Edge co-op applauding passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act
Baldwin says federal bill aims to bolster U.S. supply chains
Concerns raised about solar imports investigation
Renew Wisconsin is raising concerns about a federal investigation into “alleged unfair trade practices” targeting solar energy products imported from southeast Asia.
The renewable energy advocacy group highlighted the U.S. Commerce Department’s investigation into certain solar products imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. A release notes 80 percent of all U.S. solar panel imports come from these countries.
The investigation was launched in response to a complaint by a California manufacturer called Auxin Solar, which argued the imports from the four southeast Asian countries represent “pervasive backdoor dumping” by China, the Associated Press reported.
If the federal agency determines rules aimed at blocking products from China are being violated, Renew Wisconsin says “very high tariffs” will likely be enacted on these products, putting many solar projects in jeopardy.
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Former ambassador sees opportunity for Wisconsin ag amid supply chain disruption
The head of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce warns rising energy costs tied to the war between Russia and Ukraine will impact factories and consumers in the state.
WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer said in a statement the immediate impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will drive energy costs “even higher than they already are.”
“Rising energy costs are very regressive for consumers, especially during the home heating season. But rising costs will also have a major impact on factories in a manufacturing state like Wisconsin,” Bauer said. “Higher producer costs are upstream of consumer costs, which means the Russian invasion will exacerbate existing inflationary pressures.”
Meanwhile, a trade consultant with the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center says exporters will need to prove their products will not end up in the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist regions of Ukraine, under federal sanctions.
“There is a potential upside, however, for organizations with the foresight to mobilize considering disruptive scenarios — and respond in a way that ultimately powers their performance,” the SBDC’s Chris Wojtowicz wrote in a blog post.
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Expert urges businesses to create human trafficking and forced labor prevention programs
A compliance expert is urging businesses to develop human trafficking and forced labor prevention programs as countries move to enact higher standards for international trade.
“As they like to say, the best defense is a good offense,” said Gwen Hassan, a compliance officer and legal counsel who spoke yesterday during a webinar hosted by the Madison International Trade Association. “So know your supply chain. Make sure that you have taken the time and effort to actually map it. Where do products come from? Where do they end up?”
She noted a number of countries including Germany, Canada, Australia and others are considering new restrictions or changes to existing laws to address the role of exploitation and human trafficking in global supply chains.
“Are you in Germany? Then gear up and get ready for that new human rights due diligence requirement. Are you in Australia, are you in Canada? So you need to kind of layer, what is my risk, what is the regulatory context, and how do I figure out how we’re going to comply given the risk that I have?” she said.
In the United States, she explained customs officials can impose a “withhold release order” on incoming shipments that are suspected to have been produced through forced labor or human trafficking networks. While importers can get their products admitted if they prove they’re not linked to these practices, she said “this is very, very difficult to do.”
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Trusted brokers seen as key to navigating international trade
In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Bank of America executive Drew Slocum discusses how his team helps companies navigate the intricacies of international trade.
“The last 18 months, what we’ve seen companies work through has been unique, different and challenges that most of our companies have never faced all at one time,” said Slocum, senior vice president and marketing manager for the company.
The show touches on rising inflation and interest rates as well as supply chain and labor issues, along with how financial institutions and their corporate clients are grappling with these trends.
“We’ve seen borrowing ramp up quite a bit really across the board, as companies are faced with higher costs, but also as they think about trying to get ahead of inventory issues,” he said. “More advanced purchasing on inventory … trying to make sure they have the components on hand so they can meet the demand that they’re seeing.”
The course of relations between the U.S. and China continues to be a top foreign policy priority under the new Biden administration. President Biden recently singled out China as “the greatest geopolitical test” of this century. The path forward on China will now be determined by a different circle of leaders and influencers in the Biden administration than the past four years. We will see them take a different approach to addressing much of what are the same threats and challenges with China.
Click the link below for an overview provided by Michael Best Strategies on the leadership in the Biden administration influencing our policy on China, the threats and challenges the U.S. seeks to address, and what businesses can expect from the Biden administration and Congress as they take action on China.