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The Senate Finance Committee will review the statutory authority President Trump has used to hike tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum products under the chairmanship of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Grassley laid out his plans amid reports that Trump could soon use that authority to increase import duties on automobiles and auto parts.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is prioritizing the movement of cargo during the ongoing federal government shutdown but a number of its other trade-related functions have been put on hold. Information on the current status of these services has been provided by CBP officials and members of the trade community.
The U.S. and China met in Beijing Jan. 7-9 to hold their first talks since agreeing to a trade ceasefire in December. The negotiations were extended an extra day but reports have offered scant information on any results.
For several months in 2018 CBP tested the use of blockchain for the certifications of origin used to qualify goods for preferential treatment under NAFTA and CAFTA-DR, and a report on the agency’s conclusions is expected in the near future. According to press reports, CBP is now preparing to launch tests of several additional uses, including verifying the origin of raw materials, tracking oil imports, and dealing with intellectual property rights and e-commerce.
Claims for drawback of duties and taxes should be easier to file and process under new U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations that took effect Dec. 18. This rule, which implements the changes to drawback law made by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, will also revise how CBP treats drawback of excise and other federal taxes as of Feb. 19, 2019.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its website a final draft of the revised CBP Form 5106 (see attached), which will be renamed the Create/Update Importer Identity Form. This form is expected to be released in February when CBP plans to automate and modernize the process for inputting it via the Automated Commercial Environment.
As of Jan. 1 U.S. Customs and Border Protection began enforcing the requirement for carriers to file an advance electronic manifest for Section 321 goods (those valued below the de minimis level of $800) transported by commercial trucks. As a result, carriers that make no attempt to comply with this requirement can now be issued a monetary penalty in the amount of $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has determined that there is a reasonable suspicion that two importers are evading the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on stainless steel flanges from China by transshipping flanges forged in China through an intermediary supplier in the Philippines.
This enforcement action highlights the risks for companies with overseas operations that do not implement OFAC compliance programs or that implement compliance programs that fail to address OFAC-administered sanctions regulations.
The Department of Justice announced Dec. 21 that a Chinese national and U.S. legal permanent resident has been charged with theft of trade secrets.
USTR has announced the first batch of products that will be excluded from the additional 25 percent duty imposed under Section 301 on some $34 billion worth of imports from China.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released Dec. 21 its negotiating objectives for a U.S. trade agreement with Japan. Formal discussions with Japan can begin as early as 30 days after the issuance of the negotiating objectives, as provided under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.
The ITC has adopted as final without change the interim rule it published in September 2016 on the submission and consideration of petitions for duty suspensions and reductions under the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016, which reformed the MTB process. However, the ITC may propose several amendments to this final rule in the near future.
CBP is seeking input by Feb. 4 and will hold a public meeting March 1 to discuss the 21st Century Customs Framework, an initiative that will seek to address and enhance numerous aspects of the agency’s trade mission to better position it to operate in the 21st century trade environment.
The World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body has ruled that U.S. regulations on labeling imported tuna as dolphin-safe do not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate against Mexico. The decision, which brings a decade-long case to a close, precludes Mexico from imposing $163.2 million worth of retaliatory sanctions against U.S. exports.
Improving trade and commercial ties with African countries is one of three pillars of a new Africa strategy announced by the Trump administration. Other areas of focus will include strengthening security and reforming foreign aid programs.
Claims for drawback of duties and taxes should be easier to file and process under new U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations scheduled to take effect Dec. 18. This rule, which implements the changes to drawback law made by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, will also revise how CBP treats drawback of excise and other federal taxes as of Feb. 19, 2019.