Port Cybersecurity. The House unanimously approved Dec. 16 the Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act (H.R. 3878, introduced Nov. 2 by Rep. Torres, D-Calif.). This bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to take certain steps to enhance cybersecurity situational awareness and information sharing between and with maritime security stakeholders from federal, state, local and tribal governments, public safety and emergency response agencies, law enforcement and security organizations, maritime industry participants, port owners and operators, and maritime terminal owners and operators. Among other things, DHS must require new area maritime security plans and facility security plans to include mitigation measures to prevent, manage and respond to cyber threats and vulnerabilities and must ensure that maritime security risk assessments include cybersecurity risks to ports and the U.S. maritime border.
Trade Remedies. The Trade Enforcement Improvement Act (H.R. 4196, introduced Dec. 9 by Rep. Nolan, D-Minn.) would make statutory changes regarding the factors considered in a final antidumping or countervailing duty determination when critical circumstances are alleged and in a determination of threat of material injury in an AD or CV duty investigation based on imminent future imports.
The bill also allows the publication of semiannual lists of (a) any producer, manufacturer, supplier, seller, exporter or other foreign person penalized for committing specified violations of U.S. customs laws with respect to textile or apparel goods or goods subject to AD or CV duty orders and (b) countries in which illegal activities have occurred involving transshipped goods or activities designed to evade U.S. quotas or duties and whose governments have failed to demonstrate a good faith effort to cooperate with U.S. authorities on ceasing such activities. Importers would be required to exercise reasonable care that the origin of goods imported from such entities is accurately indicated.
Wildlife Trafficking. The END Wildlife Trafficking Act (introduced Dec. 10 by Sen. Coons, D-Del.) would strengthen protections for the remaining populations of wild elephants, rhinoceroses and other imperiled species through country-specific anti-poaching efforts and anti-trafficking strategies. The bill also seeks to curtail the demand for illegal wildlife products in consumer countries.
Kazakhstan. H.R. 4219 (introduced Dec. 10 by Rep. Boustany, R-La.) would authorize the extension of permanent normal trade relations treatment to the products of Kazakhstan, which has received such treatment since concluding a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. that took effect in 1992 and is about to formally become a member of the World Trade Organization.
Seafood Exports. H.R. 4245 (introduced Dec. 11 by Rep. Pingree, D-Maine) would exempt imports and exports of sea urchins and sea cucumbers from licensing requirements under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Pingree noted that federal officials recently started requiring inspections of urchins entering and leaving the U.S. and that the inspection process can cause delays that result in “the loss of a very valuable product.”