Akin Gump Lawyers Talk Trade and Regulatory Matters with CCBJ

Corporate Counsel Business Journal has featured Akin Gump international trade partners Matt Nicely and Suzanne Kane in the article “International Trade Law Remains In the Spotlight,” regarding the current state of trade law and compliance, the impacts of the Trump administration and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and their predictions for 2021.

Among the topics discussed:

  • Disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic: “[W]hen the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) instituted some export restrictions on personal protective equipment (PPE). There was a decent amount of confusion around what was actually covered by these restrictions, but they’ve been revised a couple of times and at this point are actually fairly narrow. But when the restrictions were first announced, it was pretty amazing how much they affected companies across various industries (not just medical supply companies) that are used to shipping items like gloves and masks and hand sanitizer between their affiliated companies in other countries.”
  • The government’s economic solutions: “Economic solutions have been part of the CARES Act and the various stimulus bills that have been passed, but those have not necessarily alleviated the impact of duties. Early on in the pandemic, there was talk of there being a tax holiday, or a duty holiday, so to speak, on some products.”
  • Law enforcement during the pandemic: “[U.S. Customs and Border Protection] CBP agents are mostly working from home, but some are back at the ports. And they haven’t really missed a beat in terms of enforcement actions. In fact, it feels like I’m seeing more enforcement actions than before the pandemic, which might be because the import specialists actually have more time to issue enforcement actions now that they’re not on duty at the ports as much.”
  • Looking at 2021: “If Biden is elected, I think there’s going to be a serious reconsideration of several aspects of the Trump trade policy. And what would that do for companies going forward? What would it do to companies’ planning? There has been a huge shift in supply chains as a result of Trump administration trade policy, and one of the things the Biden administration would need to be careful about is the whipsaw effect that happens when trade policies change dramatically overnight. It’s going to be fascinating to see how things play out.”

To read the full interview, click here.