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October 26 2012 Issue

Friday, October 26, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

WTO Releases Updated Trade and Tariff Statistics Tools

The World Trade Organization released recently its annual package of trade and tariff data, which provides detailed statistics on import/export flows and tariff rates in 2011. According to the WTO, the statistics reveal that world merchandise exports increased by 5% in 2011 in volume terms. The U.S. remained the world’s biggest trader in value terms, with imports and exports totaling $3.75 trillion, followed by China and Germany. Exports of commercial services grew 11% in value terms and the U.S. was the largest trader of services with $976 billion.

International Trade Statistics 2011 is a comprehensive overview of world trade up to the end of 2011 that covers merchandise trade by product and trade in commercial services by category. It is currently available in electronic format, with a print version to follow in November. Through the use of charts and maps, this publication illustrates noteworthy trends in global trade with links to numerous tables containing more detailed information. Data used in this report can be downloaded from the WTO Web site in Excel and pdf formats and from the searchable database.

World Tariff Profiles, a joint publication of the WTO, the International Trade Center and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, provides comprehensive tariff information on all WTO members and a number of other countries. For each country the report summarizes the market access offered to imports and the market access conditions its products face in its major export markets. The profiles include both maximum tariff rates that are legally bound in the WTO and the rates actually applied. This year’s report includes technical annex tables on the implementation of WTO members’ scheduled commitments under the Agreement on Agriculture based on notifications supplied. The tables cover domestic support, tariff quotas, recourse to the special agricultural safeguard, and export subsidies. An electronic copy of this publication is available in PDF format here.

Trade Profiles 2012 provides the latest information on trade flows and the trade policy measures of WTO members, observers and other selected economies. The data provided includes basic economic indicators (such as gross domestic product), trade policy indicators (such as tariffs, import duties, the number of disputes, notifications outstanding and contingency measures in force), merchandise trade flows (broken down by broad product categories and major origins and destinations), services trade flows (with a breakdown by major components) and industrial property indicators. Profiles can be accessed here.

Pages linked via a maps gateway allow for comparison between countries or customs territories using data of the user’s choice. Options include trade per capita, trade to GDP ratio, tariff binding coverage, MFN tariffs, and imports and exports of merchandise and services. 

CBP Requirements for Filing Panama FTA Claims

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued the following guidance on the requirements that must be met to file claims for duty-free or reduced duty treatment under the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement. This agreement will take effect Oct. 31 and no claims thereunder should be filed until CBP notifies the trade community that the requisite system changes have been completed. CBP notes that as of Oct. 31 Panama will no longer be eligible for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act or the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act.

- the country of origin must be PA

- the country of export must be PA

- the tariff number associated with the claim must contain the special program indicator PA

- Panama FTA claims are exempt from the merchandise processing fee

- for merchandise classified under tariff numbers already duty-free but that would qualify under the Panama FTA originating provisions, the MPF exemption can be made by transmitting the special program indicator PA

- quota tariff numbers are as follow: 9822.09.17–9822.09.20, 9919.02.01, 9919.04.10–9919.04.12, 9919.04.40–9919.04.41, 9919.04.50–9919.04.58, 9919.21.10–9919.21.11

- tariff number 9822.09.61 requires the value of the U.S. components to be reported with the 9822.09.61 tariff number and the value of the foreign processing to be reported with the alternate tariff number (no SPI should be submitted) 

Dates and Deadlines: U.S.-EU Regulatory Compatibility, Panama FTA, AD/CV Reviews

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

Oct. 29 – effective date of revocation or modification of classification rulings on auto instruments and over current detectors

Oct. 30 – meeting of BIS Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee

Oct. 30 – ST&R webinar on bonded warehouses, FTZs, etc.

Oct. 31 – deadline comments on ways to promote greater transatlantic regulatory compatibility

Oct. 31 – deadline to request administrative reviews of AD/CV duty orders

Oct. 31 – effective date of U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement

Oct. 31 – ST&R webinar on textile and apparel benefits in FTAs

Oct. 31 – ST&R webinar on U.S. embargoes and economic sanctions

Nov. 2 – deadline for comments on issues raised in WTO case against U.S. CV duty orders on Chinese goods

Nov. 2 – deadline for nominations to Advisory Committee on Universal Cotton Standards

Interim Procedures Under Colombia FTA for Textile and Apparel Safeguards

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements has issued interim procedures for the submission and consideration of requests for textile and apparel safeguard actions on imports from Colombia. These procedures also allow CITA to launch safeguard investigations on its own initiative. CITA intends to use these procedures beginning Oct. 26, and comments on them may be submitted by Nov. 26.

The safeguard mechanism under the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement applies when, as a as a result of the reduction or elimination of a customs duty under the agreement, a Colombian textile or apparel article benefiting from preferential treatment is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities, in absolute terms or relative to the domestic market for that article, and under such conditions as to cause serious damage or actual threat thereof to a U.S. industry producing a like or directly competitive article. In these circumstances, the U.S. may increase duties on the imported article from Colombia to a level that does not exceed the lesser of the prevailing U.S. normal trade relations/most-favored-nation duty rate for the article or the U.S. NTR/MFN duty rate in effect on the day before the FTA entered into force. The maximum period for such relief is two years, although a one-year extension may be granted if necessary to remedy or prevent serious damage and if the domestic industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition.

If the U.S. provides relief under the textile and apparel safeguard it must provide Colombia mutually agreed trade liberalizing compensation in the form of concessions having substantially equivalent trade effects or equivalent to the value of the additional duties expected to result from the safeguard. Such concessions are limited to textile and apparel products unless the two sides agree otherwise. If there is no agreement on compensation Colombia may increase its customs duties equivalently on U.S. products. 

AD Notices: Folding Gift Boxes, Xanthan Gum

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Folding gift boxes.
Country: China.
Nature of Notice: Preliminary sunset review determination that revocation of antidumping duty order would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping at margins that are above de minimis.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Xanthan gum.
Country: Austria and China.
Nature of Notice: Postponement of preliminary antidumping duty determinations to no later than Jan. 2, 2013

Ex-Im Bank Signs Agreement with Japan, Supports Exports to Mexico

The Export-Import Bank of the United States signed Oct. 24 with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation a co-financing agreement that will facilitate future export transactions involving companies in the U.S. and Japan. According to a press release, this agreement enables the two agencies to provide “one-stop-shop” export finance services to buyers in third countries purchasing both U.S. and Japanese goods and services. This arrangement will enable “exporters in both the U.S. and Japan to select the best mix of price and technology to strengthen their overseas bids and support jobs,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg. “At the same time, exporters will be able to provide their buyers with only one set of terms and conditions covering both countries’ exports.” The Ex-Im Bank has previously signed co-financing agreements with agencies in Israel, The Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany and Italy and is in discussions with others as well.

Also on Oct. 24 the Ex-Im Bank authorized more than $50 million to guarantee a loan that will finance the export of a fleet of helicopters to Mexico. This guarantee formally inaugurates the Bank’s Business Aircraft and Helicopter Qualified Advisor program. 

Lacey Act Declaration Under Review

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting comments through Nov. 26 on the proposed extension of form PPQ-505, the Lacey Act declaration for imports of plants and plant products. This declaration must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, the value of the importation, the quantity of the plant, and the name of the country from which the plant was harvested. If the species vary or are unknown, importers must declare the name of each species that may have been used to produce the product.

Comments should focus on whether this form is necessary for the proper performance of APHIS’ functions, including whether the information has practical utility; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collected; the accuracy of the estimated burden of the form; and ways to minimize that burden, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. 

IPR Enforcement Actions on Mobile Devices

New IPR Infringement Investigation of Optoelectronic Devices. The International Trade Commission has instituted investigation 337-TA-860 to determine whether imports of certain optoelectronic devices for fiber optic communications, components thereof and products containing the same are violating Section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act by reason of patent infringement. The products at issue are vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers and VCSEL drivers as well as transceivers and active optical cables that include VCSELs and VCSEL drivers as components.

The complainants – Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., Avago Technologies General IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. and Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. – 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 cease and desist orders, which would require the named respondents to cease actions that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory. The respondents in this investigation are located in Denmark, Germany, France, Israel and the U.S.

No IPR-Related Import Restrictions on Mobile Devices. The International Trade Commission has terminated without the imposition of import restrictions patent infringement investigation 337-TA-842 of certain cameras and mobile devices, related software and firmware, and components thereof and products containing the same. This step followed the withdrawal of the complaint by HumanEyes Technologies Ltd. of Israel.

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