“PROTECTIONISM BECOMES DESTRUCTIONISM; IT COSTS JOBS”
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, JUNE 20, 1986
US CHINA TRADE WAR UPDATE – DECEMBER 21, 2018
Another difficult newsletter to write as every day there is more news. Also trying to understand the current state of US China Trade Relations is like trying to tell the future by looking at tea leaves at the bottom of the cup.
At the Trump Xi Meeting on December 1st at the G-20 meeting in Argentina, there was a deal to delay the 301 tariffs for 90 days during which time negotiations would happen between the US and Chinese governments. The Chinese government was to send a negotiating team to Washington DC on December 15th, but that did not happen. The latest is that negotiations continue by phone and the Chinese negotiating team will come to Washington DC in January.
Meanwhile, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) has issued the attached new notice, MARCH 2 USTR NOTICE PUBLISHED, setting a hard date of March 2nd for US China Trade Deal. If there is no deal by March 2nd, the tariffs on $200 billion in imports automatically go from 10% to 25%. The USTR has also issued a new attached Section 301 update, USTR FULLL 301 Report Update.
The core of any US China deal will be provisions to prevent IP Theft, Forced Technology Transfer and cyber hacking for commercial gain. So, what was a dim hope of a US China trade settlement at the G-20 has brightened the hope a little more, but there is still a very long way to go.
Making the situation more difficult was the December 1st arrest of Huawei CEO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder, in Vancouver, Canada based on an extradition warrant from the United States for bank fraud. Immediately many Chinese officials took this action as a personal attack on China by Canada and the United States. Many Chinese commentators saw this action as an attempt by President Trump to increase pressure on China with regards to trade relations.
Readers of this newsletter, however, will remember the point last month that the Justice Department has raised US China trade relations to a new serious level by starting a new initiative to go after China officials, not only from a trade policy point of view, but also with criminal indictments and investigations for IP Theft and other issues.
On December 20th, the Justice Department further increased the pressure by bringing an indictment against two Chinese individuals for cyber hacking. This is not politics. This crisis has risen to criminal activity governed by the Rule of Law.
But apparently the Justice Department did pull its punches because it only went after the two individuals and not the corporate entities associated with the hacking.
That is just where Ms. Meng finds herself—immersed in a criminal action exposing her to 30 years in prison for bank fraud. Although Ms. Meng received bail and is staying at her Vancouver house, she is due back in Canadian Court in February. And there is probably a good chance that Ms. Meng will be extradited to the United States, where she will face even tougher problems.
The Canadian Trade Advisor has stated that this is a Rule of Law question, not China policy issue.
But the problems for Huawei have expanded exponentially. As many international banks now refuse to do business with Huawei because the risks are too great.
But there are probably bigger issues behind the push by many countries to get Huawei out of their telecommunications networks. On December 14th, it was reported that all five Western Intelligence Agencies have created a real campaign to kill Huawei’s activities in Western countries.
In addition, however, there has been an effort from the Chinese government to keep the Huawei problems separate from the trade negotiations. The Chinese government has a real incentive to do this because its economy is facing very strong problems with the sharp decline in the Chinese stock market. One Chinese economic expert is comparing the Chinese stock market to the 1929 stock market crash in the United States that led to the Great Depression. That Chinese economist also believes that the Chinese economy is not expanding but contracting significantly because of the US China trade war and the Chinese government’s policy of killing the private industry.
My firm is also representing a number of US importers and fabricators, US producers of downstream products, in the Quartz Surface Products Antidumping and Countervailing Duty case. As part of that effort, we are trying to persuade US fabricating companies and importers to fill out the questionnaires from the US International Trade Commission’s (“ITC”) so that their voices will be heard. Those questionnaires are attached below.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.
G-20 DIM HOPE BECOMES BRIGHTER HOPE BUT??
The day before the US China meeting in Buenos Aires Argentina, USTR Lighthizer stated that there would probably be a deal. And that is what happened.
Apparently at the start of the GP-20 meeting, President Xi made a 20-minute speech outlining the steps that the Chinese government was willing to take to end the trade war.
Although China agreed to immediately import US agricultural products, the key to the 301 case is IP Theft and Forced Technology Transfer. The real issue is what is China prepared to do.
Meanwhile, the United States Trade Representative has issued the attached new notice, MARCH 2 USTR NOTICE PUBLISHED, setting a hard date of March 2nd for US China Trade Deal. If there is no deal by March 1st, the tariffs on $200 billion in imports automatically go from 10% to 25%.
Apparently, the latest word is that the US and Chinese governments continue to negotiate by phone and the first real face to face meeting will be in January. But that does not give much time to reach an agreement by March 1st.
Bill Bishop, a known China expert, in his Axios Sinocsim newsletter stated on December 14th:
“I’d already heard that the Chinese are planning to make big concessions, because they understand U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer won’t “accept warmed-over promises.”
- And, now it appears this could be true, as indicated by the temporary cuts in tariffs on U.S. autos, mentioned in the intro above.
- So as long as Trump keeps his resolve there may actually be a chance for some significant concessions on trade, moves that Chinese President Xi Jinping can spin domestically as not due to U.S. pressure but as part of the deepening of reform.”
On the other hand, my partner, who reads the Chinese Press in Chinese, commented on the December 13th speech by Xi Jinping on the anniversary of the market opening by Deng Xiaoping:
“I just read a seminar of a group of Chinese scholars reviewing the Xi Jinping speech. The take away:
1.) Reform is dead: permanently. Here, “reform” means move to an open, market economy with minimal involvement by the CCP and minimal involvement by SOEs. This kind of reform would mean the end of CCP control, and that prospect is dead, permanently.
- On the trade war, what the Chinese government hopes is: they will enter into some written agreement with Trump. But Trump will soon be swept away. As soon as that happens, the Chinese will tear up the agreement. This shows a mistaken understanding of the U.S. system: we don’t have one man/one party rule in the U.S. So the Chinese are viewing this from the standpoint of how their own system works. But it is interesting to see how this matter is analyzed in China.
Note this is what the Chinese scholars said. I agree, but this is coming from the Chinese side, not from me.”
Such a misreading of the US trade situation is extremely dangerous. As mentioned in the last blog post, based on quotes from numerous sources, the Chinese government has succeeded in uniting both ends of the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans, against China. This trade situation is not going to change any time soon no matter what party is in power.
But other articles have stated that the US and Chinese governments continue to negotiate by phone and there will be face to face meetings in January. On the other hand, the word is that the Chinese government will agree to make a number of trade concessions, but not agree to any “structural” changes.
The real question is what is meant by the word “structural”? Again, the core issues in the Section 301 deal are IP Theft, Forced Technology Transfer and cyber hacking. If the Chinese government’s intent is to make no enforceable concessions in these areas, these negotiations will fail. That would be a major blow to China.
As indicated below, the indictment and US and Canadian actions against Huawei have made the negotiations more difficult. But the Chinese government has attempted to keep the trade negotiations and Huawei situation separate, probably because of the big problems with the Chinese economy as explained below.
IP THEFT, FORCED TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CYBER HACKING REMAIN THE CORE ISSUES OF THE 301 CASE
The core of the Section 301 case is intellectual property, rights which are Constitutionally protected rights. Stealing intellectual property (“IP”) is piracy, pure and simple.
As the United States Trade Representative states on page 4 of its attached full 301 report, USTR FULL 301 REPORT CHINA TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER:
The Federal Register Notice described the focus of the investigation as follows:
First, the Chinese government reportedly uses a variety of tools, including opaque and discretionary administrative approval processes, joint venture requirements, foreign equity limitations, procurements, and other mechanisms to regulate or intervene in U.S. companies’ operations in China in order to require or pressure the transfer of technologies and intellectual property to Chinese companies. Moreover, many U.S. companies report facing vague and unwritten rules, as well as local rules that diverge from national ones, which are applied in a selective and non-transparent manner by Chinese government officials to pressure technology transfer.
Second, the Chinese government’s acts, policies and practices reportedly deprive U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology- related negotiations with Chinese companies and undermine U.S. companies control over their technology in China. For example, the Regulations on Technology Import and Export Administration mandate particular terms for indemnities and ownership of technology improvements for imported technology, and other measures also impose non- market terms in licensing and technology contracts.
Third, the Chinese government reportedly directs and/or unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and/or acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets by Chinese companies to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property and generate large-scale technology transfer in industries deemed important by Chinese government industrial plans.
Fourth, the investigation will consider whether the Chinese government is conducting or supporting unauthorized intrusions into U.S. commercial computer networks or cyber- enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information, and whether this conduct harms U.S. companies or provides competitive advantages to Chinese companies or commercial sectors.
The Section 301 Report then goes on to list ten IP Agreements the Chinese government signed with the United States from 2010 to 2016, including the recent 2016 agreement between President Xi and President Obama to not require the transfer of technology as a precondition of doing business in China. See page 8 of the USTR 301 report above.
On November 20, 2018, before the G-20 meeting, the USTR issued the attached an interim report in the Section 301 case, USTR FULLL 301 Report Update. The Update states, in part:
“USTR has undertaken this update as part of its ongoing monitoring and enforcement effort. In preparing this update, USTR has relied upon publicly available material, and has consulted with other government agencies. As detailed in this update, China fundamentally has not altered its acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, and indeed appears to have taken further unreasonable actions in recent months.
Section II describes how China continues its policy and practice of conducting and supporting cyber-enabled theft and intrusions into the commercial networks of U.S. companies and those of other countries, as well as other means by which China attempts illegally to obtain information. This conduct provides the Chinese government with unauthorized access to intellectual property, including trade secrets, or confidential business information, as well as technical data, negotiating positions, and sensitive and proprietary internal business communications.
Section III describes how, despite the relaxation of some foreign ownership restrictions and certain other incremental changes in 2018, the Chinese government has persisted in using foreign investment restrictions to require or pressure the transfer of technology from U.S. companies to Chinese entities. Numerous foreign companies and other trading partners share U.S. concerns regarding China’s technology transfer regime.
Section IV describes China’s discriminatory licensing restrictions and how the United States has requested consultations and is pursuing dispute settlement under the WTO in China Certain Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (WT/DS542). China continues to maintain these discriminatory licensing restrictions.
Section V describes how, despite an apparent aggregate decline in Chinese outbound investment in the United States in 2018, the Chinese government continues to direct and unfairly facilitate the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets by Chinese entities, to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property and generate large-scale technology transfer in industries deemed important by state industrial plans. Chinese outbound investment is increasingly focused on venture capital (VC) investment in U.S. technology centers such as Silicon Valley, with Chinese VC investment reaching record levels in 2018.
SECTION 301 PROCEDURES
As to the procedures in the Section 301 case, please see my October 1, 2018 blog post for a detailed explanation of the 301 case, three outstanding lists and opportunity to request a product exclusion request. The three lists of tariffs cover $250 billion in imports from China.
CANADA’S ARREST OF HUAWEI CEO MENG WANZHOU—YOU CAN RUN BUT NOT HIDE FROM US EXTRADITION WARRANTS
As stated above, making the US China trade negotiations more difficult was the December 1st arrest of Huawei CEO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder, in Vancouver, Canada based on an extradition warrant from the United States for criminal offenses.
Although many Chinese officials took this action as a personal attack on China, when one digs down into the details, it becomes apparent that this action raises a major rule of law issue – bank fraud to get around Iran sanctions.
INTERNATIONAL EXTRADITION AND JUDGMENT AGREEMENTS ARE IMPORTANT
US judgments are not enforceable in China. Also, US extradition warrants are not enforceable in China.
With regards to the Huawei situation, one Hong Kong commentator complained that the United States is not arresting Chinese criminals in the US. But the reason that the US does not arrest Chinese criminals is that the Chinese government has determined that it does not want to have an international agreement with the United States to allow for mutual enforcement of judgments or mutual extradition warrants for criminals.
Many Chinese commentators may believe that the China does not have to follow the international agreements that it signed because it is a developing country and/or the agreements are unequal treaties. Other countries, such as US, Canada, EU, Japan, Korea, and even Taiwan, however, take these international agreements very seriously and understand the importance of a country keeping its word in international negotiations.
These countries have mutual agreements with the United States to enforce judgments and extradite criminals. This is called the Rule of Law.
The United States does intend to extradite Chinese individuals, who break US laws, to face judgment in US courts. As Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division stated on November 1, 2018 with regard to extraditing Chinese individuals for stealing US Intellectual Property:
“The Criminal Division fully supports the Attorney General’s initiative to counter Chinese economic aggression. Every day, the Chinese engage in efforts to steal American trade secrets and commit other illegal acts intended to enrich their economy at the expense of American businesses. . . .
We see it time and again: Chinese actors have stolen wind turbine technology in Wisconsin, agricultural research in Kansas, cancer drug research in Pennsylvania, and software source code in New York.
Wherever we see examples of this kind of criminal behavior, the Department will investigate it and prosecute it to the fullest extent possible. We also will continue to work hard to ensure that offenders face justice in U.S. courts.
Our Office of International Affairs is the focal point for all extraditions around the globe. In just the past few years, the Department has successfully extradited nine Chinese individuals, including two for theft of trade secrets. Long prison terms for these offenders help to create much-needed deterrence. . . .”
US JUDGMENTS NOT ENFORCEABLE IN CHINA GIVE CHINESE COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
But the Chinese government’s decision not to have any agreement with the United States or other countries with regards to the enforcement of judgments or extradition warrants also gives Chinese individuals a false sense of security.
The US government cannot touch me because I am in China Ha Ha. Chinese companies, however, are no longer small or even medium companies in the Chinese countryside. Many Chinese companies, such as Huawei, are multinational companies and in Huawei’s case with operations in over one hundred countries. As soon as the Chinese individual takes a step out of China, however, he or she can be arrested. You can run, but eventually you cannot hide from US extradition warrants and judgments.
Ms. Meng Wanzhou knew she was under criminal indictment in the United States. She probably had even seen the indictment. Ms. Meng also has a husband and several houses in Vancouver, Canada. One of her children is going to school in Boston, Massachusetts. As soon as Ms. Meng decided to visit her family outside of China, she is a target. She, therefore, should have taken the criminal indictments very seriously.
Apparently, Huawei has now hired two very large US law firms to defend itself and hopefully Ms. Meng in the US. Ms. Meng needs a very good US criminal lawyer because in all probability Canada will extradite Ms. Meng to face criminal proceedings.
THE CHARGES AGAINST HUAWEI AND MS. MENG ARE SERIOUS –BANK FRAUD AND VIOLATIONS OF IRAN SANCTIONS
One key point to keep in mind is that like ZTE, Huawei uses US semiconductor chips and other high technology in its products. Selling Huawei phones to Iran with American semiconductor chips in them is a violation of the US law regarding exports to Iran.
On December 9, 2018, the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled “Silicon Valley Helped Build Huawei Washington Could Dismantle It” stated that Silicon Valley giants, such as Intel, Broadcom and Qualcomm, are supplying $10 billion in high tech products, including semiconductor chips, every year. As the article states:
“These interdependencies show how any U.S. actions against Huawei for alleged sanctions violations, which could go as far as a ban on it buying from American suppliers, could devastate Huawei’s operations, and curtail business for U.S. tech companies.”
Moreover, the key allegation against Ms. Meng is bank fraud. As the Wall Street Journal explained on December 10th in an article entitled “Two British Banks Ensnared in Huawei Dispute”:
“To comply with banking and anti-money-laundering laws, banks must collect information from clients on their business and ﬁnancial activities, and do additional due diligence and monitoring of high-risk clients. But in a twist to the usual narrative, the banks in this matter haven’t been accused of any wrongdoing and are instead portrayed as victims in court ﬁlings.
The court ﬁlings in Canada allege that at least three other global banks were misled by Huawei employees and representatives about the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.
One ﬁling describes an August 2013 meeting and presentation by Ms. Meng to an executive at one bank—identiﬁed Friday as HSBC by Ms. Meng’s lawyer. Ms. Meng came to the meeting with an English interpreter and a PowerPoint presentation written in Chinese, and made a series of statements.
In an English translation delivered to the HSBC executive soon after, Ms. Meng stated in the presentation that Huawei complied with international sanctions laws and had sold shares it previously held in Skycom. The relationship was one of “normal business cooperation,” Ms. Meng stated, according to the ﬁling.
Her lawyer said Friday the idea Ms. Meng engaged in fraud would be “hotly contested.”
As a fast-expanding telecom giant, Huawei’s access to global banks was paramount in helping it supply equipment across dozens of countries’ telecom networks. For the banks, the growing Chinese client produced a steady stream of fees. Dealogic data shows HSBC and Standard Chartered were two of Huawei’s biggest ﬁnancing partners, with top roles on most of its $17 billion in loan and bond sales in the past decade. Citigroup Inc., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Bank of China were among the other main arrangers. . . .
Canadian prosecutors said the alleged conspiracy between Ms. Meng and other Huawei representatives to mislead banks was driven by the company’s need to move money out of sanctioned countries through the international banking system.
In the court ﬁlings, authorities alleged that the misrepresentations by Huawei to banks “violated their internal policies, potentially violated U.S. sanctions laws and exposed the banks to the risk of ﬁnes and forfeiture.” Banks carried out transactions for Huawei through New York and Europe, exposing them to “serious harm” and decisions made without knowing Huawei’s true risk, the ﬁlings said.”
As the Wall Street Journal explained on December 10 in an article entitled “Arrest of Huawei CEO Hinges on Offshore Puzzle”:
“Ms. Meng said she had served on the Skycom board to ensure it complied with trade rules, according to newly released defense ﬁlings that cite the 2013 PowerPoint presentation to HSBC Holdings Ltd.
Ms. Meng’s lawyer said Friday that she and Huawei severed ties to Skycom in 2009 and can’t be held responsible for its activities in the years that followed.
U.S. prosecutors say Skycom remained under Huawei’s control; between 2010 and 2014, they say, Skycom was used as a front for Huawei’s dealings with Iran in an arrangement that duped banks into approving millions of dollars in transactions that violated sanctions.
Canadian oﬃcials arrested Ms. Meng, the 46-year-old daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei, on Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S., which is seeking her extradition to face multiple criminal charges that each carry up to 30 years in prison, a move that has enraged the Chinese government. . . .
The case could hinge on a large piece of the Skycom puzzle: Who ultimately controlled the company after 2009?
The answer is shrouded in mystery in part because of the opaque ownership of Skycom during the time Ms. Meng served on its board. A Wall Street Journal examination of Hong Kong corporate records found that Canicula Holdings Ltd., a company registered in the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, bought Skycom from a Huawei subsidiary in November 2007. Canicula retained ownership until Skycom was dissolved last year. . .
Skycom was registered in Hong Kong in 1998 by people whose names matched those of Huawei executives, according to corporate records. The Chinese city is one of the world’s easiest places to set up businesses, allowing companies to register with minimal documentation in as fast as a day and for as little as a few hundred U.S. dollars.
Unlike some corporate havens, Hong Kong records show directors and provide other basic information.
In the decade before Ms. Meng joined, Skycom had six directors. The names of ﬁve of them and another person identiﬁed as an early shareholder match the names of executives who worked at Huawei.
By the time Ms. Meng was named director in 2008, corporate ﬁlings show that the shares in Skycom owned by Hua Ying Management Co. Ltd., a wholly owned unit of a Huawei investment company, had been transferred to Canicula.
Ms. Meng’s lawyers said Skycom was sold in 2009, without specifying who bought it. U.S. authorities said in their indictment against Ms. Meng that Huawei continued to control Skycom after that year, and that Skycom employees were also Huawei staﬀers. Skycom workers used Huawei email addresses and badges, oﬃcial Skycom documents bore the Huawei logo, and multiple Skycom bank accounts were controlled by Huawei employees, court documents say.
Employees in Iran used diﬀerent sets of stationery stating “Huawei” or “Skycom” for diﬀerent business purposes, according to court documents.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that an employee at an accounting ﬁrm listed in Skycom’s Hong Kong records said Huawei owned the company.
In court documents including an extradition request to Canada, U.S. prosecutors allege that multiple banks engaged in millions of dollars of transactions between 2010 and 2014 that they wouldn’t have otherwise been involved with as a result of Ms. Meng’s misrepresentations.”
But who brought Huawei to the attention of the US government—Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corp. As stated in the December 6. 2018 Dow Jones Newsletter:
“A federally appointed overseer at HSBC Holdings PLC flagged suspicious transactions in the accounts of Huawei Technologies Co. to prosecutors seeking the extradition of the Chinese company’s finance chief, people familiar with the matter said.
A monitor charged with evaluating HSBC’s anti-money-laundering and sanctions controls in recent years relayed information about the Huawei transactions to federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, the people said . . .
The Journal reported in April that the Justice Department had launched a criminal probe into Huawei’s dealings in Iran, following administrative subpoenas on sanctions-related issues from both the Commerce Department and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
HSBC in 2012 agreed to pay the U.S. $1.9 billion and enter into a five-year deferred- prosecution agreement over its failure to catch at least $881 million in drug- trafficking proceeds laundered through its U.S. bank and for concealing transactions with Iran, Libya and Sudan to evade U.S. sanctions. . . .”
Now the other shoe is dropping as the Wall Street Journal reported on December 20, 2018 in an article entitled “Some Global Banks Break Ties with Huawei”, these same foreign banks are now severing ties with Huawei because there is simply too much risk:
“Huawei Technologies Co., targeted as a national security threat by the U.S. and other governments, faces a new risk: reduced access to the global ﬁnancial system.
Two banks that helped power the Chinese company’s rise as a global technology supplier, HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered PLC, won’t provide it with any new banking services or funding after deciding that Huawei is too high risk, people familiar with those decisions said.
While HSBC made its decision last year, Standard Chartered moved more recently as concerns about Huawei escalated this year from a Justice Department investigation into whether the company violated U.S. sanctions on Iran, some of the people said. . . .
Huawei, active in about 170 countries, relies on international banks to manage cash, ﬁnance trade and fund its operations and investments. For more than a decade, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citigroup plugged Huawei into the global ﬁnancial system as it entered new markets, providing it with everything from foreign currencies to bond funding from Western investors. Chinese banks ﬁnance Huawei in some markets but don’t have the reach to service it globally.
Standard Chartered recently decided it had to sever business with Huawei, people familiar with the matter said. Its relationship with the company dates back to the 2000s, and includes providing regional and global cash pools that free up excess cash in local Huawei units and let it pay suppliers in multiple currencies.
HSBC stopped working with Huawei last year, people familiar with the matter said, after the bank and a court-appointed monitor ﬂagged suspicious transactions by the company to U.S. prosecutors in 2016. According to Canada court ﬁlings, HSBC was one of at least four global banks that Ms. Meng or other Huawei executives allegedly misled about Huawei’s ties to Skycom Tech, a Hong Kong company operating in Iran. The bank is still a mortgage lender on two homes Ms. Meng and her husband own in Vancouver, according to Canada property records. . . .
Other banks that have provided funding or services to Huawei, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and ING Group NV, declined to comment on whether they would enter into new business. An ANZ spokesman said it takes its due diligence responsibilities very seriously and has detailed policies and processes in place for use when engaging clients. A spokesman for ING, whose subsidiary Bank Mendes Gans runs a cash pool for Huawei in Europe, said the bank takes its sanctions policy extremely seriously and continually assesses clients for risks.”
Indictments are very serious legal problems that cannot simply be ignored because the individual thinks he or she is a high level Chinese official and that will protect him or her from arrest. High Level Chinese Government and Companies do not get a pass from US and other countries laws and regulations because they are from China.
On December 17, 2018, the Canadian Press in an article entitled “Freeland says corners could not be cut with U.S. arrest request of Huawei exec” stated:
“Cutting corners to avoid arresting a Chinese executive at the request of the Americans simply was not an option to keep Canada out of a difficult political situation, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Freeland said that type of tactic would erode Canada’s commitment to the rule of law at a time when it is under threat across the globe.
“I think people need to be very careful when they start to suggest that corners be cut when it comes to the rule of law and when it comes to international treaty obligations,” said Freeland.
“That is one of the core foundations of everything that’s great about our country, one of the core foundations of our democracy,” she added.
“It’s not an accident that among our heroes are the RCMP.” . . . .
Freeland rejected that notion outright, saying it would undermine Canada’s credibility with other countries, including Canada’s “extradition partners.”
The Chinese government and state-run media have vilified the Canadian decision to arrest Meng, and ridiculed the rule-of-law argument. U.S. President Donald Trump also undermined Canada’s position when he mused in an interview last week he might intervene in the Meng case if it would help him get a trade deal with China.
“You might call it a slippery slope approach; you could call it a salad bar approach,” Freeland said. “The rule of law is not about following the rule of law when it suits you.”
But there are probably bigger political issues when it comes to Huawei. On December 14th, Bill Bishop, a China expert, reported in his Sinocism Axios newsletter that there is a real campaign to kill Huawei’s operations in many countries. Mr. Bishop cited to a December 13th article from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, entitled “How the “Five Eyes’ cooked up the campaign to Kill Huawei” which states:
“In the months that followed that July 17 dinner, an unprecedented campaign has been waged by those present – Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from supplying equipment for their next-generation wireless networks. . . .
Not all agreed to speak publicly about China when they returned home, but all were determined to act. And the Five Eyes network would include allies like Japan and Germany in the conversation.
This coming in from the cold was viewed as a countermeasure to China and its many proxies, who have long argued fears over its rising power and influence were a fiction, or worse still, signs of xenophobia.
Since that July meeting there has been a series of rare public speeches by intelligence chiefs and a coordinated effort on banning Huawei from 5G networks. It began with one of Malcolm Turnbull’s last acts as Prime Minister.
The Sunday before he was deposed Turnbull rang the US President Donald Trump to tell him of Australia’s decision to exclude Huawei and China’s second largest telecommunications equipment maker ZTE from the 5G rollout.
Australia’s statement on the rules it would apply to building next-generation wireless networks was released on August 23 and largely lost in the leadership maelstrom.
Huawei was not named but it ruled out equipment being supplied by “vendors who are likely to be subject to extra judicial directions from a foreign government”. . . .
Washington’s sharp focus on Beijing plays into Trump’s obsession with trade wars but it would be wrong to think it’s solely driven by the President. Over the past two years Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the Departments of Defense, State and the security agencies have come to the conclusion China is a strategic threat.
US prosecutors have filed charges against Chinese hackers and, in an audacious sting in April, American agents lured Chinese Ministry of State Security deputy director Yanjun Xu to Belgium, where he was arrested for orchestrating the theft of military secrets.
There is also speculation further indictments are imminent over a concerted Chinese hacking campaign known as “Operation Cloud Hopper”, which is believed to have penetrated networks across the globe, including Australia.
In addition the White House used its bi-annual report on China, last month to say Beijing had “fundamentally” failed to change its behavior around cyber espionage giving it unfair access to intellectual property, trade secrets, negotiating positions and the internal communications of business.
The report added weight to revelations in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald the same week that China had diverted internet traffic heading to Sydney and its peak security agency had overseen a surge in attacks on Australian companies.
This industrial scale cyber theft is just part of a form guide which convinced the Five Eyes intelligence chiefs that Beijing would not hesitate to recruit Huawei to its cause and the company would have no choice but to comply.
All the evidence before the spy bosses at the dinner in Canada pointed to a rising superpower mounting the most comprehensive campaign of espionage and foreign interference that any had witnessed.
The Party was aggressively exporting a worldview that was hostile to democracy and actively sought to undermine it.
A new Great Game was afoot and the West had been slow to act. But it is acting now.”
Although the press has been focused on China cyber hacking US and other Western targets, what goes around comes around. The Chinese government and companies must expect many other countries, including the US, EC, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries, to be cyber hacking China. How did the US government get internal company documents of ZTE to go after it for sales to Iran of US technology? What evidence does the United States and other countries have on Huawei?
In n October 19, 2915, blog post . I made this point citing testimony of James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama. More specifically, on September 29, 2015, in response to specific questions from Senator Manchin in the Senate Armed Services Committee, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified that China cyber- attacks to obtain information on weapon systems are not cyber- crime. It is cyber espionage, which the United States itself engages in. As Dr. Clapper stated both countries, including the United States, engage in cyber espionage and “we are pretty good at it.” Dr. Clapper went on to state that “people in glass houses” shouldn’t throw stones. See http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/15-09-29-united-states-cybersecurity- policy-and-threats at 1 hour 8 minutes to 10 minutes.
In response to a question from Senator Ayotte, Director Clapper also specifically admitted that the attack on OPM and theft of US government employee data is state espionage and not commercial activity, which the US also engages in. See above hearing at 1 hour 18 and 19 minutes.
But when the Chinese government cyber hacks US companies to obtain trade secrets and other intellectual property for commercial gain, that is another matter. That is the core of the cyber hacking Agreement that President Xi and President Obama signed and the core of the Section 301 case.
But James Clapper’s testimony shows that when the Chinese government plays cyber hacking games, the US and many other governments will cyber hack China and its companies back and they are pretty good at it. Huawei and ZTE are legitimate espionage targets because of their relationship to the Chinese military and their evasion of Iran Sanctions and US export control laws.
The US government, I am pretty sure, will cyber hack companies if it leads to a Justice Department indictment for criminal activity. The US will not cyber hack to turn over commercial information to a US competitor, but they will cyber hack when it is in the interest of the US government to do so and that means criminal prosecution. So, officials in those Chinese companies must take care.
And that brings us to the recent Justice Department indictments against Chinese individuals for cyber hacking for commercial gain.
MORE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTMENTS AGAINST CHINESE GOVERNMENT’S CYBERHACKING AND IP THEFT
In my last blog post, I stated that although the Chinese government denies, denies and insists that Chinese companies do not steal US IP and then brags about stealing IP, the Justice Department disagrees and has taken these issues to another level—criminal investigations resulting in prison time. On November 1, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new case and a new initiative to combat Chinese economic espionage for stealing IP on semiconductor technology from Micron. The Justice Department statements related to those indictments are attached, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT IP THEFT SESSIONS ANNOUNCEMENT NEW CHINA INITIATIVE IP THEFT ANOTHER JUSTICE DEP ANNOUNCE IP THEFT. This China initiative began under the Obama Administration and has bipartisan support.
On December 20th, the Justice Department raised the issue even higher issuing an attached announcement, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTMENT AGAINST CYBER HACKINGw, of new indictments stating:
Two Chinese Hackers Associated With the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaigns Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information
Defendants Were Members of the APT 10 Hacking Group Who Acted in Association with the Tianjin State Security Bureau and Engaged in Global Computer Intrusions for More Than a Decade, Continuing into 2018 . . . .
The unsealing of an indictment charging Zhu Hua (朱华), aka Afwar, aka CVNX, aka Alayos, aka Godkiller; and Zhang Shilong ( 张 士 龙 ), aka Baobeilong, aka Zhang Jianguo, aka Atreexp, both nationals of the People’s Republic of China (China), with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft was announced today. . . .
Zhu and Zhang were members of a hacking group operating in China known within the cyber security community as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (the APT10 Group). The defendants worked for a company in China called Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company (Huaying Haitai) and acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau.
Through their involvement with the APT10 Group, from at least in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, Zhu and Zhang conducted global campaigns of computer intrusions targeting, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers (MSPs), which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world, more than 45 technology companies in at least a dozen U.S. states, and U.S. government agencies. The APT10 Group targeted a diverse array of commercial activity, industries and technologies, including aviation, satellite and maritime technology, industrial factory automation, automotive supplies, laboratory instruments, banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, computer processor technology, information technology services, packaging, consulting, medical equipment, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas exploration and production. Among other things, Zhu and Zhang registered IT infrastructure that the APT10 Group used for its intrusions and engaged in illegal hacking operations.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China’s intelligence service access to sensitive business information,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “This is outright cheating and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries that follow the international rules in return for the privilege of participating in the global economic system.”
“It is galling that American companies and government agencies spent years of research and countless dollars to develop their intellectual property, while the defendants simply stole it and got it for free” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “As a nation, we cannot, and will not, allow such brazen thievery to go unchecked.”
“Healthy competition is good for the global economy, but criminal conduct is not. This is conduct that hurts American businesses, American jobs, and American consumers,” said FBI Director Wray. “No country should be able to flout the rule of law – so we’re going to keep calling out this behavior for what it is: illegal, unethical, and unfair. It’s going to take all of us working together to protect our economic security and our way of life, because the American people deserve no less.”
“The theft of sensitive defense technology and cyber intrusions are major national security concerns and top investigative priorities for the DCIS,” said DCIS Director O’Reilly. “The indictments unsealed today are the direct result of a joint investigative effort between DCIS and its law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate individuals and groups who illegally access information technology systems of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base. DCIS remains vigilant in our efforts to safeguard the integrity of the Department of Defense and its enterprise of information technology systems.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court . . . .
Over the course of the MSP Theft Campaign, Zhu, Zhang, and their co-conspirators in the APT10 Group successfully obtained unauthorized access to computers providing services to or belonging to victim companies located in at least 12 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The victim companies included at least the following: a global financial institution, three telecommunications and/or consumer electronics companies; three companies involved in commercial or industrial manufacturing; two consulting companies; a healthcare company; a biotechnology company; a mining company; an automotive supplier company; and a drilling company.
The Technology Theft Campaign
Over the course of the Technology Theft Campaign, which began in or about 2006, Zhu, Zhang, and their coconspirators in the APT10 Group successfully obtained unauthorized access to the computers of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. Government agencies based in at least 12 states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The APT10 Group stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data and information from the victims’ computer systems, including from at least the following victims: seven companies involved in aviation, space and/or satellite technology; three companies involved in communications technology; three companies involved in manufacturing advanced electronic systems and/or laboratory analytical instruments; a company involved in maritime technology; a company involved in oil and gas drilling, production, and processing; and the NASA Goddard Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In addition to those victims who had information stolen, Zhu, Zhang, and their co-conspirators successfully obtained unauthorized access to computers belonging to more than 25 other technology-related companies involved in, among other things, industrial factory automation, radar technology, oil exploration, information technology services, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and computer processor technology, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Finally, the APT10 Group compromised more than 40 computers in order to steal sensitive data belonging to the Navy, including the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, salary information, personal phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.
* * *
Zhu and Zhang are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison. . . .
INTERNATIONAL COALITION TO ISOLATE CHINA ON IP THEFT, FORCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CYBER HACKING
As stated in my last blog post, although many Chinese and US commentators believe that the only country pushing back on China in the IP area is the United States, that simply is incorrect. Many other countries are jumping on the Trump band wagon when it comes to IP violations by the Chinese government.
In fact, these US China trade negotiations are simply a prelude to negotiations China will have with many other countries. The early 2000 process of China joining the WTO started, not with “multilateral” negotiations of China with many countries. Instead, first China negotiated a WTO Agreement with the United States and then other countries, including the EC, negotiated a WTO agreement based in large part on the Agreement China had negotiated with the United States.
One should expect to see the same process here. First China negotiates these issues with the United States and then with many other countries.
As mentioned in the last newsletter, on IP, China will face a united front against IP Theft, Forced Technology Transfer and Cyber Hacking by the US, EC, Canada, Mexico, Japan and probably Korea against it.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT NEEDS A TRADE DEAL BECAUSE MANY PROBLEMS IN THE CHINESE ECONOMY
One reason that the Chinese government has not linked the Meng/Huawei problem with the US trade negotiations is that President Xi and the Chinese government need a deal. The Chinese economy is hurting, and the situation has gotten much worse and faster than anyone in China predicted.
As my last blog post stated, the Chinese economy appears to be changing from a private economy with a smaller state-owned economy to an economy dominated by State-Owned companies. The Chinese saying has changed from Guo Tui Min Jin to Guo Jin Min Tui.
Private entrepreneurs in China are reportedly facing taxes as high as 60%. When the private entrepreneurs cannot pay their taxes, the Government simply buys the company out and takes over. 80% of Chinese employees, however, are employed by the private sector.
Recently, the Chinese government has stated that in 2019 it will cut taxes and pour more money into the system. But the problem is that many in China do not believe the Chinese government.
On December 20, 2018, in an article entitled, “China stock market meddling will be reduced after bad year, vows Beijing” the South China Morning Post stated:
“Financial Stability and Development Commission, part of the People’s Bank of China, says the heavy hand of intervention will be replaced by the light touch China pledges to attract more funds into stocks after the market reported one of the world’s worst performances in 2018
China’s heavy-handed intervention in stock trading will cease and investment funds will be encouraged to buy into its equity market, as Beijing hopes to boost a stock market that has been among the world’s worst performers this year.
The Financial Stability and Development Commission, part of the People’s Bank of China, announced on Thursday that the world’s second largest economy must fully implement “market principles” to “reduce administrative intervention in stock trading”.
The decision followed a meeting with the country’s financial regulators and major banks, brokerage houses and fund managers, chaired by deputy central bank governor Liu Guoqiang.
The conference agreed that China must follow “international practices” to cultivate “medium- and long-term investors” as well as allow various new asset managers access to the capital market.
It was not enough to boost market sentiment immediately, as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Stock Index closed on Thursday at a two-month low.
Beijing’s efforts to draw fresh funds into stocks may not work, due to weakening confidence in China’s economic growth outlook, according to Hao Hong, managing director and head of research at Bocom International in Hong Kong.
“Beijing has eased the intensity of its crackdown on shadow banking, and has pumped ample liquidity into the interbank market. But the money is just circulating between banks [and not reaching the real economy],” he said.
“There is no sign of an economic rebound in the near term.”. . . .
China’s benchmark Shanghai stock index has so far lost 25 per cent in 2018. Compared to its peak in the summer of 2015, the index has lost more than 50 per cent, and China’s stock market capitalization has fallen below that of Japan’s.
In fact, the Chinese stock market has fallen like a rock and many average Chinese simply do not trust it anymore.
On December 21, 2018 the Epoch Times in an article entitled “ China May Be Experiencing Negative GDP Growth” reported on a December 16 speech by Xiang Songzuo, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow of the Center for International Monetary Research at China’s Renmin University, who reportedly has stated that the Chinese stock market is looking like the US stock market in 1929 just before the Great Depression:
Xiang challenged the figure given by the National Bureau of Statistics, which claims that China’s rate of GDP growth is at 6.5 percent. According to some researches, Xiang said, the real growth rate could be just 1.67 percent, while more dismal estimates say that China’s economy is actually shrinking.
In his speech, Xiang said that the Chinese regime leadership had made major miscalculations, especially in terms of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) stance in the Sino-U.S. trade war. He criticized propaganda slogans aired by Party- controlled mass media, such as “The Americans are lifting rocks only to have them smash on their own feet,” “China’s victory is assured,” or “China will stand and fight” as being overly confident and ignorant of the real difficulty that the country faces.
Beyond the CCP’s stubborn attitude towards U.S. demands, a second cause for the recent downturn in the Chinese economy was the severe hit to private enterprises this year, Xiang said. Private investment and investments into private enterprises have slowed sharply, severely impacting confidence among entrepreneurs.
Various official statements implying the eventual elimination of private business and property have reduced private sector confidence. This includes the idea, put forward by some Party-backed scholars, that the market economy has already fulfilled its role and should retreat in favor of planned, worker-owned economics.
Xiang said: “This kind of high-profile study of Marx and high-profile study of the Communist Manifesto, what was that line in the Communist Manifesto? The elimination of private ownership—what kind of signal do you think this sends to entrepreneurs?”
Chinese law, social governance, and state institutions are rife with their own problems, he said. Xiang noted that even on the 40th anniversary of China’s “reform and opening up”—the term of the economic reforms started by former CCP leader Deng Xiaoping—current leader Xi Jinping still had to explicitly suggest greater protections for individual and corporate property.
Xiang said that a huge challenge for China is the Sino-U.S. trade war. He believes that it is no longer a trade war, but a serious conflict between the Chinese and American systems of values. The China-U.S. relationship is at a crossroads, he said, and so far there has been no solution found to resolve their differences.
In the short term, China faces drops in consumption across the board, from auto sales to real estate. Exports are also hard-hit due to the trade war and the gradual shift in the global supply chain.
Xiang criticized the Chinese regime’s reliance on increasing domestic consumption in order to keep the economy growing. Falling investment cannot be offset by consumption.
Throughout 40 years of market economic reforms, Xiang said, Chinese consumption patterns have demonstrated five phases. The first was to satisfy the demand for basic necessities like food and clothing; the second to satisfy demand for the “three new must-have items” (watches, bicycles, and radio sets); the third to supply non-essential consumer goods; the fourth to match demand for automobiles, and the fifth being real estate consumption.
However, each of these phases have all but come to an end. The Chinese authorities are hard-pressed to stabilize the exchange rate, foreign exchange reserves, and housing prices, Xiang said. Given these challenges, it will be even more difficult to stabilize investment, exports, the stock market, and employment rate.
Xiang said that in the first three quarters of 2018 before October, corporate bond defaults have exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14.51 billion). According to official data, the corporate defaults will exceed 12 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) this year, while a large number of enterprises have gone bankrupt.
Cao Dewang, a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur and the chairman of Fuyao, one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world, said that now a large number of enterprises have closed, as well as state-owned enterprises. Bohai Steel Group Company Limited, one of the world’s top 500 enterprises, went bankrupt. Its liability ratio reached 192 billion yuan ($27.86 billion).
Surging local Chinese government debt is another source of crisis. According to the National Audit Office, local authorities owed 17.8 trillion yuan ($2.58 trillion), but He Keng, deputy director of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee with China’s National People’s Congress, said that the real figure is 40 trillion yuan (about $5.8 trillion).
Xiang warned that China’s poorly performing stock market has come to resemble conditions during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
The devastating Wall Street stock market crash lasted for more than a decade, with most stocks falling 80 or 90 percent, Xiang said. The stocks of 83 firms fell by over 90 percent, 1,018 fell by over 80 percent, 2,125 by over 70 percent, and 3,150 by around 50 percent.
While unsound regulatory policy has exacerbated the problems, Xiang does not believe they are the underlying cause of the developing crash.
“Look at our profit structure,” he said. “Frankly speaking, China’s listed companies don’t really make money. Then who has taken the few profits made by China’s more than 3,000 listed companies? Two-thirds have been taken by the banking sector and real estate. The profits earned by 1,444 listed companies on the SME board and growth enterprise board are not even equal to one and half times the value of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. How can this kind of stock market become a bull market?”
Xiang made reference to a report comparing the profitability of Chinese and U.S. companies. American listed companies are in the billions, but among numerous Chinese tech and manufacturing companies, only one—Huawei—had profits in excess of $10 billion, but it was not a listed company.
The root problem concerning the Chinese economy, Xiang said, was that the majority of Chinese businesses rely on arbitrage, or taking advantage of price differences between markets, to make profits.
Official data claims that in the past ten years, IPOs (initial public offerings or stock market launches) have increased by more than 9 trillion yuan ($1.31 trillion), Xiang said. “Forty percent of it went to the stock market, speculation, and financial companies, but not investment into main businesses. Then can this be considered a good situation for listed businesses? Now you can say goodbye to the equity pledges, game over.”
“I’m acquainted with many bosses of listed companies. Frankly speaking, quite a few of them didn’t use their equity pledge funds to do real business, but just play at arbitrage,” he said. “They have many tricks: our listed companies buy financial management firms and housing. The government makes official announcements saying that our listed companies invested one to two trillion yuan in real estate. Basically China’s economy is all dealing with virtual money, and everything is overleveraged.”
“Starting in 2009, China embarked on a path of no return. The leverage ratio has soared sharply. Our current leverage ratio is three times that of the United States and twice that of Japan. The debt ratio of non-financial companies is the highest in the world, not to mention real estate,” he said.
As the economic downturn pressure is huge, the authorities have resorted to their old methods: loosening monetary policy, employing radical credit schemes, loosening fiscal policies, and using radical capital policies, said Xiang.
However, he thinks that the short-term adjustment of credit and currency cannot fundamentally solve the economic imbalances and gaps in development mentioned above.
“We are still trapped within the box of the old policy,” he said. “The key to whether transformation will be successful is the vitality of private enterprises—that is, whether policy can stimulate corporate innovation. We have been making a game of credit and monetary tools for so many years; isn’t this the reason we are saddled with so many troubles today? Speculation has driven housing prices so high.”
The core challenge facing private enterprises is not financing difficulty, though there are problems in this area, Xiang said. The fundamental problem is fear of unstable government policy.
“The leaders in the State Council said it clearly in the meeting of the Standing Committee: in China, the government is what can be least trusted. Therefore, in order to solve the debt problem, first, the debts that the government owes businesses need to be resolved, followed by the problem of state-owned enterprises owing private enterprises, and then that of large private enterprises owing smaller ones,” he said.”
Mr. Xiang’s speech dovetails what I have heard from friends who recently returned from China. Their friends in China have told them that management in China companies has been telling its workers to be prepared to “chi ku” eat bitter, for the next ten years because of the poor economy and save their money. Saving money in China does not result in increased consumption.
The problem with the Chinese government’s policy of stealing Intellectual Property is it sends a very clear message to Chinese entrepreneurs and its own inventors—your work, your inventions mean nothing because everything is owned by the State. With Chinese scientists on average being paid $85,000 a year from the South China Morning Post and a campaign of belittling intellectual property, how can China grow and prosper?
That is the real problem facing China. The Chinese government needs a trade deal before true disaster hits.
QUARTZ SURFACE PRODUCTS ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY CASES—ITC QUESTIONNAIRES
We are in the process of representing a substantial number of US importers and fabricators, US producers of downstream products, in the Quartz Surface Products from China Antidumping and Countervailing Duty case. Quartz Surface Products are used to produce kitchen countertops, shower stalls and many other downstream products.
The Commerce Department recently issued a critical circumstances determination exposing thousands of importers to millions of dollars in liability and bankruptcy in a situation in which the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) goes no critical circumstances in over 90% of the cases.
Cambria, the Petitioner in the case, has taken the position that it not only represents the producers of the slab, the raw material, but also all the producers of the downstream products, the fabricators. We have learned that there are more than 4,000 fabricators of the downstream producers with 1000s of jobs at stake. Cambria essentially argues that it is the sole representative of an industry with more than 4,000 companies.
Cambria’s objective in this case is very clear—drive up the prices of the raw material so as to drive out the fabricators, the downstream producers, all 4,000 of them. We are working to include the fabricators in the domestic industry, but the fabricators have to be willing to answer the ITC questionnaires so as to have their voices heard.
Attached are the ITC questionnaires in the case, Foreign producers–Quartz surface products (F) US importers–Quartz surface products (F) US producers–Quartz surface products (F) Questionnaire Transmittal Letter QSP US purchasers–Quartz surface products (F)to my blog, www.uschinatradewar.com.
If anyone would like help with these questionnaires, please feel free to contact me.
If anyone has any questions about the Section 301 case, the trade war with China, IP Protection, Huawei problem, the Quartz Surface Products case, antidumping or countervailing duty law, customs laws and any other trade or customs questions, please feel free to contact me.