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Improving trade and commercial ties with African countries is one of three pillars of a new Africa strategy announced by the Trump administration. Other areas of focus will include strengthening security and reforming foreign aid programs.
Claims for drawback of duties and taxes should be easier to file and process under new U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations scheduled to take effect Dec. 18. This rule, which implements the changes to drawback law made by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, will also revise how CBP treats drawback of excise and other federal taxes as of Feb. 19, 2019.
A planned increase from 10 percent to 25 percent in the Section 301 additional tariff on $200 billion worth of imports from China is being delayed from Jan. 1 to March 2. At the same time, China has announced plans to suspend a higher duty on U.S. automobiles and auto parts and to increase purchases of U.S. soybeans and corn.
The U.S. recently announced a temporary delay until March 1, 2019, of an increase from 10 percent currently to 25 percent in the additional “Section 301” tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China while the two sides conduct negotiations on longstanding trade irritants. However, CBP has not yet made the necessary changes in ACE to prevent a tariff hike come Jan. 1 because a formal notice of the delay has not been issued in the Federal Register.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising interested parties that beginning March 22, 2019, importers will be responsible for providing a TSCA Section 13 import certification for articles containing regulated composite wood products, component parts, or finished goods imported into the U.S. customs territory.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection failed to ensure the timely collection, write-off, and processing of delinquent debt from importers during fiscal years 2014 through 2016 and instead settled for collecting funds from importer surety bonds that yielded less than one percent of the amount owed, according to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.
The Federal Maritime Commission will assemble teams of private sector experts early in 2019 to determine the commercial viability of four ideas that could bring clarity and uniformity to when and how shippers pay demurrage (charges for exceeding allotted free time at a terminal) and detention (charges for use of carrier-provided containers beyond the allotted free time) fees.
Despite White House efforts to shift the U.S. trade balance in a more positive direction, the trade deficit in goods and services rose for the fifth straight month in October to $55.5 billion, the highest monthly total since October 2008. Exports slipped 0.1 percent to $11.0 billion while imports rose 0.2 percent to a record-high $266.5 billion.
Export controls on artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, advanced textile and other materials, and other emerging technologies could result from a process launched recently by the Bureau of Industry and Security. However, BIS says it is not seeking to expand jurisdiction over technologies not currently subject to the Export Administration Regulations nor to alter existing controls on technology already specifically described on the Commerce Control List.
In separate cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has determined that there is a reasonable suspicion that importers are evading the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum extrusions from China (by not declaring certain door thresholds containing aluminum extrusions as subject to these orders) and hardwood plywood from China (by transshipment through Vietnam).
The Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Northern Border Imports recently sent a notice to customs brokers concerning an increase in truck traffic carrying FDA-regulated commodities into the U.S. from Canada without stopping for FDA examination.
President Trump has agreed to delay a tariff increase on $200 billion worth of imports from China while the two sides conduct negotiations on longstanding trade irritants. In addition, Beijing has agreed to increase purchases from the U.S. in an effort to reduce its bilateral trade surplus.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed Nov. 30 on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina a trade agreement updating the quarter century-old NAFTA. However, prospects for congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement remain uncertain.
One of the ways companies affected by this year’s tariff increases on imports from China can avoid or reduce those duties is by moving production, in whole or in part, to other countries. A number of recent press accounts indicate that use of this option is accelerating, largely to the benefit of smaller economies in Asia.