Since Garvey Schubert Barer’s founding in 1966, China has been a major focus of the firm’s practice. In 1979, Stan Barer and other GSB attorneys developed the legal strategy that led to the resumption of shipping between the U.S. and China after a thirty-year hiatus. The first Chinese ship to arrive in the United States sailed into the Port of Seattle, and the first American-flagged ship to sail to China was owned by a GSB client.
This strong alliance, forged and fostered by GSB, has led to Seattle’s importance in trade relations with China. China is Washington State’s major trade partner: in 2017, Washington State exported $18 billion in goods to China. The University of Washington and Tsinghua University have established a joint cross-disciplinary technological institute. President Xi Jinping visited only two locations in the United States: Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Do you have assets in foreign countries?
Are you or your spouse from another country?
Do you have a relative in another country moving to the U.S., buying U.S. property, or making a gift to someone in the U.S.?
Are you a green card holder thinking about moving back your home country?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider the significant challenges that state and federal legal and tax rules could present. Without a strategy in place, one may face being hit with hefty taxes or complications, which could be minimized with proper estate planning.
While United States businesses were embroiled in trade wars, Japan advanced The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2018 without participation from the U.S. (TPP-11). Now, Japan and the European Union are celebrating the new EU-Japan Trade Agreement, which came into effect on February 1, 2019. Under this agreement, the EU and Japan reported that they have now become the largest open trade zone in the world.
On January 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule revising the random selection process (commonly referred to as the annual “H-1B Lottery”) by which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects new H-1B petitions for adjudication under the annual H-1B quota. The rule is effective April 1, 2019, with no major changes to employers for the upcoming FY20 H-1B filing season; however, the rule does impose a new electronic registration requirement starting next year (FY21).
This op-ed was originally published in The Seattle Times on December 26, 2018.
In March 1979, the American-flagged ship Letitia Lykes sailed into Shanghai harbor, where it was festooned with flowers and greeted by diplomats. Seattle attorney Stan Barer developed the legal strategy to break the 30-year freeze on shipping between our nations which had existed since “Red China.” A month later, where did the first Chinese ship arrive in the United States? The Port of Seattle.
In September 2015, President Xi Jinping paid his first visit to the United States as President of China. Besides Washington, D.C., what other city did he visit? Seattle. What’s the closest international airport in the “lower 48” states from Shanghai or Beijing? SeaTac Airport. What major American deep-water port is closest to China? The ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
What other nation will buy more Boeing-made commercial aircraft in 2018 and potentially for the foreseeable future? China. Which U.S. public university has established a joint cross-disciplinary technological institute with Tsinghua University? The University of Washington.
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On August 13, 2018, the President signed into law new legislation that will impose heightened oversight of investments by Chinese persons in U.S. businesses. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) provides greater specificity about the types of investments that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency committee of the U.S. government, may review and in turn block due to their potential threats to the national security of the U.S. The new law affects foreign direct investments from any country, but China is one of the countries it is particularly likely to affect.
The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis ("BEA") is currently administering a BE-120 survey, which is an updated version of the BE-120 required in 2011. This time, however, if you are a U.S. person or entity, you must complete the BE-120 survey by June 29, 2018 (for manual filing) and July 30, 2018 (using the BEA's eFile system) if the following applies to you: During fiscal year 2017, you engaged in either (a) the foreign sale or purchase of services or (b) transactions in intellectual property rights ("IP") with foreign persons involving rights to use, rights to reproduce and/or distribute, or outright sales or purchases of IP. You may only have to complete part of the survey or all of it, depending on the volume of your activity. Further, due to rules regarding rounding off dollar volume, activity under $500 is not reported. More details are available below. Deadline extensions are available by written request.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has started returning H-1B petitions to employers whose cases were not selected in the recent H-1B lottery selection process. The USCIS reported that a total of 195,000 H-1B petitions were received during this year’s qualifying filing period, which began on April 2, 2018 and ended on April 6, 2018. Employers whose H-1B petition was not selected for allocation under the 2019 Fiscal Year H-1B quota will receive their paperwork back from the agency, including the uncashed filing fee checks, by regular mail. The quota (or “cap”) applies to individuals who have never held H-1B status before or who previously worked only for an H-1B exempt employer.
With more than four (4) months left in the federal government's 2018 fiscal year, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week reported it had already doubled the number of audits that it conducted during the entire 2017 fiscal year. ICE, an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for upholding the laws established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which require employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all individuals they hire.
Imagine you are focused on the latest growth trends of your business, working hard to forecast where your next sales will come from. You're thinking about what new staff you will need to support that growth. While you are preparing for an important meeting related to a promising business prospect, a receptionist in your office notifies you that your company has just been served with a lawsuit. The notice says that you have only a few weeks to respond and you now have to set aside other business matters to assess the case, locate help, and decide on a strategy for addressing the claim in an unfamiliar legal system. For many foreign investors, facing the risk of being sued is perhaps the most daunting part of conducting business in the U.S.
The next installment of our doing business series provides an introduction to litigation in the United States. It aims to give readers some basic background of the life cycle of a lawsuit, and describes options for dealing with a dispute, whether through litigation, mediation or arbitration. Understanding what will happen, being prepared, and thinking ahead about what to do in such an event, can help a company face the claim, and also allow the primary focus to stay where it should be: moving a business forward.
The International Practice Group of Garvey Schubert Barer is a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics, and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. The firm’s attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.