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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.
As part of an ongoing effort to reduce trade in goods made with forced labor, the United Nations Security Council voted recently to require UN members to send all North Korean nationals earning income in their jurisdictions back to North Korea by Dec. 22, 2019. In the interim, however, countries will be able to continue to employ North Korean workers, which could pose headaches for U.S. companies sourcing abroad in light of restrictive U.S. laws.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross submitted to President Trump Jan. 11 the results of the department’s section 232 investigation into the effect of steel mill product imports on U.S. national security. However, Ross said those results would only be made public once Trump announces his decision on whether to take action, which must be made within 90 days but could come sooner.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection should develop a monitoring system and take other steps to help ensure that imported radiological material, which is used for medical, industrial, and research purposes, is being properly licensed, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.
The World Trade Organization announced this week that Canada has filed a broad complaint against U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws, regulations, and other measures. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called the case “ill-advised” and suggested it could affect the ongoing negotiations on updating NAFTA, which resume in Montreal Jan. 23.
The ongoing pilot test of the Unified Cargo Processing program will be expanded to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona in the coming months, creating what a press release from the office of Governor Doug Ducey calls “America’s first and only inland international air logistics and processing hub.”
Following a Jan. 5 meeting with Korean officials in Washington, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there is “much work to do to reach an agreement” on updating the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement “that serves the economic interests of the American people.”
Changes made by this rule include eliminating the paper in-bond application (CBP Form 7512) and requiring the application to be filed electronically, mandating additional data elements on the application (including the six-digit HTSUS number), specifying a 30-day window for in-bond goods to be transported between U.S. ports, and revising the timeframe for reporting or updating in-bond records.
The Food and Drug Administration expects to begin accepting applications early this year for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, which 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.
Importers, customs brokers, and supply chain service providers are likely to see important changes affecting customs and trade policy in 2018. Tighter regulation of e-commerce, tougher enforcement of laws, and new developments in trade preferences, supply chain security, and other areas will all pose challenges to even the most experienced operators.
On Jan. 6 the Automated Commercial Environment will become the system of record for all statements with the exception of reconciliation statements, which will be deployed to ACE on Feb. 24.
The U.S. and South Korea will hold their first talks on updating their bilateral free trade agreement Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C., and could hold subsequent rounds every three to four weeks, according to press reports. Korea’s trade ministry said earlier this month that the domestic procedures necessary to consider amending the KORUS agreement, including consultations with lawmakers and stakeholders, have been completed.
President Trump has issued a proclamation modifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. to make changes to U.S. free trade agreements and trade preference programs.
President Trump has issued a proclamation restoring or suspending trade preferences under the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The GSP changes will have little immediate practical effect because GSP itself expires Dec. 31, 2017.