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February 13 2013 Issue

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Russia Suspends Imports of Meat from U.S.

Effective Feb. 11 Russia has suspended imports of all U.S. beef, pork, turkey and other meat products (except chicken) after imposing a zero tolerance for ractopamine, an animal feed additive banned in approximately 160 countries. Russia was the sixth-largest export market for U.S. beef and pork in 2012, press sources state, taking in a combined $504 million worth. A Reuters article speculates that this week’s announcement may be “an effort to help domestic producers withstand an influx of cheap meat” after Russia joined the World Trade Organization late last year.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Russia’s ban disregards “the extensive and expert scientific studies conducted by the international food safety standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which has repeatedly concluded that animal feed containing the additive ractopamine is completely safe for livestock and for humans that consume their meat.” They accused Moscow of refusing to “engage in any constructive dialogue” despite “repeated U.S. requests” and said Russia should “restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately” and “abide by its obligations” as a WTO member. Kirk, Vilsack and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus all hinted that the U.S. could file a WTO case against Russia to resolve this dispute.  

FDA Schedules Two More Meetings on Preventive Controls, Produce Safety Rules

The Food and Drug Administration has scheduled two additional public meetings to discuss proposed rules that would establish standards for (a) the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption and (b) current good manufacturing practice and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food. These meetings will be held March 11-12 in Chicago and March 27-28 in Portland, Ore. The purpose of these meetings is to solicit stakeholder and public comments on the proposed rules, to inform the public about the rulemaking process (including how to submit comments, data and other information), and to respond to questions about the proposed rules.

The produce safety proposed rule would establish science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. This rule sets forth procedures, processes and practices that FDA expects would reduce foodborne illness associated with the consumption of produce. The preventive controls proposed rule would apply to human food and require domestic and foreign facilities that are required to register under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards, monitor results, and act to correct problems that arise. These proposals and related fact sheets are available on FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act Web site

Acting CBP Commissioner to Retire March 31; No Replacement Yet Named

David Aguilar, who has served as acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection since previous commissioner Alan Bersin stepped down in December 2011, has announced plans to retire at the end of March. During his tenure Aguilar has focused on modernizing CBP operations, re-energizing the development of the Automated Commercial Environment and engaging the trade community in the development and improvement of trade facilitation and security efforts. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Aguilar’s achievements have included CBP’s first West Coast trade symposium and the launch of Centers of Excellence and Expertise around the U.S. to improve trade processing.

Napolitano did not name a successor to Aguilar. His departure leaves another hole in the Obama administration’s senior trade policy team, which is already missing a Senate-confirmed CBP commissioner and commerce secretary. In addition, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is slated to leave that office at the end of February, and though there has been speculation as to who might replace him no formal nomination has yet been made. 

AD/CV Notices: Wind Towers, Ribbons, Line Pipe

Agency: International Trade Commission.
Commodity: Utility scale wind towers.
Country: China and Vietnam.
Nature of Notice: Final affirmative antidumping and countervailing injury determinations.
Details: The ITA will shortly issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on this merchandise.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Narrow woven ribbons with woven selvedge.
Country: China.
Nature of Notice: Final results of administrative review of antidumping duty order for the period Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug, 31, 2011.
Details: Weighted average dumping margins of 123.83% to 247.65%. Importer-specific AD duties based on these rates will be assessed on entries of subject merchandise during the period of review, and AD cash deposits at these rates will be required for subject merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after Feb. 13.

Agency: International Trade Administration.
Commodity: Welded large diameter line pipe.
Country: Japan.
Nature of Notice: Sunset review determination that revocation of antidumping duty order would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of dumping at a rate of 30.80%. 

Ocean Transportation Intermediary License Applicants

The Federal Maritime Commission has provided notice that the following applicants have filed applications for licenses as non-vessel-operating common carrier and/or ocean freight forwarder ocean transportation intermediaries. Persons knowing of any reason why any of these applicants should not receive a license are requested to contact the FMC.

- Agility Project Logistics Inc., Houston, Texas
- Ally Logistics LLC, Scituate, Mass.
- Axiom Worldwide Logistix Inc., Irving, Texas
- Brisk Logistics Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill.
- Delmar International (N.Y.) Inc. d/b/a Delmar International d/b/a Delmar International (USA), Rosedale, N.Y.
- Direct Line Transportation LLC, Centennial, Colo.
- Early Bird Pick Up and Delivery LLC, Bridgeport, Conn.
- Fastgrow Logistics (Americas) Inc., City of Industry, Calif.
- Jerome Okolo and David Newton d/b/a Emunah Global, Omaha, Neb.
- Jolly Forwarding USA Inc. d/b/a Jollibox Cargo Express d/b/a Pinoy Express Cargo d/b/a Chips R’US, Baldwin Park, Calif.
- Magnum-Ramstr Cargo LLC, Edison, N.J.
- Trans World Freight System NYC Corp., Jamaica, N.Y.
- Unity Cargo Management Services USA Inc., El Monte, Calif.
- Victoria Line LLC, Miami, Fla.
- Western Direct Express LLC, Fremont, Calif. 

Foreign-Trade Zone Expansions, Reorganizations Approved

The Foreign-Trade Zones Board has recently approved the following actions.

- the expansion of site 1 of subzone 70T and the removal of site 3 at the Marathon Petroleum Company LP refinery in Detroit, Mich.

- the expansion of manufacturing authority at the Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. facility within FTZ 104 in Pooler, Ga., to include additional finished products and foreign components

- the reorganization and expansion of FTZ 90 under the alternative site framework to include a service area of Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego and Madison counties in New York, in and adjacent to the Syracuse U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry

- the reorganization of FTZ 70 under the alternative site framework to include a service area of Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties in Michigan, in and adjacent to the Detroit CBP port of entry 

USDA Proposes to Expand Importer Eligibility to Serve on Watermelon Promotion Board

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing a change that would allow additional parties, including smaller businesses, to qualify as importer members of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. AMS notes that this rule would not have any impact on the assessment rates paid by watermelon importers, producers and handlers. Comments on this proposal are due no later than March 15.

Current regulations require an importer to import more than 50% of the combined total volume of watermelons handled and imported by that importer in order to qualify as an importer member of the Board. However, an increasing number of importers are now producing and handling watermelons as well, making it difficult to find importers who meet the 50% import threshold. Under the proposed rule individuals that both handle and import would be allowed to decide which part of the industry they would prefer to represent regardless of the volume handled or imported.

The Board administers a nationally coordinated program of research, development, advertising and promotion designed to strengthen the watermelon’s position in the marketplace and to establish, maintain and expand markets for watermelons. This program is financed by assessments on producers growing 10 acres or more of watermelons, handlers of watermelons and importers of 150,000 pounds of watermelons or more per year.

Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife Under Review

The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments through March 15 on the proposed extension of FWS Form 3-177, the Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife. With few exceptions, businesses, individuals or government agencies importing into or exporting from the U.S. any fish, wildlife or wildlife product must complete and submit this form at the time and port where import or export clearance is requested. The form collects the following information: name of the importer or exporter and broker, scientific and common name of the fish or wildlife, permit numbers (if permits are required), description, quantity and value of the fish or wildlife, and natural country of origin of the fish or wildlife. In addition, information such as the airway bill or bill of lading number, the location of the shipment containing the fish or wildlife for inspection, and the number of cartons containing fish or wildlife assists FWS inspectors if a physical examination of the shipment is necessary.

New Maritime Agreements Filed

The Federal Maritime Commission has issued notice that the following new agreements have been filed. Interested parties may submit comments by Feb. 25.

The G6 Alliance Agreement – The agreement authorizes the parties to charter and exchange space on one another’s vessels and to coordinate and cooperate with respect to the parties’ transportation services and operations in the trade between ports in North Asia, South Asia, the Middle East (including the Persian Gulf region), Spain, Italy, Egypt, Panama, Jamaica and Canada, on the one hand, and U.S. East Coast ports via the Panama and Suez canals, on the other hand, as well as ports and points served via such U.S. and foreign ports.

Exclusive Agreement for Terminal Services and Stevedoring Services – The agreement permits Federal Marine Terminals Inc. to provide, on an exclusive basis, all terminal services and stevedoring services only for the cargo handled within the public areas of the Lake Charles city docks. 

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