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President Trump submitted to Congress this week a request for a three-year extension of trade promotion authority, which allows the president to negotiate trade agreements that Congress must approve or reject within a specific timeframe but may not amend. Trump said an extension is “essential” to his ongoing efforts to revise NAFTA and to potentially negotiate new trade agreements with other countries, “including in Africa and Southeast Asia.”
Following its controversial decision that the use of certain screws should be considered in determining their classification even though the two subheadings at issue are both eo nomine provisions, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld the Court of International Trade’s ruling that the screws are properly considered self-tapping screws.
Effective March 26, CBP will start mailing dunning letters 120 days from the date of a bill to outline what will happen if payment is not received or a protest is not filed within 180 days.
The Bureau of Industry and Security is accepting comments by May 18 on its recently announced process for individuals and organizations to request exclusions from the additional tariffs President Trump has ordered on imports of steel and aluminum. The tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, are scheduled to take effect March 23.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to launch this year a pilot test of the use of blockchain technology for the certifications of origin used to qualify goods for preferential treatment under NAFTA and CAFTA-DR. CBP is also moving forward with a pilot test for the automation of carnets and is considering a similar initiative for NOAA form 370, the fisheries certificate of origin, which is used to declare the dolphin-safe status of all imported frozen and processed tuna products.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its website information indicating that on March 5 it issued a withhold release order against imported toys produced by Huizhou Mink Industrial Co. Ltd. in China due to concerns that they are being produced with forced labor. It appears that this order, though it has not yet been formally announced, requires the detention of such goods at all U.S. ports of entry.
President Trump could announce within the next few weeks higher tariffs on more than 100 goods imported from China, according to several press sources. The import duties would be the culmination of a section 301 investigation launched last summer on China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
Additional tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum would be precluded under legislation introduced March 8 by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. According to a press release from Flake’s office, the bill would prohibit the implementation of related changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. set forth in two presidential proclamations.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased 6.6 percent in January to $56.6 billion, the largest monthly shortfall in nearly a decade, according to trade statistics released by the Department of Commerce. Exports fell 1.2 percent to $200.9 billion while imports were virtually unchanged at $257.5 billion.
The president signed separate presidential proclamations March 8 imposing additional tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on steel and aluminum imports, respectively, effective for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse on or after 12:01 a.m. March 23. Imports from Canada and Mexico are exempt from these additional tariffs, at least at this time.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to evaluate its efforts to enhance intellectual property rights enforcement and assess potential additional information sharing with the private sector, in accordance with recommendations in a recent Government Accountability Office report.
CBP issued March 6 an e-commerce strategy aimed at addressing the growing volume of small package imports as well as the challenges and opportunities that direct-to-consumer e-commerce presents for the economy and security of the U.S.
The Mexican government reported March 5 additional advances in the ongoing discussions on updating NAFTA but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the parties did not make “the progress that many had hoped” in the seventh negotiating round held Feb. 25-March 5 in Mexico City. Lighthizer also warned that while the Trump administration would prefer to maintain a tripartite agreement, “if that proves impossible, we are prepared to move on a bilateral basis, if agreement can be made.”
President Trump announced March 1 that he plans to impose additional import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The news was met with sharp criticism by many Republicans, business groups, and trading partners but was welcomed by Democrats and steel and aluminum manufacturers. There is growing concern that the tariffs could prompt retaliatory measures by other countries.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said recently that they anticipate retaining and perhaps even expanding the agency’s data collection requirements as a key part of the agency’s evolving enforcement efforts.