Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
FDA Seeks Innovative Food Traceability Tools
As part of its continued efforts to address technological advances in food traceability, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently launched what it calls the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low- or No-Cost Tech-enabled Traceability Challenge” encouraging stakeholders to develop traceability tools that are scalable and cost-effective mechanisms for food operations of all sizes. The pre-registration web page is available for submissions until July 30, 2021. FDA intends to announce up to 12 winners at the completion of the challenge.
Dumped Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers from China and Vietnam Injure U.S. Manufacturer, Says USITC
The United States International Trade Commission on Wednesday determined that a U.S. industry (i.e., Ohio-based MTD Products) is materially injured by reason of imports of walk-behind lawn mowers from China and threatened with material injury by reason of imports of walk-behind lawn mowers from Vietnam that Commerce has already determined are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of China. As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue AD orders on imports of this product from China and Vietnam and a CVD order on imports of this product from China.
House Democrats Introduce Legislation to Modernize and Reauthorize GSP and MTB
House Democrats unveiled the Generalized System of Preferences and Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Modernization Act of 2021 that would extend GSP through Dec. 31, 2024, and provide retroactive benefits. The legislation modernizes the program’s eligibility criteria by adding an environmental criterion and updating the labor criteria. The bill also suspends and reduces duties on certain eligible imports based on recommendations from the U.S. International Trade Commission through December 31, 2023, retroactive for four months, and reauthorizes the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 for two MTB cycles.
U.S. and UK Agree to Put 5-Year Hold on Retaliatory Tariffs in Aircraft Dispute
Replicating the deal struck earlier this week between the U.S. and the European Union, the U.S. and the United Kingdom have agreed to a five-year moratorium on retaliatory tariffs for large civil aircraft subsidies in an accord designed to “finally” put longstanding disputes to rest, USTR Katherine Tai said on Thursday. The U.S.-UK framework says the two sides will “work together to promote fair competition, address shared challenges, overcome longstanding differences, and avoid future litigation.”
Lighthizer Joins Conservative Think Tank
Former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who spearheaded the Trump administration’s aggressive and often confrontational trade policy, has joined the board of American Compass, a self-proclaimed conservative think tank. In a statement welcoming Lighthizer, the group said “[h]is work negotiating U.S. trade agreements and redefining the U.S.–China relationship delivered some of the most consequential achievements of the Trump administration.” Earlier this year, Lighthizer spoke with American Compass founder Oren Cass for a conversation about his work as the USTR, the overhaul of America’s economic relationship with China, successes achieved and lessons learned, and key challenges facing the Biden administration.
Canada-U.S. Border to Remain Closed to Non-essential Travel Until July 21
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Friday that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21. Blair also said, “the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents, and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada.” Further details are to be provided on Monday, June 21. The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and premiers met to discuss the possibility of lifting the cross-border restrictions that have been in place since March of last year.
Canada Requests USMCA Dispute Panel Over Solar Products Safeguard Tariffs
International Trade Minister Mary Ng announced on Friday that Canada has requested a dispute settlement panel to address the United States safeguard tariffs of 18% on Canadian solar products. “These tariffs are unwarranted and damaging to the global competitiveness of our long-established, secure, and deeply integrated supply chains,” said Ng. Ottawa requested dispute settlement consultations with Washington last December under Chapter 31 of the USMCA, but these talks evidently failed to resolve the issue, which has seen exports of solar products from Canada to the United States drop by more than 80%.