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President Obama issued an executive order March 16 that implements the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 as well as a March 2 resolution by the United Nations Security Council that imposed new sanctions and tightened some existing measures against North Korea following its Jan. 6 nuclear test and a Feb. 7 launch seen as a test of ballistic missile technology.
Dozens of organizations representing the agriculture, forest products, manufacturing and recycling industries told the Coast Guard March 14 that they support the agency’s interpretation of a container weight rule scheduled to take effect July 1.
Two federal agencies are taking action to allow the importation of Cuban-origin software, authorize additional business and physical presence in Cuba, further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, relax the rules for vessels on temporary sojourn to Cuba, and expand the range of authorized financial transactions.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a new federal safety standard for portable hook-on chairs and has amended the existing standard for architectural glazing materials. The new requirements will enter into force six months from the date of publication of a final rule in the Federal Register in the case of portable hook-on chairs, and 30 days from such date in the case of architectural glazing materials.
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero told a Senate Panel March 8 that increasing waterborne trade volumes are an encouraging indicator of the strength of the U.S. economy and that the current volumes of vessel and container capacity mean that ocean shipping costs will likely remain reasonable. On the other hand, he added, congestion at U.S. ports presents a serious potential impediment to the nation’s continued economic growth and competitiveness.
The proposed changes include the addition of two new data elements in the Automated Export System and amendments to provide clarity on existing reporting requirements.
The proposal would apply to all formal entries of merchandise imported into the U.S. and impose a minimum $30 MPF on entries valued between $2,501 and $20,000, which represents approximately 50 percent of formal entries filed in 2015.
In a presidential election season that has seen candidates from both sides of the political spectrum decrying past free trade agreements, this agenda calls trade “one of America’s longest-running, bipartisan success stories” and asserts that it is “not in the national interest to sit on the sidelines” at a time when the pace of market-opening initiatives among other countries is increasing.
President Obama is expected to soon revoke a proclamation that would have suspended duty-free treatment under AGOA for all AGOA-eligible goods in the agricultural sector from South Africa as of March 15.
Text has been proposed in the vast majority of the negotiating areas and in many cases negotiators are already removing brackets and agreeing on wording. Both sides said they are working to conclude negotiations by the end of the year.
The MPF is currently assessed at 0.3464 percent of merchandise value for entries above $2,500 (capped at $485 per entry), but the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership prohibits the MPF from being levied on an ad valorem basis.