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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.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has made available full calendar year 2015 import statistics showing products that could be excluded from or reinstated to the duty-free treatment available under the Generalized System of Preferences based on competitive need limitations.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted unanimously Feb. 24 a proposal that Commissioner Joe Mohorovic said will free businesses from having to create compliance certificates for adult clothing made from fabrics that the CPSC says are inherently safe and compliant.