Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
Full Post-Brexit Customs Controls Now in Effect
British firms are now coping with implementation of the much-delayed post-Brexit border control checks that went into effect on Jan. 1 and will affect businesses importing $314 billion of goods a year from the European Union. EU businesses sending goods to Britain will now need to supply full customs declarations while importers will also have to prove that goods are allowed to enter tariff-free under rules of origin requirements. Research suggests that the vast majority of small businesses are unprepared for the change, which is likely to cause further disruption at a time when supply chains are already under significant stress.
End Date for Acceptance of Unoriginal Phytosanitary Docs Extended by 3 Months
According to new guidance issued January 1, 2022, the end date for accepting unoriginal copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms has been changed from December 31, 2021 (as previously reported here) to March 31, 2022. After this date, APHIS and CBP will accept only original phytosanitary certificates and forms for plant commodities. Original copies submitted through the ePhyto government-to-government electronic file sharing system will, however, continue to be accepted by both agencies.
Port of Oakland Launches Joint effort with State, Feds to Move Ag Exports
The Port of Oakland announced early this week that help is on the way for U.S. agricultural exporters facing shipping capacity shortages and soaring logistics costs with a new program supported by both federal and state agencies. Normally, the port handles roughly equal volumes of exports and imports, but terminal operators say the current import surge is “displacing ships and containers that are available to exporters, especially shipments of farm goods.” The new program will involve “additional yard space and equipment, restored export ship calls and assistance to export users,” the port said.
USITC Releases Reports on U.S. Seasonal Cucumber & Squash Markets
The U.S. International Trade Commission this week released a pair of informational reports concerning the effect of imports on the U.S. seasonal cucumber and squash markets, with a focus on the U.S. Southeast region. In both cases, the USITC’s economic modeling estimated that were it not for significantly higher levels of lower-cost Mexican imports during 2015-2020, commodity prices would have been more beneficial to domestic producers. The factfinding investigations were requested by former USTR Robert Lighthizer in response to growing concerns about increasing foreign competition from U.S. producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables.
U.S. Solar Industry Debates Extending Safeguard Measures
At a virtual public hearing held by the USTR on Tuesday, lobbyists representing different aspects of the U.S. solar industry argued over whether a Trump-era safeguard measure set to expire next month should be extended, and if it is, whether it should include a recently reinstated exclusion for bifacial panels. The current safeguard measures on solar cells and modules will expire on Feb. 6 if they are not extended. The ITC last month recommended President Biden extend the remedy for an additional four years.
CBSA Issues Statement of Reasons re Dumping of Mexican OCTG
The CBSA this week published its Statement of Reasons in connection with its Dec. 22 final determination of dumping respecting certain oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from Mexico. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is expected to issue its decision concerning whether the dumping has caused injury and is threatening to cause injury to Canadian producers by January 26, 2022. In the meantime, provisional antidumping duties will continue to apply until this date on imports of the subject goods from Mexico.
Container Shipping From Ningbo Hit by COVID-Related Trucking Restrictions
Trucking services have been suspended in parts of East China’s Zhejiang province, slowing the transportation of manufactured goods and commodities through the world’s busiest port. In a customer advisory yesterday, AP Moller-Maersk A/S reports the imposition of strict controls on trucks moving goods to or from the Beilun district in Ningbo after the recent discovery of several cases of Covid-19 in the area. This suspension, along with restrictions on truckers in some areas in and around Zhejiang, has halted operations at some yards and warehouses at Ningbo port.