Federal Contractors Beware: Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down

A written federal Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct and company business ethics awareness and compliance program makes more business sense now than it ever has.

It is no secret that workplace non-consensual sexual misconduct was a hot topic this year.  In many circumstances, the alleged misconduct happened in the workplace calling into question the employees’ workplace culture, policies, and compliance programs that allowed such behavior to go unchecked and unreported.  The companies that ignore the misconduct may never recover.  However, negative repercussions and scrutiny are preventable.  What these companies likely overlooked was the value of an internal ethics policy and compliance program that could have promoted a culture of ethical conduct and individual responsibility among all employees.

Why is this relevant to you as a federal contractor?  Continue Reading

China’s Bid to Become Market Economy Opposed

The Trump administration has formally opposed China’s bid to be recognized as a “market economy.”  Aligning itself with the European Union and other countries including Japan, the U.S. submitted a statement to the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) in mid-November and made its decision to oppose public on November 30, 2017.

Under a market economy status, China would be protected from WTO members applying non-market economy methodologies when investigating China’s anti-dumping regulations.  China was expecting to automatically be considered a market economy last year pursuant to paragraph 15 of China’s Protocol of Accession.  If the WTO denies market economy status, China will face increased tariffs and stands to lose billions in exports.

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CPSC Finalizes Ban on Certain Children’s Toys and Child Care Articles

On October 27, 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) issued a final rule prohibiting children’s toys and child care articles that contain concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of certain phthalates.

What’s Prohibited

The final rule states children’s toys and child care articles containing concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of diisononyl phthalate (“DINP”), diisobutyl phthalate (“DIBP”), di-n-pentyl phthalate (“DPENP”), di-n-hexyl phthalate (“DHEXP”), and dischyclohexyl phthalate (“DCHP”) are prohibited.

Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) prohibits the manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribution in commerce, or importation into the U.S. of any children’s toy or child care article that contains these concentrations of certain phthalates.  Children’s toys include consumer products designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child 12 years or younger for use by the child when the child plays.  A child care article is a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething.

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Your Guide to Supply Chain Sustainability

Putting supply chain sustainability at the forefront is not only ethically sound, it is essential for an organisation’s value and long-term profitability.  Supply chain sustainability is the increasing practice of monitoring and guiding suppliers to ensure the business’ sustainability values are honored.  In an era where information on businesses’ ethical practices are readily available, customers are holding companies accountable for their suppliers’ social and environmental impact.

In their article on LexisNexis, Simon Garbett, Ian Skinner and Sarah Rathke provide a guide on how organisations can create and implement an effective supply chain sustainability programme tailored to their business, ensure proper focus on human rights and environmental concerns, combat corruption, and mitigate risks.  The article also sets forth where to look for guidance on best practices and ways to partner with non-governmental organisations for assistance.

The article, “Supply chain sustainability,” can be accessed on LexisNexis here.

Those without a LexisNexis subscription may reach out to me via email to obtain access to the article.

FOB: You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Our own Ketan Ganase recently wrote about Predictability Through Incoterms. One important precondition to achieving that predictability is making sure that you are using terms correctly. This is especially true for “FOB,” a term that can mean different things in different contexts. Continue Reading

Predictability Through Incoterms

Expanding your business beyond the borders and perceived safety of your own country may be a frightening prospect full of uncertainties, but in today’s global marketplace, it often is the only option available to stay competitive.

The nature of cross-border business is such that a lot can be lost in (miss)translation. Parties to international transactions will often speak different languages, employ different trade practices, rely on divergent business customs or any other of the plethora of cultural hodgepodges that one finds on the blue planet.

Consequently, uniformity in trade terminology can be hard to come by, leading to uncertainty in the operational language of a contract and a divergence in the expectations of parties to a transaction. Continue Reading

NAFTA Re-Negotiation: How Safe Are Your Contracts?

The North American Free Trade Agreement has brought massive changes to supply chains throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada over the past 23 years. Now, for the first time, the United States has an anti-NAFTA administration, which is moving forward on its campaign promise to re-negotiate the agreement. The details are far from final, but some of the proposals on the table should concern anyone involved in negotiating supply contracts. Continue Reading