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October 31 2012 Issue

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Resurrects Proposal to Consolidate Federal Trade Agencies

President Obama said this week that if re-elected he would advocate for the consolidation of business and trade-related federal agencies under a “Secretary of Business.” The president said his intent is to create a “one-stop shop” where companies can get help instead of having to navigate “nine different departments.”

The White House first circulated this idea in January, when it proposed to consolidate six federal trade agencies into one department whose function would be to “promote competitiveness, exports and American business.” The agencies named at the time were the Department of Commerce (core business and trade functions), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Small Business Administration, along with “other related programs.” The concept was to establish “one department where entrepreneurs can go from the day they come up with an idea and need a patent, to the day they start building a product and need a warehouse, to the day they are ready to export and need help breaking into new markets overseas.”

To secure the authority to make such a change the president sent to Congress in February the Consolidating and Reforming Government Act, which would reinstate the president’s authority to create, abolish, consolidate, transfer or rename an executive agency or department if doing so reduces the overall number of agencies or achieves cost savings. However, there was never any action on this bill other than a lone hearing in the Senate. Obama said this week that this inaction was “not because of some big ideological difference” but instead is due to lawmakers “being very protective about not giving up their jurisdiction over various pieces of government.” 

U.S., Taiwan Identify Issues for TIFA Talks

During meetings in Taipei last week U.S. and Taiwanese officials discussed the path forward for trade liberalization discussions under their bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. These talks have been suspended since 2007 due largely to Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of beef containing a growth additive commonly used by U.S. producers. In July, however, Taiwanese lawmakers agreed to amend the country’s food safety law to allow imported beef to contain up to a yet-to-be-determined amount of that additive.

On Oct. 23-25 officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the departments of Commerce, Agriculture and State met with authorities in Taiwan to “discuss a full range of trade issues of importance to both sides” and “exchange views on possible next steps to broaden and deepen the bilateral trade and economic relationship,” including with regard to the TIFA. Press sources indicate that while no date for the resumption of TIFA talks has yet been established, the two sides have tentatively agreed that there will be a priority on issues such as electronic commerce and standards. The TIFA talks will not, however, include discussion of a potential investment protection agreement, which one Taiwanese official said “involves more complicated issues and should first be discussed at expert- or working-level meetings.” Other issues discussed at the recent meeting included investment barriers, intellectual property rights protection, pharmaceutical and medical equipment pricing, technical barriers to trade, and Taiwan's participation in regional economic integration. 

In the News: Gray Market Goods, Supply Chain Changes, Apparel Value, Hurricane Effects

Supreme Court weighs protection against gray market imports

Get ready to say goodbye to the supply chain as we know it

American Consumers Overvalue U.S. Produced Apparel, MU Study Finds

Hurricane Sandy hits travel, cargo

AD/CV Notices: New Admin Reviews, Steel Wire Rod, Silicomanganese

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Nature of Notice: Initiation of administrative reviews of antidumping and countervailing duty orders on the following goods for the period Sept. 1, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012, for AD duty orders and Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011, for CV duty orders.
- lined paper products from China (AD) and India (AD/CV)
- narrow woven ribbons with woven selvedge from China and Taiwan (AD)
- kitchen appliance shelving and racks from China (AD/CV)
- magnesia carbon bricks from China (AD/CV)
- new pneumatic off-the-road tires from China (AD)
- freshwater crawfish tail meat from China (AD)

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod.
Country: Canada.
Nature of Notice: NAFTA binational panel affirmation of final results of 2005/2006 administrative review of AD duty order.

Agency: International Trade Commission.
Commodity: Silicomanganese.
Country: China and Ukraine.
Nature of Notice: Sunset review determination that revocation of antidumping duty orders would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the U.S. within a reasonably foreseeable time. As a result, these orders will be continued.

Agency: International Trade Commission.
Commodity: Silicomanganese.
Country: Brazil.
Nature of Notice: Sunset review determination that revocation of antidumping duty order would not be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the U.S. within a reasonably foreseeable time. As a result, this order will be revoked. 

Export Committees on Materials, Materials Processing Equipment, Transportation to Meet

The Bureau of Industry and Security has announced partially open meetings of committees that advise BIS on technical issues that affect the level of export controls applicable to materials, materials processing equipment, and transportation and related equipment.

- The Materials Technical Advisory Committee will meet Nov. 14 to receive a presentation on single use technology for bioreactors and the type of applications they are being used for, a report on the Composite Working Group and other working groups, and a report on regime-based activities.

- The Materials Processing Equipment Technical Advisory Committee will meet Nov. 13 to discuss the results from the last, and proposals for the next, Wassenaar meeting and to receive a report on proposed and recently issued changes to the Export Administration Regulations.

- The Transportation and Related Equipment Technical Advisory Committee will meet Nov. 15 to receive status reports by working group chairs as well as public comments and proposals.

The open session of each meeting will be accessible via teleconference to 20 participants on a first come, first served basis. In addition, a limited number of seats will be available at each public session, but reservations are not accepted. 

Ocean Transportation Intermediary 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.

- ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc., The Woodlands, Texas
- Airlift (U.S.A.) Inc. d/b/a Airlift Container Line, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Americas Interactiva Inc., Orlando, Fla.
- Asecomer International Corporation d/b/a Interworld Freight Inc. d/b/a Junior Cargo Inc. d/b/a Intercontinental Lines Corp., Miami, Fla.
- Atpex Logistica Corp., Kissimmee, Fla.
- Cars U.S.A. Inc., Hapeville, Ga.
- Don Kennon McSwain d/b/a Ship A Pallet, Houston, Texas
- Highland Project Logistics Inc., Bedford, N.H.
- Hybrid International Forwarding LLC, Atlanta, Ga.
- International Van Lines Inc. d/b/a IVL, Coral Springs, Fla.
- Koch Maritime Inc., St. Paul, Minn.
- Nippon Concept America LLC, The Woodlands, Texas
- Radiant Global Logistics Inc. d/b/a Radiant Container Lines, Bellevue, Wash.
- Royal Shipping Company LLC, Columbus, Ohio
- Star Cluster Logistics, Gardena, Calif.
- TC Shipping LLC, Orange, N.J.
- Vector Global Logistics LLC, Atlanta, Ga.
- Worldwide Freight LLC, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Ex-Im Bank Considers Financing Exports of High-Tech Equipment to Germany

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has received an application for final commitment for a long-term loan or financial guarantee in excess of $100 million. This transaction would support the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to Germany, where it may be used to produce exports or provide services in competition with the exportation of goods or provision of services by a U.S. industry. Comments on this application are due no later than Nov. 26. 

More Time to Comment on Import Restrictions on Plants Hosting Chrysanthemum White Rust

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has reopened until Nov. 30 the period for public comments on whether and how it should amend its process for responding to the importation of plant material that is a host of chrysanthemum white rust.

When its advance notice of proposed rulemaking on this issue was released in August, APHIS stated that despite current restrictions on the importation of CWR host plants for planting from a number of countries and localities detections of CWR within the U.S. continue to occur, leading to costly eradication measures. APHIS is therefore considering and requesting comments on the following four options.

- continuing to manage CWR as a quarantine pest with the objective of continuing to eradicate new infestations

- designating CWR as a regulated non-quarantine pest, which would allow for the creation of a certification program for propagators in foreign countries who want to export cuttings of CWR hosts to the U.S.

- no longer managing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence requires an eradication-oriented response but maintaining port of entry restrictions for chrysanthemums destined to those states where CWR is not present and that have established an official control program

- completely removing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence requires an eradication-oriented response, thus allowing propagators and growers to manage CWR as a quality pest without federal restrictions 

Amended Maritime Agreements Filed

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has reopened until Nov. 30 the period for public comments on whether and how it should amend its process for responding to the importation of plant material that is a host of chrysanthemum white rust.

When its advance notice of proposed rulemaking on this issue was released in August, APHIS stated that despite current restrictions on the importation of CWR host plants for planting from a number of countries and localities detections of CWR within the U.S. continue to occur, leading to costly eradication measures. APHIS is therefore considering and requesting comments on the following four options.

- continuing to manage CWR as a quarantine pest with the objective of continuing to eradicate new infestations

- designating CWR as a regulated non-quarantine pest, which would allow for the creation of a certification program for propagators in foreign countries who want to export cuttings of CWR hosts to the U.S.

- no longer managing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence requires an eradication-oriented response but maintaining port of entry restrictions for chrysanthemums destined to those states where CWR is not present and that have established an official control program

- completely removing CWR as a quarantine pest whose presence requires an eradication-oriented response, thus allowing propagators and growers to manage CWR as a quality pest without federal restrictions 

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