April 12 2012 issue
Import Delays, Fines Could Result from Charges of Illegal Logging in Peru
The Environmental Investigation Agency, a non-governmental organization, released April 10 a report alleging that in recent years the U.S. has illegally imported millions of dollars in wood from Peru. The EIA states that this trade appears to be in violation of the Lacey Act, which prohibits commercial transactions in illegally sourced wood; the Endangered Species Act; and the U.S.-Peru free trade agreement, which contains unique provisions to prevent illegal timber trade and support forest sector reform. If the federal government takes action in response to these allegations under the FTA or the Lacey Act, the EIA notes, “future shipments could be stopped and companies could receive fines or even face criminal charges.”
According to an EIA press release, the report uncovered at least 112 illegal shipments of cedar or mahogany wood from Peru to the U.S. between May 2008 and May 2010, accounting for over 35% of all two-way trade in these protected species. Violations associated with these shipments included harvesting in prohibited areas, substandard labor conditions and the use of false documentation. While the report also found that 22 U.S. companies have imported at least one shipment of this illegal wood, it acknowledges that an analysis of the special permits required for trade in cedar and mahogany shows that many of these companies appear to have reduced or ended imports of these species from Peru since 2009.
Unlicensed Exports to Iran Yield $450,000 Penalty
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control reports that a New York company and its former chief executive officer will pay a $450,000 penalty to settle allegations involving unlicensed exports to Iran in violation of the Iranian Transactions Regulations. The apparent violations relate to the knowing sale and export of nail care products to an Iranian distributor pursuant to an exclusive distributorship agreement.
OFAC determined that neither the company nor its former CEO voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations, which constituted an egregious case in light of their intentional efforts to evade sanctions. However, the penalty was reduced from $750,000 because there was no prior history of OFAC violations and there was cooperation with the investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, resulting in executed non-prosecution agreements that included a civil forfeiture of $200,000.
Click here for OFAC notice
Of Note: U.S.-Middle East Trade Talks, Free Trade Area in Libya, India to Challenge Pipe Duties, Smuggling in Philippine Trade Zones
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sapiro Discusses Bilateral Trade, Economic Growth with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia
Libya to Revive Plan for Benghazi Free-Trade Area, Official Says
India to challenge U.S. duty on steel pipes
Philippines Free Trade Zones a Smuggling Haven
AD/CV Notices: Isocyanurates, Innerspring Units, Saccharin, Steel Plate, Honey, Pipe
Commodity: Chlorinated isocyanurates.
Nature of Notice: Final results of new shipper review of AD duty order for the period June 1 through Dec. 31, 2010.
Details: Weighted average dumping margin of 2.66% for sole reviewed manufacturer/exporter. AD duties based on this rate will be assessed on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review, and AD cash deposits at this rate will be required for shipments of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse on or after April 12.
Commodity: Uncovered innerspring units.
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of AD duty order for the period Feb. 1, 2010, through Jan. 31, 2011.
Details: Weighted average dumping margin of 234.51% for one manufacturer/exporter. AD duties based on this rate will be assessed on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review, and AD cash deposits at this rate will be required for shipments of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after April 12. The review was rescinded for one company that did not sell subject merchandise to the U.S. during the period of review.
Nature of Notice: Preliminary results of administrative review of AD duty order.
Details: None of the companies located in China established eligibility for a separate rate and will therefore be subject to the China-wide rate of 329.94%. Third-country exporters, because they do not have individual exporter rates, will continue to be subject to the cash deposit and assessment rates applicable to their China suppliers. The ITA intends to rescind this review for one company for which the request for review was timely withdrawn.
Commodity: Stainless steel plate in coils.
Nature of Notice: Final results of changed circumstances review of AD duty order.
Details: Aperam Stainless Belgium N.V. is the successor-in-interest to ArcelorMittal Stainless Belgium N.V. and will therefore be accorded the same treatment previously accorded AMSB with regard to this order.
Nature of Notice: Rescission of administrative review of CV duty order for the period Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011, based on withdrawal of the request for review.
Details: CV duties on entries of subject merchandise during this period will be assessed at the cash deposit rate in effect at the time of entry.
Commodity: Seamless carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe.
Nature of Notice: Rescission of administrative review of CV duty order for the period Nov. 10 through Dec. 31, 2010, based on the timely withdrawal of the request for review.
Details: CV duties on entries of subject merchandise during this period will be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit or bonding rate required at the time of entry.
DOT Considers Harmonizing Lithium Battery Transportation Rules with UN Standards
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is seeking comments by May 11 on the impact of changes to the requirements for the air transport of lithium cells and batteries that have been adopted into the 2013-2014 International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. PHMSA is considering whether to harmonize its regulations with these requirements, which have seen many changes since PHMSA’s January 2010 proposed rule on the air transportation risks posed by lithium cells and batteries (wti/wti.asp?pub=0&story=33668&date=&company=). PHMSA is therefore providing interested persons an opportunity to supplement their comments on the proposed rule in light of these changes, which are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Click here for PHMSA notice
IPR Enforcement Actions on Digital Photo Frames, Network Equipment
Import Restrictions Possible for Infringing Digital Photo Frames. In patent infringement investigation 337-TA-807 of certain digital photo frames and image display devices and components thereof, the International Trade Commission is requesting briefing no later than April 23 on remedy, the public interest and bonding with respect to relief against a respondent previously found in default. The complainant, Technical Properties Limited LLC, is requesting immediate relief and has submitted proposed remedial orders for the ITC’s consideration. The ITC is therefore seeking input on the form of remedy (i.e., an exclusion order and/or cease and desist order) that should be ordered; the effects of any such remedy on the public health and welfare, competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, U.S. production of articles that are like or directly competitive with those that are subject to investigation, and U.S. consumers; and the amount of the bond under which the subject articles could enter the U.S. during the 60-day period the president has to review any remedy ordered by the ITC.
Click here for ITC notice
Investigation of Network Equipment Terminated. The ITC has terminated patent infringement investigation 337-TA-778 of certain equipment for communications networks, including switches, routers, gateways, bridges, wireless access points, cable modems, IP phones and products containing same, on the basis of a settlement agreement.
Click here for ITC notice
Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Foods, Herbal Remedies
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the World Trade Organization has been notified of regulatory changes that may affect exports of specific products to the following countries. For information on how these restrictions may affect your business, contact ST&R.
Colombia – draft technical regulation on baby and infant foods (comments due by June 26)
Colombia – draft technical regulation on foods for human consumption containing added essential nutrients (comments due by June 26)
Mexico – March 22 publication of official standard on good manufacturing practices for establishments engaged in the manufacture of herbal remedies
Mango Importers to See Increased Assessment Rate Beginning Sept. 1
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a final rule that, effective Sept. 1, will increase the assessment rate on first handlers and importers of mangos from one half cent per pound to three quarters of a cent per pound. First handlers and importers who market or import less than 500,000 pounds of mangos annually, mangos exported out of the U.S., and domestic and foreign producers are exempt from this assessment. Revenues from this assessment are used to administer a nationally coordinated program of research and promotion designed to strengthen the position of mangos in the marketplace and to establish, maintain and expand U.S. markets for mangos.
Click here for USDA notice
New York/New Jersey Port Authority Accused of Discriminating Against Terminal Operator
Maher Terminal LLC has filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Maher alleges that the port authority has failed to establish, observe and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing or delivering property; is giving undue preferences or advantages to other marine container terminal operators and ocean carriers; has unreasonably refused to deal or negotiate with Maher; and has agreed with another marine terminal operator or common carrier to boycott and/or unreasonably discriminate in the provision of terminal services to a common carrier. Maher asserts that this behavior has cost it millions of dollars in lost and foregone business and is therefore asking the FMC to order the port authority to treat it fairly and pay reparations. The FMC anticipates issuing an initial decision by April 8, 2013, and a final decision by Aug. 6, 2013.
Click here for FMC notice
Ex-Im Bank Considers Financing for Exports of Mining Trucks to Ukraine
The Export-Import Bank has received an application for a $19.5 million long-term guarantee to support the export of approximately $30 million worth of mining trucks to Ukraine. These exports will enable the Ukrainian mining company to establish a maximum production capacity of 28 million metric tons of iron ore per year, and available information indicates that all of this production will be sold domestically in Ukraine. Comments on this transaction are due no later than April 26.
Click here for Ex-Im Bank notice