Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
White House Considering Revival of Controversial COOL Regs
A fact sheet released earlier this month in connection with the Biden administration’s action plan for more competitive and resilient meat and poultry supply chain has raised concerns among the industry that the U.S. will once again try to use mandatory country of origin labeling to protect domestic producers from foreign competition. The White House says it intends to issue “new ‘Product of USA’ labeling rules so that consumers can better understand where their meat comes from.” Six years ago, the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. COOL regulation was discriminatory which resulted in the law being repealed.
Global Supply Chain Pressures May Have Peaked, Fed Index Suggests
The Federal Reserve last week debuted a new way of tracking the pressure on global supply chains with an index that integrates a number of commonly used metrics to provide a more comprehensive assessment of potential disruptions. With data reaching back more than 20 years, the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index illustrates the unprecedented impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains. More recently though, according to the Fed, the GSCPI “seems to suggest that global supply chain pressures, while still historically high, have peaked and might start to moderate somewhat going forward.”
USW Warns Lawmakers Not to Roll Back Trump-Era Tariffs
United Steelworkers recently told lawmakers to stop using the rising level of inflation as an excuse to call for rolling back retaliatory tariffs imposed by the previous administration, which the labor union contends are protecting U.S. industries that have suffered from unfair trade practices by China and other countries. In a letter to all members of the House and Senate, the union described such efforts as “an insult to workers and their employers in the impacted sectors who work hard, play by the rules, and simply expect their elected leaders to stand by their sides.”
FDA to Reject Contradictory Entry Data/Entry Type
CBP has advised in a Cargo Service Message this week that effective Jan. 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration validations will be updated to enforce the PGA Flag Enforcement table. Accordingly, if FDA receives an entry with the FDA message set on an entry type not subject to FDA import requirements, it will reject the entry data with error code 195 (Entry Type Not Allowed for PGA). Specifically, if an Entry Type 22 (re-warehousing) with FDA data is submitted, the entry data will be rejected by FDA for correction of the conflicting information. Note that the following agencies currently enforce their flagging requirements with a reject severity: EPA, FDA, APHIS Lacey, NHTSA, TTB, DEA, NMFS.
U.S. Chamber Urges Biden Administration to Act More Vigorously on Trade
Criticizing the Biden administration for largely being “consumed by caution and internal reviews” since taking office, in her keynote address at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual “State of American Business” event this week, CEO Suzanne Clark urged the White House to develop a more cohesive strategy to confront the economic threat posed by China; one that includes inking more free trade agreements — starting with the United Kingdom — and re-engaging with members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Sunset Review Supports Continuation of AD/CVD Orders on Certain Uncoated Paper Imports
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday determined that revoking the existing antidumping duty orders on imports of uncoated paper from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Portugal and the existing countervailing duty orders on imports of such goods from China and Indonesia would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time. As a result of the USITC’s affirmative determinations, the existing orders on imports of this product will remain in place.
Beef Imports from Argentina and New Zealand Now to be Filed Using eCERT
In a pair of Federal Register notices published this week (here and here), CBP announced that effective Jan. 18, the export certification requirement for certain imports of beef from Argentina and New Zealand subject to a tariff-rate quota will be carried out through the Electronic Certification System. The move follows requests by both countries to utilize the eCERT system, which employs electronic transmissions of export data to facilitate the administration of quotas and ensure that the mandated restraint levels are not exceeded. The transition to eCERT will not change the tariff-rate quota filing process or requirements, however. Importers will continue filing export certificate numbers from Argentina and New Zealand in the same manner as when currently filing entry summaries with CBP.
BIS Delays Implementation of New Cybersecurity Export Controls
The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Wednesday announced that it will be temporarily delaying the implementation of rules establishing new controls on certain cybersecurity items for National Security and Anti-terrorism reasons, along with a new License Exception, Authorized Cybersecurity Exports. Implementation of these export controls on certain cybersecurity items that can be used for malicious cyber activities was to have become effective on January 19, but in response to stakeholder concerns about the necessary compliance measures and the time required to update their internal procedures, BIS is delaying the effective date of the cybersecurity controls until March 7, 2022.
BNSF Unions Threaten Strike Over ‘Hi-Viz’ Attendance Policy
More than 17,000 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation union have initiated steps to strike the BNSF Railway in response to its announcement of a new “Hi-Viz” attendance policy set to take effect Feb. 1. The unions argue that the policy violates numerous collectively bargained agreements currently in place throughout the BNSF system. The railroad says it “must improve crew availability to remain competitive in the industry” and that the Hi-Viz program helps with this issue “by incentivizing consistent and reliable attendance.”