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DOC News: Seafood Imports, Softwood Lumber Subsidies

Monday, May 11, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

DOC Directed to Take Steps on Seafood Trade

A May 7 executive order from President Trump aimed at promoting U.S. competitiveness in seafood directs the Department of Commerce to take the following steps.

- issue within 90 days a proposed rule to further implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

- work with other federal agencies to strengthen and enhance existing enforcement capabilities to combat IUU fishing and promote implementation of the port state measures agreement

- establish an interagency seafood trade task force that will provide to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative within 90 days recommendations on the preparation of a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy that identifies opportunities to improve access to foreign markets through trade policy and negotiations, resolves technical barriers to U.S. seafood exports, and otherwise supports fair market access for U.S. seafood products (USTR must submit this strategy to the president within 90 days of receiving these recommendations)

Noting that the U.S. imports about 85 percent of the seafood it consumes (and that China’s aquaculture industry produces 100 times more seafood by weight than that of the U.S.), the EO also directs the DOC and other federal agencies to take specified measures to expand sustainable seafood production in the U.S., including furthering more efficient and predictable aquaculture permitting processes and accelerating regulatory reform to maximize commercial fishing.

Softwood Lumber Subsidy Programs

The International Trade Administration is inviting comments by June 5 on any subsidies provided by certain countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the U.S. during the period July 1 through Dec. 31, 2019. Comments should include the name of the country that provided the subsidy, the name of the subsidy program, a brief (no more than three to four sentence) description of the subsidy program, and the government body or authority that provided the subsidy.

Given the large number of countries that export softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the U.S., the ITA is only interested in subsidies provided by countries whose exports accounted for at least one percent of total U.S. imports of softwood lumber by quantity, as classified under HTSUS 4407.10.01, 4407.11.00, 4407.12.00, 4407.19.05, 4407.19.06, and 4407.19.10, during this period. Official U.S. import data published by the International Trade Commission indicate that only Brazil, Canada, Germany, and Sweden met this criterion.

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