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October 11 2012 Issue

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Considers Extending Caribbean Trade Preferences to Additional Countries      

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is requesting comments no later than Nov. 9 on the possible extension of trade preferences under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, as amended by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, to countries not currently receiving them. The CBTPA is currently authorized through Sept. 30, 2020. 

USTR is considering whether to designate Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Turks and Caicos Islands as eligible to receive benefits under CBERA/CBTPA. USTR states that Congress identified the Turks and Caicos as potentially eligible for benefits in 1983 but the country did not request beneficiary status until July 2012. Separately, as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010, Curaçao and Sint Maarten became successor political entities and have therefore requested the receipt of CBERA and CBTPA benefits. 

USTR is also considering whether to designate Aruba, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as eligible to receive benefits under CBTPA. While Congress identified the Bahamas, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent for benefits under CBERA in 1983 and CBTPA in 2000, these countries did not request benefits under CBTPA until 2012. Similarly, Aruba was designated as a CBERA beneficiary country as of Jan. 1, 1986, upon becoming independent of the Netherlands Antilles but did not request CBTPA benefits until October 2012. 

Interested parties should submit comments on whether these countries meet the appropriate eligibility criteria. For CBERA, these include whether the country is Communist, has nationalized ownership or control of property owned by a U.S. citizen or corporation, fails to act in good faith in enforcing arbitral awards in favor of U.S. citizens or corporations, affords preferential treatment to the products of another developed country that could harm U.S. commerce, owns an entity that engages in the illegal broadcast of copyrighted material belonging to U.S. copyright owners, is a signatory to an agreement regarding the extradition of U.S. citizens, and has taken or is taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights. Other criteria involve the country’s economic conditions, assurances of equitable and reasonable access to its markets and basic commodity resources, compliance with accepted rules of international trade, use of export subsidies, export performance requirements or local content requirements that distort international trade, contribution to regional revitalization through trade policies, implementation of self-help measures to promote its own economic development, policies on intellectual property rights for foreign nationals, protections for copyrighted material belonging to U.S. copyright owners, and cooperation with the U.S. in the administration of the provisions of the CBERA. 

For CBTPA eligibility a beneficiary must meet the CBERA criteria and will also be evaluated on the extent to which it has demonstrated a commitment to undertake its obligations under the World Trade Organization Agreement, participated in negotiations toward the Free Trade Area of the Americas or another free trade agreement, provided IPR protections consistent with or greater than those provided under WTO rules, provided internationally recognized worker rights, implemented its commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, met U.S. counternarcotics certification criteria, taken steps to become a party to and implement the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, applied transparent, nondiscriminatory and competitive procedures in government procurement, and contributed to international efforts to develop and implement rules on transparency in government procurement. 

WTO Disputes with China on Automobiles, AD/CV Duties Subject of USTR Inquiry      

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting through Nov. 16 comments on the issues raised in two separate disputes involving China at the World Trade Organization. One dispute was filed by the U.S. against China’s antidumping and countervailing duties on certain automobiles from the U.S. The other was filed by China against a recent U.S. law allowing the imposition of CV duties on goods imported from non-market economy countries as well as the United States’ imposition of AD and CV duties on the following products from China. 

- coated free sheet paper 
- circular welded carbon quality steel pipe 
- light-walled rectangular pipe and tube 
- laminated woven sacks 
- new pneumatic off-the-road tires 
- raw flexible magnets 
- lightweight thermal paper 
- sodium nitrite 
- circular welded austenitic stainless pressure 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 
- narrow woven ribbons with woven selvedge 
- 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 
- potassium phosphate salts 
- drill pipe 
- aluminum extrusions 
- multilayered wood flooring 
- steel wheels 
- galvanized steel wire 
- high-pressure steel cylinders 
- crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules 
- utility scale wind towers 
- drawn stainless steel sinks

Lowering Trade Barriers Among Topics at Annual U.S.-India Meeting      

U.S. and Indian officials gathered in New Delhi Oct. 9 for the third annual meeting of the India-U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership. Statements issued following the meeting were upbeat but did not mention any specific plans or initiatives. 

A joint statement praised the “growing trade and investment between [the] two countries across a wide range of products, services, and technology” as “a sign of our commitment to build our relationship on a solid foundation that utilizes our mutual strengths.” Officials discussed ways to further lower barriers to trade and investment and reviewed opportunities for the further expansion of Indian firms in the U.S. and U.S. firms in India. They also pledged “continued investment in our infrastructure, in our people, and in our institutions” as a way to enhance competitiveness, increase economic growth and boost job creation. Other commitments included strengthening cooperation to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and offshore tax evasion.

FMC Amends Rules of Practice and Procedure in Agency Proceedings      

The Federal Maritime Commission has issued a final rule that, effective Nov. 12, will update and clarify the agency’s rules of practice and procedure to, among other things, reduce the burden on parties to FMC proceedings. The Commission is also amending the regulation with respect to its former employees to reflect changes in a relevant statute as well as the regulation for filing documents containing confidential materials. Highlights of the provisions of this rule include the following. 

- increases the time period for discovery to 150 days from the date of service of an answer 

- clarifies that the obligation to supplement responses also applies to expert witness information 

- requires that when a confidential filing is submitted, an original and two copies (rather than just one) of a public version excluding the confidential materials must be filed 

- provides a new procedure at the initial stages of FMC enforcement proceedings that is designed to more efficiently utilize Commission resources, provide for expeditious resolution of cases where a respondent defaults or otherwise chooses not to appear, and ensures due process to respondents 

- requires a respondent to file an answer to an Order of Investigation and Hearing with the FMC and include in that answer a concise statement of the facts upon which each ground of defense is based and an admission, denial or explanation of each fact alleged or, if the respondent does not have sufficient knowledge of the facts to prepare a response, a statement to that effect (factual allegations not answered or addressed will be deemed to be admitted) 

- requires parties to an FMC proceeding (except enforcement proceedings) to participate in a preliminary conference to discuss whether the matter may be resolved through mediation 

- clarifies the process that will occur when a party fails to participate or respond in an FMC proceeding 

- specifies procedures for dispositive and non-dispositive motions 

- clarifies the process for seeking voluntary and involuntary dismissals 

- imposes a new requirement for all parties to any FMC proceeding to make limited initial disclosures within seven days of receipt of respondent’s answer and makes failure to comply subject to a motion to compel and sanctions 

- limits to 20 the number of depositions that may be taken, and to 50 the number of written interrogatories that may be served, without stipulation or leave of the presiding officer

AD/CV Notices: Pipes and Tubes, Lined Paper Products      

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Circular welded carbon steel pipes and tubes. 
Country: Thailand. 
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period March 1, 2010, through Feb. 28, 2011. 
Details: Weighted average dumping margins of 0.92% and 8.23%. These rates will be used to calculate AD duties to 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 Oct. 11. 

Agency: International Trade Administration. 
Commodity: Lined paper products. 
Country: India. 
Nature of Notice: Preliminary results of administrative review of countervailing duty order for the period Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2010. 
Details: Net subsidy rate of 73.51%for AR Printing & Packaging India Pvt. Ltd.

Aid Program for Trade Shows in Industries with High Export Potential Invites Applications      

The Department of Commerce has announced that applications for assistance from its International Buyer Program for trade events taking place in calendar year 2014 must be received by Dec. 10. DOC is also announcing a new pilot initiative for the IBP that will allow up to 20% of the 2014 IBP shows to be preselected for IBP participation in 2015 without having to reapply. Eligibility for this pilot is limited to annual trade shows that participated in the IBP in 2011 or 2012. 

The purpose of the IBP is to bring international buyers together with U.S. firms by promoting leading U.S. trade shows in industries with high export potential. The IBP emphasizes cooperation between DOC and trade show organizers to benefit U.S. firms exhibiting at selected events and provides practical, hands-on assistance such as export counseling and market analysis to U.S. companies interested in exporting. The assistance provided to show organizers includes overseas promotion, outreach to show participants about exporting, recruiting potential buyers to attend events, and physical staff assistance at events. 

DOC expects to select approximately 35 events for IBP assistance for 2014. DOC will choose those events that are determined to most clearly promote U.S. exports, especially those of small and medium-sized enterprises, and that best meet the selection criteria. These criteria have to do with protection of intellectual property rights, export potential, level of international and exhibitor interest, scope and stature of the event, U.S. content of products, overseas marketing, logistics, participant cooperation and delegation incentives.

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 #13543N: Knight International Corporation, East Hampton, N.J. 
- license #019372N: Action Brokerage Corp., Miami, Fla. 
- license #023305NF: Wilson Transportation Inc., Overland Park, Kan. 
- license #023644N: Multimodal Container Consulting LLC d/b/a World Maritime NVOCC, Scotch Plains, N.J. 

OTI Licenses Reissued. The Federal Maritime Commission has given notice that the following ocean transportation intermediary licenses have been reissued. 

- license #002302F: Whiting World-Wide Inc., Miami, Fla. 
- license #017342N: Trans Circle Inc., Gardena, Calif. 
- license #020088N: Hal-Mari International Logistics Inc., 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. 

- Always Affordable Shipping LLC, Hazlet, N.J. 
- Apex Maritime Co. (HOU) Inc., Houston, Texas 
- Awilda Shipping Inc., Corona, N.Y. 
- Ayodeji Oluseun Bamijoko d/b/a Star Express Shipping, Houston, Texas 
- Chicago Express International Inc., Bensenville, Ill. 
- Easy Express Inc., Inglewood, Calif. 
- Econshippers LLC, Silver Spring, Md. 
- Equipsa Inc., Miami, Fla. 
- Estevez and Sons LLC d/b/a Embarqueya Quisqueya, St. Thomas, V.I. 
- Focus Forwarding Inc., La Palma, Calif. 
- Innocent P. Ajaroh d/b/a Innglo Global, Richmond, Texas 
- Inter Shipping Line Inc., Torrance, Calif. 
- Korchina Logistics USA Inc., Gardena, Calif. 
- La Isabela Embarque Corporation, Paterson, N.J. 
- Ocean Line Logistics Inc., Arcadia, Calif. 
- Panda Logistics (NY) Inc., Valley Stream, N.Y. 
- Pegasus Worldwide Logistics NY Inc., Valley Stream, N.Y. 
- Seven Seas Cargo LLC, Houston, Texas 
- Suncoast Ocean Lines LLC, North Fort Myers, Fla.

Ex-Im Bank Considers Financing Exports to India and Hong Kong      

The Export-Import Bank of the United States is requesting comments no later than Nov. 5 on three applications it has received for final commitment for long-term loans or financial guarantees in excess of $100 million. These transactions will support the export of: 

- U.S. gas turbines, compressors, centrifuges, technology licenses, engineering services and related equipment for setting up a new gasification plant and expanding and improving petrochemical manufacturing facilities in India; and 

- U.S.-manufactured satellites, ground equipment, launch services and associated services to Hong Kong that will be used to provide video and data communication services.

Export Committee on Sensors and Instrumentation to Meet Oct. 30      

The Bureau of Industry and Security’s Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee will hold a partially open meeting Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C. Agenda items for the open session include remarks from BIS management and industry presentations. This session will be accessible via teleconference to 20 participants on a first come, first served basis, and requests to participate in this manner are due no later than Oct. 23. In addition, a limited number of seats will be available at the public session, but reservations are not accepted. 

New and 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. 22. 

MSC/Zim South America East Coast Vessel Sharing Agreement – The amendment revises the geographic scope of the agreement by adding Mexico and deleting Panama, revises the number and capacity of vessels to be operated by the parties, adjusts the space allocations accordingly, revises the space charter arrangement between the parties, updates the address of MSC and restates the agreement. 

Crowley/Maersk Line Panama-U.S. Space Charter Agreement – The agreement authorizes Crowley to charter space to Maersk Line in the trade from Panama to the U.S. Atlantic Coast.

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