Meet the Co-chairs - TAG-SP
Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C
International Trade and Customs
Despite the amount of geo-political upheaval; the business reality is that economic growth remains robust. The future may appear littered with threats, but opportunities remain plentiful.
The coverage of political developments by the media is invariably dispiriting and negative to trade. Of course, most of it is necessary as significant political happenings in the US and Europe naturally assume great importance in western media reporting, although much of the subject matter is highly transient. Good news about global trade is much harder to find.
Experience suggests human happiness is in inverse proportion to political noise.
Despite President Trump’s America First philosophy, the UK’s bumbling (though still unclear) exit from the EU, or any number of other “glass half empty” stories that dominate the news, the reality for business generally is that life goes on and deals can and must be done.
Undoubtedly, certain important industries fear any new barrier to the international trade on which they have long built their business models, so often reliant on complex supply chains with multiple cross border product flows.
Damage to such industries does of course carry risk for some national economies and directly affected workers.
Nonetheless, there is a world of smaller, less affected enterprises across so many countries which already export, or want to find new export opportunities. These may sometimes be disrupters to existing global businesses, such as innovative technology which is changing so much of the business environment, regardless of political noise.
Many international travelers express surprise when, after arriving at LAX, JFK or other US airports or land borders, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer directs them to hand over their smartphone, laptop or related electronics device for a search. As disconcerting and invasive as it may be to have a uniformed total stranger work his or her way through one’s e-mails, photos and hard drive, one should be aware that it is generally within the authority of immigration and customs officials to conduct such searches. Just as one’s person and luggage is subject to search upon arrival to the US, so are one’s electronic devices. International travelers should be forewarned that these types of searches may become more commonplace than they already are. CBP reports that in 2017, it conducted more than 30,000 electronics device searches at airports and land borders, almost double the amount of searches it conducted in 2016. Now with a fresh policy in place, it is safe to expect this upward trend to continue.
Written by Susan Kohn Ross
“Trump cracks down on Cuba” or variations on that phrase have peppered the general press since Friday, when the President announced his policy towards Cuba. When you read what was actually written, you come away with a more tempered reaction. Yes, there will be changes, and the most critical one is yet to come, but we focus here on what was actually written.
First, the format is not an Executive Order but rather a June 16, 2017 “National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba” accompanied by a Fact Sheet. The memo can be found here, and the Fact Sheet here. So, nothing changes right away.
Taken together, there are two points that could impact international traders...
A NEW GOVERNMENT was elected on 10 May 2017 in national elections for The Bahamas Parliament. This year marks the 288th year of continuous parliamentary democracy in The Bahamas based on the Westminster model. Independent since 1973, The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II remains its ceremonial Head of State. The country has a bicameral parliament with an elected lower house, currently comprised of 39 seats. The upper house, the Senate, is composed of appointed members.