Monthly Archives: September 2017

Section 301 Investigation of China — Are Trade Sanctions Likely?

FRN China 301

On August 14th, pursuant to a Memorandum sent by President Trump, USTR Robert Lighthizer initiated a Section a Section 301 investigation of China under the 1974 Trade Act.

The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies and practices of the government of China relating to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.

The USTR posted a notice in the Federal Register seeking written comments from companies having difficulties in China regarding the above (see attached notice) to be submitted by September 28, 2017. The Section 301 Committee will convene a public hearing at the US International Trade Commission on October 10, 2017. The deadline for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments is October 20, 2017.

The importance of using the Section 301 is that the President can impose sanctions without consulting Congress or the World Trade Organization. In short, he can act independently through the USTR who is authorized by law to impose trade sanctions. It’s happened before. In 1995 and 1996 when USTR Mickey Kantor imposed $1.8 billion in trade sanctions. China imposed trade sanctions in retaliation. The sanctions never went into effect because of agreements signed just hours before the sanctions were to take effect in both years.

I covered the 1995 and 1996 trade disputes in great detail in by book Trademark Counterfeiting, Product Piracy and the Billion Dollar Threat to the U.S. Economy.

Let’s see what happens this time. We won’t have long to wait.

$1.2 Billion in Counterfeit Fentanyl Pills Seized in Mexico

140 pounds of fentanyl and almost 30,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl were seized in a search of a tractor-trailer at a checkpoint in San Luis Rio Colorado in Mexico’s Sonora state on August 19th. The drugs are believed to have been headed to the United States. The street value is estimated at over $1.2 billion dollars.

A few days earlier 30,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl were discovered during a traffic stop by the Tempe Arizona Police Department in connection with an investigation into the Sinaloa Cartel. The pills were designed to look like oxycodone.

Sale of Counterfeits Funding Terrorist Activities

Sale of Counterfeits Funding Terrorist Activities is hardly a surprise anymore. For example, the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris was financed by the sale of counterfeit apparel sold on the street corner. An ABC news article that came out on September 7th points to the sale of counterfeit sneakers as a source for terrorist activities (see link below).

In Vino Duplicitas

In Vino Duplicitas by Peter Hellman is a book about Rudy Kurniawan whom I’ve covered in an earlier blog (7/30/15) and whose crime has also been made into a documentary.

Its the story of the biggest wine hoax in history. Kurniawan was a world class swindler who first established himself as one of the world’s foremost collectors and experts in evaluating wine. He then mixed wine in his kitchen and passed them off as rare wines to some of the county’s wealthiest people and wine enthusiasts.