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Trade mis-invoicing accounts for a substantial share of the world’s illicit financial flows and national customs agencies should take steps to address it, according to a new report from the World Customs Organization.
The European Union and other World Trade Organization members have submitted a proposal designed to reform the functioning of the WTO’s Appellate Body, which reviews Dispute Settlement Body decisions concerning compliance with WTO rules. EU officials said they now expect the U.S. to “engage with these formal proposals that are aimed squarely at addressing their concerns,” according to a Reuters article, although Washington has yet to offer an official response.
Despite protests by affected companies and sporadic intergovernmental negotiations, U.S. importers, exporters, and manufacturers continue to be burdened by the additional tariffs the Trump administration imposed earlier this year on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of imported goods. However, there are a number of proven and legitimate ways to avoid or reduce these duties that have been used for many years with great success. ST&R has updated the following article since its original publication in July to highlight even more duty-busting strategies companies can use in structuring their own trade deals.
USTR claims in a Nov. 20 report that the Chinese government has not fundamentally altered the unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices that have led to the imposition of additional duties on some $250 billion worth of U.S. imports from China and instead appears to have taken "further unreasonable actions" in recent months.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report to Congress documents numerous challenges in the bilateral trade relationship and concludes that U.S. steps to address those challenges in the past have been insufficient. The report recommends that Congress take a number of actions in response, including filing a new kind of case against China at the World Trade Organization.
The Bureau of Industry and Security has launched a process likely to result in export controls on emerging technologies. BIS notes that it is not seeking to expand jurisdiction over technologies not currently subject to the Export Administration Regulations nor to alter existing controls on technology already specifically described on the Commerce Control List.
Issues to be addressed in a trade agreement between the U.S. and the United Kingdom are the focus of a request for public comment by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. A hearing will be held Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C. and written comments are due by Jan. 15. The White House has said talks with the UK will begin as soon as London is ready after it exits from the European Union on March 29, 2019.
Requests to grant or extend duty-free treatment for dozens of products under the Generalized System of Preferences were denied in the 2016/2017 annual review of this program. At the same time, the review also resulted in other products retaining or receiving GSP eligibility. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has provided the following overview of these changes, which were implemented as of Nov. 1 through a recent presidential proclamation.
Issues to be addressed in a U.S.-European Union trade agreement are the focus of a new request for public comment by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. A hearing will be held Dec. 14 in Washington, D.C. and written comments are due by Dec. 10. Talks are expected to get underway no earlier than Jan. 14, 2019.
A new rule on the Food and Drug Administration’s foreign supplier verification program as well as proposed and final rules on topics such as the International Trade Data System, import and export procedures, and food facility registrations are among the regulations set forth in the semiannual regulatory agendas recently issued by a number of federal agencies.
Last week’s congressional elections could result in changes to some aspects of the Trump administration’s trade policies but may not have a significant effect on others. The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees will each have new leaders, and Ways and Means will also see substantial changes in its Republican membership. In addition, Democrats wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans but the GOP strengthened its hand in the Senate.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has provided the following information on submitting imports of products excluded from the Section 232 additional tariffs on steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent) products.
More than a dozen major trade associations are protesting a provision in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement that would allow the U.S. to lower the value of imports below which goods may enter duty-free to the levels maintained by Canada and Mexico. The groups said such a change “would harm American businesses, workers, and consumers, reduce incentives to improve U.S. e-commerce infrastructure and undermine U.S. global leadership in e-commerce policy.”
As part of an expanded effort against economic espionage, the Department of Justice recently filed its first-ever civil lawsuit seeking to prevent foreign companies from exporting to the U.S. goods manufactured using trade secrets stolen from the U.S. The DOJ also announced a new initiative to identify and prosecute more trade secret theft cases.
Implementing changes to drawback, modernizing the customs broker regulations, and changes concerning importer identification are among U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s regulatory goals over the next few months. These and other proposed and final rules are included in the semiannual regulatory agendas of the departments of Homeland Security and the Treasury.