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The Federal Maritime Commission will assemble teams of private sector experts early in 2019 to determine the commercial viability of four ideas that could bring clarity and uniformity to when and how shippers pay demurrage (charges for exceeding allotted free time at a terminal) and detention (charges for use of carrier-provided containers beyond the allotted free time) fees.
Despite White House efforts to shift the U.S. trade balance in a more positive direction, the trade deficit in goods and services rose for the fifth straight month in October to $55.5 billion, the highest monthly total since October 2008. Exports slipped 0.1 percent to $11.0 billion while imports rose 0.2 percent to a record-high $266.5 billion.
Export controls on artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, advanced textile and other materials, and other emerging technologies could result from a process launched recently by the Bureau of Industry and Security. However, BIS says 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.
In separate cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has determined that there is a reasonable suspicion that importers are evading the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum extrusions from China (by not declaring certain door thresholds containing aluminum extrusions as subject to these orders) and hardwood plywood from China (by transshipment through Vietnam).
The Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Northern Border Imports recently sent a notice to customs brokers concerning an increase in truck traffic carrying FDA-regulated commodities into the U.S. from Canada without stopping for FDA examination.
President Trump has agreed to delay a tariff increase on $200 billion worth of imports from China while the two sides conduct negotiations on longstanding trade irritants. In addition, Beijing has agreed to increase purchases from the U.S. in an effort to reduce its bilateral trade surplus.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed Nov. 30 on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina a trade agreement updating the quarter century-old NAFTA. However, prospects for congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement remain uncertain.
One of the ways companies affected by this year’s tariff increases on imports from China can avoid or reduce those duties is by moving production, in whole or in part, to other countries. A number of recent press accounts indicate that use of this option is accelerating, largely to the benefit of smaller economies in Asia.
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.