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November 12 2012 Issue

Monday, November 12, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

CBP Reschedules Trade Symposium, Outlines Draft Agenda

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 2012 East Coast Trade Symposium has been rescheduled for Nov. 27-28. A draft agenda posted on CBP’s Web site indicates that this event will feature general and breakout sessions on the following topics. 

- continuing the “one U.S. government agency” approach to import safety 

- Centers of Excellence and Expertise, including how they are cooperating with industry working groups on the latest industry practices and emerging threats 

- initiatives underway as part of the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan 

- global supply chain security partnerships, including the importance of authorized economic operator programs and mutual recognition arrangements 

- co-creation of trade initiatives with the private sector and how the One U.S. Government at the Border, Simplified Entry and Air Cargo Advance Screening initiatives incorporate this principle 

- the Automated Commercial Environment, including plans for expansion, future Cargo Release development, and plans for exports 

- the Role of the Broker Initiative, focusing on continuing education for brokers, establishing bona fides and broker permitting 

- trusted trader programs, including co-creation of a holistic trusted trader program framework 

- trade intelligence, including how CBP can address enforcement issues related to intellectual property rights, antidumping and countervailing duties, and trade preferences 

- town hall-style question and answer session with senior CBP officials

Trade Deficit Hits Two-Year Low as Exports, Imports Both Rise

Trade statistics released Nov. 8 by the Department of Commerce show that the monthly U.S. trade deficit in goods and services fell to a two-year low in September, dropping 5.1% to $41.5 billion. Exports and imports both reversed a two-month slide, rising $5.6 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively. Compared to a year earlier, the September trade deficit was down $2.9 billion as exports gained $6.4 billion (3.5%) and imports rose $3.4 billion (1.5%). 

According to the DOC, the deficit in goods trade shrank by $1.4 billion in September to $57.5 billion. Exports of goods rose $5.4 billion from the previous month to a record high $134.0 billion while imports increased $3.9 billion to $191.5 billion. The services surplus rose to $15.9 billion as exports hit a record high of $53.0 billion and imports fell $0.6 billion to $37.1 billion. 

The bilateral trade deficit with China resumed its upward climb but gained only 1.4% to $29.1 billion. The U.S. also ran deficits with the European Union (down 26.5% to $8.6 billion), Germany (down 8.8% to $5.2 billion), Japan (down 28.4% to $4.8 billion), Mexico (up 6.7% to $.8 billion), Canada (down 13.6% to $1.9 billion), Ireland (down 33.3% to $1.6 billion), Taiwan (down 7.1% to $1.3 billion), Korea (down 18.8% to $1.3 billion), Nigeria (up 9.1% to $1.2 billion) and Venezuela (down 50% to $1.1 billion). 

The U.S. continued to run surpluses with several trade partners in September, including Hong Kong (up 4.8% to $2.2 billion), Australia (up 5.6% to $198 billion), Singapore (down 22.2% to $0.7 billion) and Egypt (up 50% to $0.3 billion).

Classification and Other Rulings on Screwdrivers, Cable Supports, Bearings, Jewelry Sets

In the Nov. 7, 2012, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection proposed to revoke or modify classification rulings on the following products. Comments are due by Dec. 7. 

Product: Screwdrivers with interchangeable bits. 
Proposed action: Revocation of NY D87806 and NY D88860. 
Current classification: Interchangeable tools for other hand tools, HTSUS 8207.90.6000. 
Proposed classification: HTSUS 8205.40.0000, screwdrivers and parts thereof (6.2% duty). 
Explanation: There is nothing in the HTSUS or the Explanatory Notes limiting a screwdriver to having only a fixed bit head, possessing only one type of bit, being able to function with one type of screw, or having a fixed handle or ratchet type handle. 

Product: Valve cable support. 
Proposed action: Revocation of NY N134819. 
Current classification: HTSUS 7326.90.8588, other articles of iron or steel (2.9% duty). 
Proposed classification: HTSUS 8477.90.85, other parts for machinery for working rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials (3.1% duty). 
Explanation: The supports are both dedicated solely for use with the petitioner’s injection molding machine and an integral component of that machine, without which it would not function properly. 

Also in the Nov. 7, 2012, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, CBP revoked or modified classification rulings on the following products, effective Jan. 7, 2013. 

Product: Bearings and housings. 
Action: Modification of NY N070076. 
New ruling: HQ H088396. 
New classification: Pivot bearings – HTSUS 8482.10.5068, other ball bearings (9% duty); pivot bearing housings – HTSUS 8483.30.8020, other bearings housings, ball or roller type, (4.5% duty); pivot bearings combined with a housing – HTSUS 8483.20.8040, other housed bearings incorporating ball bearings (4.5% duty). 

Product: Jewelry set with tumbled diamonds from Zambia. 
Action: Modification of NY N018792. 
New ruling: HQ H173035. 
New determination: As a gold, silver, or copper jewelry set with tumbled diamonds is not classified in HTSUS 7102, the tumbled diamonds do not fall within the Clean Diamond Trade Act’s definition of a “rough diamond” and the jewelry is therefore admissible into the United States under the terms of the CDTA.

Steel Import Monitoring System Proposed for Extension Until 2017

The International Trade Administration is inviting comments through Dec. 13 on a proposed rule that would extend the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System for four years, until March 21, 2017. According to the ITA, the domestic industry, which is import sensitive, strongly supports this system as it allows the market to monitor import fluctuations, especially those that may be unfairly traded, as early as possible. 

Under the SIMA system steel import licenses issued through an online system are required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for filing entry paperwork for imports of certain steel mill products into the United States. Import data collected through the issuance of these licenses are aggregated weekly and posted on the publicly available Steel Mill Import Monitor. Further details can be found here.

No Significant Impact from Low Energy X-Ray Systems in CBP Operational Areas

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced a determination that the proposed deployment and use of low energy X-ray inspection systems at CBP operational areas (including ports of entry) will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. As a result, a programmatic environmental impact statement is not required. CBP’s findings will be available for public review through Dec. 13. 

CBP states that the purpose of deploying and operating LEXRIS is to non-intrusively scan vehicles for the presence of contraband, including weapons of mass destruction, explosives and illicit drugs. Two different LEXRIS systems are available: one is mobile and mounted on a truck or van-type platform and will be used at CBP operational areas, while the other is a stationary, portal configuration that will be installed along an existing traffic lane. CBP asserts that LEXRIS is needed to fill a unique capability to detect objects that are not effectively visualized by other non-intrusive inspection technologies currently in use.

AD Notice: Folding Gift Boxes from China

Agency: International Trade Commission. 
Commodity: Folding gift boxes. 
Country: China. 
Nature of Notice: Revised scheduling of expedited sunset review of antidumping duty order. 
Details: Final comments now due by Nov. 14.

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Foods, Insecticides, Ladders

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. 

Jamaica – labeling requirements for aerosol insecticides in pressurized dispensers (comments due by Jan. 7, 2013) 

Jamaica – quality and acceptability requirements for achar, amchar and kuchela (comments due by Jan. 7, 2013) 

Jamaica – requirements for cassava bread and related products (comments due by Jan. 7, 2013) 

Korea – draft revision of safety certification examination fees for machinery and protective devices (comments due by Jan. 7, 2013) 

New Zealand – designation of certain multipurpose ladders as unsafe goods 

South Africa – proposed regulations on the grading, packing and marking of malting barley (comments due by Jan. 31, 2013) 

Turkey – provisions for packaging, market placement and production of raw meat, minced meat and meat mixture preparations

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