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September 11 2012 Issue

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade Ministers’ Report Identifies Areas of Progress in TPP Negotiations   

On Sept. 9 the trade ministers of the nine countries currently participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiations submitted a report outlining the progress made to date as well as the issues remaining to be resolved. The report said there has been “significant” progress on many of the 29 chapters, including customs, cross-border services, government procurement, telecommunications, competition policy, small and medium-sized enterprises, competitiveness and business facilitation, and cooperation and capacity building. Negotiators have also “moved their work ahead substantially” on the issues of rules of origin, investment, financial services and temporary entry. The ministers said their goal is to close as many of these chapters as possible by the end of 2012. 

Market Access. Work on developing tariff packages to open industrial goods, agricultural and textile markets is progressing at varying paces for different countries. Participants are negotiating access to each other’s services and investment markets on a negative list basis, which assumes access unless countries take an exception, but this approach is new to some TPP countries and there is additional work to do to achieve an ambitious outcome consistent with the approach on goods. Some positive steps have been taken on government procurement, another issue that some TPP countries are including in a trade agreement for the first time, and further work is needed here as well. The ministers said they are now focused on developing creative solutions so areas of sensitivity will not compromise the ambition set for this agreement. 

Regional Agreement. There have been discussions on steps toward the construction of a single tariff schedule. Considerable progress has been made toward agreement on common rules of origin, and participants are working to develop simple and enforceable rules of origin that will encourage cumulation across the region. There has also been “solid progress” on other commitments that will support the development of production and supply chains among TPP members, including on such issues as connectivity, services, customs cooperation and standards, even though participants have different approaches to some of these issues. 

Cross-Cutting Trade Issues. In the past ten months there has been promising movement toward agreement on chapters that address the following issues. 

- regulatory and other non-tariff barriers, with participants having “significantly narrowed the gaps” on new ways to improve regulatory practices, eliminate unnecessary barriers, reduce regional divergence in standards, promote transparency, and conduct regulatory processes in a more trade-facilitative manner 

- competitiveness and business facilitation, including focusing holistically on ensuring that participants are developing the production and supply chains that will enhance competitiveness and maintain jobs 

- ways to expand the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in regional trade, including through enhancing their access to specific relevant and user-friendly information and resources about the TPP 

- capacity building and cooperation to help those TPP countries that need it to implement the high ambition of the agreement 

New Trade Issues. Participants have primarily focused on discussion when it comes to new issues that have emerged in global trade; e.g., developments in information technology, green growth, and harnessing the new digital economy to enhance competitiveness, promote trade and support SMEs. They are also continuing to weigh appropriate approaches to ensuring a transparent and pro-competitive business environment. 

Leaders’ Statement. The leaders of the TPP countries issued a separate statement on the negotiations on Sept. 9 as the 14th round took place in the U.S. The leaders said they have instructed their negotiating teams to direct their energies at “promptly finding pragmatic, creative, flexible, and mutually-acceptable solutions to the remaining issues under negotiation.” They welcomed Mexico and Canada as new TPP partners, although these two countries will not become formal participants until the next round, and directed their negotiating teams to “continue discussions with other Asia-Pacific partners that have expressed interest in joining the TPP in order to facilitate their possible future participation.”

Largest Ever Criminal Penalty Assessed Under Pesticide Law   

The Department of Justice announced recently that a U.S. producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses will pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for 11 criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The company pleaded guilty in February to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. A DOJ press release notes that the company has also agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties to the Environmental Protection Agency and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolve additional civil violations, including distributing or selling unregistered, canceled or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. These amounts represent the largest criminal fines and the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.

AD Notices: Shrimp, Mushrooms, Ironing Tables, Pipes, Magnesium   

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Frozen warmwater shrimp. 
Country: Vietnam. 
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Feb. 1, 2010, through Jan. 31, 2011. 
Details: Weighted average dumping margins ranging from 1.23% to 25.76%. Importer-specific AD duties will be assessed on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review, and AD cash deposits at these rates will be required for shipments of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after Sept. 11. The review was rescinded with respect to Quoc Viet Seaproducts Processing Trading Import and Export Co. Ltd., Nam Hai Foodstuff and Export Company Ltd. and Vinh Loi Import Export Company because they made no shipments of subject merchandise during the period of review. 

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Preserved mushrooms. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Feb. 1, 2010, through Jan. 31, 2011. 
Details: Weighted average dumping margins ranging from 198.63% to 308.33%. Importer-specific AD duties will be assessed on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review, and AD cash deposits at these rates will be required for shipments of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after Sept. 11. 

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Floor standing, metal top ironing tables and certain parts thereof. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Aug. 1, 2010, through July 31, 2011. 
Details: Weighted average dumping margin of 157.68% for the China-wide entity. AD duties based on this margin 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 Sept. 11. 

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Circular welded carbon steel pipes and tubes. 
Country: Taiwan. 
Nature of Notice: Rescission of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period May 1, 2011, through April 30, 2012, with respect to Chung Hung Steel Corp., Kao Hsing Chang Iron & Steel Corp. (also known as Kao Hsiung Chang Iron & Steel Corp.), and Tension Steel Industries Co. Ltd. due to the petitioner’s withdrawal of its request for review of these companies. 

Agency: International Trade Commission. 
Commodity: Pure magnesium. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Sept. 12 open meeting for sunset review vote on continuation of antidumping duty order.

New FTZ Subzone Sought at Idaho Gas Centrifuge Facility   

The Foreign-Trade Zones Board is accepting through Oct. 22 comments on an application for special-purpose subzone status for the AREVA Enrichment Services LLC facility in Bonneville County, Idaho. The FTZ previously received a notification of proposed production activity seeking FTZ authority for the storage, manipulation, assembly and installation of gas centrifuge production equipment at this facility (comments are due no later than Oct. 9). 

USDA Seeks Input on Importation of Central American Tomatoes, Citrus from Peru   

The Department of Agriculture is seeking comments no later than Oct. 11 on information collection requirements associated with the importation of (a) certain types of tomatoes grown in approved registered production sites in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama and (b) fresh commercial grapefruit, limes, mandarin oranges, tangerines, sweet oranges and tangelos from Peru. 

Each shipment of tomatoes must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization bearing the declaration “These tomatoes were grown in an area recognized to be free of Medfly and the shipment has been inspected and found free of the pest listed in the requirements.” Production site and packinghouse records, monitoring/auditing trapping program information, trapping records, and labeling of boxes must be collected as well. 

For citrus from Peru, USDA collects information that includes inspections by national plant protection organization officials from Peru, grower registration and agreement, fruit fly trapping, monitoring, recordkeeping and phytosanitary certificate. 

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