United States to Ban Goods Made in Xinjiang China

Under a new law the United States will ban imports of all goods made in whole or in part from any good from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, effective June 21, 2022. Companies need to use the next 180 days to ensure their supply chains do not include such goods.

President Biden signed into law Dec. 23 the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, which effectively deems all goods mined, produced, or manufactured in the XUAR to be produced by forced labour in China. Even those not importing directly from China may have goods detained if the materials used to produce the imported goods in a second country are tied at any level to XUAR or specific entities or commodities associated with forced labour in China.

Under this law, imports of goods from the XUAR will be banned unless United States Customs and Border Protection determines that:

  1. the importer of record has fully complied with relevant guidance to be provided by CBP, as well as any regulations issued to implement that guidance;
  2. the importer has completely and substantively responded to all inquiries for information submitted by CBP to ascertain whether the goods were made wholly or in part with forced labour; and
  3. by clear and convincing evidence, the goods were not made wholly or in part by forced labour.

Any good from the XUAR that thus overcomes the rebuttable presumption of being made with forced labour will be included in a public list to be issued by CBP 30 days after making such determination.

Further, an interagency Forced Labour Enforcement Task Force will have to develop a strategy to prevent the importation of forced labour goods from China along with the following lists:

  1. entities in the XUAR that produce goods with forced labour
  2. entities working with the government of the XUAR to recruit, transport, transfer, harbour, or receive forced labour or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of the XUAR
  3. products made wholly or in part by such entities
  4. entities that exported products made with forced labour from China to the United States
  5. facilities and entities, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, that source material from the XUAR or persons working with the government of the XUAR or the XPCC for purposes of poverty alleviation program or pairing-assistance program or any other government labour scheme that uses forced labour

The Task Force must seek public input no later than Jan. 24, 2022, and the public will be given no less than 45 days to submit comments. A public hearing must be held within 45 days after the close of the public comment period.

The State Department must then submit a report to Congress by March 23, 2022, that provides a strategy to address forced labour in the XUAR along with lists of (1) entities in China or affiliates that use or benefit from forced labour in the XUAR and (2) foreign persons that acted as agents of such entities or affiliates to import goods into the United States The final strategy to be developed by the Task Force must be in place by June 21, 2022.

Importantly, the UFLPA calls for the Task Force to provide guidance to importers with respect to the following:

  1. due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures to ensure they do not import any goods made with forced labour from mainland China and especially from the XUAR
  2. the type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating in mainland China were not made wholly or in part in the XUAR
  3. the type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating mainland China, including goods detained or seized pursuant to Section 307, were not made wholly or in part with forced labour

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., has developed a program to help companies review their supply chain visibility. The STR program first provides a stocktaking of procedures, policies, and programs in place to evaluate the level of due diligence and reasonable care. Next is testing and tracking to review a shipment to determine if the procedures in place can timely provide the necessary documents to CBP to rebut a claim of forced labour. Finally, CBP will assist in responding to any CBP-issued detentions.

For more information on ST&R’s import compliance reviews and how they can benefit your company, please contact Charles L. Crowley at (914) 433-6178 ccrowley@strtrade.com.

Customs Attorney Charles Crowley

Customs Attorney Charles Crowley

The COVID-19 Pandemic in Greece

Greece, among most of the countries in the world, was hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Greek Government gradually took necessary measures and, ultimately, forced the country to a general “lockdown” on 23 of March.

This led most of the businesses to temporarily suspend their operations and activities, while, at the same time, they were allowed to suspend the employment contracts without being required to pay salaries or damages and cover social insurance obligations.

As a general measure, the country undertook the obligation to pay 800 Euros per employee whose contract was suspended.

Despite being absolutely necessary for the confrontation of the pandemic outbreak, the measures had dramatic consequences for the businesses and the Greek economy in general. In regards with the businesses, the most negative impact was the drastic fall of their turnovers and consequently their inability to perform their debt obligations, even for financially healthy companies.

For this reason, the Greek Government has proceeded to the announcement of new measures, of financial nature this time, with a purpose to keep Greek businesses, to the extent possible, intact from the impact of the “lockdown” or at least to restrict the negative consequences.

Measures Announced to be Taken from May 2020

The Greek Government announced on 28th of April the undertaking of financial measures in order to relieve the Greek businesses and employees that were hit by Covid-19 outbreak and support the recommencement of the economy.

The Most Important Measures in Relation to Businesses Are:

  • Financial aid to the Greek SMEs through loans granted by the Greek State that will be repaid in the next years with minimum interest rate based on each company’s performance. The total value of the aid will be 1 billion Euros, while each company will not receive more than 500.000 Euros. The main criteria require, first, the companies’ turnover to decrease due to Covid-19 outbreak and, second, the companies not to proceed to lay-offs.
  • Financial aid to the Greek SMEs through grant regarding business loans interest payments for a 3-month period, provided that these companies were still performing on their debt obligations in relation to these loans and they have not proceeded to lay-offs.
  • Starting from May 2020, the Greek companies will be able to receive business loans by the Greek banks up to the amount that correspond to the 25% of their turnover with Greek State guarantees.
  • Suspension of VAT and assessed tax debt payments to the Greek State, however if a company pays the April 2020 instalment, a 25% discount is provided. Again, one of the necessary requirements is for the applying companies to retain the employment positions.

Considering that most of these applications can be made electronically through platforms, our law firm assist our clients in the electronic filling and submission of these applications. It, also, uses its contacts to get additional information, if needed, by making using of the available electronic means, so that the applications are properly filled. In these harsh times, the firm provides its advisory services with the best possible manner to assist the companies – clients, especially those hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece’s Economy

These liquidity measures are expected to relieve the Greek businesses which were forced to stop operating for more than one month and are now gradually being able to get back to their activities. The measures are considered to be of vital importance if taken into account that the country had just exited an 8-year financial recession implementing harsh economic re-adjustment and austerity measures. Except this, tourism constitutes the backbone of Greece’s economy and the largest contributor to its GDP and it is expected to be severely affected for 2020, as Covid-19 crisis broke out just before the summer.

According to the recently published IMF’s World Economic Outlook report, the projections for 2020 have been substantially altered, as the “lockdown” applied by the most of the Eurozone countries will have immense impact on their economic status.

In particular, Greece is expected to lose approximately 10% out of its GDP for 2020, in contrary to the 2.2% GDP increase that was projected for the same year before the coronavirus outbreak. However, the country is forecasted to return to growth in the next year, to 5.1% for 2021. Despite the deeper economic impact for 2020, Greece’s recovery is projected to be more dynamic than other economies, such as Spain’s and Italy’s.

This fact is justified by the timely actions of the Greek Government in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the periodic consequences of the tourism’s underperformance for 2020.

In the Aftermath of the Pandemic

The gradual lifting of the pandemic measures, starting from the 4th of May, earmarks the return to “normality” which will not be the same as known before. The epidemiologists warn that the pandemic is not over yet and the perils of another outbreak cannot be ignored.

For this, the Greek Government has set, alongside the economic relief measures, certain rules in order to restrict the possibilities for the pandemic to break out again.

These measures purport to minimise the personal contacts that could lead to the spread of the virus.

Among These Rules, the Most Important for the Companies Are:

  • Flexible schedules must be followed for the next months, so that people attend their working place alternately.
  • Teleworking must be encouraged, where possible, to avoid unnecessary contacts.

Our law firm, trying to be in line with the recent legislation, has applied new methods in the working environment and in the manner, it delivers its legal services to our clients by making use the capabilities that technology offers today.

Indicatively, the firm conduct their usual internal meetings only by electronic means through live video calls, while meetings with clients and fellow advisors are made through teleconferences maintaining the level of the services in the same standards as before.

Also, the firm in order to protect its personnel applies a repeating working schedule enabling a certain number of associates/partners to attend the office each time, while in person meetings with clients are scheduled, where absolutely necessary, applying the hygiene rules.

Conclusion

Greece’s journey through the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies a nation’s ability to face adversity with determination and resourcefulness. Its proactive response, healthcare resilience, and gradual recovery highlight the importance of unity and preparedness. As Greece moves forward, the lessons learned will undoubtedly shape its path towards a more resilient future, ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens and visitors alike.

Duane Morris Celebrates Black History Month 2020

During Nolan Atkinson’s nearly 25 years at Duane Morris, his focus on his thriving commercial litigation practice never prevented him from making sure he used that position to continue the work of people like Vashon. Nolan, a participant in the 1963 March on Washington, was instrumental in the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, Inc., a consortium of law firms and corporations committed to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in Philadelphia’s larger law firms.

Nolan was a tireless contributor to the Conference of Minority Partners in Majority Corporate Law Firms, a constituent entity of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession of the ABA and numerous other groups focused on diversity. He was the first Chief Diversity Officer at Duane Morris and served in that role for eight years.

Fittingly, when the City of Philadelphia wanted to establish the role of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Mayor Jim Kenney turned to Nolan. Since 2016, Nolan has brought his energy to knocking down the barriers that had historically kept the city’s large workforce racially and economically divided and creating a culture that attracts talented, diverse leaders to Philadelphia government.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Helmed by Joseph K. West, who succeeded Nolan in 2016 as Duane Morris’ Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, the firm’s diversity and inclusion program is managed with the objective of utilising the best talent worldwide in solving legal problems. The firm recruits a diverse pool of lawyers that collectively possess an awareness of cutting-edge 21st century issues—legal, social and economic—for which clients require solutions.

Joseph, in addition to being an active litigator representing domestic and global companies, is a nationally recognised subject matter authority in the field of diversity and inclusion, and leader of the firm’s unique Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Group which focuses on crafting sustainable diversity and inclusion programs and solutions for corporate entities.

Earlier in his career, Joseph successfully leveraged his role as Head of Global Outside Counsel Management at Walmart to establish and meet diversity and inclusion goals through its outside counsel spend, for which he is recognised as being at the forefront of building the business case for diversity.

Joseph also facilitated the company’s role as an initial signatory to the Inclusion Initiative with the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms. Joseph went on to spend five years as President and Chief Executive Officer of MCCA, tripling membership in the national advocacy group for corporate diversity and inclusion issues.

In 2019, Joseph was the recipient of the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award: Diversity & Equality from Chambers and Partners.

DNA Testing of Children on The Death of A Father

Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, is used to identify changes in DNA sequence or chromosome structure. Genetic testing can also include measuring the results of genetic changes, such as RNA analysis as an output of gene expression, or through biochemical analysis to measure specific protein output.

The decision of the High Court following the death of Colin Wilson Birtles highlights the importance of having a will. In this case, the first daughter obtained a Grant of Representation so that they could administer the estate of their father.

The second daughter applied to the court for an order to have the Grant set aside and sought a declaration that the first daughter was not Mr Birtles’ biological daughter.

The first daughter argued that her mother and Mr Birtles were married at the date she was born and that Mr Birtles was named on her birth certificate; therefore “there was a common law presumption that was the father, rebuttable on the balance of probabilities.”

The court decided in the circumstances of the case that the first daughter should be compelled to give a saliva sample for the purposes of a DNA test. If the first daughter refused, the court said that it would draw adverse inferences against her.

In this case both of the daughters were adults, but what if there was doubt as to paternity and one or more of the children had been a minor? As second families become more commonplace there is a likelihood of this happening more often. A minor child cannot consent to a DNA test and it can be imagined that a child’s mother may not wish to consent especially if there is a chance that the paternity of the child is in doubt.

If the person with parental responsibility of a minor child refuses to consent to their child having a DNA test then an order of the court may be sought allowing a sample to be taken “if the court considers that it would be in best interests”.

In the case of Mr Birtles, the court considered submissions on the human rights implications of ordering the test, particularly the right to respect for family and private life. The judge balanced this against the “public interest in the accurate resolution of inheritance disputes” and considered that ordering a DNA test would be proportionate in the circumstances.

The judge also considered the emotional toil that a negative DNA result might have but held that upset had already been caused by the dispute and the DNA testing would not compound this unnecessarily.

It cannot be known what Mr Birtles would have wanted in the case that one of his daughters had turned out not to be his biological child. It is very possible that he would have wanted both daughters to be treated equally; he had never challenged either daughter’s paternity.

All of the upset and costs involved in the sad case of Mr Birtles and his daughters can be avoided where a carefully prepared will is in place. Don’t leave it to chance; when emotions are high following a death; cracks can appear in even the most seemingly amicable family relationships.