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A Canada-based company has agreed to pay a $950,000 penalty to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with its repeated failure to implement adequate accounting controls of two African subsidiaries. The company has also agreed to a cease and desist order and will report on its remedial steps for one year.
The U.S. has secured a number of changes to its free trade agreement with Korea, some of which were reported previously. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative asserts that these changes will reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Korea, which has increased 70 percent since the KORUS agreement took effect in 2012. USTR notes that once the amendments are completed they will undergo domestic review procedures in both countries, which in the U.S. will include a 60-day consultation period with Congress on any required modifications to the tariff schedule.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has updated its interim guidance on filing drawback claims under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. Click here for ST&R’s summary of the initial guidance.
The U.S. and South Korea have reached an agreement in principle on modifications to be made to their bilateral free trade agreement. The two sides also announced that Korea will be exempt from the 25 percent additional tariff the U.S. began imposing on imported steel products March 23. No similar agreement appears to have been concluded with respect to the U.S.’ additional 10 percent tariff on aluminum.
President Trump has temporarily suspended additional tariffs on steel and aluminum products with respect to imports from the 28 member countries of the European Union as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. As a result, the tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, took effect at 12:01 a.m. March 23 with respect to shipments from all countries but those listed above. U.S. Customs and Border Protection notes that tariffs will be based on the country of origin and not the country of export.
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.