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January 23 2013 Issue

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Only 10 Days Left: Renew Food Facility Registrations with FDA or Face Suspension

All foreign and domestic companies and facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, alcoholic beverages, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements must renew their food facility registrations with the Food and Drug Administration before Jan. 31, 2013, or risk suspension by the FDA. If suspended, a facility will not be allowed to import, distribute or sell food in the United States. All facilities covered by the law must re-register by the deadline.

The registration is required under Section 102 of the Food Safety Modernization Act. This law also requires that the facility designate a U.S. agent. The U.S. government has made it clear that it will enforce the re-registration requirement and that those acting as U.S. agent could be financially responsible for the cost of facility inspections.

To find out more about your company’s risk and how you can quickly and easily meet the new re-registration requirements, visit the FDA Solutions Group Web site. This site offers information and registration services in English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese.

Brokers, forwarders and importers of record who are looking to avoid the potential financial liability associated with U.S. agent status are invited to direct their customers to designate FDA Solutions Group as U.S. agent when registering their facilities.

If you need additional assistance, please email FDA Solutions Group directly or call 305.702.3161.

FDA Solutions Group LLC is a company affiliated with the law firm of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. Its sole purpose is to offer cost-efficient regulatory compliance solutions for the food, beverage, dietary supplement, alcoholic beverage, medical device and cosmetic industries.

U.S., Mexico Work Toward Mutual Recognition of Supply Chain Security Programs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT) signed Jan. 17 a joint work plan that lays out the path toward mutual recognition of the two countries’ supply chain security programs. Under this plan, which the two sides expect to be implemented in two years, companies enrolled in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism will be able to receive reciprocal benefits provided under Mexico’s New Certified Companies Scheme and vice versa. The U.S. already has similar mutual recognition arrangements in place with New Zealand, Canada, Jordan, Japan, Korea, the European Union and Taiwan. 

New Task Force Aims to Improve Fight Against “Localization Barriers” to Trade

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has announced the establishment of the Trade Policy Staff Committee Task Force on Localization Barriers to Trade to develop and execute a more strategic and coordinated approach to address measures designed to protect, favor or stimulate domestic industries, service providers and/or intellectual property at the expense of those from other countries. USTR states that localization barriers have been increasing in the last few years and include local content requirements, subsidies or other preferences that are only received if producers use local goods or services or IP that is first registered in that country, requirements to provide services using local facilities or infrastructure, measures to force the transfer of technology or IP , requirements to comply with country- or region-specific or design-based standards that create unnecessary obstacles to trade, and unjustified requirements to conduct or carry out duplicative in-country conformity assessment procedures.

USTR states that the task force’s work will build on initiatives already underway, including trade agreements, enforcement and advocacy. It will promote global-level policy approaches through a variety of bilateral, regional and multilateral forums, including the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement dialogues with other countries. 

In the News: Export Policy, Free Trade in the Middle East

For exports, the spoils go to the biggest

Third Arab economic summit brings Arab free trade zone closer

CV Duty Investigations Launched on Frozen Shrimp from Seven Countries

The International Trade Administration announced Jan. 18 its initiation of countervailing duty investigations of certain frozen warmwater shrimp from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The products covered by the scope of these investigations are certain frozen warmwater shrimp and prawns, whether wild-caught (ocean harvested) or farm-raised (produced by aquaculture), head-on or head-off, shell-on or peeled, tail-on or tail-off, deveined or not deveined, cooked or raw, or otherwise processed in frozen form, regardless of size. The products included in the scope, regardless of definitions in the HTSUS, are products that are processed from warmwater shrimp and prawns through freezing and sold in any count size. Frozen shrimp and prawns that are packed with marinade, spices or sauce are included in the scope, as are food preparations (including dusted shrimp) that are not “prepared meals” and contain more than 20% by weight of shrimp or prawns. Covered products are currently classified under HTSUS subheadings 0306.17.0003, 0306.17.0006, 0306.17.0009, 0306.17.0012, 0306.17.0015, 0306.17.0018, 0306.17.0021, 0306.17.0024, 0306.17.0027, 0306.17.0040, 1605.21.1030 and 1605.29.1010.

Excluded from the scope are breaded shrimp and prawns, shrimp and prawns commonly referred to as coldwater shrimp (in any state of processing), fresh shrimp and prawns whether shell-on or peeled, shrimp and prawns in prepared meals, dried shrimp and prawns, canned warmwater shrimp and prawns, and certain battered shrimp.

The International Trade Commission is scheduled to make its preliminary CV injury determinations on or before Feb. 11. If these determinations are affirmative the ITA’s CV duty investigations will continue, with preliminary determinations due in March.

IPR Enforcement Actions on Sealing Rings, Paper Shredders

New IPR Infringement Petition on Sealing Rings. The International Trade Commission received Jan. 18 on behalf of E.J. Brooks Company a petition requesting that it institute a Section 337 investigation regarding certain sealing rings for utility meters and components thereof. The proposed respondent is located in Taiwan.

Section 337 investigations primarily involve claims regarding intellectual property rights violations by imported goods, including the infringement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. Other forms of unfair competition involving imported products, such as misappropriation of trade secrets or trade dress and false advertising, may also be asserted. The primary remedy available in Section 337 investigations is an exclusion order that directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop infringing imports from entering the U.S. In addition, the ITC may issue cease and desist orders against named importers and other persons engaged in unfair acts that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory.

New IPR Infringement Investigation of Paper Shredders. The International Trade Commission has instituted investigation 337-TA-863 to determine whether imports of certain paper shredders and certain products containing same and certain parts thereof are violating Section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act by reason of patent infringement. This investigation will also determine whether certain processes for manufacturing or relating to these shredders are violating Section 337 by reason of misappropriation of trade secrets.

Complainants Fellowes Inc. and Fellowes Office Products (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. 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 China, Hong Kong and the U.S. 

Export Privileges Suspended for Illegal Exports of Defense Articles

The Bureau of Industry and Security has suspended for five years the export privileges of a Pennsylvania man convicted of knowingly and willfully attempting to export two camera control boxes to Iran without the required authorization from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Separately, the BIS has suspended for ten years the export privileges of a Tennessee man convicted of knowingly and willfully attempting to export small arms protective inserts to Colombia without having obtained a license or written approval from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. The BIS is also revoking all export licenses in which these men had an interest at the time of their convictions.

As a result, until June 23, 2016, and Oct. 12, 2021, respectively, neither these men nor anyone on their behalf may directly or indirectly participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology exported or to be exported from the U.S. that is subject to the Export Administration Regulations. However, these orders do not prohibit any export, reexport or other transaction subject to the EAR where the only items involved that are subject to the EAR are the foreign-produced direct product of U.S.-origin technology. 

Advance Notice Proposed for Imports of Four Chemical Substances

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed rule that would establish import restrictions on four chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices. These substances are used in heat transfer fluids, intermediates and surface active agents.

Under this rule, persons who intend to import, manufacture or process any of these substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule would have to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. This notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs.

Comments on this proposed rule are due no later than Feb. 22. 

Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee to Meet Feb. 26

The International Trade Administration’s Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting Feb. 26 at ITA headquarters in Washington, D.C. This committee provides advice on environmental trade policies and programs and helps the federal government focus its resources on increasing the exports of the U.S. environmental industry. At its upcoming meeting the committee will review the work of the previous ETTAC, begin to outline important issues and policies that affect environmental trade, and discuss the status of the U.S. Environmental Export Initiative.

USDA Reviewing Information Collection on Importation and Transportation of Meat

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is accepting comments through March 25 on the proposed extension of the following information collections regarding the importation and transportation of meat and poultry products.

- Unless accounted for in an establishment’s HACCP plan, meat and poultry products not marked with the mark of inspection and shipped from one official establishment to another for further processing must be transported under USDA seal to prevent such unmarked product from entering into commerce. To track product shipped under seal the FSIS requires shipping establishments to complete FSIS Form 7350-1, which identifies the type, amount and weight of the product.

- Foreign countries exporting meat and poultry products to the United States must establish eligibility and annually certify that their inspection systems are equivalent to the U.S. inspection system. Additionally, meat and poultry products intended for import into the U.S. must be accompanied by a certificate, signed by an official of the foreign government, stating that the products have been produced by certified foreign establishments.

- Maintenance of a country’s eligibility to export products into the U.S. depends on the results of periodic reviews of each establishment listed in the certification. A written report must be prepared by the representative of the foreign government documenting the findings with respect to the effective operation of the system.

- Meat and poultry products exported to the U.S. must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a responsible official of the exporting country.

- Import establishments that wish to pre-stamp imported product with the inspection legend prior to FSIS inspection must submit a letter to FSIS requesting approval to do so. 

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