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September 17 2012 Issue

Monday, September 17, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

New International Services Agreement to be Focus of Sept. 20 Ways and Means Hearing    

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Sept. 20 on the benefits of expanding U.S. services trade through a new international services agreement. A committee press release states that such an agreement could create opportunities for U.S. services exporters as the U.S. pushes countries to approach its above-average levels of openness to services trade. 

According to the press release, the U.S. and 19 other countries at varying levels of economic development are participating in discussions at the World Trade Organization that aim to “define the contours of an ambitious agreement on trade in services;” i.e., one that is comprehensive in scope, contains new and enhanced rules that expand on those in the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services, increases market access commitments to align as closely as possible with current practices, and produces market access improvements. The press release notes that such an agreement could offer substantial benefits for U.S. service providers, which employ over 80% of domestic workers but accounted for only 12% of total U.S. exports in 2010. This was due in part to non-tariff barriers such as sectoral prohibitions on foreign participation, foreign equity limitations, discriminatory regulatory requirements, lack of transparency, and nationality requirements for service providers. U.S. services firms are also encountering a new generation of NTBs, including restrictions on data flows, forced localization and unfair competition from state-owned enterprises.

WTO Probe of CV Duty Orders on Chinese Goods Subject of USTR Inquiry    

The World Trade Organization has recently established a dispute settlement panel to hear a case filed by China against the U.S. countervailing duty orders on the Chinese goods listed below. 

- lightweight thermal paper 
- circular welded austenitic stainless pressure pipe 
- circular welded carbon quality steel line pipe 
- citric acid and certain citrate salts 
- tow-behind lawn groomers and certain parts thereof 
- kitchen appliance shelving and racks 
- oil country tubular goods 
- pre-stressed concrete steel wire strand 
- steel grating 
- wire decking 
- magnesia carbon bricks 
- seamless carbon and alloy steel standard line and pressure pipe 
- coated paper suitable for high-quality print graphics using sheet-fed presses 
- drill pipe 
- aluminum extrusions 
- multilayered wood flooring 
- steel wheels 
- steel wire 
- high-pressure steel cylinders 
- crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules 
- utility scale wind towers 
- drawn stainless steel sinks 

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is soliciting through Nov. 2 written comments on the issues raised in this case. Among other things, China is challenging the rebuttable presumption established and applied by the Department of Commerce under which it considers majority government ownership of an enterprise sufficient to determine that an enterprise is a “public body” within the meaning of Article 1.1 of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures unless a party is able to demonstrate that majority government ownership does not result in control of the enterprise. 

These CV duty orders also remain the subject of litigation in the U.S. In December 2011 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that CV duties may not be imposed on imports from non-market economy countries like China, but Congress subsequently passed a law effectively overturning that decision. The CAFC has now directed the Court of International Trade to review the constitutionality of that law.

ST&R Expands Import Compliance Practice with Addition of Experienced Auditor Lori Hill    

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., a leading international trade and customs law firm, announced Sept. 14 that it has further expanded its import compliance practice with the addition of Lori L. Hill as director, customs audits and compliance. With 20 years’ experience in international trade compliance in both the public and private sectors, Ms. Hill will be a valuable resource for any member of the global supply chain looking to make sure its international trade operations comply with applicable federal rules and regulations. 

“It seems like every time you blink these days the federal government is imposing yet another rule affecting imported goods,” said Chad Nesbit, ST&R’s vice president of customs audits and compliance. “Businesses that don’t keep up risk not only delays in their shipments but also fines or penalties. ST&R has always offered a comprehensive and robust suite of import compliance services, from strengthening internal controls to resolving potential violations, and adding Lori will allow us to further expand those to additional clients.” 

Ms. Hill began her career as an auditor in the U.S. Customs Service’s Regulatory Audit Division, where she assessed international companies importing goods into the U.S. for further manufacturing or entry into commerce. While there she was selected to lead the prototype compliance assessment team for the largest wearing apparel importer in the U.S. Ms. Hill later served as a senior manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ WorldTrade Management Services, where among other things she developed three trademarked products that identify trends, make recommendations for savings and analyze clients’ import/export data. Most recently she served as import compliance manager in the international trade compliance department of Tyco International Management Company, where her duties included training personnel at 20 business unit sites and leading and managing a team of import analysts. 

Ms. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a certified public accountant and a licensed customs broker and earned a designation as a certified customs specialist. 

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. (ST&R) is a customs and international trade law firm concentrating its practice in assisting clients with the movement of goods, personnel and ideas across international borders. ST&R provides governments, manufacturers, importers, exporters and retailers the advice and counsel they require to succeed amid the constantly changing demands of global trade. 

ST&R is affiliated with Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services Inc (STTAS), which is recognized as the leading provider of customs and international trade advisory services to the public and private sectors. STTAS offers hands-on global import/export solutions for multinational companies eager to increase their ability to move merchandise across international borders in an efficient, seamless and compliant manner. STTAS also assists governments throughout the world in building customs agencies and procedures that expand import and export capabilities, reduce risk factors and comply with international standards. 

Combined, ST&R and STTAS are currently the largest provider of customs and international trade services worldwide with 535 global trade professionals located in 12 offices in 7 countries. Our success is based on a combination of unsurpassed domain expertise, proprietary technology and business process best practices. 

For more information about ST&R and STTAS, please visit our Web site.

Of Note: Deferred Prosecution Agreements, China Customs, Burma Import Ban    

DOJ Official Says Deferred Prosecution Agreements Improving Corporate Compliance
China seeks to improve customs procedures 
White House seeks easing of Myanmar imports ban

Dates and Deadlines: Trade Preferences, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Broker Exam, Food Safety    

Following are highlights of regulatory effective dates and deadlines and federal agency meetings coming up in the next week. 

Sept. 17 – petitions for changes in benefits under the Andean Trade Preferences Act/Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act 

Sept. 18 – free ST&R webinar on Generalized System of Preferences 

Sept. 19 – comments on adding Canada and Mexico to Trans-Pacific Partnership 

Sept. 19 – STTAS customs brokers exam preparation course 

Sept. 20 – free ST&R webinar on complying with FSMA food facility registration mandates 

Sept. 21 – nominations for membership on Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee 

Sept. 21 – Shipping Coordinating Committee meeting on energy efficiency, reducing emissions  

AD Notices: Innerspring Units, Polyester Staple Fiber    

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Uncovered innerspring units. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Preliminary results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Feb. 1, 2011, through Jan. 31, 2012. 
Details: Weighted average dumping margin of 234.51% for exporter Tai Wa Hong. 

Agency: International Trade Commission. 
Commodity: Polyester staple fiber. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Sept. 19 meeting for vote in sunset review of antidumping duty order. 

Potential IPR Probe of Nutraceutical Products Evaluated for Public Interest Issues    

The International Trade Commission is requesting comments no later than Sept. 25 on any public interest issues raised by a Section 337 intellectual property rights infringement complaint filed on behalf of South Alabama Medical Science Foundation, Merck & Cie, and Pamlab LLC against certain reduced folate nutraceutical products and L-methylfolate raw ingredients used therein. Comments should address whether the issuance of exclusion orders and/or cease and desist orders pursuant to this complaint 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. 

U.S.-Egypt Relations to be Focus of International Economic Policy Committee    

The State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy will meet Oct. 3 in Washington, D.C. to examine U.S.-Egypt relations. Subcommittee reports will be led by the Investment Subcommittee, the Sanctions Subcommittee, the Subcommittee on Women in International Economic Policy, and the Stakeholder Advisory Board on the U.S. National Contact Point for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. This meeting is open to the public but seating is limited and there are no plans for a webcast.

Prohibitions on Imports of Protected Plants and Animals Updated    

The Fish and Wildlife Service recently updated its list of countries from which imports of specimens listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are prohibited. The FWS has also updated its list of animal and plant species prohibited entry into the U.S. because they are subject to a CITES trade suspension. 

Countries. As of Sept. 7 the following countries had not provided information to the CITES secretariat on their designated management authority and/or scientific authority, which must be competent to make the required legal and biological findings in order to issue valid CITES documents: Anguilla, Armenia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Holy See, Maldives, Nauru, Niue, Oman, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu. This list reflects the addition of Bahrain and the Cook Islands and the removal of Angola and Lebanon. Any shipments of CITES-listed specimens from the listed countries will be subject to seizure and forfeiture because of invalid CITES documents. 

Species. CITES recently acted to lift the trade suspensions on the following species because the countries involved have made the required determinations that trade in these species will not be detrimental to the wild populations: Prunus africanus from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Calumna cryptium from Madagascar, Rauvolfia serpentine from Burma,and Cuora amboinensis, Cuora galbinifrons, Christensonia vietnamica, Cycadaceae, Stangeriaceae and Zamiaceae spp. from Vietnam. These species may again be imported into the U.S. because the CITES export and reexport permits for these species are now considered valid. 

On the other hand, CITES has imposed new trade suspensions on the following species, meaning that shipments of these species will be prohibited entry into the U.S. and subject to seizure and forfeiture:Hippopotamus amphibious from Cameroon and Mozambique, Chamaeleo africanus from Niger, Chamaeleo feae from Equatorial Guinea, Cordylus mossambicus from Mozambique, Heosemys annandalii and Heosemys grandis from Laos, Pericopsis elata from Cote d’Ivoire, and Swietenia macrophylla from Belize.

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Ovens, Seats, Matches, Dryers, Fuel    

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. 

Brazil – Aug. 29 publication of technical regulation establishing conformity assessment procedures for commercial electric ovens 

Brazil – technical regulation establishing minimum safety requirements for plastic seats to be used by spectators of sporting events (comments due by Sept. 6) 

Brazil – conformity assessment procedures for safety matches (comments due by Sept. 27) 

Brazil – technical requirements for centrifugal clothes dryers for domestic use (comments due by Sept. 30) 

Uganda – standards specifying requirements and methods of testing for automotive gas oil and 100% biodiesel (comments due by Nov. 11)

DOC Reviewing Survey of Foreign Ocean Carrier Expenses, Industrial Base Assessments    

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis is accepting through Oct. 17 comments on form BE-29, Survey of Foreign Ocean Carriers’ Expenses in the United States. The data collected on this form are needed to monitor U.S. international trade in transportation services, analyze its impact on the U.S. economy and foreign economies, compile and improve the U.S. economic accounts, support U.S. commercial policy on transportation services, conduct trade promotion, and improve the ability of U.S. businesses to identify and evaluate market opportunities. 

Separately, the DOC’s Bureau of Industry and Security has set a Nov. 16 deadline for comments on an information collection titled “National Security and Critical Technology Assessments of the U.S. Industrial Base.” BIS, in coordination with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, conducts assessments of U.S. industrial base sectors deemed critical to U.S. national security to determine their health and competitiveness as well as the needs of these critical market segments in order to maintain a strong U.S. industrial base. 

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