Category Archives: Manufacturing

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Understanding and Coping with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement: USMCA Updates NAFTA Rules of Origin for Motor Vehicles and Auto Parts

supply chain
On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that they have reached an agreement on a “new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century” (USTR, 09/30/2018). Going by the new name of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it will entirely replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).… Continue reading this entry

The Impact of a No-Deal Brexit Outcome

Brexit
On October 17, 2018, politicians expected to finalize Brexit terms at a 24-hour summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.  Had things gone to plan, a special one-off meeting in November was all that remained to sign the final Brexit deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom.  But the October summit fell apart.  … Continue reading this entry

GM Bucks Feds On Emissions

emissions
We might be at least part of the way through the looking glass in the Automotive Industry as OEMs, led by General Motors, are looking to keep the industry pointed in the direction of zero-emission vehicles and the Federal Government is looking to keep things as is.  Specifically, last week GM called for a National … Continue reading this entry

Meet the New NAFTA, Same as the Old NAFTA?

manufacturing
After all the gloom and doom and worry, the United States, Canada and Mexico tweaked the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Most importantly (apparently), they changed the name.  Banished is NAFTA.  In its place is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  USMCA might be a bit more cumbersome to say, but that might be the largest … Continue reading this entry

EU Votes to Slash Emissions, Setting up a Final Vote by Member States Next Week

emissions
As we previously discussed in May, the European Commission has been considering proposals to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles.  The draft law for vehicles proposed CO2 reduction targets of 15 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030, with 2021 as a baseline.  Last month, the Commission’s environment committee voted to increase the reduction … Continue reading this entry

The Skills Gap in the Manufacturing Industry and What We Can Do About It

Workforce
There is a serious skills gap crisis in the U.S. manufacturing industry, an industry which makes up nine percent of the U.S. workforce, making it one of the largest workforces in the country.  The manufacturing industry, like many other industries in our quickly-shifting, modern economy, requires skilled workers to fill critical positions, such as machine/equipment … Continue reading this entry

Force Majeure Best Practices – Hurricane Florence Edition

hurricane
The threat presented by Hurricane Florence has forced government officials to order South Carolina residents to evacuate hurricane zones. Safety should always be the No. 1 priority for the millions of individuals and families affected by the storm. The mandatory evacuation and closure of many businesses and schools in the area has shut down a … Continue reading this entry

3D Printing Continues Making Inroads in Auto Industry

3D Printing
Additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) has long been a growing part of the auto industry.   Companies started out using 3D printing for prototypes and small batch production.  As technology advanced, the role of 3D printing is rapidly increasing.  This week, several major players in the auto industry announced new developments for the role of 3D … Continue reading this entry

Raw Material and Commodity Purchasing – Key Concerns for Manufacturers

labor and employment
On August 9, 2018, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (“OESA”) held its 2018 Automotive Commodities Event covering a variety of topics related to commodities purchasing, including strategies for price risk management, insights into future mixed material usage in the automotive industry, and legal strategies for navigating volatile commodity markets.  Highlights of the issues discussed during the … Continue reading this entry

Inter Partes Review Appeals: The Federal Circuit's Standing Requirement

Patent
Under the America Invents Act, manufacturers possess a powerful tool for combatting overly broad competitor patents: inter partes review (IPR). IPR allows any party to challenge one or more patent claims by filing a petition with the Patent Trials and Appeals Board (PTAB) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), showing that the … Continue reading this entry

Here Comes the U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement

Trade
The North American Free Trade Agreement – NAFTA for short – just took one step closer to no longer existing. As originally reported by the NY Times, the United States and Mexico announced that they had reached agreement on some key provisions that would change from the 24-year-old NAFTA.  Details are scarce, apparently in part … Continue reading this entry

Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times

sales
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR)’s annual Management Briefing Seminars are being held this week in Traverse City, Michigan.  Tuesday’s sessions included an annual highlight of the conference: a detailed update and outlook on “Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times,” presented by a panel of leading automotive forecasters, analysts and … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Industry Fights Section 232 Tariffs

labor and employment
It is difficult to find anyone affiliated with the automotive industry in the United States, Europe, Asia or anywhere else who is in favor of tariffs on automobiles, automobile parts, automobile raw materials or anything else that goes into making a car or truck or other vehicle.  The industry seems to be in rare consensus … Continue reading this entry

Jumpstarting the Competition: General Motors and Honda Partner on Next-Generation Electric Vehicle Batteries

EV Battery
Mirroring Kevin Durant joining forces with his direct competition, the Golden State Warriors, Honda and General Motors (“the companies”) have teamed up – working together on next-generation electric vehicle (“EV”) batteries – to take on the ultra-competitive EV market.  Specifically, the multiyear partnership consists of Honda buying battery modules based on the next generation GM … Continue reading this entry

Recharging Electric Vehicle Incentive Limits

Recently, Representative Peter Welch of Vermont introduced legislation restructuring the planned phase out for the current electric vehicle $7500 federal tax credit.  As has been discussed in great detail in this blog, the current electric vehicle incentives begin to phase out individually for each manufacturer when that manufacturer delivers its 200,000th electric vehicle.  As a … Continue reading this entry

Alert from Foley’s Mexico City Office - New Product Safety Requirements and Recall Procedures Adopted in Mexico: Time for Manufacturers to Update their Compliance Programs in Mexico

patent
The commercial and legal environment on product safety in vehicles, auto parts and other products has substantially changed in Mexico in 2018. Automotive parts manufacturers carrying out business activities in Mexico should now be implementing increased efforts to comply with and properly react to new legislation, policies, recall procedures and safety standards that are now … Continue reading this entry

Tips for Planning a Carve-Out Divestiture

carve-out
As a company grows and expands (whether by acquisition or organically), it can encounter issues which may prompt a divestiture.  For example, a once high-performing business unit declines or becomes stagnant and drags down the performance of the overall company, or business units within the company create negative synergies, such as where a major customer … Continue reading this entry

China to Relax Joint Venture Requirements for Manufacturing

vehicle manufacturing
On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a planned rollback of the manufacturing foreign ownership limits first set forth in the 1990s, which require that manufacturing operations in China be at least 50% Chinese owned.  Specifically, China will begin by eliminating this ownership requirement for electric vehicle production and gradually roll back the requirements for … Continue reading this entry

EPA Rolls Back Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Auto Industry

fuel economy
The Trump Administration has taken steps to roll back Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions standards applicable to most automobiles in the United States.  On April 2nd Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced plans to roll back an Obama Administration determination that left the Midterm Evaluation standards in place for the 2022-2025 GHG emission limits for … Continue reading this entry

New Exclusions Process Gives Automotive Companies the Possibility of Exemption from Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

tariffs
On March 23rd, automotive companies that rely on imported steel and aluminum were confronted with new special tariffs of 25 percent on all imports of steel and tariffs of ten percent on all imports of aluminum, with temporary exclusions for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the member countries of the European Union, and South Korea. … Continue reading this entry

New Exclusions Process Opens Up Potential Relief from Section 232 Tariffs for Users of Specialty Steel and Aluminum Products or Companies that Serve National Security Needs

On March 23, steel and aluminum users were confronted with new special tariffs of 25 percent on all imports of steel and tariffs of ten percent on all imports of aluminum, with temporary exclusions for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the member countries of the European Union, and South Korea.1 These measures created a great … Continue reading this entry

Overview of Distribution Supply Chain Options

supply chain
When determining how to sell a product in the marketplace, there are a number of supply chain options from which to choose, each with its own set of legal implications.  However, the primary consideration in determining how to sell a product should be what makes the most sense from a business perspective (for example, if … Continue reading this entry

Consequential Damage Disclaimers in Supply Agreements

What is a consequential damage? This is the million (sometimes multimillion) dollar question.  According to Black’s Law Dictionary, consequential damages are “losses that do not flow directly and immediately from an injurious act but that result indirectly from the act.”[1]… Continue reading this entry

The Automotive Sector Faces Sharply Increased Duties, Pricing Uncertainty Following Announcement of Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

On March 1st, the automotive sectors that consume steel and aluminum were confronted with a potentially large tariff rate increase. The section 232 measures are intended to raise the prices of all steel products – whether imported or domestic – and thus will have an impact on any major purchaser of steel, which includes most … Continue reading this entry