Showing posts from October, 2019

President Trump Announces Phase One Deal with China, Suspends Tariff Increase

After meeting with Chinese officials on October 11, 2019, President Trump announced his administration had reached a limited Phase I trade deal with China, largely maintaining the status quo and preventing future escalation. While negotiators have yet to put pen to paper, both sides hope to have a document ready for signature by President Trump and President Xi of China at the November 12-14 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. Both sides indicate that if they sign Phase I, they will immediately move forward negotiating a broader Phase II deal. President Trump also announced he would suspend the tariff increase of 25 to 30 percent on more than 7,000 Chinese goods that was slated to take effect October 15. The President, however, stated he was undecided about implementing another round of tariffs on $125 billion of mostly consumer goods from China set to take effect on December 15. If the Phase I deal is not signed next month, those deals likely will still go into place.

Labor Department Finalizes Overtime Rule

On September 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final overtime exemption rule issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act, increasing the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week. By increasing the threshold for employers subject to the federal standard to $35,568, up from the current threshold of $23,660 set in 2004, the agency claims 1.3 million more American workers will be eligible for overtime pay. The DOL’s final rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, includes: Increasing the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify for exemption from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week ($35,568 annually);  Increasing the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” (HCE) from the currently enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year;  Allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid