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Materials on the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 include the following information on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s achievements in FY 2018.
President Trump indicated this week that higher tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China will remain in place for the foreseeable future. The president’s stance could complicate efforts to secure a bilateral trade agreement.
With a recent increase in enforcement of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s importer security filing rule, it’s a good time for importers to review the basic requirements of this rule and examine their compliance.
Dozens of business, consumer, and public interest groups are asking the Senate Finance Committee to impose strict limits on the president’s authority to impose import tariffs in legislation currently under development. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is reportedly working to craft a bill that draws from two measures already introduced in the House and Senate and is able to generate sufficient congressional support to override a potential veto by President Trump.
China has recently increased the value of goods that may be imported duty-free and expanded the number of goods that may be imported via e-commerce. These changes should help foreign companies expand their e-commerce offerings into China.
The ITC states that the proposed changes principally (1) require petitions to include certain additional information, (2) clarify and provide additional instructions with respect to information to be included in petitions, and (3) revise the requirement regarding when petitions may be withdrawn.
A new multi-agency task force designed to protect national security and combat counterfeit goods was launched recently in Detroit and could serve as a national model for related investigations.
The president’s authority to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA under U.S. law is unclear, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, but it does appear that the president would need congressional approval to terminate the U.S. law implementing NAFTA. The report’s conclusions could embolden lawmakers pushing back against President Trump’s threats to withdraw from NAFTA unless Congress approves the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement designed to replace it.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services jumped 18.9 percent in December and grew 12.5 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to trade statistics released March 6 by the Department of Commerce. The monthly and annual deficits were the highest since 2008, and 2018 was the second straight year the annual deficit hit a record high.
The Department of Commerce initiated March 4 an investigation under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether the present quantity or circumstances of titanium sponge imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. An affirmative determination could result in import restrictions such as tariffs or quotas. Press sources note that nearly all U.S. imports of titanium sponge come from Japan and Kazakhstan.
President Trump announced March 4 his intent to terminate the eligibility of India and Turkey as beneficiary developing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences. These changes will not take effect until at least May 3 and will be enacted by a presidential proclamation. Once that proclamation takes effect, thousands of products imported from these two countries will no longer be eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP.
The Trump administration plans to continue its tough trade policies in 2019 but also intends to pursue several high-profile trade liberalization initiatives, according to the administration’s third annual trade policy agenda.
An additional tariff on $200 billion worth of imports from China will remain at 10 percent “until further notice,” according to a notice from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative expected to be published soon in the Federal Register. However, the delay has not stopped Congress from continuing its pursuit of a process for companies to request exclusions from this tariff.
The Trump administration has denied thousands more requests for exclusions from the additional tariffs it has imposed on imports from China but has made no additional approvals, according to information made available by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Most such requests remain at various stages of review but USTR is making progress in conducting those reviews.
The implementation date for adding a second group of locations to the Department of Agriculture’s Public Health Information System export component has been postponed from March 4 to May 20 to give exporters and destinations more time to prepare.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced a new strategy describing how it is integrating new and existing import oversight tools as part of a comprehensive approach to food safety.
President Trump said Feb. 24 that he will postpone the scheduled March 2 increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China in light of what he called “substantial progress … on important structural issues” in bilateral trade talks. Once this change is formalized, the Section 301 additional tariff on the so-called List 3 products will remain at ten percent for the foreseeable future, as no other deadline for increasing the tariff to 25 percent has yet been announced.