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A presidential proclamation issued June 30 implements the immediate or staged elimination of tariffs on 201 information technology products and makes a number of changes to the goods eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. These changes are generally effective as of July 1.
The proposal, which does not appear to have yet been formally introduced but could be taken up on the Senate floor during the week of July 4, aims to counter a Vermont GMO labeling law set to take effect July 1 and the potential proliferation of additional and varying state-level standards.
Covered goods include multi-component semiconductors (MCOs), medical equipment, GPS devices, tools for manufacturing printed circuits, video game consoles, printer ink cartridges, static converters and inductors, loudspeakers, software media (e.g., solid state drives), point-of-sale cards to download software and games, LEDs, touch-sensitive input devices, children’s electronic learning devices, and various information and communications technology testing instruments.
U.S. and European Union officials said this week that they will continue to work toward their goal of concluding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement by the end of this year despite the United Kingdom’s vote last week to withdraw from the EU. However, some observers are doubtful such an outcome can be achieved given Brussels’ anticipated focus on the withdrawal process and its ramifications in the months ahead.
In a popular referendum, the United Kingdom voted June 23 to terminate its more than 40-year membership in the European Union. However, Brexit itself will not take effect for at least two years and possibly longer. A great deal of work lies ahead, during which time it will be important for companies to conduct thoughtful analyses and make reasoned decisions concerning potential impacts, future business operations and continued trade compliance.
Reimbursable services include customs, agricultural processing, border security and immigration inspection-related services at ports of entry.
Most respondents said they believe the benefits of trade agreements outweigh the costs and that global competition is more responsible for domestic job losses than trade agreements.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the new law includes a number of improvements to TSCA, including a mandatory requirement for the EPA to systematically prioritize and evaluate existing chemicals on a specific and enforceable schedule, a requirement for the EPA to evaluate the safety of chemicals based purely on the health risks they pose, increased public transparency for chemical information, and the authority for the EPA to collect up to $25 million a year in user fees from chemical manufacturers and processors to pay for the improvements.
According to the report, G-20 economies applied 145 new trade-restrictive measures from mid-October 2015 through mid-May 2016. This represents an average of nearly 21 per month, up from 17 during the previous reporting period and the highest monthly average since monitoring began in 2009.
The proposed modifications would liberalize the current rules of origin by allowing the use of more non-originating inputs through the expansion of process-based ROOs or changes in tariff shift rules and regional value content requirements.
Tighter enforcement of the importer security filing requirement beginning June 30 could result in an increase in penalties or cargo holds at some ports and may also present a challenge to small and new importers.
The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is forecast at $9.7 billion, down from $25.7 billion in FY 2015 and the lowest since FY 2006.
Federal officials were urged by lawmakers and private-sector representatives this week to strongly enforce a recently enacted law fully prohibiting imports of products made with forced labor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has already been active in using its authority under the new law and has pledged further enforcement.