Latin America Trade Bulletin: Duty-Free Treatment, FTAs, EU Summit
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.”
Export quota for wheat and flour increased
Argentina has expanded its quotas on exports of wheat by one million tons and of flour by 100,000 tons in recognition of a larger domestic harvest this year. Further expansions could be announced in the coming months. The total wheat export quota for this year is now 4.7 million tons, more than double the amount of the previous year.
New regulations will aid assessment of mad cow disease in imported goods
The Argentinean government has issued a regulation to assess whether imports of live animals, animal reproductive material, animal products, and products containing animal products may be affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease. Argentina has adopted the risk status categories published by the World Organization for Animal Health (negligible, controlled and undetermined BSE risk) and implemented certain requirements regarding import verification and testing.
AD duty order on ceramic sanitary fixtures from Brazil could be revoked
Argentina has initiated a sunset review of its antidumping duty order on Brazilian ceramic sinks, washbasins, washbasin pedestals, baths, bidets, water closet bowls, flush tanks, urinals and similar sanitary fixtures classified under NCM 6910.10.00 and 6910.90.00. This review will result in either the continuation or revocation of the order.
FTA with Thailand to be implemented soon
A free trade agreement between Chile and Thailand was approved recently by Chile’s Chamber of Deputies and is expected to come into force in the near future. Once the FTA takes effect it will immediately grant preferential access to more than 90 percent of traded goods, which could further increase bilateral trade that topped $1 billion in 2014. Chile’s primary exports to Thailand include copper, minerals, pulp, seafood, iron, paper and grapes, while Thailand’s major exports to Chile include motor vehicles, machinery, plastics, tuna, rubber and cement.
Exports of live cattle to China increasing
Chile exported 5,000 live cattle to China in May, its third shipment of Friesian Holsteins to that country in the last six months. China is seeking to increase the per capita consumption of milk and has chosen Chile to supply live cows, mainly because of the health of the country’s herd.
Additional documentation required for certain imported beverages
Chilean Customs is requiring customs dispatchers to provide additional information for certain imported beverages containing a high percentage of sugar. Specifically, importers of natural or artificial soft drinks, energizing or hypertonic drinks, syrups and substitutes, and mineral and thermal water with added coloring, flavoring or sweeteners that contain more than 15 grams of sugar per 240 millimeters or equivalent portion must provide the customs dispatcher a signed notarized sworn declaration with the nutritional content of the product to be imported. This measure is aimed at improving the collection of the additional 18 percent tax on imports of high-sugar-containing beverages.
FTA with U.S. assessed after 11 years
Trade officials from Chile and the United States recently met in Washington, D.C., to assess bilateral commercial and trade relations more than 11 years after the implementation of their free trade agreement. With the 12th round of annual tariff reductions taking effect Jan. 1, 2015, all bilateral trade now benefits from duty-free treatment and the U.S. has become the largest foreign investor in Chile as well as the fifth largest market for Chilean investment. However, the recent talks included discussion of remaining technical barriers to trade and the implementation of certain sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Trade and investment discussions held with Brazil
High-ranking Chilean and Brazilian trade officials recently gathered in Santiago for the ninth meeting of the Bilateral Trade Monitoring Commission, which meets regularly to perform an in-depth assessment of economic and trade matters of mutual interest and promote bilateral trade and investment. Topics discussed at the meeting included regulatory issues in the areas of market access and investment, the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, and enhanced cooperation between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance. Representatives from the private sector held a parallel meeting to review business opportunities and explore possible joint ventures in the textile, food, metal and other sectors.
Congress approves FTA with Costa Rica
The Colombian Congress approved June 16 a bilateral free trade agreement with Costa Rica. Colombian products slated to benefit from duty-free treatment immediately upon the FTA’s entry into force include certain textiles and apparel, pharmaceutical products, motor vehicles and automotive parts, toys, paints and fertilizer. On the other hand, coffee, oilseed, rice, sugar, beef, pork, and poultry and dairy products have been excluded from the deal. The agreement will now be reviewed by Colombia’s Constitutional Court.
Eight items removed from list of products afforded duty-free treatment
In August 2013 the Colombian government provided duty-free treatment for two years to a range of raw materials and capital goods not made in Colombia. The government recently excluded from that list goods classified under HTSCO 2836.30.0000, 7209.27.0090, 8422.30.9020, 8422.40.1000, 8434.20.0000, 8435.10.0000, 8441.80.0000 and 8546.90.9000. As a result, these products will be subject to a five percent duty effective July 2.
New AD investigation of footwear from China
Colombia has initiated an antidumping investigation of certain Chinese footwear with leather, synthetic or textile uppers classified under HTSCO 6402.19.00, 6402.20.00, 6402.91.00, 6402.99.10, 6402.99.90, 6405.90.00, 6404.11.10, 6404.11.20, 6404.19.00, 6404.20.00, 6405.20.00, 6403.19.00, 6403.20.00, 6403.40.00, 6403.51.00, 6403.59.00, 6403.91.10, 6403.91.90, 6403.99.10, 6403.99.90 and 6405.10.00. Parties wishing to participate in this investigation are required to make themselves known to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism by the end of June.
New office will monitor compliance with environmental commitments in FTA with U.S.
Peru and the United States recently agreed to establish an office to address complaints that either country is failing to comply with its obligations under the environmental chapter of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. The new office will be located at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington, D.C.
New phytosanitary requirements for teak plants from Brazil
Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has issued new phytosanitary requirements for teak plants (Tectona grandis) from Brazil. Importers must obtain a phytosanitary permit from the National Service for Agricultural Health (SENASA) prior to certification and shipment from the country of origin or provenance. The shipment must also be accompanied by an official phytosanitary certificate issued by the relevant authorities in the country of origin and comply with various other requirements.
AD duty order on U.S. biodiesel could be revoked
Peru has begun a sunset review of the antidumping duty order on pure biodiesel (B100) and mixtures containing at least 50 percent biodiesel (B50) classified under HTSPE 3824.90.9999 from the United States. This review will result in either the continuation or revocation of the order.
China offers $5 billion loan for oil projects
In the coming months Venezuela will receive a $5 billion loan from China for projects to produce oil, which accounts for 90 percent of Venezuela’s foreign exchange. China has become Venezuela’s main financer over the past decade, with loans of more than $46 billion to aid oil production and exports.
Foreign currency restrictions eased for exporters
Venezuela’s National Integrated Service for the Administration of Customs Duties and Taxes (SENIAT) rescinded June 16 a regulation that required exporters to register in the RUSAD foreign currency management system. Authorities indicate that this action is aimed at promoting the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in export-related activities and increasing the flow of foreign currency into the country. The government has said it intends to implement additional measures in the future to further consolidate the country’s export platform.
Second CELAC/EU Summit
A summit that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called “very fruitful” concluded June 11 in Brussels. The summit also served as framework for a ministerial level meeting with ministers from Mercosur and the European Union in which they agreed to exchange market access offers in their long-running free trade agreement negotiations in the last trimester of 2015.