Tariff Actions Resource Page
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Senior Obama administration officials said this EO authorizes the Treasury Department to designate any or all of the following sectors of the Russian economy for additional sanctions: financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense and related materiel. Once any such sector is designated, the officials said, the U.S. will be able to impose sanctions on specific entities within that sector.
The Federal Maritime Commission approved March 20 the P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement, which authorizes the world’s three largest container carriers to share vessels and engage in related cooperative operating activities on routes between the U.S. and Asia, North Europe and the Mediterranean.
Among other things, this work will aid Manila’s consideration of whether or not it will seek to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership now under negotiation among the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
The European Commission released March 20 a report detailing its efforts in 2013 to remove “some of the most trade-distortive barriers that hinder EU companies’ access to the markets of China, India, Japan, Mercosur (Brazil/Argentina), Russia and the U.S.”
The Department of Justice announced March 19 that a Japanese trading company involved in the handling of products and provision of services in a broad range of sectors around the world has agreed to pay an $88 million criminal fine for its participation in a seven-year scheme to pay and conceal bribes to high-ranking government officials in Indonesia to secure a $118 million power project.
Jordan’s port of Aqaba will utilize near real-time remote imaging of a container examination process while incorporating a live video transmission/feed to monitor the inspection process.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its Web site data on its textile and apparel enforcement efforts in fiscal year 2013. These statistics show increases in many categories compared to FY 2012, including seizures, penalties, liquidated damages and examinations.
According to Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services professionals in Europe, the European Commission has proposed to drop from 26% to 0.35% the additional tariff it imposed last year on premium U.S.-made women’s jeans. The change could take effect around May 1, if approved.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a notice indicating that any vessels or cargo diverted to northwest U.S. ports from the port of Vancouver, Canada, due to the ongoing truck driver strike there will be subject to all applicable U.S. laws and regulations.
The European Commission released this month a report that offers a positive assessment of a European Union program aimed at lowering the cost of imported manufacturing inputs. The report acknowledges that there have been some unintended negative effects but asserts that these are not significant enough to call into question the program’s overall effectiveness and justification.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to implement on April 5 additional capabilities within the Automated Commercial Environment in the areas of exports, cargo release and entry summary.
The Federal Trade Commission announced March 14 a final rule amending the Textile Labeling Rules in an effort to give businesses more compliance options without imposing significant new obligations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has modified its general test of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise by modifying the scope of coverage for some centers and expanding the types of entries that the centers will process. CBP has also waived an additional regulation for test participants and clarified the submission process for responses to Requests for Information and Notices of Action.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated recently that as of April 8 it will resume the process of rendering continuous bonds insufficient due to returned mail from a bond principal. This action will be taken by CBP’s Bond Team on Tuesdays.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has agreed to revisit a court case in which it ruled last summer that a corporate officer is not personally liable for his/her company’s gross negligence under 19 USC 1592(a).
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on March 13 issued a fact sheet highlighting the many benefits that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement continues to provide two years after it entered into force to American businesses, workers and farmers. By contrast, at least two lawmakers and several non-governmental organizations claimed that the agreement has done more harm than good to U.S. manufacturing and employment.
USTR announced March 12 that Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oe held two days of negotiations on TPP market access issues that focused on the treatment of agricultural products. USTR characterized the progress achieved during the meetings as “limited” and noted that “significant gaps remain.”
USTR has issued a notice announcing April 6 as the effective date of the Protocol Amending the Agreement on Government Procurement, done at Geneva on March 30, 2012, with respect to the following parties to the 1994 WTO Government Procurement Agreement: Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway, the European Union, Iceland, Singapore and Taiwan.
A report issued March 12 by the International Trade Administration states that Canada, China, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, in that order, will be the top five markets for U.S. renewable energy exports during the next two years. Also placing high in the ranking of top markets are the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Peru, Belgium, the Philippines, the Netherlands and South Africa.
The State Department announced March 12 that the United States and Ukraine have agreed to reaffirm their partnership and strengthen economic and commercial ties as Ukrainian authorities and the international community attempt to cope with Russia’s military intervention in the Crimean peninsula.
The International Trade Administration is organizing a ports and marine technology trade mission to India for Nov. 9-15. This mission will seek to introduce U.S. firms and U.S. trade associations to India’s rapidly expanding ports and marine technology market and assist U.S. companies to pursue export opportunities in this sector.
The Federal Maritime Commission announced March 12 separate compromise agreements with a vessel-operating common carrier based in Germany and three non-vessel operating common carriers based in California, New Jersey and Shenzhen (China). The FMC notes that the $350,000 in recovered civil penalties resulted from investigations conducted by the FMC’s area representatives in Los Angeles as well as Washington, D.C. headquarters staff.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on March 11 issued an updated list of objectives for its ongoing negotiations with the European Union on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. USTR welcomes feedback from interested parties on these goals as well as on any related information and any other U.S. trade and investment initiatives.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Korean President Park Geun-hye announced March 11 that Canada and South Korea have successfully concluded negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement. A joint declaration indicates that Canada and South Korea are committed to finalizing the legal review and required domestic procedures expeditiously in order to implement the deal as soon as possible.
USTR has determined that certain intellectual property rights, acts, policies and practices of Ukraine are unreasonable and burden or restrict U.S. commerce and are thus actionable under section 301(b) of the Trade Act of 1974. However, in light of the current political situation in Ukraine, USTR has determined that no action under section 301 is appropriate at this time.
The United States and Nigeria on March 12 held the eighth meeting of their bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council. A USTR press release states that the meeting focused on several common objectives, including improving market access, utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, IPR protection, implementation of the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and improving the bilateral investment climate.
U.S. and EU trade officials on March 10 kicked off in Brussels the fourth round of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. According to the European Commission and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, negotiators addressed a range of issues during the first day of talks including services, labor, rules of origin, intellectual property and regulatory sectors.
The Department of Justice announced March 10 that a French citizen has agreed to plead guilty in a New York court to obstructing a federal criminal investigation into whether a mining company paid bribes to win lucrative mining rights in the Republic of Guinea. The U.S. government alleges that the French citizen attempted to obstruct an ongoing federal grand jury investigation concerning potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and laws proscribing money laundering.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a final rule amending and extending for five more years the import restrictions in place on certain archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological materials from Honduras. The State Department has determined that conditions continue to warrant the imposition of these restrictions as well as the addition of certain ethnological materials effective from March 12.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 3-0 March 5 to approve a new federal mandatory safety standard for infants’ and children’s carriages and strollers, which will become effective Sept. 10, 2015. The standard incorporates by reference the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International (ASTM F833-13b), with a modification to address head entrapment hazards associated with multi-positional/adjustable grab bars.
The Department of Justice announced March 7 that two ocean shipping companies have agreed to pay a combined fine of $3.4 million (one company paid $1.9 million and the other $1.5 million) to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by fixing the price of government cargo transportation contracts between the continental United States and Puerto Rico.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is seeking comments from interested parties by March 31 on a request it recently submitted to the World Trade Organization calling for the establishment of a dispute settlement panel to examine China’s continuing imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel from the United States.
The Senate voted March 6 to confirm R. Gil Kerlikowske as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Kerlikowske had been director of national drug control policy since 2009 and has 37 years of law enforcement and drug policy experience.
The State Department issued March 5 an order imposing a $20 million fine and extensive remedial measures against a Washington-based aerospace and defense manufacturing company to settle a total of 282 charges that entities the company acquired over the past decade committed the following violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is warning that it could resume a DR-CAFTA dispute settlement case on labor law enforcement in Guatemala if that country does not take further action by April 25.