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The U.S. has announced that it will impose additional tariffs of 25 percent on more than 150 goods imported from European Union countries, as well as an additional 10 percent tariff on new aircraft from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, effective Oct. 18.
These exclusions cover a total of 203 specially prepared product descriptions that reflect 511 exclusion requests (see attached for complete lists of excluded items). USTR has also removed several exclusions erroneously included in a Sept. 20 notice.
U.S. government sources have confirmed that a proposed increase in the additional tariff being imposed on $250 billion worth of imports from China from 25 percent to 30 percent will NOT take effect Oct. 1 but is still planned for Oct. 15.
The Sept. 24-25 congress of the Universal Postal Union resulted in an agreement that will allow high-volume importers of mail and packages to begin imposing “self-declared rates” for distributing foreign mail as early as July 1, 2020.
The State Department announced Sept. 25 the imposition of sanctions on certain Chinese firms and individuals for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the transport of oil from Iran, including knowledge of conduct contrary to U.S. sanctions.
The White House announced Sept. 25 two new agreements on trade with Japan that it expects will reduce the U.S. trade deficit with that country. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the two sides plan further negotiations in the coming months in the interest of achieving a more comprehensive agreement that “addresses remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers and achieves fairer, more balanced trade.”
On Sept. 28 U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin a test to allow Section 321 low-valued shipments, including those subject to partner government agency data requirements, to be entered via a new informal entry type 86 in the Automated Commercial Environment. CBP states that this new entry type is a test and is not mandatory for users.
The framework recognizes the potential of trade-related activities and infrastructure to be used for terrorist purposes and outlines further actions to prevent such outcomes.
Among other things, these regulations would implement CFIUS’s new jurisdiction over (a) certain non-controlling investments into certain U.S. businesses involved in critical technology, critical infrastructure, or sensitive personal data and (b) certain real estate transactions involving foreign persons.
Additional exclusions from the Section 301 additional 25 percent tariff on List 1, 2, and 3 goods from China have been announced by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. These exclusions cover a total of 437 specially prepared product descriptions that reflect 1,170 exclusion requests.
The U.S. and Japan are reportedly accelerating efforts to finalize a limited trade agreement in time for it to be signed later this month. President Trump has signaled that this initial deal will not need to be approved by Congress but that the two sides intend to work toward a more comprehensive agreement as well.
President Trump said Sept. 12 that he would be willing to consider an interim trade agreement with China, which could open the door for progress at bilateral talks scheduled for October. The president’s comments came as China announced that it plans to add pork and soybeans to a list of U.S. goods recently exempted from its retaliatory tariffs.
China announced this week the first exclusions from its additional 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. goods. President Trump then delayed from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 an increase from 25 to 30 percent in the Section 301 additional tariff on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China.
Democrats in the House of Representatives are holding firm to their position that several improvements are needed to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement before they would approve implementing legislation. The White House and others are beginning to call more frequently and loudly for Congress to approve the agreement updating the 25-year-old NAFTA, but a recent document from the House Ways and Means Committee states that “the ball is squarely in the Administration’s court.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expecting to conduct this month a second test of the agency’s potential use of blockchain technology, focusing on intellectual property rights. Other tests are also in the works.
A new guidance document from the Bureau of Industry and Security designed to counter schemes to ship controlled items to nuclear- or missile-related activities in Pakistan highlights the due diligence measures that should be taken for all exports of goods subject to the Export Administration Regulations, particularly those destined for higher-risk destinations.
Importers should take this opportunity to review these requirements, ensure they have an FSVP in place for each food they import, and conduct mock FSVP inspections to prepare for possible FDA inspections.
Importers should be aware that while the COO claims made by their vendors may be correct under the source country’s rules, they may be incorrect under U.S. rules. With an ever-increasing tariff burden at stake, as well as potential penalties for getting it wrong, it is important for importers to understand the applicable rules and verify COO claims made by their suppliers.