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May 15 2012 issue

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S.-Colombia FTA Effective May 15; GSP, ATPA Eligibility Terminated

Readers are reminded that the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement enters into force May 15. As of that date over 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty-free, including agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood, with the remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. More than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia will become duty-free on that date as well, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products, and virtually all remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not yet issued an administrative message indicating that it has made the system changes necessary to handle claims for preferential treatment under the U.S.-Colombia FTA. CBP has previously stated that no claims under this FTA should be filed until that message is issued. Click here for more details (http://strtradenews.com/rv/ff00054c0fd026e9cd0143ba324c9c3008042698/p=6210502)

Readers are also reminded that as of May 15 Colombia will no longer be eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (special program indicator A) or the Andean Trade Preference Act (SPI J and J+). Importers of apparel items from Colombia in particular should take note of several important points when transitioning from ATPA to the FTA. An ST&R client advisory on this issue can be found here (http://strtradenews.com/rv/ff00054f85c1f0f7052ffcf4ac479de4e9368470/p=3396779) and ST&R will be conducting a webinar to review this matter in more detail on May 17 (click here for more details - http://www.strtrade.com/Seminars/seminar_desc.aspx?id=1816).

CBP Allowing Protests of Erroneous Denial of Retroactive GSP Refunds

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued May 14 a message stating that importers may seek redress through protest if they were erroneously denied a refund of duties paid on goods otherwise eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences that were entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption during the period Jan. 1 through Nov. 4, 2011, when authorization for GSP lapsed. CBP stated earlier this year that requests for such refunds were due by April 18 and that protest was not available as a refund mechanism. However, CBP is now clarifying that protests are available for (1) those entries that were filed with the special program indicator “A” at entry summary but for which the automated scripting failed to liquidate the entry with refund and (b) those entries for which a refund was requested retroactively but were denied in error.

Promoting Exports of Environmental Technologies is Aim of New EPA/DOC Initiative

The Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency announced May 14 the Environmental Technologies Export Initiative to “promote American environmental technology, products and services in the global marketplace.” Part of the National Export Initiative that is working to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, the ETEI will include a comprehensive Web-based portal scheduled to be launched this fall that will offer U.S. environmental companies detailed information on federal government support activities including market research, scientific analysis, regulatory information and financial support programs. EPA and DOC are also partnering with trade associations to highlight potential growth opportunities for U.S. companies by increasing access to EPA’s scientific, technical and regulatory information and Commerce’s foreign market analysis and export promotion infrastructure. A joint press release states that this portal will provide a more systematic approach for U.S. companies looking to expand markets for their environmental products and services abroad.

U.S. Advances WTO Case Against India’s Restrictions on Agricultural Imports

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced May 11 that the U.S. has requested the establishment of a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel to review India’s restrictions on imports of various U.S. agricultural products, including poultry meat and chicken eggs. The two sides held consultations on this matter April 16-17 but were unable to reach a resolution.

USTR has said that since at least February 2007 India has formally banned imports of various agricultural products from the U.S., supposedly to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza even though the U.S. has not had an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza since 2004. USTR adds that international standards for AI control do not support the imposition of import bans due to detections of low pathogenic AI, the only kind found in the U.S. since 2004. The U.S. thus holds that India’s measures are inconsistent with the relevant science, international guidelines, and the standards India has set for its own domestic industry. U.S. agricultural trade groups have asserted that if these restrictions were lifted the value of U.S. poultry exports to India each year would surpass $300 million.

AD Notices: Magnesium, Honey

Agency: ITA.
Commodity: Pure magnesium.
Country: China.
Nature of Notice: Amended final results of administrative review of AD duty order for the period May 1, 2006, through April 30, 2007, based on court decision.
Details: Amended weighted average dumping margin of 111.73% for one exporter. This rate will be used to determine AD duties assessed on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review, and AD cash deposits will be required for entries of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after May 15.

Agency: ITA.
Commodity: Honey.
Country: Argentina.
Nature of Notice: Extension to June 8 of time limit for final results of 2009-2010 administrative review of AD duty order.

FTZ Board Creates New Subzone, Approves Zone Reorganization, Receives Two Applications

The Foreign-Trade Zones Board has granted subzone status for activity related to the manufacturing and distribution of stainless steel at the North American Stainless facility in Ghent, Ky. (subzone 29L). The Board notes that privileged foreign status must be elected on all foreign status ferrosilicon, molybdenum and titanium admitted to this subzone.

The FTZ Board has also approved the reorganization and expansion of FTZ 89 under the alternative site framework, with a service area of Clark County, Nev., within and adjacent to the Las Vegas U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry.

Separately, the Board is requesting comments by June 2 on notifications it has received of proposed production activity at the following locations.

- the Callisons Inc. facility within site 3 and site 15 of FTZ 216 in Chehalis and Lacey, Wash., which is used for the production and distribution of mint products, primarily for the food, confectionary, pharmaceutical and fragrance industries

- the Gulf Ship LLC facility located within site 3 of FTZ 92 in Gulfport, Miss., which is used for the construction and repair of oceangoing vessels

ITC Gathering Input for Biannual Report on Impact of Andean Trade Preferences

The International Trade Commission is requesting comments no later than July 3 on the impacts of the Andean Trade Preference Act. The ITC is required to submit every two years a report that examines the ATPA’s actual and probable future effect on the U.S. economy generally as well as on specific domestic industries that produce articles that are like or directly competitive with articles being imported under the ATPA from beneficiary countries. The report also provides an estimate of the effect that ATPA has had on drug-related crop eradication and crop substitution efforts in those countries. The ITC expects to transmit its report to Congress by Sept. 30.

Possible IPR Import Restrictions on Wireless Communication Devices, Video Game Systems

The International Trade Commission is considering the imposition of import restrictions on the following products that have been found to violate certain patents.

- certain consumer wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers and components thereof

- certain gaming and entertainment consoles, related software and components thereof

In each investigation the presiding administrative law judge has recommended the issuance of a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order. The ITC is therefore requesting public comments no later than May 23 on the whether the issuance of these orders would affect the public health and welfare in the U.S., competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the U.S., or U.S. consumers. In particular, the ITC is interested in comments that:

- explain how the articles potentially subject to the orders are used in the U.S.;

- identify any public health, safety or welfare concerns in the U.S. relating to the potential orders;

- identify like or directly competitive articles that the complainant, its licensees or third parties make in the U.S. that could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;

- indicate whether the complainant, the complainant’s licensees and/or third-party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested orders within a commercially reasonable time; and

- explain how the requested orders would impact U.S. consumers.

DOE Proposes Test Procedures for Furnace Fans, Guidance on Air Conditioners and Washers

Furnace Fans. The Department of Energy is proposing to establish a test method for measuring the airflow performance and electrical energy consumption of furnace fans; i.e., electrically-powered devices used in residential central HVAC systems for the purposes of circulating air through duct work. Furnace fans include the air distribution fans used in weatherized and non-weatherized gas furnaces, oil furnaces, electric furnaces, modular blowers and hydronic air handlers. The proposed test procedure is not intended to be applicable to any non-ducted products, such as whole-house ventilation systems without duct work, central air-conditioning condensing unit fans, room fans, and furnace draft inducer fans.

DOE will hold a public meeting June 15 in Washington, D.C., to discuss and receive comments on issues presented in this rulemaking. DOE is also accepting comments, data and information regarding this proposal through July 31.

Click here for proposed rule
http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-10993_PI.pdf

Air Conditioners, Dishwashers, Clothes Washers. DOE is holding a public meeting June 1in Washington, D.C., to provide a forum for manufacturers and test laboratories to provide information for DOE to consider prior to publishing any proposed guidance to clarify the
current test procedures for room air conditioners, residential dishwashers and residential clothes
washers. Among other things, DOE seeks to understand how interested parties have interpreted test procedures provisions that they believe to be ambiguous absent DOE guidance.

Click here for meeting notice
http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-11732_PI.pdf

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