A weekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
Commerce Finds Dumping/Countervailable Subsidization of Chinese Vertical Shaft Engines
On Tuesday, Commerce announced affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of certain vertical shaft engines from China that were found to have been dumped in the U.S. at margins ranging from 177.65% to 468.33%. Commerce also determined that Chinese exporters received countervailable subsidies at rates ranging from 17.75% to 19.29%. The U.S. International Trade Commission is currently scheduled to make its final injury determinations on or about Feb. 18, 2021.
Trump Issues Executive Order Banning Transactions Involving Eight Chinese Software Applications
On January 5, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order declaring that beginning on February 19, 2021, “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with persons that develop or control the following Chinese connected software applications, or with their subsidiaries: Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office” will be prohibited. The EO states that by accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, these Chinese apps “access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information.”
India’s Trade Policy Comes Under Fire at WTO
A review of India’s trade policies and practices at the World Trade Organization this week found that the country has been enacting an increasing number of trade barriers and that its intellectual property protection regime is poorly enforced. The review also noted that India’s average applied tariff rate has increased from 13.5% in 2015 to 17.6% last year. Citing robust growth in imports as a counterargument, Commerce Secy. Anup Wadhawan defended India’s applied tariffs as being “much lower” than its so-called bound rates. The Secretary also pushed back on claims of lax enforcement, drawing attention to the “significant strides” taken in recent years to strengthen India’s IP regime.
U.S. Manufacturers Denounce Violence in Washington
In response to the outrageous events in Washington, D.C. this week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released an extraordinary statement denouncing the violent insurrection of “armed thugs” at the Capitol building. Timmons was also harshly critical of President Trump and those who continue enabling him. “This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such,” Timmons said of what he called a “disgusting episode.” NAM stated that it “was not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in and work so hard to defend.” The group suggested Vice President Pence, “should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”
FDA Recommends Use of ITACS
The Food and Drug Administration this week encouraged members of the import community who deal in FDA-regulated articles to utilize the agency’s Import Trade Auxiliary Communication System for current entry status and to receive Notices of FDA Action electronically. The ITACS Account Management functionality enables the electronic distribution of Notices of FDA Action via email and as downloads from within ITACS. It also allows account holders to view the details of specific information requests, versus delivery of hard copy Notices of FDA Action. Additional information about obtaining an ITACS account can be found here.
U.S. Customs Seizes Counterfeit Designer and Surgical Masks
In two separate incidents reported this week, CBP officers made significant seizures of counterfeit masks imported by companies looking to illegally profit from the pandemic. In late December, CBP in Cincinnati seized 21 boxes of substandard counterfeit masks from China that had been misleadingly labeled as 3M products made in the USA. On January 5, CBP in Louisville seized nearly 6,000 counterfeit face masks from brand name fashion designers that if real would have been worth an estimated $1.4 million.
USTR Releases Findings in Three Digital Services Taxes Investigations
The USTR yesterday issued findings in its Section 301 investigations of Digital Services Taxes recently adopted by India, Italy, and Turkey. In its reports, the USTR found that the DSTs: create “a significant new tax burden for U.S. companies, [and] taxes an unusually broad array of digital services”; are “inconsistent with prevailing international tax principles”; force U.S. companies to “undertake costly compliance measures”; impose a wide range of burdens and “subject U.S. companies to multiple layers of taxation”; and, potentially expose “U.S. companies to unusually harsh penalties for non-compliance.” Despite these findings, the USTR says no actions will be taken at this time but that it will continue to evaluate all available options as it develops its response.
Updated ABI Software Vendors List Now Available
On Friday, CBP published an updated ABI Software Vendors List. Assembled by the Office of International Trade, the list of companies providing software for handling various types of customs data through the Automated Broker Interface in addition to service bureaus used for ACE data transmission is updated periodically.