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March 7 2013 Issue

Thursday, March 07, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Support for Foreign Trade Up Sharply, Poll Finds

A recent Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans view trade as “an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports,” which Gallup characterizes as “a much more positive view” of foreign trade than in recent years. Slightly over a third of respondents (35%) said trade is “a threat to the economy from foreign imports.” The wording of the poll is indicative of what economists say is a false dichotomy, but according to Gallup the results show that “the Obama administration is likely operating in an environment more supportive of U.S. trade deals with other countries than has been the case in the recent past.”

Gallup notes that it first posed this question in 1992 and that responses have varied over the years, usually in relation to the health of the U.S. economy. That first year, as the economy was emerging from a recession, 48% saw trade as a threat from imports while 44% saw it as an opportunity for exports. Those figures reversed as the economy improved from the mid-1990s and stayed strong through the early 2000s, with positive responses averaging about 53% and negative responses averaging about 37%. From 2005 through 2012 the trend changed again and “Americans were at best divided in their views of trade,” with a high of 52% saying trade was more of a threat at the height of the recession in 2008. This year’s poll saw the biggest leap in confidence over the past 20 years, with those viewing trade optimistically jumping from 46% to 57% and skepticism declining from 46% to 35%.

Gallup also breaks down responses by subgroup, revealing several points of interest. Regionally, support for trade ranged from a high of 66% in the west to a low of 50% in the south. More than two-thirds of individuals with post-graduate degrees (69%) saw trade as an opportunity compared to only 49% of those with a high school education or less. Republican views on trade were less optimistic (51% saw it as an opportunity compared to 41% as a threat) than those of Democrats (66% compared to 29%). In most major subgroups significantly more respondents see foreign trade as an economic opportunity than was the case in 2012.

U.S. to Allow Duty-Free Imports from All Manufacturers in Egyptian QIZs

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced this week that it will liberalize the designation of the six existing qualifying industrial zones in Egypt to make all production facilities, present and future, located in these zones potentially eligible to export goods duty-free to the U.S. The Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Suez Canal, Central Delta, Beni Suief and Al Minya QIZs will be subject to the new policy, which will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

Egyptian sources stated that there had been a disagreement between the two sides as to what constitutes a QIZ. The U.S. maintained that only specific companies that it pre-approved for manufacturing under the QIZ program could export goods duty-free to the U.S. from a zone, while Egypt held that this ability extended to any company located in a QIZ and that the U.S. did not have the right to pre-approve participants. Sources said that under the revised understanding any product manufactured by any entity in an Egyptian-designated QIZ will be eligible for duty-free entry into the U.S. and no pre-approval will be required.

QIZs are zones from which Egypt or Jordan can export products to the U.S. duty-free as long as those products contain a certain percentage of inputs from Israel. USTR states that since the QIZs were first authorized in 1996, total trade between Israel and Egypt under the program has grown by more than $100 million. 

STTAS’ George Weise Named to Customs Advisory Committee

George Weise, former commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service and currently executive vice president of Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, has been named as one of 20 members of the 13th Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Better known as COAC, this committee advises the departments of Homeland Security and Treasury on the commercial operations of CBP and related DHS and Treasury functions. During its 13th term, which got underway at a March 6 meeting in Washington, D.C., COAC is expected to consider such issues as global supply chain security and facilitation, CBP modernization and automation, air cargo security, customs broker regulations, trade enforcement, the U.S. government approach to trade and import safety, agriculture inspection, and the protection of intellectual property rights.

AD Notice: Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Fresh tomatoes.
Country: Mexico.
Nature of Notice: Termination of suspension agreement, termination of sunset review and resumption of antidumping duty investigation.
Details: The ITA will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise that are entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after March 1 and to require AD duty cash deposits or bonds at rates ranging from 4.16% to 188.45%.

(It should be noted that on March 4 the ITA announced a new suspension agreement that increases from one to four the number of tomato categories with established reference prices and also raises those prices.) 

U.S.-EU Regulatory Cooperation to be Subject of April 10-11 Meeting

The Office of Management and Budget and the European Commission will host a public meeting of the U.S.-European Union High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum April 10-11 in Washington, D.C., to gather input on priorities and next steps for promoting greater transatlantic regulatory compatibility. The two sides are working to reduce unnecessary regulatory differences and cut red tape while respecting each other’s right to protect their environment and safeguard the health, safety and welfare of their citizens. OMB states that the input provided at the forthcoming meeting will help to identify both immediate and longer term goals in this area as well as potential mechanisms to accomplish them. Anyone wishing to present an oral statement at the meeting should notify OMB no later than March 20.

Ocean Transportation Intermediary License Revocations, Reissuances, Applicants

OTI Licenses Revoked. The Federal Maritime Commission has given notice that the following ocean transportation intermediary license has been revoked. A revocation may occur after a license is surrendered voluntarily by the OTI or for failure to maintain a valid bond.

- license #021062F: International Trade Compliance Group LLC, Pompano Beach, Fla.

OTI Licenses Reissued. The Federal Maritime Commission has given notice that the following OTI license has been reissued.

- license #017269N: Fastmark Corporation, Medley, Fla.

In addition, the FMC has rescinded its order revoking the following OTI license.

- license #008504N: Hyun Dae Trucking Co. Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.

OTI 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.

- A.G. Cargo Import Inc., Houston, Texas
- American Forwarding & Logistics LLC, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- Art Van Lines USA Inc., Secaucus, N.J.
- Autolink Express Inc., South El Monte, Calif.
- Bay Logistics Inc. d/b/a Important Cargo Express Co., Union City, Calif.
- BL Worldwide Corp., Doral, Fla.
- Browman Freight Services Inc., Markham, Canada
- Cesar Eddy Quinones d/b/a Jersey Marine Services, Secaucus, N.J.
- Denizabel Shipping Inc., Miami, Fla.
- Di Global Logistics Inc., Miami, Fla.
- DTI Group Inc., Miami, Fla.
- Excom USA Inc., Tamarac, Fla.
- F. M. Air Inc., Medley, Fla.
- Freightit Inc., Miramar, Fla.
- Global Express Forwarding Inc., Norridge, Ill.
- Javelin Logistics Corporation, Newark, Calif.
- JK International Inc., Memphis, Tenn.
- Maritrans Shipping Ltd., Valley Stream, N.Y.
- Miami Warehouse Logistics Inc., Miami, Fla.
- Multimodal International Shipping Inc. d/b/a Masterpiece Ocean Freight Limited, El Segundo, Calif.
- NMC Logistics Solutions Inc., Doral, Fla.
- OOCL Logistics (USA) Inc., New York, N.Y.
- Rapidex USA LLC, Somerset, N.J.
- ShemiTrans LLC, Baltimore, Md.
- Ship A Pallet LLC, Houston, Texas
- Ship International Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
- Triple Eagle Logistics Inc. d/b/a Triple Eagle Logistic Canada Inc., City of Industry, Calif.
- Universal Shipping Lines LLC, Tucker, Ga.
- Vision Shipping Inc., Alexandria, Va. 

No Import Restrictions in IPR Probe of Consumer Electronics

The International Trade Commission has terminated without the imposition of import restrictions patent infringement investigation 337-TA-836 of certain consumer electronics and display devices and products containing same. This action is based on settlement agreements between complainant Graphics Properties Holdings Inc. and numerous respondents located in Taiwan, Korea, Canada, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.

Hazmat Regulations Amendments Include More Flexibility for Cargo Manifest

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a final rule that, effective May 6, will make various amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations in response to petitions to update, clarify or provide relief from miscellaneous regulatory requirements. PHMSA states that these changes, noted below, are generally intended to provide relief to shippers, carriers, and packaging manufactures and testers.

- amending the recordkeeping and package marking requirements for third-party labs and manufacturers to assure the traceability of packaging

- removing from the Hazardous Materials Table the listing for “NA1203, Gasohol, gasoline mixed with ethyl alcohol, with not more than 10% alcohol”

- harmonizing internationally and providing a limited quantity exception for Division 4.1, Self-reactive solids and Self-reactive liquids Types B through F

- allowing smokeless powder classified as a Division 1.4C material to be reclassified as a Division 4.1 material

- providing greater flexibility by allowing the Dangerous Cargo Manifest to be in locations designated by the master of the vessel besides “on or near the vessel’s bridge” while the vessel is in a U.S. port 

Foreign Regulatory Changes Could Affect Exports of Tanning Equipment, 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.

Canada – proposed update to warning labels on tanning equipment (comments due by May 9)

Qatar – draft technical regulations on roselle, sunflower seeds, barley malt, squash seeds, oil of cinnamon leaves, edible wheat germ oil, plastic packages for food, fried potato, cream analog, black tea, cappuccino powder, garlic oil, chilled marinated meats, whole or ground coriander and basil oil (comments due by May 4) 

USDA Allows Three Substances to be Used as Antimicrobial Agents in Meat and Poultry

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a final rule that, effective May 6, will remove sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid from the list of substances prohibited for use in meat or poultry products. This change, which was first requested in 2006, will allow these substances to be used (at specified levels and under specified conditions) as antimicrobial agents in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. However, the use of these substances in or on meat or poultry products will continue to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for safety and by FSIS for suitability. 

DOC Expands Efforts to Increase Exports of Environmental Technologies

The Department of Commerce is soliciting through March 19 input from U.S. businesses capable of exporting goods or services relevant to landfill environmental standards, medical waste management and universal waste management. This information will be used in the development of a Web-based “U.S. Environmental Solutions Toolkit,” which is designed to be used by foreign environmental officials and foreign end-users of environmental technologies that will outline U.S. approaches to a series of environmental problems and highlight participating U.S. vendors of relevant U.S. technologies. 

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