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International Trade Roundtable: Trade Agreements, Brexit

Monday, August 17, 2020

Boomerang carnets® recently hosted a roundtable discussion with some noteworthy international trade experts as the last of our four-part webinar series Leading Through Crisis.  Jeremy Page, founding partner in the international trade law firm of Page Fura, P.C., has worked for over 30 years with clients to develop strategies navigating the complex regulatory requirements in all aspects of trade.  He spoke about Free Trade Agreements and pointed out some of the cautions with these new opportunities.  

USMCA has hit the ground running hard despite a lot of requirements that have been deferred.  We thought there would be a lot of time to chew on regulations before they would go into effect, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a very steep learning curve for everyone.  There is a six-month informed compliance period to help people grow into the agreement.  Patience must be applied with this learning curve.”

“The same approach should be applied to the US-Japan Agreement and be very cautious if you are sourcing something from Japan.  Don’t presume.  You must look at the specifics if you want to take advantage of this agreement.  There’s a lot of areas of coverage.  There are about 240 classifications.  For U.S. inbound, many are agriculture but there are different types of machine tools and electronics, motors, articles of plastic, metal.  There are a variety of things, but you have to look at your classifications of the commodity to see if you could even benefit.”  

It is important to remember that with Free Trade Agreements, one size does not fit all.  Different agreements have different requirements.  They can be complex to wade through.  Many agreements do not have formal certification, so many of them require a wide array of supporting documentation.  Be sure that you have all the documentation you are relying upon.  You do not want to have to suddenly answer an auditing query and rely upon a third-party.  It is also important to develop and maintain good practices with your supply chain to warrant that they retain all the supporting documentation.  Due diligence is required.

Brexit and its effects on trade agreements

As Britain leaves the E.U., new trade issues will have to be worked out between several countries.  That means new trade agreements will have to be agreed upon moving forward.  Negotiations are now separately taking place between the U.K. and the U.S. and between the U.K. and the E.U. though they are both far from being worked out.  Jeremy explained.  “The U.S. and the U.K. are trying to get some very high-level agreement in place so they can both walk away with some sense of a win.  The E.U. and U.K. have kick-started some high-level discussions as well.  They obviously have their own issues with Brexit.  Boris Johnson was confident that he could run these multiple paths of Brexit negotiations getting a trade agreement to the E.U. while in the meantime working with the U.S.”

With any luck, these matters will be resolved soon. Curt Wilson, President and CEO of boomerang carnets® with offices in both the U.S. and U.K. and a lifetime of experience in the industry, commented on the situation.  “Brexit has been on the precipice for how many years and, as Jeremy said, there’s really no plan yet right now because the E.U. is battling with trying to keep the economy going on in the different countries.  They used to be 28 countries and now the U.K. is leaving.  There are no plans to increase and replace England, and, of course, England is one of the biggest trade partners in the E.U.  We look for the balance to come from the Brexit challenge.”

Boomerang carnets® is here to help.  We can put you in touch with resource options that can help you navigate trade agreements.  If you are interested in expanding your business internationally with economy and ease the ATA Carnet could be the tool you are looking for.  The ATA Carnet is an internationally accepted customs document for the temporary import/export of goods.  Its many benefits have assisted companies expand into new global markets and its flexibility can easily accommodate these changeable times. 

You can view any of our webinar recordings, Leading Through Crisis Part 1, 2, 3, or 4 by contacting Monika Jadeszko.  We value our customers and recognize the challenges of the day.