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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tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on steel and aluminum imports, respectively, effective for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse on or after 12:01 a.m. March 23.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.
The Trump administration’s second annual trade policy agenda again takes a tough line, emphasizing “aggressive” enforcement of U.S. trade laws, the role of trade in supporting national security, and limiting the role of the World Trade Organization.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a document intended to provide guidance on CBP processes during ACE system interruptions and to help trade partners develop their own downtime policies and procedures. CBP officials have also said they are taking steps to limit such downtime.
Press sources are reporting that a prominent trade critic is in line to take on a greater policy role at the White House just as the Trump administration is considering a raft of potential import restrictions.
These 56 parties are located, registered, or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama, and Comoros. Any property or interests in property of the designated parties in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the U.S. may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.
A new bill in the California State Assembly (AB 2379, introduced Feb. 14) would require all clothing made from fabric that is more than 50 percent polyester to bear a conspicuous label warning that the garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed and recommending hand washing. Under this bill, the sale or offering for sale of such clothing without this label would be prohibited on and after Jan. 1, 2020. Hats and shoes would be exempt.
China has tightened restrictions on imported wastes in recent years and could further expand those restrictions in the near future. The government’s aim is to significantly reduce the variety and amount of waste imports and to refine waste recycling procedures. These measures could have a disruptive impact on companies that use such materials as inputs for production.
The containers and labeling of approximately 68,600 cartons of cigarettes bore counterfeits of the trade name and marks of an American brand of cigarettes that were substantially indistinguishable from the marks of the U.S. manufacturer of that brand.
A total of $45.7 million in AD/CV duties was disbursed in FY 2017, down slightly from $46.3 million in FY 2016. As a result, the total amount of retaliatory sanctions imposed by U.S. trading partners on U.S. exports should see a small decline.
The Department of Commerce has recommended the imposition of tariffs and/or quotas on imports of steel mill products and wrought and unwrought aluminum after determining that the quantities and circumstances of such imports are threatening to impair U.S. national security. Any such remedies would likely impact a wide range of downstream users that now have a limited amount of time to communicate their concerns to the White House. President Trump has until April 11 (steel) and April 19 (aluminum) to determine whether to impose these or other remedial actions.