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Under a pilot program set to begin in November, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. will conduct national security reviews of an expanded range of proposed foreign investments in 27 sensitive industries.
Modernizing and streamlining U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s regulations on foreign-trade zones are the objectives of recommendations submitted to CBP Oct. 3 by its Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee. COAC said the goal of these recommendations is to provide for full automation, more efficient processes, and reduced transactional oversight based on risk.
As the impact of the Trump administration’s Section 301 tariff hikes on imports from China spreads, and the threat of duty increases on even more Chinese goods continues to grow, businesses are looking for ways to minimize their exposure to these additional costs. For importers of apparel, footwear, hats, and bags, several existing U.S. trade preference programs offer the opportunity to avoid not only the China tariffs but also the everyday duties these products face.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services rose for the third straight month in August, up 6.2 percent to $53.2 billion, according to trade statistics released by the Department of Commerce. Exports were down 0.8 percent to $209.4 billion while imports rose 0.6 percent to a record-high $262.7 billion.
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is requesting comments and information no later than Jan. 11 to be used in the preparation of certain documents regarding child labor and forced labor in foreign countries.
Digital technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and blockchain will add up to 34 percentage points to trade growth by 2030 thanks to lower costs and higher productivity, according to the World Trade Organization’s 2018 World Trade Report. However, these benefits are contingent on adequately addressing important public policy challenges such as inclusiveness, privacy protection, and cybersecurity.
A provision in the updated NAFTA concluded this past weekend could make it more difficult for Canada and Mexico to pursue potential free trade agreements with China. Observers say the Trump administration could look to insert a similar provision in possible FTAs with the European Union and Japan as part of its effort to pressure Beijing to advance economic reforms.
A case handled by Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg illustrates the benefit of companies importing into China being able to show China Customs evidence that they exercised reasonable care in the customs declaration process. Doing so can help demonstrate that a customs regulation infraction occurred without intent, which will typically be treated administratively with no penalty. On the other hand, a determination that a violation was committed intentionally will not only result in a penalty but will also downgrade the importer’s customs ranking.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico announced Sept. 28 an agreement to modernize the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is expected to be signed by Dec. 1, which could bring it up for congressional consideration in early 2019.
Food being imported or offered for import into the U.S. from a foreign facility for which registration has not been submitted or renewed must be held at the port of entry for and may not be delivered to the importer, owner, or consignee until the foreign facility is registered. Failure to register or renew a registration can also expose facilities to civil or criminal action.
The Food and Drug Administration is soliciting businesses with multiple food processing facilities that implement centrally-developed supply chain programs and recall plans to volunteer for two-tier inspections.
The U.S. and Japan announced Sept. 26 plans to launch negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement on goods, as well as other key areas including services, that can produce “early achievements.” The two countries also intend to hold talks on other trade and investment items following the completion of the trade agreement discussions.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced plans to use a $30 million congressional appropriation to make a number of enhancements to the Automated Commercial Environment. These enhancements have been selected based on the interests of the trade community and the potential to reduce its burdens, impact on CBP users, nexus to existing and emerging priorities, and workload efficiency and operational improvement opportunities.
Readers are reminded that Oct. 9 is the deadline for submitting requests for exclusions from the additional 25 percent tariff imposed as of July 6 on so-called List 1 goods imported from China. This tariff, which affects 818 tariff lines, was levied in response to a Section 301 investigation determination that China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory. Any exclusions granted will be retroactive to July 6 and extend one year after the exclusion determination is published in the Federal Register.