Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
DHS Testing Robot Patrol ‘Dogs’ at the Southern Border
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it has been testing “four-legged ground drones” (aka robot “dogs”) that will be dispatched alongside border agents patrolling the border with Mexico. The agency says the “mechanical reinforcements” built by Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics, rival to the better-known Boston Dynamics, will help boost CBP’s presence along the border while reducing human exposure to life-threatening hazards and harsh terrain. The Automated Ground Surveillance Vehicle initiative has drawn harsh criticism from Democratic lawmakers and civil liberties groups.
USDA Allows Resumption of PEI Potato Shipments to Puerto Rico
The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month agreed to allow the resumption of shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes to Puerto Rico. Exports to the territory and the continental U.S. have
been on hold since November following the discovery of potato wart in two PEI fields, after which the Canadian government voluntarily suspended exports pending a review of mitigation efforts. Exports to Puerto Rico normally represent about 25% of the province’s overall potato exports to the U.S. No indication has yet been given when a decision will be made on exports to the continental U.S. or on the sale of seed potatoes.
Concrete Reinforcing Bar Anti-Dumping Import Measures Set to Expire
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal issued notification on Feb. 7 that a 2017 finding and the special import measures currently in force with regards to the dumping of certain concrete reinforcing bar originating in or exported from Belarus, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal and Spain will expire on May 2, 2022, unless an expiry review is initiated. Interested parties wishing to make submissions on whether such a review is warranted must file notice with the CITT on or before Feb. 23.
USITC Votes to Continue Investigation into Dumping of Lemon Juice
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday voted to allow the Commerce Department to continue investigations that could lead to significant anti-dumping duties on imports of lemon juice from Brazil and South Africa. The probe follows a complaint by California-based producer Ventura Central accusing competitors from the two countries of selling their product at less than fair market value (by margins of 200% for Brazil and close to 100% for South Africa).
USITC Determines that Dumped Nails From Five Countries Are Causing Material Injury
The USITC also determined on Feb. 11 that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with same by imports of steel nails from India, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. The investigation follows a complaint brought by Missouri company Mid Continent Steel & Wire, the largest U.S. producer of steel nails and a frequent petitioner in similar cases dating back to 2014. A preliminary Commerce Department decision is expected by June 8.
U.S. Avocado Imports from Mexico Temporarily Suspended
The FDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Feb. 11 suspended avocado export program operations in the Mexican state of Michoacán, after a “security incident” that included a verbal threat to an APHIS employee. Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a statement advising that U.S. imports are suspended “until further notice,” and an investigation has begun to look into the incident. Michoacán is the only Mexican state that is authorized to export avocados into the U.S. and has shipped more than 135,000 tons of avocado so far this year. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has suggested that “economic and political interests” were behind the decision impacting the $3 billion industry.