Secretary Wilbur Ross Concludes SelectUSA Investment Summit with $600 Million Announced in New Deals, Supporting 650 U.S. Jobs

WASHINGTON – June 22, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross concluded the fifth SelectUSA Investment Summit. More than 3,000 people attended this year’s Summit, including 1,200 business representatives from 66 foreign markets, and economic development organizations (EDOs) from 51 U.S. states and territories. During the event, Secretary Ross was joined by 10 Governors, five Cabinet secretaries, as well as executives from Mercedes-Benz US International, Siemens USA, and Toyota Motor North America.

“SelectUSA continues to be the premier event for international companies looking to enter American markets,” said Secretary Ross. “With millions in investments announced over the past few days, hundreds of American jobs will be created in communities across the country. Clearly, under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the United States continues to be the best place in the world for foreign investment.”

During this year’s Summit, four international companies, JSW Steel, NewCold, Re:Cognition Health, and Weastec, announced expansions in the United States, projects worth more than $600 million and creating approximately 650 new jobs. In addition, this year’s event included more than 2,700 individual matchmaking meetings among the companies and EDOs in attendance.

Past attendees of SelectUSA have announced nearly $93 billion in new investment projects, which support 140,000 American jobs.

Secretary Ross also unveiled a report on the immense benefits rural communities have received from foreign direct investment (FDI) – just since 2003 the value of greenfield FDI in nonmetro areas has totaled nearly $56.8 billion.

The 2018 Investment Summit focused on several issues affecting FDI in the United States, including infrastructure, tax reform, deregulation, advanced manufacturing, and the burgeoning commercial space industry.

Secretary Ross announced that the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit is planned for June 10-12, 2019.

About SelectUSA

The U.S. Department of Commerce-led SelectUSA program promotes and facilitates business investment into the United States by coordinating related Federal government agencies to serve as a single point of contact for investors. SelectUSA assists U.S. economic development organizations to compete globally for investment by providing information, a platform for international marketing, and high-level advocacy. SelectUSA also helps investors find the information they need to make decisions, connect to the right people at the local level, navigate the Federal regulatory system, and find solutions to issues related to the Federal government.

Secretary Ross Announces $1.4 Billion ZTE Settlement; ZTE Board, Management Changes and Strictest BIS Compliance Requirements Ever

Washington – Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Corporation”) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Kangxun”) (collectively, “ZTE”) has agreed to severe additional penalties and compliance measures to replace the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) denial order imposed as a result of ZTE’s violations of its March 2017 settlement agreement.  Under the new agreement, ZTE must pay $1 billion and place an additional $400 million in suspended penalty money in escrow before BIS will remove ZTE from the Denied Persons List. These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement.

ZTE will also be required by the new agreement to retain a team of special compliance coordinators selected by and answerable to BIS for a period of 10 years. Their function will be to monitor on a real-time basis ZTE’s compliance with U.S. export control laws. This is the first time BIS has achieved such stringent compliance measures in any case.  ZTE is also required under the new agreement to replace the entire board of directors and senior leadership for both entities.  Finally, the new agreement once again imposes a denial order that is suspended, this time for 10 years, which BIS can activate in the event of additional violations during the ten-year probationary period. These collectively are the most severe penalty BIS has ever imposed on a company.

“Today, BIS is imposing the largest penalty it has ever levied and requiring that ZTE adopt unprecedented compliance measures,” said Secretary Ross. “We will closely monitor ZTE’s behavior. If they commit any further violations, we would again be able to deny them access to U.S. technology as well as collect the additional $400 million in escrow. The first settlement with ZTE set a record for civil and criminal penalties in an export control case.  This new settlement agreement sets another record, and brings the total penalties assessed on ZTE to $2.29 billion.”

The purpose of this settlement is to modify ZTE’s behavior while setting a new precedent for monitoring to assure compliance with U.S. law. Embedding compliance officers into the company vastly improves the speed with which the Department of Commerce can detect and deal with any violations.

BACKGROUND:

On April 15, 2018, BIS activated the suspended denial order against ZTE in response to ZTE falsely informing the U.S. Government that it would or had disciplined numerous employees responsible for the violations that led to the March 2017 settlement agreement.  ZTE instead rewarded that illegal activity with bonuses.  This action followed the March 2017 settlement agreement, in which ZTE agreed to a then record-high BIS civil penalty of $661 million, after engaging in a multi-year conspiracy to supply, build, and operate telecommunications networks in Iran using U.S.-origin equipment in violation of the U.S. trade embargo, and committing hundreds of U.S. sanctions violations involving the shipment of telecommunications equipment to North Korea.  They also made false statements and obstructed justice by creating an elaborate scheme to prevent disclosures to and affirmatively mislead the U.S. Government.  In addition to monetary penalties, ZTE had agreed to a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not met and/or if the company committed additional violations of the Export Administration Regulations.

The Commerce Department’s BIS is the principal agency involved in the implementation and enforcement of export controls for commercial technologies and many military items. The BIS Office of Export Enforcement detects, prevents, investigates and assists in the sanctioning of illegal exports of such items. For more information, please visit us at www.bis.doc.gov

Joint Statement of the United States and China Regarding Trade Consultations

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping, on May 17 and 18, 2018, the United States and China engaged in constructive consultations regarding trade in Washington, D.C. The United States delegation included Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. The Chinese delegation was led by State Council Vice Premier Liu He, Special Envoy of President Xi.

There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China. To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services. This will help support growth and employment in the United States.

Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports. The United States will send a team to China to work out the details.

The delegations also discussed expanding trade in manufactured goods and services. There was consensus on the need to create favorable conditions to increase trade in these areas.

Both sides attach paramount importance to intellectual property protections, and agreed to strengthen cooperation. China will advance relevant amendments to its laws and regulations in this area, including the Patent Law.

Both sides agreed to encourage two-way investment and to strive to create a fair, level playing field for competition.

Both sides agreed to continue to engage at high levels on these issues and to seek to resolve their economic and trade concerns in a proactive manner.

Ross Announces Activation of ZTE Denial Order in Response to Repeated False Statements

April 16th, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a denial of export privileges against Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Corporation”) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Kangxun”) (collectively, “ZTE”).

In March 2017, ZTE agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19 billion after illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea, making false statements, and obstructing justice including through preventing disclosure to and affirmatively misleading the U.S. Government.  In addition to these monetary penalties, ZTE also agreed a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not met and/or if the company committed additional violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The Department of Commerce has now determined ZTE made false statements to BIS in 2016, during settlement negotiations, and 2017, during the probationary period, related to senior employee disciplinary actions the company said it was taking or had already taken.  ZTE’s false statements only were reported to the U.S. Government after BIS requested information and documentation showing that employee discipline had occurred.

“ZTE made false statements to the U.S. Government when they were originally caught and put on the Entity List, made false statements during the reprieve it was given, and made false statements again during its probation.” said Secretary of Commerce Ross.

These false statements covered up the fact that ZTE paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand.

“ZTE misled the Department of Commerce.  Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management, ZTE rewarded them.  This egregious behavior cannot be ignored,” Secretary Ross said.

BACKGROUND:

Denial Orders are issued by the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement of the Bureau of Industry and Security, denying the export privileges of a company or individual. A denial of export privileges prohibits a person from participating in any way in any transaction subject to the EAR. Furthermore, it is unlawful for other businesses and individuals to participate in any way in an export transaction subject to the EAR with a denied person.

This is a regulatory action and is unrelated to any ongoing trade-related actions.

BIS is the principal agency involved in the implementation and enforcement of export controls for commercial technologies and many military items. The BIS Office of Export Enforcement detects, prevents, investigates and assists in the sanctioning of illegal exports of such items.

For more information, please visit us at www.bis.doc.gov.

Upcoming Event: Licensing Expo 2018 – IBP SELECT

Detailed Event Information For Licensing Expo 2018 – IBP SELECT

Licensing Expo 2018 – IBP SELECT
Apparel, Artwork, Audio/Visual Eq., Books/Periodicals, Consumer Electronics, Films/Videos, Foods – Processed, General Consumer Goods, Musical Instruments, Toys/Games

Location/Date:

Las Vegas, NV, United States
05/23/2018 – 05/25/2018

Event Summary:

For more than 35 years, Licensing Expo has connected the world’s most influential entertainment, character, fashion, art, and corporate brand owners and agents with consumer goods manufacturers, licensees, and retailers. Licensing Expo is the meeting place for the global licensing industry, whether you are looking to spot trends, build strategic partnerships, or secure the rights to brands for your products. Millions of products across the world first began as a conversation at Licensing Expo. Licensing Expo is where you can find the right partners to expand and transform your business.

U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Affirmative Preliminary Antidumping Duty Determinations on Stainless Steel Flanges from China and India

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the affirmative preliminary determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of stainless steel flanges from China and India.

“The United States will not sit back and watch as our domestic businesses are destroyed by unfair foreign government subsidies and dumping,” said Secretary Ross. “This Administration is taking fair and transparent action on behalf of American industry to defend businesses and workers while we continue reviewing the facts related to this decision.”

The Commerce Department preliminarily determined that exporters from China and India have sold stainless steel flanges in the United States at 257.11 percent, and 18.10 to 145.25 percent less than fair value, respectively.

As a result of today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of imports of stainless steel flanges from China and India based on these preliminary rates.

In 2016, imports of stainless steel flanges from China and India were valued at an estimated $16.3 million and $32.1 million, respectively.

The petitioners are the Coalition of American Flange Producers and its individual members: Core Pipe Products, Inc. (Carol Stream, IL) and Maass Flange Corporation (Houston, TX).

Enforcement of U.S. trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration. From January 20, 2017, through March 20, 2018, the Commerce Department has initiated 102 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 96 percent increase from January 20, 2016, through March 20, 2017.

The AD law provides U.S. businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of unfair pricing of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 428 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Commerce is scheduled to announce the final determinations in these investigations on or about June 5, 2018.

If Commerce makes affirmative final determinations of dumping and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD orders. If Commerce makes negative final determinations of dumping or the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based solely on factual evidence.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties.

313,000 New Jobs in February, Job Growth Strongest Since President Trump’s Election

The U.S. economy added 313,000 new jobs in the month of February, according to the February 2018 Employment Situation report published today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More from the Department of Labor:

“Job growth was the strongest since President Trump’s election, with 313,000 jobs created in the month of February. The non-stop job creation since the election has yielded 2.9 million jobs. For the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, a 17-year low. Goods-producing industries such as manufacturing, mining and logging, and construction collectively had the highest month-to-month growth since 1998. These were among many sectors experiencing significant growth.

“President Trump’s tax reform continues to boost economic confidence with more than 400 companies handing out bonuses, raises, or other benefits to more than 4 million Americans. Today’s report shows that average hourly earnings significantly increased in February and have increased by 2.6% over the last year. We saw positive movement in the labor force participation rate, and we would like to see that continue over the coming months.”

In total, 2.92 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy since President Trump was elected – including 263,000 manufacturing jobs since President Trump took office. In addition, the number of long-term unemployed Americans is the lowest since 2008.