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Trusted Trader Program, FTAs, Tariff Changes Among Ideas to Combat Seafood Fraud

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Commerce is requesting comments no later than Jan. 20, 2015, on how to most effectively implement recommendations recently provided to the president on a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud. These recommendations include the following.

- identify and develop within six months a list of the types of information and operational standards needed for an effective seafood traceability program (including avoluntary Commerce Trusted Trader Program for importers of identified species that would provide benefits such as reduced targeting and inspections and enhanced streamlined entry for certified importers)

- establish within 18 months the first phase of a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from point of harvest to entry into U.S. commerce

- use existing and future free trade agreements to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including through enhanced cooperation with trading partners and commitments to enforce environmental and labor laws

- leverage existing and future Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements to exchange relevant information and encourage cooperation from foreign customs administrations

- standardize and clarify rules on identifying the species, common name and origin of seafood and adjust U.S. tariff codes to enhance identification in trade of species subject to IUU fishing or seafood fraud accordingly

- develop within 180 days a strategy with implementation deadlines to optimize the collection, sharing and analysis of information and resources to prevent IUU or fraudulently labeled seafood from entering U.S. commerce (noting that mechanisms to gather, share and analyze information already exist; e.g., through U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations Trade Transparency Unit)

- work with Congress to the extent necessary to broaden agency enforcement authorities, including to search, inspect and seize seafood, both at the point of entry into U.S. commerce and throughout the supply chain

- work with Congress to pass legislation to implement the Port State Measures Agreement, which sets minimum standards for the conduct of port inspections and the training of inspectors to prevent IUU seafood products from entering commercial markets and also requires port states to prevent the entry into or use of ports by vessels that have engaged in IUU fishing (except for inspection or other enforcement actions)

- include IUU fishing threat analysis and monitoring as a component of U.S. and international efforts to increase overall maritime domain awareness

- coordinate with donors, multilateral institutions and foreign governments and prioritize building capacity to sustainably manage fisheries and combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud

- establish a regular forum with harvesters, importers, dealers, retailers, processors and non-governmental organizations to enhance collaboration and improve understanding of the levels and nature of IUU fishing and seafood fraud and related criminal activities

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