it as “disadvantaging the United States” and indicating that the United States will “cease implementation” thereof, unless the United States can renegotiate its terms.
Yesterday morning, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) formally notified Congress that the administration intends to initiate renegotiations with Mexico and Canada on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The administration is required to submit the notice to ensure that any legislation required to implement an updated agreement can receive fast-track protection under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). Under the TPA, the USTR may not enter into formal negotiations until 90 days after this notice is provided to Congress. Thus, NAFTA renegotiations can start on August 16, 2017.
Congress returned to session the week of April 24 following a two-week recess. Active discussions and debate surrounding the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and efforts to “repeal-and-replace” the Affordable Care Act resumed among Republicans in an effort to achieve the votes necessary for House passage. After negotiating additional changes to the legislation, members of the House Freedom Caucus agreed to lend their support, but many moderate Republicans remained wary of the proposal.
Congress entered into its spring recess on April 7 having delivered regulatory reforms to President Trump’s desk. In the first 75 days of the Trump administration, legislators approved 13 Congressional Review Act resolutions, with President Trump signing 11 thus far. Despite these victories, Congress was unable to deliver President Trump a key legislative goal, and health care reform remains elusive as Republicans continue to disagree over the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
President Trump signed two EOs addressing trade on Friday, March 31: one addressing trade and customs enforcement, including the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD), and a second requesting an omnibus report on significant trade deficits. While the EOs represent another of the administration’s major forays into trade, they set the table for increased enforcement of U.S. trade laws and scrutiny of U.S. trading partners.
Cree Inc. (“Cree”), the U.S.-based LED lighting and semiconductor company, announced last month that it is terminating its agreement to sell its Wolfspeed Power & RF division (“Wolfspeed”) to Infineon Technologies AG of Germany (“Infineon”) for USD $850 million. The decision to terminate the deal came shortly after Cree announced that CFIUS raised objections to the acquisition and that the parties were working within the deal structure to mitigate CFIUS’ concerns. This outcome underscores that CFIUS risk can exist in transactions involving buyers from countries that are closely allied to the United States.