Steptoe & Johnson LLP

In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.

The World Bank Group (the Bank) issued its fourth joint Sanctions System Annual Report on October 18, covering the Bank’s fiscal year from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The report includes updates by the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and the Sanctions Board. Notably, the number of complaints INT received in FY2021 increased significantly compared to FY2020, even though enforcement efforts slightly declined from prior years. INT…
On 2 October 2020, India and South Africa submitted to the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”) of the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) a proposed waiver from the implementation, application and enforcement of intellectual property (“IP”) rights under the WTO TRIPS Agreement (“COVID Waiver”) insofar as these rights relate to the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.  In essence, the COVID Waiver would allow WTO Members to forgo some protections of IP…
On 17 November 2021, in the wake of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26), the European Commission (“Commission”) presented its Proposal for a Regulation that aims to curb deforestation and forest degradation driven by European Union (“EU”) consumption and production (“Proposed Regulation”). The wider goal of the rule is to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and global diversity loss, by minimising the consumption of products from supply chains associated with deforestation or forest degradation. Already…
On October 6, 2021, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (“FOREST”) Act of 2021 to “deter commodity-driven illegal deforestation around the world.” The FOREST Act aims to disincentive illegal deforestation by restricting certain commodities and derivative products originating from illegally deforested lands from accessing the U.S. market.  If the FOREST Act is passed by Congress, foreign producers…
On October 30, 2021, the United States and the European Union (“EU”) reached an agreement to replace the tariffs imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962  (“Section 232”) on EU imports of steel and aluminum with a tariff-rate quota (“TRQ”) that is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022.  The deal allows a certain volume of EU steel and aluminum to enter the United States each year without the application…
The Final Rule published by the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) on September 20, 2021, makes substantial modifications to the DOC’s regulations on scope proceedings to be conducted under antidumping and countervailing duty (“AD/CVD”) orders.  These new rules amend the scope inquiry process in a number of places, including, among others: giving the DOC discretion to self-initiate a scope inquiry; requiring more detailed information for a scope inquiry application; eliminating the informal scope inquiry procedure;…
At the request of the US Senate Finance Committee, the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) is investigating the trade and economic effects of foreign censorship practices on US businesses under Section 332 of the Trade Act of 1930 (“Section 332”). A Section 332 investigation is only a fact-finding investigation, and does not itself lead to the imposition of tariffs or other trade restrictive measures.  However, if the ITC concludes at the end of an investigation…
Momentum is building for the United States to pursue a plurilateral digital trade agreement (or possibly a series of bilateral agreements) with trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region, as part of the Biden administration’s strategy to reengage with the region and counter Chinese economic influence.  This sentiment has been expressed in public statements from U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) Tai and National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell.  Furthermore, USTR Tai, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken…