May 24 2012 issue
Fewer Import Recalls Could Result from Earlier CPSC Engagement in Standard Setting
The Government Accountability Office is urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to consider taking a more active, engaged role in developing voluntary product safety standards. The GAO believes this step could strengthen the adequacy of these standards and thus lead to greater compliance and fewer product recalls, including of imported goods.
The CPSC enforces compliance with mandatory federal safety standards but is also required to rely on voluntary safety standards when it determines that they adequately address the associated product hazards and are likely to have substantial compliance. Voluntary standards are developed by industry, consumer and government participants through a consensus process and cover many of the thousands of types of products in the CPSC’s jurisdiction. The CPSC cannot compel compliance with voluntary standards, the report states, but noncompliance can inform a determination of a substantial product hazard that in turn can lead to enforcement actions. For example, the CPSC has exercised the expanded authority given to it by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to place drawstrings from children’s upper outerwear and hair dryers without a ground fault circuit interrupter on the substantial product hazards list, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized violative items at ports.
The CPSC already engages in some activities regarding the development of voluntary product safety standards but the GAO believes this involvement should be expanded. Current participation includes supplying hazard and injury data and analysis, providing input on draft standards, and monitoring select voluntary standards. Other activities, such as voting on final standards or participating in meetings that are not open to the public, are prohibited by the CPSC in an effort to maintain its impartiality. However, the report points out, Office of Management and Budget guidance gives federal agencies discretion to determine their level of participation in standard setting activities, including full involvement in discussions, serving in leadership positions and voting on standards. In addition, a January 2012 White House memorandum states that the federal government may need to be actively engaged in standards development and implementation, including playing an active role in standard setting and assuming leadership positions in standards development organization committees.
By amending its regulations to allow a more active role in standards development, the report concludes, the CPSC could enhance its oversight and may strengthen voluntary standards, which in turn could reduce the number of recalls of imported goods. The report explains that manufacturers that fail to comply with voluntary standards can face consequences, including recalls or outright bans, when the CPSC has determined that noncompliance poses a significant risk of injury or death to consumers. For fiscal years 2008 through 2011, 80% of CPSC recalls were of imported products that may be subject to voluntary standards. By getting involved in the development of such standards earlier and more actively, the report states, the CPSC can and in fact already has helped to not only strengthen the standards themselves but also to improve compliance.
STTAS’ Kevin Smith Cited in Article on Trade Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure
Kevin Smith, senior vice president of strategic programs for Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services and a former General Motors executive, was cited in a recent USA Today article (http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-05-20/creaking-infrastructure/55096396/1#.T7upj9adMYM.email) that examines the impact on imports, exports and other economic activities of a deteriorating domestic transportation infrastructure. The article argues that the current state of U.S. highways, bridges, seaports and inland waterways is costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year but notes that in the current budget environment repair, maintenance and construction activities are not being adequately funded. Smith pointed out that congestion at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, has prompted U.S. auto companies to store extra parts at factories and closely space deliveries to ensure that transportation delays don’t shut down production lines.
$41 Fee for TSA Security Threat Assessments in Air Cargo Program
The Transportation Security Administration has established a $41 fee for certain security threat assessments it conducts as part of the Certified Cargo Screening Program. These assessments are performed on employees of aircraft operators, foreign air carriers, indirect air carriers and certified cargo screening facilities who have or are applying for unescorted access to cargo to be transported on passenger aircraft and have responsibility for screening cargo, supervising the screening of cargo or performing certain other security functions.
According to TSA, several commenters expressed concern that the proposed fee range of $31 to $51 is too expensive for industry to bear and suggested that the amount of money needed for the vetting process (and thus the overall fee) could be reduced by relying more on information technology. TSA acknowledged that the new fee will impose a financial burden on the industry during a period of economic stress but said it has been set to recover only the cost of vetting services being provided to TSA applicants and better aligns cost recovery from those that directly benefit from this service. Further, although TSA can accomplish a portion of the vetting process using information technology, it expects to process an average of more than 300 applicants each and every calendar day over the next five years, and “such volume necessitates that various personnel carry out the multitude of threat assessment functions during the vetting process.” In addition, new technology investments will be necessary to modify existing capacity and develop further capabilities.
Of Note: Is FCPA Enforcement Working? Australia-Malaysia FTA, Albania Joins Harmonized System
More top executives willing to pay bribes –survey
Australia signs free-trade deal with Malaysia
Albania becomes the 142nd Contracting Party to the Harmonized System Convention
CPSC Proposes Requirements for Third-Party Conformity Assessment Bodies, Finalizes Periodic Audit Rules
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed requirements pertaining to third-party conformity assessment bodies that are authorized to test children’s products in support of the certification required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The CPSC has also issued a final rule that, effective July 23, will establish requirements for the periodic audit of third-party conformity assessment bodies as a condition for their continuing accreditation.
The CPSIA requires the manufacturer (including the importer) and/or private labeler of a product subject to an applicable consumer product safety rule or any similar rule, ban, standard or regulation to issue a certificate that certifies, based on a test of each product or upon a reasonable testing program, that the product complies with all applicable rules, bans, standards or regulations. The CPSC may designate third parties to issue these certificates.
The CPSIA also establishes a third-party testing requirement for children’s products that are subject to a children’s product safety rule. In general, every manufacturer or private labeler of such products must submit sufficient samples of the product, or samples that are identical in all material respects to the product, to an accredited third-party conformity assessment body to be tested for compliance with the applicable rule.
The CPSC is now inviting public comments through Aug. 7 on a proposed rule that would establish the general requirements related to CPSC acceptance of the accreditation of a third-party conformity assessment body for purposes of testing children’s products. The proposed requirements are largely the same as those the CPSC has been using since enactment of the CPSIA in August 2008. The CPSC has also issued a final rule setting forth requirements for the periodic audit of these third-party conformity assessment bodies as a condition for their continuing accreditation. The proposed rule would make certain amendments to this final rule as well as the CPSC’s regulation on inspections.
Click here for proposed rule
Click here for final rule
AD Notices: Uncovered Innerspring Units, Orange Juice
Commodity: Uncovered innerspring units.
Nature of Notice: Initiation of inquiry to determine whether innerspring units completed and assembled in Malaysia from China-origin components are circumventing this AD duty order.
Commodity: Orange juice.
Nature of Notice: Rescission of administrative review of AD duty order for the period March 1, 2011, through March 8, 2011, due to the withdrawal of the request for review.
Details: AD duties on entries of subject merchandise during the period of review will be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit required at the time of entry or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption. No further cash deposits will be required because this order was revoked effective March 9, 2011.
FDA to Hold Public Meeting on Requirements for Importing Regulated Products
The Food and Drug Administration is holding a public meeting July 18 in Des Plaines, Ill., on requirements for importing FDA-regulated products into the U.S. The topics to be discussed are FDA regulations with respect to importing pharmaceutical products, medical devices and food products as well as technology that applies to brokers and forwarders. Those interested in attending this meeting should register with FDA no later than July 2.
Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Appliances, Cables, Motorcycles, Foods, Cosmetics
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.
Chile – certification procedures for low-voltage equipment and household washing machines (comments due by June 25)
Ecuador – draft technical regulation on food additives (comments due by July 29)
European Union – March 10 publication of regulation on electronic instructions for use of medical devices
India – rules governing packaged commodities for industrial and institutional customers, including retail sale (comments due by June 29)
Indonesia – revised regulations on processed food and nutrition facts on food labels (comments due by July 21)
Indonesia – regulations on processed food labeling and advertisement and technical requirements for cosmetics (comments due by July 21)
Israel – mandatory standard on PVC insulated underground cables for voltage not exceeding 1000 volts declared voluntary (comments due by July 21)
Israel – revised mandatory standard on transportable refillable cylinders for liquefied petroleum gas (comments due by July 21)
Taiwan – regulation of chargers for electric motorcycles as commodities subject to mandatory inspection (comments due by July 21)
United Arab Emirates – draft technical regulations on athlete foods intended to be used for producing energy, sugar-free chocolate, low caloric jam and bran bread (comments due by July 16)
Ocean Transportation Intermediary License Revocations, Reissuances, Applicants
OTI Licenses Revoked. The Federal Maritime Commission has given notice that the following ocean transportation intermediary licenses have been revoked. A revocation may occur after a license is surrendered voluntarily by the OTI or for failure to maintain a valid bond.
- license #004626N: J.B.R. Marine Inc., City of Industry, Calif.
- license #015941N: Cargo Plus Inc., Pennsauken, N.J.
- license #16743F: Courtney International Forwarding Inc., Inwood, N.Y.
- license #019562N: Maximo Martinez Inc. d/b/a M & M Shipping, Bay Shore, N.Y.
- license #019878NF: Unity Logistics and Transportation Inc., Merrick, N.Y.
- license #020376NF: Unity Container Inc., Miami, Fla.
- license #020535N: Destiny Global Export Corp., Somerset, N.J.
- license #021303N: Guzal Cargo Express Corp., Miami, Fla.
- license #023145NF: Frontline Cargo Logistics LLC, Hialeah, Fla.
- license #023149N: Balkans Air Corporation, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- license #023172NF: Miami Freight & Logistics Services Inc. d/b/a Miami Global Lines, Miami, Fla.
- license #023469NF: Ramin Razi d/b/a Acorn International Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.
OTI Licenses Reissued. The Federal Maritime Commission has given notice that the following ocean transportation intermediary licenses have been reissued.
- license #004626F: J.B.R. Marine Inc., City of Industry, Calif.
- license #105941F: Cargo Plus Inc., Pennsauken, N.J.
- license #017524F: Natco International Transports USA LLC, Miami, Fla.
- license #019398NF: Copacabana Enterprises Group Inc., Miami, Fla.
- license #019808N: Centro America Envios Inc., Miami, Fla.
OTI License Applicants. The Federal Maritime Commission has provided notice that the following applicants have filed applications for licenses as non-vessel-operating common carrier and/or ocean freight forwarder ocean transportation intermediaries. Persons knowing of any reason why any of these applicants should not receive a license are requested to contact the FMC.
- 101 Shipping Inc., Lomita, Calif.
- A. & A. Trading Inc., Houston, Texas
- CAP Worldwide Inc., Houston, Texas
- Coreana Express (Seattle) Inc., Kent, Wash.
- Cruises Logistic USA Inc. d/b/a Italian Seaways USA, Medley, Fla.
- Danzas Corporation d/b/a DHL Global Forwarding d/b/a Danmar Lines Ltd. d/b/a DHL Danzas Air & Ocean d/b/a Danmar Lines, Plantation, Fla.
- Evastar LLC, Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Global Wine Logistics Inc., East Brunswick, N.J.
- HTNS America Inc. d/b/a UKO Logis Inc., Carson, Calif.
- Interfreight Harmonized Logistics Inc., Inwood, N.Y.
- Kuehne + Nagel Inc. d/b/a Blue Anchor America Line, Jersey City, N.J.
- M & D Global Logistics Inc., Hacienda Heights, Calif.
- Metro Freight Services Inc. d/b/a Maritime Express Lines (M.E.L.), Linden, N.J.
- Relaciones Cibaeno Express Inc., Jackson Heights, N.Y.
- Ruky International Shipping Line LLC, Edison, N.J.
- Sigmai (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong, China
- SOS International Shipping Corporation, Weeki Wachee, Fla.
- Transportes Zuleta Inc., Miami, Fla.
- Welcome Freight Forwarding Inc., Miami, Fla.
Applications for New Subzones Get Extended Comment Period
The Foreign-Trade Zones Board has reopened through June 22 the period for comments on applications for subzone authority at the Dow Corning Corporation silicon-based product manufacturing facility in Midland, Mich., and the Hemlock Semiconductor polysilicon manufacturing facilities in Hemlock, Mich., and Clarksville, Tenn. The FTZ Board states that additional information containing new factual information on which there has not been a chance for public comment was submitted on behalf of the companies requesting subzone authority.
Amended Maritime Agreement Filed
The Federal Maritime Commission has issued notice that the following amended agreement has been filed. Interested parties may submit comments by June 4.
Trans-Pacific American Flag Berth Operators Agreement – The amendment adds Australia and New Zealand to the geographic scope of the agreement.