Latin America Trade Bulletin: Auto Exports, Apparel, Customs Help, Import Declarations
This new bi-weekly publication offers an overview of the important regulatory and other developments affecting trade and customs throughout the region, including key markets like Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. To receive this free publication in your inbox every other Thursday, visit our subscribe page and check “Latin America Trade Bulletin.”
Argentina seeks to export 70K vehicles to Mexico
Under the new commercial terms within its updated ACE 55 framework with Mexico, which is effective until 2019, Argentina is seeking to claim six percent of the Mexican auto market over the next three years. Vehicle sales in Mexico increased 6.8 percent in 2014, to 1.135 million, and Argentina wants to use an increase in bilateral quotas to boost its vehicle exports to Mexico to 70,000 per year.
New criterion values for certain knit apparel
Argentina has issued an administrative notice modifying the current reference/criterion values for certain knit dresses, skirts and trousers from 19 countries throughout Asia. If such goods have declared values lower than the modified criterion values, which are purportedly aimed at preventing the under-invoicing of imports, the importer must pay a guarantee equivalent to the difference in duties on the declared value and the criterion value.
Argentina, Chile sign updated taxation agreement
Years after the suspension of the previous double taxation agreement, Argentina and Chile finally executed a new treaty, which is expected to be enforced shortly. Among other things, the updated agreement expressly prohibits holding corporations from Chile from investing in Argentina with the purpose of avoiding Argentine taxes, a practice which contributed to the termination of the previous agreement.
Argentina and Russia cooperating on nuclear and other energy projects
Argentina and Russia signed agreements on the provision of nuclear fuel during an April 22 visit to Moscow by President Cristina Fernandez. The two sides also discussed the possibility of Argentina providing compressed natural gas to Russian service stations and assisting in the installation of plants to produce liquefied natural gas.
AD actions on plastic pools, pumps, irons, ironing presses
An antidumping duty investigation has been initiated on Brazilian and Chinese plastic swimming pools with a capacity of at least 500 liters but no higher than 24,000 liters, except pools reinforced with fiberglass, classified under HTSUS 9506.99.00.
An AD duty order has been issued on Chinese non-self-priming centrifugal pumps with a maximum flow between 100 l/m and 1,000 l/m and power between 0.1875 kW (0.25 HP) and 5.625 kW (7.5 HP), classified under NCM 8413.70.80 and 8413.70.90. As a result, imports of subject merchandise will be subject to AD duties ranging from US$90.70 to US278.30 per unit for five years.
The AD duty order on Chinese electric irons other than those that are connected by pipe to an external steam generator, classified under NCM 8516.40.00, has been renewed for five years. In addition, the specific AD duties have been amended to US$13.22 per unit for dry irons and US$15.41 per unit for steam irons.
Argentina has decided to proceed to the final phase of its AD investigation of certain Chinese electric ironing presses weighing no more than 51 kilograms, classified under NCM 8451.30.99 and 8451.30.91, without the imposition of any provisional measures.
Chile and EU discuss modernizing Association Agreement
The bilateral Association Agreement was implemented in 2002 and the two sides discussed in Brussels recently how to modernize it, particularly improving market access for agricultural and food products. Two-way trade rose 9 percent from 2003 to 2014, to $21.5 billion, and the EU has become Chile’s third-largest trading partner.
Chile and Canada sign mutual assistance agreement on customs matters
The agreement aims to aid in the prevention, investigation and combatting of customs offenses to increase supply chain security. Commitments include information exchange and assistance with implementation and improvement of authorized economic operator programs.
More products may be imported with provisional commercial invoice
Chilean Customs recently added soy protein concentrate and methyl tertiary butyl ether (an additive used to increase gasoline octane) to the list of products that may be imported into the country with a commercial invoice showing provisional values. Importers are required to provide an invoice with definitive values within 90 days from the date of acceptance for processing of the import declaration. The list of items benefiting from this flexibility also includes a range of petroleum products.
Temporary duty reductions on certain wheat and wheat flour extended
Chile’s Ministry of Finance has extended through June 15 and amended the temporary MFN duty rate reductions on certain wheat and wheat flour. Importers of covered wheat may temporarily deduct US$96.81 per ton from the total duty owed on these goods (calculated using the regular six percent duty rate), while the deduction for covered wheat flour is US$151.02 per ton. However, these deductions may in no case be greater than the total amount of duty owed on the importation of the subject goods.
New phytosanitary requirements for certain seeds, potato tubers
Chilean authorities have established new or modified phytosanitary requirements for imports of the following seed species for industrial farming activities: Azadirachta indica from the United States, Jatropha curcas from the European Union and Stevia rebaudiana from Paraguay.
Chile has also amended the phytosanitary requirements for imports of potato tubers (solanum tuberosum L.) intended for consumption from Uruguay.
Minimum product descriptions now required on import declarations
As of April 29 Colombia is requiring import declarations for a broad range of products to include new minimum descriptions in Spanish. The required descriptions vary significantly from product to product. In the case of apparel of HS Chapters 61 and 62, for example, importers need to provide the name of the product, the fiber composition, the fiber composition of the lining whenever applicable, the type of fabric, the size and gender (whether the garment is for males, females or unisex), and the brand and reference number whenever applicable.
Constitutional court greenlights Pacific Alliance deal
Following an eight-month analysis the Constitutional Court has determined that the Pacific Alliance framework agreement complies with the Colombian constitution. The framework agreement, which provides for free trade among Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru (with other countries actively working to join), will enter into force in Colombia 60 days from the date of publication of the court’s decision.
AD actions on ceramic tableware, float glass, DOP plasticizer
Colombia recently issued a final determination extending for two years the AD duty order on Chinese ceramic tableware and kitchenware classified under HTSCO 6911.10.0000 and 6912.00.0000. The AD duties on these products will remain unchanged: for goods classified under HTSCO 6911.10.0000, the duty will be the difference between a base price of US$2.88/kg and the FOB price declared by the importer, as long as the latter price is lower than the base price; and for goods classified under HTSCO 6912.00.0000, the duty will be the difference between a base price of US$1.71/kg and the FOB price declared by the importer, as long as the latter price is lower than the base price.
Colombia has preliminarily established for four months a minimum FOB price of US$0.39/kg in its AD investigation of certain colored float glass classified under HTSCO 7005.21.1100 and 7005.21.9000 from China. While imports of lower-valued items are allowed, importers are required to guarantee payment of the difference in each of those circumstances.
Colombia has initiated an administrative review to determine if there have been any changes in the conditions that led to a negative determination in the AD investigation on DOP plasticizer classified under HTSCO 2917.32.0000 from South Korea.
2015 TRQs for various products allocated
Colombia has allocated the 2015 tariff-rate quotas available for the following products under its bilateral agriculture agreement with Switzerland and Liechtenstein and its free trade agreement with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
- 100 tons of fresh (unripened or uncured) cheese, including whey cheese and curd, classified under HTSCO 0406.10.0000, from Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- 276 tons of melted cheese, not grated or powdered, classified under HTSCO 0406.30.0000, from Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- 276 tons of other cheese classified under HTSCO 0406.90.4000, 0406.90.5000, 0406.90.6000 and 0406.90.9000 from Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- 15 million liters of other undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 80%, classified under HTSCO 2208.90.1000 from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
- 2,640 tons of dog or cat food put up for retail sale classified under HTSCO 2309.10.9000 from Guatemala
- 1,000 tons of dog or cat food put up for retail sale classified under HTSCO 2309.10.9000 from Honduras
South Korea to help modernize Peru’s customs clearance processes
Peru and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a framework for bilateral cooperation and technical assistance on customs matters. This agreement will allow Peru’s National Customs and Tax Administration Superintendence (SUNAT) to benefit from technical and administrative assistance from South Korean customs officials as part of ongoing efforts to modernize customs clearance and related processes in Peru. Both customs administrations will foster exchanges of customs officials, and the Korea Customs Service will invite SUNAT officials to share experiences in the development of customs modernization techniques.
Peru, others raise concern over Ecuador’s safeguard duties
Peru joined Japan, the European Union, Guatemala and Panama recently in expressing concern to the World Trade Organization Goods Council about safeguard duties imposed March 11 by Ecuador. The issue is also being addressed by the Andean Community General Secretariat, which Ecuador has asked to determine whether the safeguard duties can be legally imposed on goods from Andean Community member states. Peru has submitted technical and legal arguments in favor of the rescission of the safeguard, but Ecuadorian authorities insist that the duties are necessary to ensure the stability of the country’s balance of payments.
Peru and Turkey to hold third round of FTA talks
The next round of negotiations will be held in Ankara the first week of May and is expected to address topics such as market access, services, customs and trade facilitation, rules of origin and trade protection. Peru is a big supplier of agricultural products such as quinoa and artichokes, and the FTA will eliminate Turkish duties of up to 61 percent on these products. According to the International Monetary Fund, Turkey is one of the largest vegetable consumers in Europe.
AD actions on hot-rolled steel tube, biodiesel
Peru’s National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) recently issued a final affirmative determination in its AD investigation of certain hot-rolled welded steel tube classified under HTSPE 7306.30.9900, 7306.61.0000 and 7306.90.0000 from China. As a result, Peru will impose AD duties of US$60.70 or US$89.80 per ton on imports of subject merchandise for a period of three years.
INDECOPI has also initiated an AD investigation of B100 biodiesel classified under HTSPE 3826.00.0000 from Argentina.
ALADI members move forward on digital origin certification
The group is working to implement digital certification of origin throughout the region, and a recent meeting allowed members to evaluate progress made so far and identify the steps that still need to be taken. Digital origin certification is expected to help facilitate trade by further automating and simplifying the procedures in commercial transactions.
Pacific Alliance countries agree to exchange information to facilitate trade, prevent fraud
Customs directors from the four current members of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) have signed a joint declaration on mutual assistance for the exchange of information and simplification of customs procedures. The agreement aims to help authorities facilitate legitimate trade and better detect illicit activities. It also promotes joint training programs on issues such as harmonization and simplification of customs procedures.