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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.
The processes and procedures used to review and adjudicate requests to exclude specific products from the Section 232 additional tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will be subject to an audit by the Department of Commerce. The DOC said the objectives of its audit are to determine whether the processes and procedures in place for reviewing these requests are being adhered to and whether decisions are reached in a consistent and transparent manner.
Effective Nov. 1 China lowered its import duties on 1,585 tariff lines as part of a long-term plan to diversify sourcing away from the U.S. The move is expected to benefit suppliers such as the European Union, southeast Asia, and countries participating in China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
The Trump administration has received thousands of requests for exclusions from the additional tariffs it has imposed on imports from China but has not yet approved any, according to information posted on the website of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Hundreds of requests have been denied while the rest are at various stages of review.
The U.S. rejected this week efforts by several trading partners to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization against the additional tariffs it imposed earlier this year on imported steel and aluminum. The U.S. asserted that those tariffs followed a decision that such imports threaten national security and therefore cannot be challenged at the WTO.
Dozens of goods are being removed from eligibility for preferential duty treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences in a presidential proclamation issued Oct. 30. These and the other changes set forth below will be effective with respect to goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after 12:01 a.m. EDT on Nov. 1.
The Bureau of Industry and Security has added one entity in China to the Entity List, which lists entities restricted from receiving U.S. exports of goods controlled under the Export Administration Regulations. BIS is adding this entity effective Oct. 30 after determining that it poses a significant risk of becoming involved in activities that could have a negative impact on U.S. national security interests.
Stating that the current situation at the World Trade Organization “is no longer sustainable,” 13 WTO members have identified a functioning dispute settlement system, a reinvigorated negotiating function, and more transparency into members’ trade policies as the three areas they intend to focus on as part of an emerging WTO reform effort. In a joint communique issued at the end of an Oct. 24-25 meeting in Ottawa, these members expressed a “common resolve for rapid and concerted action” on these issues and said they will meet again in January to review progress.