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February 18 2013 Issue

Monday, February 18, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

EU Proposes Revamp of Consumer Product Safety Rules

The European Commission proposed Feb. 13 new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the European Union and to increase market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from third countries. A Commission press release states that these legislative proposals would create more coherent rules regulating consumer product identification and traceability as well as improved coordination of the way authorities check products and enforce product safety rules across the EU. The proposed rules will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Council and are expected to take effect in 2015, at which point they would be enforced by the national market surveillance authorities in each EU member state.

Proposed New Regulations. The Commission is proposing to replace directives 87/357/EEC on food-imitating products and 2001/95/EC on general product safety with a new state-of-the-art consumer product safety regulation that includes the following key changes.

- alignment of the general obligations of economic operators to ensure the safety of all consumer products with clearer responsibilities for manufacturers, importers and distributors when they sell consumer products

- more effective tools to enforce safety and other product-related requirements and to make it easier to take action against dangerous and non-compliant product across all sectors

- a new requirement for manufacturers and importers to ensure that products bear an indication of the country of origin of the product or, where the size or nature of the product does not allow it, on the packaging or in a document accompanying the product

- the creation of a more cooperative system of market surveillance across the EU

- streamlined procedures for the notification of dangerous products based on the synergy between the Rapid Alert Information System and the Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance

Interim Plan. The Commission has also developed a plan of 20 concrete actions to be undertaken between now and 2015 to improve market surveillance under the current regulatory framework until the new rules come into effect. These actions include the following.

- promote the use of results of tests already performed in one member state by other member states and facilitate the distribution of such results via the Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance

- examine the feasibility of a public consumer product safety information database, which could include a platform for complaints and injuries

- support joint enforcement actions, allowing market surveillance authorities and customs to pool resources and expertise and to apply SME-friendly methods (e.g., information will be made available electronically and rules will be made more uniform, accessible and user-friendly)

- study the ways e-shops operate, in particular if products are distributed to the final consumer directly from third countries

- launch a continuous European dialogue with all parties in the supply chain, especially SMEs

- accelerate work to improve product traceability

- support the implementation of uniform rules to assist member states’ customs controls and improve cooperation between customs and market surveillance authorities

- set up a common risk approach for product safety and compliance controls on imported products, including the development of common criteria for risk assessment as part of the customs control systems and methods of exchange of information between customs and market surveillance authorities for managing risk at the point of import 

CBP Advisory Committee to Meet March 6 on Trade Modernization and Facilitation Efforts

The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (COAC) will hold an open meeting March 6 in Washington, D.C. At this meeting the COAC will discuss the statements of work and review next steps for the following subcommittees.

- the Trade Modernization Subcommittee, which will address Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the Automated Commercial Environment, and role of the broker issues

- the One U.S. Government at the Border subcommittee, including the master principles document approved Jan. 15

- the Trade Enforcement and Revenue Collection Subcommittee, which will address revenue, intellectual property rights and antidumping/countervailing duty issues

- the Trusted Trader Subcommittee, which will address the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, the Importer Self-Assessment program and authorized economic operator issues

- the Global Supply Chain Subcommittee, which will address air cargo security and land border issues

- the Exports Subcommittee 

National Freight Advisory Committee Established, Members Sought

The Department of Transportation has announced the establishment of the National Freight Advisory Committee for a two-year period. This committee will advise DOT on matters related to freight transportation in the United States, including the following.

- implementation of the freight transportation requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

- establishment of the national freight network

- development of a national freight strategic plan

- development of strategies to help states implement state freight advisory committees and state freight plans

- development of measures of conditions and performance in freight transportation

- development of freight transportation investment, data and planning tools

- legislative recommendations

Nominations for membership on this committee are being accepted through March 21. DOT will select at least 25 committee members with a view toward achieving balance among the following interests: state departments of transportation; state, local and tribal elected officials; local planning offices; shippers, businesses and economic development; air cargo, freight forwarders, rail, maritime, ports, trucking and pipelines; and the labor, safety, environment and equity communities. 

In the News: Citrus Import Violations, Paperless Air Cargo

Citrus Chiefs Look Into Violations of Trade and Tariff Laws, Re-Importation

An end in sight to the paper chain?

USTR Gathering Input for WTO Case Against Indonesian Import Restrictions

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is inviting public comments through March 14 on the issues raised in a dispute settlement case the U.S. filed at the World Trade Organization Jan. 10 concerning trade-restrictive measures Indonesia applies to horticultural products, animals and animal products. Among other things, USTR states, Indonesia imposes a non-automatic import licensing regime for such goods pursuant to which an importer must complete multiple steps prior to importing those products into Indonesia. This process “appears to be more administratively burdensome than absolutely necessary” and the issuance of licenses “appears to be delayed or refused by the Indonesian authorities on non-transparent grounds.” In addition, the licensing measures do not inform traders of the basis for granting licenses. The U.S. is arguing that these measures are inconsistent with specific provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO Agriculture Agreement and the WTO Import Licensing Agreement.

AD/CV Notices: Granular PTFE Resin, Stainless Steel

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Granular polytetrafluoroethylene resin.
Country: Italy.
Nature of Notice: Rescission of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Aug. 1, 2011, through July 31, 2012, based on the withdrawal of the request for review.
Details: AD duties on entries of subject merchandise made during the period of review will be assessed at rates equal to the AD cash deposits required at the time of entry or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Stainless steel sheet and strip in coils.
Country: Mexico.
Nature of Notice: Dismissal of NAFTA binational panel review of final affirmative antidumping duty determination. 

FTZ Procedures Expanded to Medical, Chemical Facilities

The Foreign-Trade Zones Board has authorized production activity under zone procedures for the following two facilities.

- the AndersonBrecon Inc. facility within site 1 of FTZ 176 in Rockford, Ill., which is used for medical device kitting and related activity by AndersonBrecon on behalf of Ferrosan Medical Devices A/S and Ethicon Inc.

- the Cimbar Performance Minerals facility within site 12 of FTZ 181 in Wellsville, Ohio, which is used for the grinding of raw barium sulfate into ground barium sulfate 

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Flavorings, Foods

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.

Colombia – draft technical regulation on flavorings used in foods and alcoholic beverages, materials used as the basis for such flavorings, and food ingredients with flavoring properties (comments due by April 24)

Qatar – draft technical regulations on (1) frozen dough for the preparation of pies, pastries and desserts when not for cake doughs or frozen breads, (2) hot sauce and (3) instant pudding powder (comments due by April 14)

South Africa – revised regulations on classification and marking of meat of bovine animals (comments due by April 15)

South Africa – draft regulations on the grading, packing and marking of avocados (comments due by May 15) 

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