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The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased 5.4 percent in December and was up 12.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to trade statistics released Feb. 6 by the Department of Commerce. The annual deficit was the highest since 2008.
The dutiability of royalty payments to foreign suppliers is a complex issue in China and an ongoing concern for companies importing into that country. China Customs has been conducting a variety of audits on this issue over the past two years and is methodically expanding this initiative to ensure duties are properly paid. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg’s China-based professionals have been closely involved in these audits and can offer valuable counsel.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control recently added 42 Russian and Ukrainian entities to its Specially Designated Nationals and Sectoral Sanctions Identifications lists.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Jan. 31 that it has launched its Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, a fee-based program that will provide for expedited review and importation of human and animal food by participating importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.
President Trump suggested recently that the U.S. could take some sort of trade action against the European Union, but EU officials said they are prepared to respond in kind.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Jan. 29 that the sixth round of negotiations on updating NAFTA was “a step forward” but that the talks“are progressing very slowly.” Lighthizer acknowledged that businesses are “operating in a state of uncertainty” and said negotiators “will work very hard” in hopes of achieving “major breakthroughs” before the next round, which is scheduled to run Feb. 26 to March 6 in Mexico City.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld the Court of International Trade’s ruling in Glycine & More Inc. v. U.S. and GEO Specialty Chemicals Inc. that the Department of Commerce erred in using a guidance document to amend a regulation adopted by formal notice-and-comment procedure.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued five guidance documents to help importers and food producers meet key food safety provisions mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not be providing accelerated payment for drawback claims filed under the new Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act drawback provisions until the TFTEA drawback regulations take effect, CBP officials said recently. As a result, claimants filing for drawback under the more advantageous TFTEA provisions will have to wait months, if not longer, to obtain their refunds.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently provided to the American Apparel and Footwear Association the following information on the results of CBP textile production verification team visits conducted in fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017). TPVTs visit textile and apparel exporting countries to review company records and operations to determine if illegal transshipment or improper shipping under trade preference programs or free trade agreements is occurring.
China and Russia have failed to embrace the market-oriented economic policies championed by the World Trade Organization and are not living up to key commitments they made when they joined the WTO, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual reports on each country’s compliance with WTO rules. USTR Robert Lighthizer said this year’s reports show that “the global trading system is threatened by major economies who do not intend to open their markets to trade and participate fairly.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Jan. 22 that the agency will continue to process cargo, collect revenue, and engage in its national security and trade enforcement activities with minimum disruptions during the federal government shutdown that began Jan. 20.
The following final revocations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection classification rulings are included in the Jan. 10, 2018, Customs Bulletin and Decisions and will be effective with respect to goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after March 12, 2018.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that as of Feb. 24 the Automated Commercial Environment will become the sole authorized electronic data interchange system for processing claims filed under the current drawback law (19 CFR parts 181 and 191). However, CBP has not yet issued proposed regulations to reflect the statutory changes to drawback made by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which will also take effect Feb. 24.
Importers are being advised to review transactions taking advantage of the first sale rule to ensure they are consistent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s requirements. CBP is scrutinizing imports using this valuation methodology more closely as part of a broader increase in enforcement efforts.