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October 18 2012 Issue

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S.-EU Trade Talks Could Begin Next Spring

A Reuters article is reporting that talks on a wide-ranging trans-Atlantic trade agreement could begin as early as spring 2013. The article states that European Union and U.S. officials have both confirmed the decision to move ahead but notes that the final report of a joint working group recommending the trade pact is not expected until December. In its preliminary report issued in June the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth determined that a comprehensive agreement that addresses a broad range of bilateral trade and investment policies would provide the most significant benefits of the various options it has considered.

According to the article, officials say the U.S.-EU trade agreement will “go beyond tariffs” to cover issues such as standards, regulatory harmonization, intellectual property rights, services and government procurement. However, the article also notes that “both sides appear likely to leave much of the highly sensitive agricultural sector out of the agreement altogether.”

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said earlier this year that any new transatlantic trade negotiation “would need to achieve full liberalization of market access for all categories of goods and expand transatlantic flows of services and investment” and should also “identify new approaches to non-tariff barriers” such as health- and safety-related measures. Specifically, he said, the U.S. would want any such agreement to be “at least as broad and ambitious” as existing U.S. trade agreements. EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has made similar remarks, saying the two sides should get as close as possible to the removal of all duties on transatlantic trade in industrial and agricultural goods, open services markets that are currently closed, put in place a framework for better cooperation between regulators, attempt to secure national treatment at all levels of government procurement, improve regulatory cooperation on both food and non-food products, and “establish state of the art rules in key areas like competition, trade facilitation, labor, the environment and intellectual property.” 

CPSC Modifies Proposal for Safety Standard on Bassinets and Cradles

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has updated its April 2010 proposed rule proposing a safety standard for bassinets and cradles in response to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Jan. 2.

The proposed standard is based on the voluntary standard developed by ASTM International, ASTM F2194-12, “Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bassinets and Cradles,” with additions and modifications to strengthen it. ASTM F2194-12 defines a “bassinet/cradle” as a “small bed designed exclusively to provide sleeping accommodations for infants supported by free standing legs, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or which can swing relative to a stationary base” and provides that a bassinet/cradle is “intended to provide sleeping accommodations only for an infant up to approximately 5 months in age or when the child begins to push up on hands and knees, whichever comes first.” ASTM F2194-12 defines a “bassinet/cradle accessory” as “a supported sleep surface that attaches to a crib or play yard designed to convert the product into a bassinet/cradle intended to have a horizontal sleep surface while in a rest (non-rocking) position.”

There are three major proposed changes to the scope of the bassinet/cradle standard.

- specification that it is to cover products primarily used to provide sleeping accommodations, expanding the scope beyond products only used for that purpose

- products with an incline of 10 degrees or less (including cradle swings) would be included while so-called inclined sleepers (including infant hammocks) would not, a demarcation developed to help ensure complete coverage of sleep products

- specification that it includes products that can be supported by a stationary frame/stand, expanding coverage to carriage attachments to strollers and Moses baskets only when they are used with a stationary or rocking stand and are produced and sold by the same company that makes the stand

The CPSC is also specifying that the mattress flatness performance requirement being proposed only applies to segmented mattresses because only segmented mattresses used in play yards have been involved in incidents.

It is expected that this standard will become effective six months after publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. The CPSC is inviting comments on how long it will take bassinet and cradle manufacturers to come into compliance. 

$5 Million in Criminal Fines for Price-Fixing by Auto Lights Manufacturer

The Department of Justice reports that a Taiwan manufacturer and its U.S. distributor have been sentenced to a total of $5 million in criminal fines after pleading guilty to participating in a seven-year international conspiracy to fix the prices of aftermarket auto lights. These lights are incorporated into automobiles after their original sale, often as repairs following a collision or as accessories and upgrades. A DOJ press release notes that two other corporations have previously pleaded guilty in this ongoing investigation, with criminal fines totaling more than $43 million, and that three individuals have pleaded guilty as well.

CBP Finalizes Regulations on Peru FTA

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has finalized with one change a November 2011 interim rule amending its regulations to implement the preferential tariff treatment and other customs-related provisions of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. These regulations address issues such as import and export requirements, post-importation duty refund claims, rules of origin, origin verifications and determinations, penalties, and goods returned after repair or alteration.

Effective Nov. 19, CBP is correcting the inadvertent omission of HTSUS 5402.19.30 and 5402.19.60 from § 10.918(c)(1)(ii) of the regulations. These subheadings were added to reflect amendments to additional U.S. Note 4(d) to subchapter XXI of chapter 98 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States effected by presidential proclamation 8240 of April 17, 2008.

AD Notices: Pipe, Shrimp, Glycine, Rebar

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe.
Country: India, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Nature of Notice: Final affirmative antidumping duty determinations.
Details: Dumping margins of 48.43% for India, 5.81% for Oman, 3.85% to 11.71% for the UAE and 3.96% to 27.96% for Vietnam. The ITA will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits or bonds on entries of subject merchandise based on these rates. The cash deposit rate for India will be zero because the dumping margin has been reduced by a 178.67% export subsidy rate.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe.
Country: India, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Nature of Notice: Final affirmative countervailing duty determinations.
Details: Countervailable subsidies of 285.95% for India, 4.13% for Oman, and 2.06% to 6.17% for the UAE. The ITA will order CBP to resume the suspension of liquidation of entries of subject merchandise and require cash deposits or bonds equal to the final net subsidy rates.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe.
Country: Vietnam.
Nature of Notice: Final negative countervailing duty determination.
Details: The ITA is terminating this investigation and will order the release of any bond or other security and the refund of any cash deposits that were collected for shipments of subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after March 30, 2012.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Frozen warmwater shrimp.
Country: Vietnam.
Nature of Notice: Amended final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Feb. 1, 2010, through Jan. 31, 2011.
Details: Revised dumping margins range from 0.53% to 25.76%. Review rescinded with respect to BIM Seafood Joint Stock Company due to its withdrawal of its request for review.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Glycine.
Country: China.
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 margin of 453.79% for Baoding Mantong Fine Chemistry Co. Ltd. Exporter/importer-specific AD duties based on this rate 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 on or after Oct. 18.

Agency: International Trade Commission.
Commodity: Steel concrete reinforcing bar.
Country: China, Indonesia, Latvia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine.
Nature of Notice: Determination to conduct full sunset reviews of antidumping duty orders. 

Import Restrictions Sought on Secure Communication Devices for Patent Infringement

The International Trade Commission has instituted investigation 337-TA-858 to determine whether imports of certain devices with secure communication capabilities, components thereof and products containing the same are violating Section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act by reason of patent infringement. The complainants, VirnetX Inc. and Science Applications International Corporation, request that after this investigation the ITC issue an exclusion order, which would direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prohibit the entry of the infringing products into the U.S., and a cease and desist order, which would require the named respondents to cease actions that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory. The respondent in this investigation is located in the U.S.

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of High Chairs, Steering Wheels, Drugs

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 – draft technical regulation on high feeding chairs, with or without trays (comments due by Nov. 15)

Brazil – draft technical regulation on steering wheels and parts thereof (comments due by Oct. 18)

Canada – proposed order adding certain toxic substances to Schedule I of Canadian Environmental Protection Act (comments due by Nov. 28)

Canada – proposed order adding endosulfan to Schedule II of Canadian Environmental Protection Act (comments due by Dec. 13)

Canada – proposed amendment to Food and Drug Regulations concerning drugs for human use (comments due by Dec. 13) 

Trade Mission to Chile to Focus on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

The Department of Commerce is organizing a renewable energy and energy efficiency trade policy mission to Chile April 15-16, 2013. This mission will promote the competitiveness of U.S. wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, waste-to-energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency exporters in a key emerging market and demonstrate U.S. government support for Chile’s renewable energy goals. Participants are also encouraged to exhibit at the IFT Energy 2013 trade show immediately following the mission. The DOC states that this mission supports commitments contained in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, which aims to significantly increase U.S. RE&EE exports by the end of 2014.

A minimum of 15 and maximum of 25 companies will be selected to participate in this mission. U.S. companies already doing business in Chile as well as those seeking to enter the Chilean market for the first time may apply. All applicants must submit no later than March 1, 2013, a completed mission application signed by a company officer together with supplemental application materials, including adequate information on the company’s products and/or services, primary market objectives, and goals for participation. Each applicant must also certify that the products or services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced in the U.S. or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least 51% U.S. content of the value of the finished product or service. 

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