Weekly Trade Briefing: Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2021

International Trade News

Trade Update • SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.

AMS Set to Lower Cotton Import Fee

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service recently announced its intent to decrease the value assigned to imported cotton for the purposes of calculating supplemental assessments collected for use by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Under the proposed amendment, assessments paid by importers of cotton and cotton-containing products will be lowered from $0.011562/kg to $0.011136/kg to reflect a near 4% decrease in the weighted average price of upland cotton received by U.S. farmers in 2020. The rule is set to take effect October 25, 2021, without further action or notice, unless significant adverse comment is received by September 27, 2021.

FAS Updates WTO Trigger Levels for Safeguard Duties on Agricultural Goods

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday published a list of updated quantity trigger levels and applicable periods for products that may be subject to additional import duties under the special safeguard provisions of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture. The trigger level is set according to a complex formula based on market access opportunities defined as imports as a percentage of the corresponding domestic consumption during the three preceding years for which data are available.

Potential Trade Interruptions and Impacts Due to Hurricane Ida

In view of interruptions caused by Hurrican Ida that forced many ocean vessels to redirect from their intended port of unlading to other port locations for discharge purposes, CBP has provided guidance to be followed in the case of such diversions. For in-bond shipments, CBP has instructed officers to avoid issuing liquidated damage claims against overdue bonds until such time as supply chain conditions ease. Regarding potential interruptions related to post-release or payment, CBP says it will take into account difficulties caused by Hurricane Ida when determining if it is appropriate to pursue liquidated damages for late filings and deposits.

USDA Seeking Comments on the Labeling of Meat and Poultry Products Derived from Animal Cells

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service yesterday published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit comments and information regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products made using cultured cells derived from animals under FSIS jurisdiction. Though FSIS has already received considerable public input from past engagement on the topic, the agency is now seeking comments from stakeholders in response to a number of specific concerns and hypothetical labeling scenarios that will inform future regulatory requirements for the labeling of such food products.

Solar Panels

WTO Panel Rejects China’s ‘Baseless’ Claims in Solar Safeguard Case

On Sept. 2, a World Trade Organization dispute panel rejected all four of China’s claims against the U.S. relating to safeguard measures that the Trump administration imposed on solar panels imported from Chinese manufacturers. In its report, the panel said that China failed to establish that Washington’s safeguards against imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells were inconsistent with the WTO’s rules on the measures. In a statement, USTR Katherine Tai  said she welcomed the panel’s findings “rejecting China’s challenges to the U.S. solar safeguard as baseless.”

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