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October 3 2012 Issue

Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

FDA Delays Start of Food Facility Re-Registration Period      

The Food and Drug Administration has delayed the start of the food facilities re-registration period under the Food Safety Modernization Act. 

Under FSMA §102, all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements are required to renew their registration with the FDA before the end of 2012 and to re-register every two years thereafter. This represents a change from the registration requirement for food facilities originally established in 2002 under the Bioterrorism Act. 

The initial re-registration period was scheduled to begin Oct. 1, 2012, and run through Dec. 31. Over the weekend the FDA announced a delay in opening this period but did not give a new date. While the FDA gave no specific reason for the delay, it is believed to be due to issues with the updated database. Potential registrants should check for updates on the FDA Web site in one week. 

Those affected by the new registration requirements are reminded that FSMA also imposes new burdens and potential liabilities on entities designated as U.S. agents to foreign food facilities. One of these liabilities stems from FSMA §107 concerning re-inspection fees. It is believed that in 2013 the FDA will begin charging $289 per hour for the time it devotes to re-inspecting foreign food facilities, resulting in the potential for invoices to reach several thousands of dollars per re-inspection. The party the FDA will hold responsible for paying these invoices is the U.S. agent. Accordingly, brokers, forwarders and importers of record will likely want to find alternatives to becoming U.S. agents themselves and foreign food facilities will need to seek out entities to become U.S. agents. 

A Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg FDA Practice Group member can help you find a new U.S. agent and answer any questions you have regarding food facility registration requirements or FSMA in general. We will send information regarding the new opening date for re-registration as it becomes available. 

For more information please contact us at info@strtrade.com.

Businesses Offer Recommendations for Salvaging Doha Round      

The International Chamber of Commerce released this week the initial recommendations of its Business World Trade Agenda initiative, which is aimed at helping to move the Doha Round out of “an 11-year deadlock.” A document outlining the recommendations notes that trade “has been the driver for global growth and employment for the past 60 years” but that this “engine of the global economy is threatened by the stalemate” in the Doha Round. The ICC has therefore consulted its business network to “arrive at proposals that represent a pragmatic, business-like approach to reaching agreements at the WTO.” The ICC will be holding consultations with global business on these priorities leading up to the World Trade Agenda Business Summit in April 2013, where they will be the subject of a “high-level dialogue between business leaders and key policymakers.” 

Trade Facilitation. The first recommendation is for a stand-alone WTO agreement on trade facilitation to be concluded by the next WTO ministerial conference in December 2013. Such an agreement could deliver gains of at least $130 billion annually, most of which would accrue to developing countries, by significantly reducing costs, speeding up and streamlining administrative and other official procedures, and creating a more transparent, predictable and efficient environment for cross-border trade. 

Regional/Preferential Trade Agreements. The second recommendation is to make permanent the WTO transparency mechanisms for regional and preferential trade agreements by December 2013 and strengthen WTO procedures and rules to increase compatibility and complementarity between such agreements and the multilateral trading system. While RTAs and PTAs may bring faster results than the multilateral process, enable parties to conclude levels of liberalization beyond the multilateral consensus and be able to address specific issues that do not register on the multilateral menu, business is concerned that their continued proliferation could lead to increased regulatory fragmentation and higher compliance costs. Business therefore strongly supports increasing the capacity of the WTO to foster convergence and harmonization of non-tariff measures. 

Trade in Services. The third recommendation is to make concrete progress on the liberalization of trade in services through alternative negotiating approaches, such as those incorporating smaller groups of participants or those focused on particular sectors. These approaches should be pragmatic, results-oriented, consensus-based, transparent, and as inclusive as possible and should lead to multilateral outcomes across all modes of supply. 

Information Technology. The fourth recommendation is to lower barriers to trade in information technology products and services, especially by expanding product coverage under the Information Technology Agreement (an effort that is already underway), and to make permanent by December 2013 the commitment to refrain from imposing customs duties on e-commerce transactions. 

Investment. The fifth recommendation is to work toward a multilateral framework for international investment. Over 3,000 international investment agreements now exist, a “complex network” that is already “too large and complex for investors to handle.” However, with these treaties only protecting two-thirds of global FDI and covering only one-fifth of possible bilateral investment relationships, it is estimated that a further 14,000 bilateral treaties would be needed to provide full coverage of international investment. There should thus be a dialogue on building a common framework for international investment in the interest of all stakeholders. This dialogue should include discussion of issues such as dispute settlement in international investment agreements, the rising importance of international investments by state-owned enterprises, and how public-private partnerships can contribute to breaking down barriers to investment

Advisory Committee on Universal Cotton Standards Re-established      

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has re-established its Advisory Committee on Universal Cotton Standards and is accepting nominations of foreign and domestic representatives of the cotton industry for membership no later than Nov. 2. The purpose of this committee is to review official universal standards for U.S. upland cotton prepared by USDA and make recommendations regarding the establishment or revision of those standards. The U.S. cotton industry’s membership will include 12 producers and ginners, six representatives of merchandising firms and six representatives of textile manufacturers. There will also be two committee members from each of the foreign signatory merchant and spinner associations. USDA states that it is seeking a diverse group of members that represent a broad spectrum of persons interested in providing suggestions and ideas on how the department can tailor its programs to meet the needs of the cotton industry.

AD/CV Notice: Plywood from China      

Agency: International Trade Commission. 
Commodity: Hardwood plywood. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Institution of antidumping and countervailing injury investigations and scheduling of preliminary phase. 
Details: Conference scheduled for Oct. 18, requests to appear at conference due Oct. 16, written submissions due to Oct. 23.

Competitiveness of U.S. Olive Oil Industry to be Focus of ITC Study      

The U.S. International Trade Commission has launched investigation 332-537 to evaluate the global competitiveness of the U.S. commercial olive oil industry. This investigation was requested by the House Ways and Means Committee, which noted that U.S. olive oil consumption has increased by about 40% over the past decade but that “the vast majority” of domestic consumption is satisfied by imports. The ITC will therefore provide information and analysis on the major suppliers of olive oil, particularly Spain, Italy and North African countries, for the period 2008-2012. 

The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with this investigation Dec. 5 and will accept written submissions for the record through Feb. 12, 2013. The ITC expects to submit its report no later than Aug. 12, 2013.

Ocean Transportation Intermediary License Revocations, 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 #2219F: Roxana Gugliatto, Miami, Fla. 
- license #002302N: Whiting World-Wide Inc. d/b/a World Wide Cargo Consolidators, Miami, Fla. 
- license #008135N: C & F Worldwide Agency Corporation, Carolina, P.R. 
- license #016727NF: Cargo Express (Saipan) Inc., Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands 
- license #17342F: Trans Circle Inc., Gardena, Calif. 
- license #018124NF: Limitless Transportation Services Inc., Orlando, Fla. 
- license #020088F: Hal-Mari International Logistics Inc., Houston, Texas 
- license #021016N: ACT Shipping Inc., Inglewood, Calif. 
- license #021221NF: Trans-System Logistics L.L.C., Houston, Texas 

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. 

- AAB Logistics LLC, Palatine, Ill. 
- ADM Logistics Inc., Decatur, Ill. 
- Cala Distribution LLC, Miami, Fla. 
- Diesel Shipping Inc., Miami, Fla. 
- Farkas Worldwide Shipping Inc., Miami, Fla. 
- G.B. Multi Services Inc., Miami, Fla. 
- High Priority Solutions Corp., Miami, Fla. 
- J&T Logistics Inc. d/b/a EDI Logistics Group, Rancho Dominguez, Calif. 
- KJW-CHB LLC, Bensenville, Ill. 
- KT Logistics Inc., Upland, Calif. 
- MCLimex LLC, Katy, Texas 
- Mota Import Export LLC d/b/a MTI Mota Import Export Cargo Express, Perth Amboy, N.J. 
- Reliable Consolidated Shipping L.L.C., Browns Summit, N.C. 
- Robertson Forwarding Co. Inc., Doral, Fla. 
- Shiplink Trading Corp. d/b/a Shiplink Logistics, Fresh Meadows, N.Y. 
- World Pioneer Inc., Staten Island, N.Y.

Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife Under Review      

The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments through Dec. 3 on the proposed extension of form 3-177, the Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife. With few exceptions, businesses, individuals or government agencies importing into or exporting from the United States any fish, wildlife or wildlife product must complete and file this form at the time and port where they request clearance of the import or export. The form collects the following information: name of importer or exporter and broker, scientific and common name of the fish or wildlife, permit numbers (if permits are required), description, quantity and value of the fish or wildlife, and natural country of origin of the fish or wildlife. In addition, certain information such as the airway bill or bill of lading number, the location of the fish or wildlife for inspection, and the number of cartons containing fish or wildlife can assist FWS inspectors if a physical examination of the shipment is necessary.

Export Privileges Suspended for Illegal Defense Item Shipments      

The Bureau of Industry and Security has issued separate orders suspending the export privileges of the following individuals for the reasons specified. 

- export privileges for a California man suspended until Nov. 4, 2021, for knowingly and willfully exporting to England a holographic weapon sight, which is designated as a defense article on the U.S. Munitions List, without having first obtained a license or written authorization from the State Department (the man was also ordered to pay $172,221 in restitution and placed on State’s Debarred List) 

- export privileges for a Texas woman suspended until Oct. 24, 2016, for knowingly and willfully attempting to export to Russia night sighting equipment specifically designed, modified and configured for military use, defense articles that were listed on the USML, without first obtaining the required State Dept. license or written approval (the woman was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 assessment and placed on State’s Debarred List) 

- export privileges for a California man suspended until July 6, 2021, for knowingly and willfully exporting and attempting to export vacuum pumps and related equipment to Iran via the United Arab Emirates (the man was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and a $300 special assessment) 

In addition, all licenses issued pursuant to the Export Administration Act or the Export Administration Regulations in which these individuals had an interest at the time of their convictions have been revoked. However, none of these orders prohibits any export, reexport or other transaction subject to the EAR where the only items involved that are subject to the EAR are the foreign-produced direct product of U.S.-origin technology.

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Foods, Dishwashers, Lamps, Electronics      

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. 

Jordan – draft regulations on ventilation and air conditioning systems, electromagnetic compatibility, dishwashers, lamps, electrical and electronic equipment, appliances burning gaseous fuels, and electrical accessories (comments due by Nov. 27) 

Saudi Arabia – draft technical regulations on bakery products, butter, evaporated milk and mashed garlic (comments due by Nov. 27) 

Amended Maritime Agreements Filed      

The Federal Maritime Commission has issued notice that the following new or amended agreements have been filed. Interested parties may submit comments by Oct. 15. 

GWF/Dole Space Charter and Sailing Agreement – The amendment changes the addresses of the principal offices of the parties. 

GWF/Crowley Space Charter Agreement – The amendment changes the addresses of the principal office of Great White Fleet and Crowley Latin American Services. 

Maersk Line/CMA CGM Cooperative Working Agreement – The amendment would expand the geographic scope of the agreement to cover the trades between the U.S. and all foreign countries and would revise language in the authority regarding jointly negotiating individual contracts. 

MSC/CMA CGM U.S. East Coast – East Coast South America Service Space Charter Agreement – The amendment would add the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to the geographic scope of the agreement.

Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable in Japan Set for Dec. 3      

The International Trade Administration is leading a delegation of U.S. companies to participate in a Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable Dec. 3 in Tokyo in conjunction with the U.S.-Japan Energy Policy Dialogue. Following the roundtable the delegation will travel to northeast Japan to learn the current condition of reconstruction following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the role of renewable energy in those efforts, including local government incentives. Those wishing to participate in this roundtable must register online no later than Oct. 31. 

The ITA notes that approximately 10% of Japan’s electricity was derived from renewable energy in 2011 and that this figure is expected to increase as various incentives, such as a new feed-in tariff system (for solar, wind, geothermal, small micro/small/medium hydro, and biomass/biogas), are introduced to promote investor confidence in renewable energy projects. A long-term reform process in the electricity sector is also taking shape that may allow for more diversity in energy sources as well as hasten the deployment of smart grid technology. The ITA states that all of these factors point toward potential business opportunities for U.S. companies and that the roundtable is designed to provide them a deeper understanding of the changing Japanese policy and regulatory landscape.

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