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Foreign companies that engage in trade with North Korea, as well as the financial institutions that facilitate such trade, could be subject to U.S. economic sanctions under a Sept. 21 executive order that aims to prevent the use of funds generated through international trade to support North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and weapons proliferation. The order could particularly affect companies in China, which is North Korea’s largest trading partner.
World Trade Organization economists have revised their estimate for global trade growth in 2017 from 2.4 percent to 3.6 percent following a 4.2 percent year-on-year increase from January through June. Trade growth is expected to slow to 3.2 percent in 2018.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Sept. 18 to “expect change, expect new approaches, and expect action” on trade policy from the Trump administration.
More work is needed to ensure that imports of organic agricultural products meet U.S. requirements to be classified as such, according to a recent report from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General.
The Bureau of Industry and Security’s Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee recently submitted to new BIS officials Mira Ricardel, under secretary of commerce for industry and security, and Richard Ashooh, assistant secretary for export administration, a number of recommendations for updating regulations and improving efficiency and processes.
The idea was announced at a Sept. 14 event in Washington by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said it would force the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to conduct a “systematic re-examination” of NAFTA and make it easier for them to “fix things” as necessary.
The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has imposed a $400,000 civil penalty against a U.S. company to settle charges in connection with unauthorized exports of defense articles and technical data to foreign persons. However, DDTC is not imposing an administrative debarment against the company or requiring additional compliance measures or enhanced oversight.
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution imposing tighter sanctions on North Korea following its most recent nuclear weapons test and its violation of eight UNSC resolutions dating back to 2006. A UNSC press release states that the new sanctions bring to 90 percent the amount of North Korean exports that are now fully prohibited.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is seeking comments and information by Dec. 11 to assist it in identifying existing regulations, paperwork requirements, and other regulatory obligations that can be modified or repealed to achieve savings of time and money while continuing to meet CBP’s statutory obligations.
While there were reports that a notification of withdrawal could have been submitted as early as Sept. 5, no such action had been taken as of Sept. 8 and multiple press reports indicate that the White House has delayed further consideration.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued guidance on diverting cargo destined to ports in Puerto Rico or along the U.S. East Coast that may be closed due to a hurricane currently projected to affect the area.
Despite renewed threats from President Trump in recent weeks to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA, the second round of talks on the renegotiation and modernization of that agreement yielded “important progress,” according to a Sept. 5 joint statement.
Assessments will be increased from $0.011012/kg to $0.011510/kg to reflect an increase in the average weighted price of upland cotton received by U.S. farmers in 2016.
Facilitating and regulating electronic commerce, particularly in the wake of a 2016 change in U.S. law that effectively allows more products bought online to enter the U.S. duty-free, was a major topic of conversation at a recent meeting of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee. CBP officials said e-commerce has required developing understanding and tools that the agency had not necessarily anticipated and that they welcome input from the trade community as they continue to develop a way forward.
Seven plastics with specified additives have been determined to not contain the phthalates prohibited in children’s toys and child care articles and therefore do not require third-party testing for compliance with that prohibition.