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November 5 2012 Issue

Monday, November 05, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Action on Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and Russia PNTR Possible in Lame-Duck Session

[Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in the Nov. 1, 2012, issue of the Advisor, a weekly publication of our STR-TAP service, and is reprinted here with permission.]

Two long-delayed pieces of trade legislation may see action in the “lame duck” session of Congress, which has been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14 to Dec. 13. The miscellaneous tariff bill and legislation that would grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia may be passed in the interregnum between the election and swearing-in of a new Congress.

Doubts abound over the future of the MTB but there is hope that it could be passed in the lame duck session. The MTB temporarily suspends tariffs and is composed of over 2,000 specific tariff reduction proposals by members of Congress. Before these proposals can be packaged together into a single bill, executive agencies must review each one. The International Trade Commission has completed its analysis but reviews by the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative remain pending.

Once the reviews are complete, it is hoped that the proposals can be bundled with existing legislation and passed after the Nov. 6 election. However, two challenges threaten that possibility. First, no existing legislation has been identified as a potential vehicle for the proposals. Second, Republicans are presenting strong opposition to the bill on grounds that it counts as an earmark, a practice they have sworn to end. Questions also abound about the composition of the Congress after the election, the precise length of the lame duck session and whether congressional leadership sees the MTB as a priority. If the bill does not pass, hundreds of tariffs that were lowered in 2010 with the last MTB would automatically increase at year’s end.

A bill to repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, essentially granting PNTR status to Russia, may also be scheduled for a vote during the first week of the lame duck session. Congress watchers think that this legislation has high chances of passage in the first week because it is relatively non-controversial and only got delayed in September because of presidential election politics. Repeal of Jackson-Vanik would likely be packaged with another bill to hold Russia accountable for human rights violations by allowing Congress to ask the president to compile a blacklist of Russian human rights abusers. The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plan to pen a letter to Congress and the president this week that stresses the urgency of passing the legislation. 

Update on East Coast Trade Operations in Wake of Hurricane

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that most U.S. East Coast seaports and airports have reopened as operations to recover from Hurricane Sandy continue. In addition, the International Trade Administration is allowing two additional days to meet deadlines in various proceedings.

Waterways. CBP states that as of Oct. 31 the waterways and CBP facilities in New York/Newark were closed pending assessment and the Baltimore waterway was open with restrictions. CBP said it was working closely with the Coast Guard and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey on plans for the resumption of cargo traffic in that area. Waterways and CBP facilities in Portsmouth, N.H., Portland, Maine, Boston, Philadelphia and Norfolk were open and operational.

Airports. As of Oct. 31 LaGuardia Airport in New York was open for limited arriving flights. Other airports in the region – JFK, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dulles, Newark, Lehigh Valley – had reopened and resumed operations.

CEE. CBP’s Manhattan-based Center of Excellence and Expertise for the pharmaceutical, health equipment and chemical industries is operational.

Import Administration Proceedings. The Import Administration has determined that the impact of the federal government closure during Hurricane Sandy will best be minimized by uniformly extending all IA deadlines for two days. This determination applies to every proceeding before the IA, including those relating to foreign-trade zones and statutory import programs. It includes deadlines for actions by the IA (such as preliminary and final determinations in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and administrative reviews) as well as pending deadlines for actions by parties to those proceedings (such as the submission of questionnaire responses, supplemental questionnaire responses, and case and rebuttal briefs). 

Guidance on Re-imported Jadeite, Rubies and Associated Jewelry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued Nov. 1 guidance on one exception to the provisions of the Burmese JADE Act of 2008. This law prohibits the importation of “Burmese covered articles” (jadeite, rubies, and articles of jewelry containing jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma) and sets forth conditions for the importation of “non-Burmese covered articles” (jadeite, rubies, and articles of jewelry containing jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from a country other than Burma).

Burmese covered and non-Burmese covered articles that were previously exported from the U.S. (including those that accompanied an individual outside the U.S. for personal use) are allowed to be re-imported by the same person without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process or other means while outside the U.S. Parties who are temporarily exporting such articles from the U.S. are advised to register them prior to export through either of the methods listed below.

- register the articles on a CBP Form 4455, Certificate of Registration, or CBP Form 4457, Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad

- use a carnet issued by the U.S. Council for International Business, which is more suitable for commercial samples and items for trade shows and exhibitions

CBP states that if either of these documents is not presented at the time of re-importation the importer must present documentary evidence that supports the claim that the subject articles were exported and re-imported by the same person without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process or other means while outside the U.S. Without such documentation, the articles are subject to seizure by CBP. 

AD/CV Notices: Request Reviews, Shrimp, Plywood, Copper Pipe, Sunset Reviews

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Nature of Notice: Opportunity to request administrative reviews of antidumping and/or countervailing duty orders on the following products for the period Nov. 1, 2011, through Oct. 31, 2012 (AD) or Jan. through Dec. 31, 2011 (CV)
- Circular welded non-alloy steel pipe from Brazil, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan (AD)
- Polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet and strip from Brazil, China and United Arab Emirates (AD)
- Lightweight thermal paper from China (AD/CV) and Germany (AD)
- Coated paper suitable for high-quality print graphics using sheet-fed presses from Indonesia (AD/CV) and China (CV)
- Seamless refined copper pipe and tube from China and Mexico (AD)
- Hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from China, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine (AD)
- Cut-to-length carbon steel from China (AD)
- Diamond sawblades and parts thereof from China (AD)
- Fresh garlic from China (AD)
- Paper clips from China (AD)
- Pure magnesium in granular form from China (AD)
- Refined brown aluminum oxide from China (AD)
- Seamless carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe from China (AD/CV)
- Cut-to-length carbon steel from Ukraine (AD suspension)

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Frozen warmwater shrimp.
Country: China.
Nature of Notice: Amended final antidumping duty determination in light of court decision.
Details: Amended weighted average dumping margin of 7.20% for subject merchandise manufactured and exported by Shantou Red Garden Foodstuff Co. Ltd.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Hardwood and decorative plywood.
Country: China.
Nature of Notice
: Corrected notice of initiation of antidumping duty investigation.
Link: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-26972_PI.pdf

Agency: International Trade Administration/International Trade Commission.
Nature of Notice: Initiation of sunset reviews of the antidumping and/or countervailing duty orders on hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from China (AD), India (AD/CV), Indonesia (AD/CV), Taiwan (AD), Thailand (AD/CV), Ukraine (AD)

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Nature of Notice: Sunset reviews of the antidumping duty order on uranium from France and the suspended AD duty investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico scheduled for initiation in December.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Seamless refined copper pipe and tube.
Country: Mexico.
Nature of Notice: NAFTA panel review requested of final results of new shipper review. 

No IPR-Related Import Restrictions on Integrated Circuits and Chipsets

The International Trade Commission has terminated without the imposition of import restrictions patent infringement investigation 337-TA-822 of certain integrated circuits, chipsets and products containing same, including televisions. The respondents requested this termination after the ITC found in a separate Section 337 investigation that the asserted claims of the patent at issue in this investigation are invalid. Complainant Freescale Semiconductor Inc. did not oppose this request.

Refurbished Port of Entry Opens in North Dakota

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Nov. 1 the completion of a new, energy-efficient port of entry facility in Portal, N.D., along the U.S.-Canadian border. The new facility features three commercial vehicle processing lanes, two car lanes and enhanced secondary screening areas, a Free and Secure Trade enrollment center, and expanded public and employee operational areas. CBP notes that in 2011 it processed more than 105,000 trucks, up 35% from 2010, at this port of entry.

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Beverages, Pacifiers, Medical Devices

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.

Chile – entry into force of draft regulation on products harmful to the ozone layer 120 days after Oct. 12

Colombia – Aug. 10, 2013, entry into force of decree on alcoholic beverages

Ecuador – Sept. 7 issuance of technical regulation on pacifiers for babies and young children

Japan – partial amendment of ordinance on terminal equipment for internet protocol mobile telephones (comments due by Jan. 8, 2013)

Korea – draft safety standard for LED lamps replacing fluorescent lamps (comments due by Dec. 31)

Mexico – official standard on good manufacturing practices for establishments engaged in the manufacture of medical devices will take effect 180 days after Oct. 11

Mexico – official standard on thermal and optical characteristics of glass and glazing systems for building to enter into force 180 days after Oct. 18

Philippines – final draft standard and recommended code of practice for salt fermented fish and shrimp (comments due by Dec. 18)

Switzerland – proposal for revised law and ordinance on construction products (comments due by Dec. 29) 

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