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Fifty-four WTO members reached a long-awaited agreement on July 24 to expand the Information Technology Agreement to provide duty-free treatment to over 200 additional tariff provisions and products. According to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, annual trade in the products that will be added to the ITA is valued at over $1.3 trillion and accounts for about seven percent of global trade, an amount larger than global trade in automotive products or trade in textiles, apparel, iron and steel combined.
The Food and Drug Administration has published a proposed rule and a draft guidance document to support a new program under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that will help eligible foreign entities demonstrate that imported food meets U.S. food safety requirements.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection on July 21 announced that U.S. and Canadian officials recently conducted a week-long joint “table top exercise” on handling import safety issues through multi-agency collaboration.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently posted to its website instructions for filers entitled to file GSP-eligible entry summaries utilizing special program indicator A, A+ or A*, as applicable, without the payment of duty for shipments entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption effective July 29. Goods entered between July 31, 2013 and July 29, 2015 will be liquidated or re-liquidated as though they had entered before the program expired.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is reporting a “major breakthrough” in the negotiations to expand the Information Technology Agreement that “opens the door for the swift conclusion of the first major tariff-cutting deal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 18 years.” USTR states that an earlier bilateral breakthrough between President Obama and President Xi in November 2014 had paved the way to this result.
In an update of a 2012 report, the Federal Maritime Commission concludes that shippers are not going to stop diverting containerized cargo through Canadian ports and that Mexican ports continue to present another option for individual shippers looking for alternative routes.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a direct final rule determining that unfinished and untreated trunk wood does not contain heavy elements that would exceed the limits specified in the Commission’s toy standard, ASTM F963-11. Based on this determination, unfinished and untreated trunk wood in toys does not require third-party testing for the heavy element limits in that standard.
Headlines this week brought news of a potential agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. While this agreement could be historic, it has not yet been finalized, so U.S. exports to Iran of any product other than those few already allowed will have to wait.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that trade user rates of satisfaction with the Automated Commercial Environment are increasing as CBP deploys more ACE functionality ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline for mandatory filing of all electronic entries and corresponding entry summaries in ACE approaches.
The following final revocations and modifications of classification rulings by U.S. Customs and Border Protection are included in the July 8, 2015, Customs Bulletin and Decisions.
As part of its continuing transition of all entry types from the legacy Automated Commercial System to the Automated Commercial Environment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to conduct a test concerning entries filed using remote location filing procedures. The initial phase of this RLF test will begin Aug. 12 and will continue until further notice.
CBP plans to run this test for about two years and to use its results in developing a rule that would make the submission of air export manifest data in ACE mandatory.
CADRS and its use to address shippers’ claims against ocean transportation intermediaries will be among the topics of discussion in an Aug. 27 webinar to be conducted by Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg.