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Just two months after the Generalized System of Preferences was reauthorized, President Obama has issued a proclamation modifying GSP to eliminate benefits for some products and countries and restore or maintain benefits for others. Additional changes could be announced in the coming months based on the results of an ongoing review by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
The downward revisions reflect factors such as falling import demand in China, Brazil and other emerging economies; declining prices for oil and other primary commodities; and significant exchange rate fluctuations. In addition, volatility in financial markets, uncertainty over monetary policy in the United States and mixed recent economic data have clouded the outlook for trade in the second half of 2015 and beyond.
The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection will hold an open meeting Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C.
Following a meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, the U.S. and China said they will speed up talks on a bilateral investment treaty and pledged to continue working to resolve issues on technology trade.
Addressing an increasingly contentious issue, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced following a Sept. 25 meeting in Washington, D.C., a series of joint actions to improve cybersecurity. These measures will likely forestall, at least for the short term, the U.S. imposition of sanctions against China over allegations of government-backed hacking of U.S. corporate computer systems.
Talks reportedly made “enormous progress” on priorities such as improving the ease of doing business in India, infrastructure development, standards and global supply chains. At the same time, there was little to no movement on some of the more problematic issues, including a bilateral investment treaty and intellectual property rights.
The Department of Justice announced this month tough new policies signaling an intensified effort to prosecute individuals for corporate misconduct. In a Sept. 10 speech, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said that “the only way to truly deter corporate wrongdoing” is to “seek accountability from those who break our laws and victimize our citizens” because doing so “deters future illegal activity, … incentivizes changes in corporate behavior and … ensures that the people who engage in wrongdoing are held responsible for their actions.”
This case highlights both the federal government’s increasing prosecution of individuals in relation to corporate misconduct and the serious consequences that can result from adulteration or misbranding of food products.
In recent remarks to the Business Roundtable, President Obama was optimistic about the prospects of wrapping up talks on an Asia-Pacific free trade agreement and assertive on a number of irritants with China ahead of a key meeting with that country’s president.
Importers of various types of rechargeable battery packs will face higher tariffs beginning Oct. 5, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection revokes five rulings on the classification of these items.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has adopted as final, with some changes, an April 2012 interim rule that allowed CBP to disclose to an intellectual property right holder information appearing on merchandise or its retail packaging that may comprise information otherwise protected by the Trade Secrets Act for the purpose of assisting CBP in determining whether the merchandise bears a counterfeit mark.
ASTM International approved Sept. 15 a new voluntary safety standard for labeling and packaging individually wrapped liquid laundry detergent packets. These items are increasingly popular with consumers but have raised concerns due to accidental ingestion by children.
The Federal Trade Commission recently warned five providers of environmental certification seals and 32 businesses using those seals that these seals could be considered deceptive and may not comply with the FTC’s environmental marketing guidelines.
The Food and Drug Administration announced recently that it will require the submission of entry and shipping documents (bills of lading, air waybills, commercial invoices, etc.) for entries of FDA-regulated goods that originated from, were stored in or transited through the Binhai New Area industrial center in Tianjin, China.