An update from MGTA

May 2017 | View Online

Midwest Global Trade Association

World Trader | May 2017

From the President

Upcoming Events

Trump and Xi Finally Meet: Now What?

Foreign Exchange

Brexit: Article 50 Has been Triggered – What Now?

Thank You, Newsletter Sponsor: Port of Seattle

From the President


By Anna Ouattara — MGTA President

Anna Outtara

Good morning trade community,

I hope you are all doing well and keeping up with the various trade regulations changes that may impact your supply chain. On March 31, 2017, an Executive Order by President Trump on antidumping and countervailing duties (AC/CVD) was signed stating that it is the US’ policy to impose the appropriate requirements on entries of products that are subjects to a AC/CVD. Please make sure you are reading on the new requirements and reviewing your internal processes to ensure compliance. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact MGTA as we are your trade resources.

Furthermore, we are happy to share that last month we had a great Network event co-sponsored with Greater MSP. For those of you who missed it, be on the lookout for the upcoming network event in July. On Tuesday April 18th, we had a great educational lunch geared towards HTS classification followed by an all-day workshop seminar on products and chemical classification on April 27th at Best Buy.

Moreover, due to some of the feedback received from our members, we have created a “Spotlight” section to promote all members’ and companies’ accomplishments. This is an opportunity to share your company or your success story. I would like to Spotlight the following companies for allowing their employees to become members of MGTA and engage in the various MTGA committees as they add value to the MGTA:

Agility, Articcat, Banner Engineering, Best Buy, Bremer Bank, C.H. Robinson, Chase Bank, Donaldson company, Drinkle Biddle and Reath, Global Law, Jas Forwarding, Jux Law Firm, KPMG, Livingston International, Learning Lens, Medtronic, Navegate Logistics, Purolator, Target, Thompson Hall, Toro, Quality Bicycle Products, Randstad Professionals, Saint Paul College SBS International and Smiths Medical.

I would like to spotlight Adam Palmer at Learning Lens, Amanda McDonald at Smiths Medical and Thierry Ajas at Randstad Professionals for their continuous time and work offering exceptional speakers for MGTA trade lunch/seminars. Thank you, you are awesome!

In closing, we strive to meet our trade community needs so it is important that we continue to offer learning opportunities and we recognize each other contributions. We would like to hear from you so please send us your success stories, concerns, or questions at bryanm@mgta.org. Thank you again to all our sponsors, members, board, and committee members, as your added value makes MGTA a great resource. Please remember to visit MGTA.org for future events.

Upcoming Events


Exports – From Order to Border

  • Date: Thursday, May 18
  • Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Ewald Conference Center, 1000 Westgate Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55114
  • Register now

Who Should Attend

Anyone who is involved with international business and who should have a basic knowledge of export requirements and processes. This includes people working for companies or within departments including: freight forwarders / logistics, customs compliance professionals, supply chain management, international marketing, export logistics, trade compliance, law department, finance, or anyone who needs to understand export requirements and processes.

Fee

Member
After Early Bird: $125
Student $35
Non-Member
After Early Bird: $190
Student: $35

ACE - Updates and Exploring the Uncharted Operational Terrain!

  • Date: Thursday, June 8
  • Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Location: Land O’Lakes, Inc. Corporate Office, 4001 Lexington Avenue Arden Hills, MN 55126-2998
  • Register now

What is happening in the world of ACE? What’s next? Now that you are using ACE, how do you tap into it as an operational tool beyond entry and post entry filings? How do you leverage the reporting to analyze your business?

Join us in a seminar where you will have opportunity to hear from a number of guest speakers with extensive trade and ACE experience on the most relevant topics related to ACE and the current status of the ACE platform.

Fee

Includes a Continental Breakfast.

Member
Regular Rate: $50
Student: $10
Non-Member
Regular Rate: $60
Student: $10

Save the Date! 2017 MGTA Golf Tournament

Registration opens soon!

  • Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2017
  • Time: Noon to 7:00 p.m.
  • Location: Crystal Lake Golf Course, 16725 Innsbrook Drive, Lakeville MN 55044

Crystal Lake Golf Course boasts a quality first-class facility, maintained to country club standards, on a daily fee basis open to the public. Conveniently located just twenty minutes south of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Lakeville, Minnesota, Crystal Lake features stately pines, pristine wetlands and is beautifully accentuated with seven ponds, which create challenging water hazards. Using the rolling terrain and beauty of this 160-acre property, designer William Gill & Associates was able to select spectacular natural settings for the tee boxes, fairways, and greens. This combination makes Crystal Lake one of the finest golf experiences in the state.

Hole 7 at Crystal Lake

Trump and Xi Finally Meet: Now What?


By Todd Vollmers — Managing Director, Global Access Capital

Both the U.S. and China sounded an overall optimistic tone after the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump, 70, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, 63, for two days at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago beach club in Florida.

Personal chemistry between world leaders can be an important factor in international relations, and while several critical issues remain to be addressed, statements made by both sides after the meeting were largely seen as a positive development. For his part, Trump said that an “outstanding” relationship with “goodwill and friendship” was developing with Xi, but that “only time will tell on trade.” Trump also accepted Xi’s invitation to visit China later this year. Xi, meanwhile, said he and Trump had “in-depth and lengthy communications… and arrived at many common understandings.” Xi was also quoted in Chinese state media as saying that there are “a thousand reasons to get China-U.S. relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-U.S. relationship.”

Aside from trade, other pressing global issues confront relations between the U.S. and China. The meeting at Mar-a-Lago was somewhat overshadowed by a U.S. military strike in Syria, and the subsequent criticism of the U.S. action in Chinese state media. In addition, the U.S. is pressing China, which has long supported North Korea, for assistance in dealing with North Korea’s aggressive program to develop missile technology capable of delivering a nuclear warhead aimed at U.S. allies in the region, or even the continental United States. And those are just two other high priority subjects, among many others, that will likely have a significant impact on relations between the two countries for the foreseeable future. During the talks Trump and Xi agreed to establish a Cabinet-level structure for bilateral discussion, with an emphasis on four pillars: 1) diplomacy and security; 2) economic issues; 3) law enforcement and cybersecurity; and 4) social and cultural issues.

Regardless of the many challenges facing U.S.-China relations, it is noteworthy that during the meeting both sides remained cordial, and took a significant step toward hopefully dealing with the long-standing trade deficit that the U.S. has had with China. President Trump has repeatedly said that balancing the overall U.S. trade deficit and reversing job outsourcing to foreign countries are priorities of his administration, and by far the largest U.S. trade deficit with any single country is with China. In 2016, over 40 percent of the U.S. trade deficit in goods was with China, amounting to U.S. $347 billion.

As part of a larger 100-day plan being discussed, and to avoid a potential trade war, China has signaled that it will make concessions to grant the U.S. better market access. Two specific areas have been mentioned for Chinese concessions (financial sector investments and U.S. beef exports), but granting better access to the Chinese market is seen as an ideal way to close the bilateral trade gap since U.S. consumer access to less expensive imported goods would not be affected, while U.S. jobs would be created by increases in production to meet increased exports. In any case, much depends on the outcome of negotiations from the 100-day plan. As stated by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, if the U.S. doesn’t “get some tangible results within the first 100 days, I think we’ll have to examine whether it’s worthwhile continuing them.”

Foreign Exchange


By Charles Darwall — Executive Director, Treasury Product Solutions, J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking

When to Pay Vendors in a Foreign Currency Versus US Dollars

Perhaps you've been paying your overseas vendors in US dollars for decades, and they've never complained. Your company may even require international payments be denominated in US dollars, a common treasury policy among US businesses buying from abroad. However, it’s worthwhile to reexamine policies like this—the costs of dealing in dollars are often overlooked, and misconceptions abound over the risks of foreign currencies.

Of course there are some instances when paying in US dollars is best. Certain industries have dollar-functional supply chains where currency conversion should not occur. Multinational vendors may want dollars for their own operations, or they may have an arrangement to convert currencies in bulk using preferred exchange rates. But if these considerations don't apply to your business, there can be significant benefits to changing your approach.

Here’s what you should know when deciding which currency to use with overseas vendors.

Business Benefits

The major benefit of paying in local currency is improved cash flow. When you make a payment in US dollars, your bank immediately withdraws the funds from your account. This ensures the dollars are sent to the vendor’s bank right away. By contrast, when you make a cross-currency payment, funds are not wired until they've been converted from dollars to the vendor’s currency. Your bank may be willing to delay withdrawing the dollars from your account until the conversion is complete, which could take up to two business days. Two days of funds availability can be meaningful in terms of earnings credit and cash flow availability.

Vendor Benefits

Your vendor could expect prompter payments and an easier account reconciliation process if you choose to pay in its local currency. The reason for this is that when you make a foreign payment in US dollars, the vendor’s bank automatically converts it to the currency of the receiving account, often without contacting the recipient. This creates two likely challenges for your vendor’s accounts receivable (A/R) team:

  • Delays in receipt of funds: Many banks take two business days to post cross-currency payments to accounts, even for currencies that allow delivery on the same or next day after receipt. You may be able to deliver funds more quickly with no disadvantage to you if you pay in the vendor’s currency.
  • Difficulty matching credits to invoices: If your vendor’s A/R ledger is in euros, for instance, its reconciliation team may struggle to match your payment credit because the converted euro amount won’t match the amount on the invoice. They can only hope the invoice reference details you provide in the wire transfer appear on the account statement.

Case Study: Importing From China
A wholesale distributor based in the southeastern US imported machine tools from China for more than 80 years and always paid in US dollars. However, beginning in 2010, the liberalization of the Chinese currency allowed for the distributor to make payments in CNH, the Chinese currency traded outside of mainland China. By agreeing to pay in CNH, the wholesale distributor was able to negotiate more favorable pricing from their vendor.

Additional Considerations

  • Vendor risk: You're likely already paying a risk premium when transacting in dollars because your vendor will account for possible currency fluctuations when quoting you a price in dollars. You can take control of pricing by asking vendors to generate invoices that show prices in both US dollars and the local currency. Then consult with your bank to determine which currency option is better.
  • Changes to accounts payable processing flow: Most banks include the option for foreign currency payments in the same web screen as dollar payments, so the user experience likely won't change. The wire instructions will change only slightly and can be provided by your vendors to ensure accuracy. If needed, you can work with your bank to streamline payment processing.
  • Additional help: Simple payments in a foreign currency shouldn't be confused with foreign exchange trading and hedging. More experienced treasury practitioners will employ FX risk management instruments—such as forwards, swaps and options—to support cross-currency payments. These treasury professionals will collaborate closely with specialists on their bank’s FX desk to tailor appropriate solutions for their business.

Brexit: Article 50 Has been Triggered – What Now?


By Thierry Ajas, CPC — Practice Director, Randstad Professionals

Britain is officially on its way out of the European Union after 44 years as a member after invoking a part of European law known as Article 50 on March 29.

What exactly happened?

Nine months after the UK voted to get out of the European Union in a referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May activated the official mechanism that will make it a reality - Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

On Tuesday, March 28, she signed a letter triggering the process, which was handed over to the European Council's president Donald Tusk at around 12:20 BST.

This was followed by a statement from Mrs. May to the House of Commons, where she said now was "the moment for the country to come together".

What happens next?

Talks will get under way with EU officials. But the real hard work will not start until May or June when negotiations with other EU countries are expected to start. These talks are expected to end in autumn next year - and then MPs at Westminster, the European Council in Brussels, and the European Parliament will each get a vote on any deal that has been agreed.

So when does the UK actually leave?

The time-frame allowed in Article 50 is two years - and this can only be extended by unanimous agreement from all EU countries.

If no agreement is reached in two years, and no extension is agreed, the UK automatically leaves the EU and all existing agreements - including access to the single market - would cease to apply to the UK. If that happens, Brexit Day would be Friday, 29 March 2019.

What is Article 50?

Article 50 is the plan for any country that wishes to exit the EU. It was created as part of the Treaty of Lisbon - an agreement signed up to by all EU states which became law in 2009. Before that treaty, there was no formal mechanism for a country to leave the EU.

It's pretty short - just five paragraphs - which spell out that any EU member state may decide to quit the EU, that it must notify the European Council and negotiate its withdrawal with the EU, that there are two years to reach an agreement - unless everyone agrees to extend it - and that the exiting state cannot take part in EU internal discussions about its departure.

Any exit deal must be approved by a "qualified majority" (72% of the remaining 27 EU states, representing 65% of the population) but must also get the backing of MEPs. The fifth paragraph raises the possibility of a state wanting to rejoin the EU having left it - that will be considered under Article 49.

Can it be reversed?

No country has ever left the EU and Article 50 does not explicitly say whether the process can be halted. The UK government has been unable to make any definitive legal statements on the issue.

However, in her speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Theresa May said "there can be no turning back" and in a recent UK Supreme Court case on Article 50, both sides assumed it was irrevocable.

But the European Council President Donald Tusk has said he believes Article 50 can be reversed.
On his side is veteran British diplomat Lord Kerr, who wrote Article 50. He told the BBC in November 2016 "you can change your mind while the process is going on". But he added he did not think any politician in Britain would allow such a U-turn.

Why was there such a long wait to trigger it?

May announced in October last year that she would formally notify the European Council by the end of March, arguing that she did not want to rush into the withdrawal process before UK objectives had been agreed.


Do you know an MGTA member who was recently promoted or hired to an import/export company? Know of a member who recently got married or had a new addition to the family? Share the good news with your industry colleagues by emailing Kylle Jordan.

Thank You, 2017 Annual Sponsors!

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Bremer Bank


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Neville Peterson, LLP






Silver
Drinker, Biddle, and Reath


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HMM

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SBS Group of Companies








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Cassidy Levy Kent


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Global Training Center


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Cassidy Levy Kent

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