Bernd Janzen, Lars Hjelm Quoted by Bloomberg BNA on Possible Uptick in Trade Enforcement

Bloomberg BNA, for the article “OUTLOOK 2017: Trade Cheats Beware, if Administration Acts on Promises,” quoted Akin Gump international trade partners Bernd Janzen and Lars-Erik Hjelm on the possibility that trade enforcement could get tougher under the incoming Trump administration.

Janzen noted that, though there is a strong sense that enforcement could increase under Trump, this would continue a recent upward trend. He said that, while the Trump administration could order the Department of Commerce to expedite processing of trade cases, this presupposes that adequate staffing would be in place to handle the workload. In fact, he said, administration pressure to move faster could face pushback from Commerce’s staff, which is already working at capacity. He did note that the possibility exists for “creative tweaking” of methodologies for calculating duties to increase margins.

Hjelm said that more cases can be expected to be filed under Customs’ recently issued evasion regulations. He added that, given the expectation of increased immigration enforcement, there is a greater possibility of more intense scrutiny of trade, noting that whoever heads Customs and Border Protection will likely have a law enforcement background.

Janzen said that the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) dispute settlement mechanism for antidumping and countervailing duty determinations could be dropped if NAFTA is reopened. He said that, given that U.S. industries have petitioned for the mechanism’s elimination for some time, “This may be their golden opportunity to achieve it.”