Mark Bocchetti

Senate confirms Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary
Schumer slams nomination as a “disagrace.” Alexander sees incoming secretary as a “steady hand”

Corporate lawyer Eugene Scalia received Senate confirmation Thursday to be secretary of Labor in a 53-44 party-line vote.

The vote followed a similar partisan divide in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when it voted Tuesday to advance Scalia, the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia, skilled at upending rules, may soon write them at Labor
Trump’s Labor secretary choice, Eugene Scalia, built his reputation by upending regulations on behalf of business

With three major regulations on the launching pad at the Labor Department, the Trump administration may have found the man with the right stuff to issue air-tight rules that can withstand legal challenges.

The president’s new choice for Labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, built a reputation as a skilled litigator by upending regulations on behalf of the business community, from worker injury cases under 1990 disabilities legislation to an Obama-era rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests first.

Trade Office works through tariff exclusions as requests mount
Rejection rate on the 10,829 exclusion requests on first tranche of imports was 62 percent

The U.S. Trade Representative’s process for doling out exclusions to Section 301 tariffs on imports from China has slowed to a painful crawl.

Only approximately 700 requests for exclusions on the first $34 billion tranche of imports were decided over the past month, with half of those denied over concerns that product characteristics were not sufficiently narrow to prevent unrelated products from slipping through customs. The overall rejection rate on the 10,829 exclusion requests on the tranche increased to 62 percent.

Boeing 737 Max grounded following international accidents, downs U.S. export numbers
The downturn in deliveries hit the U.S. trade account hard in May, when U.S. exports of civilian aircraft fell $2 billion

The downturn in Boeing Co. deliveries caused by the grounding of its best-selling airliner in the wake of two international accidents is having a direct impact on U.S. export numbers.

Company officials said Wednesday that they expect the Boeing 737 Max to be grounded at least through October, shaving billions of dollars from revenue, as they reported an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion related to the disruption of aircraft deliveries.

House bill targets Qatar-linked ‘flag of convenience’ Italian airline
Targets ‘flag of convenience’ airlines from undermining labor standards

A House bill that would limit access of foreign airlines to the U.S. based on substandard labor conditions for their workers is the latest round in a long — and mostly successful — fight by U.S. airlines and aviation unions to keep low-cost foreign competition out of the U.S. market.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio was joined by other committee leaders, including Republicans, in sponsoring the bill introduced last week and aimed at preventing “flag of convenience” airlines from undermining labor standards.

Assessing the trade talks with China
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 160

In this episode of CQ on Congress, former U.S. trade negotiator Wendy Cutler explains what each side of the U.S.-China trade talks is looking to gain. Then trade economist Christine McDaniel walks us through how some U.S. companies are coping with the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. And CQ Roll Call's trade reporter Mark Bocchetti discusses the process that allows U.S. companies to seek exclusions from the tariffs.

Trade rep targets EU hams, cheeses, olives and pasta for tariffs
Agency says it is waiting for WTO arbitrator’s ruling before next steps in long-running Airbus subsidy dispute

Agricultural goods and metal products topped a list of European Union goods targeted for possible trade countermeasures as the U.S. Trade Representative turned up the pressure in the Airbus subsidy dispute on Tuesday.

The USTR added 89 tariff categories with a value of $4 billion in a new list of potential targets for retaliatory tariffs, increasing the potential value of such imports by about 19 percent since it took public comment on May 15 and 16 on possible targets.

Sen. Rubio wants to stop Huawei from filing U.S. patent lawsuits
‘We should not allow China government backed companies to improperly use our legal system against us,’ Rubio said in a tweet

Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make sure that the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies can’t pursue intellectual property claims against U.S. companies if the administration finds the company poses an “undue risk” to telecommunication systems.

The Florida Republican filed the amendment to a defense authorization bill. It anticipates a finding from the Commerce Department that Huawei poses the risk and comes amid reports that the Chinese company is considering taking U.S. companies to court over patent disputes.

Tariffs on Chinese-made car seats and baby gates could put children at risk, industry worries
China’s role as manufacturer of juvenile products is so important, switching suppliers could force price increases and imperil safety, experts testified

The administration’s trade policy ran head on into infant safety on Monday as U.S. juvenile products suppliers argued to a panel of U.S. regulators that tariffs on car seats and baby gates could put children in low-income families at risk.

“Our message to American families should be clear,” said Lisa Trofe, of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. “The importance of this trade war does not exceed the importance of baby safety.”

Trump’s tariffs on China won’t have much of an effect, IMF says
China appears able to bear the cost of the Trump administration’s tariffs on imports, the survey found

China appears able to bear the cost of the Trump administration’s tariffs on imports, with little evidence of an economic slowdown, according to a survey by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF found that the U.S. tariffs so far on imports from China would shave only about 0.2 percent from growth, forecasting GDP growth of 6.2 percent in 2019. The strength of China’s economy and the government’s ability to respond to the tariffs may call into question President Donald Trump’s assertion that China would be hurt by the levies.

Tariffs on Mexico could do wide-ranging harm to the U.S. economy, observers warn
Experts say consumers could be hurt by tariffs, and investor confidence and financial markets may also suffer

President Donald Trump’s threat to impose a new tariff on all imports from Mexico beginning Monday and to then ratchet them up each month unless Mexico does more to stop migration to the U.S. border could do wide-ranging harm to the U.S. economy, business representatives and think-tank observers said.

The business officials and others said the tariffs would hurt consumers, businesses, and possibly investor confidence and financial markets, the U.S. economy as a whole and the global economy. Trump announced his plan last Thursday and Mexican officials are in Washington this week hoping to find a solution.

Huawei accuses Congress of ‘tyranny’ in suit over federal contracting ban
The Chinese company faces legal and regulatory actions threatening access to U.S. markets and is fighting back in U.S. courts

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies faces a barrage of legal and regulatory actions threatening its access to U.S. markets, but it is fighting back with a lawsuit in U.S. courts challenging congressional authority to bar the federal government from contracting with the company as an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

The fiscal 2019 defense authorization law prohibits federal agencies from buying, or contracting with companies that use, certain Huawei equipment and services. The company contends that Congress violated Article I of the Constitution by engaging in a “trial by legislature.”

Trump‘s car import move is getting panned
The decision to set an 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action has drawn criticism from industry, lawmakers and the EU

The White House announcement Friday that President Donald Trump has set a 180-day clock ticking on possible trade action against imports of cars and car parts from Japan and Europe brought strong pushback from the private sector.

The president’s implied threat to use Section 232 authorities to impose tariffs or other trade measures if negotiations to limit imports are not successful cited national security and, in particular, the need to protect research and development by U.S. automakers.

Nearly half seeking exclusions from new Trump tariffs on China get preliminary OK
The roughly 46.5 percent success rate is a sign trade officials are open to company arguments requesting relief from tariffs

Companies hoping to sidestep the recent increase in tariffs on many imports from China may take heart from data released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office: More than 40 percent of those seeking exclusions for specific products have won at least a preliminary thumbs-up.

Of the 13,757 requests for exclusions of specific products from tariffs as of May 10, the USTR has reached a preliminary decision on 13,007, granting 1,957 and giving 4,089 approval in an initial substantive review. Almost 7,000 requests were denied.