Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
Health Canada Issues Interim Order Regarding UV Radiation and Ozone-Generating Devices
Due to serious health and safety concerns, on June 7, 2021, the Minister of Health made an Interim Order that brings certain UV radiation-emitting devices and ozone-generating devices under the Pest Control Products Act. Imports of these devices have increased significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite not having been assessed to determine if they can be used safely or if they work as claimed. The Interim Order requires that, effective July 6, 2021, these devices be subject to safety and efficacy assessments and registration or authorization prior to entering the Canadian market.
Trade Commission Makes Affirmative Determinations Concerning Honey Imports from 5 Countries
The U.S. International Trade Commission recently determined that there is a reasonable indication that U.S. producers are being materially injured by reason of imports of raw honey from Argentina, Brazil, India, Ukraine, and Vietnam that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value. As a result of the USITC’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will continue its investigations in this regard with its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due on or about September 28, 2021.
USTR Files Second Labor Complaint in Mexico Under New USMCA Mechanism
On Wednesday, the United States asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Tridonex auto parts factory in the northern border city of Matamoros are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. In a statement, USTR Katherine Tai noted that the request “marks both the second time ever, and the second time in the past month, that the U.S. has requested Mexico’s review of collective bargaining rights issues under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism in the USMCA.” Tai said the action demonstrates “the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to labor enforcement.” The request follows a petition filed last month by the AFL-CIO.
NPR Letters for Certain Forestry Articles Discontinued
As part of updates to its import requirements for certain articles of wood and some articles that contain wooden components, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency advises that it will no longer be issuing “no-permit-required” letters for covered articles such as prefabricated wooden buildings, wooden furniture with bark, and sculptures and statuettes of wood exceeding 1.5 cm in thickness or with bark. Instead, import permits should be obtained for these articles, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if import may be approved. Importers holding NPR letters should apply for a permit to import if they wish to continue importing after September 1, 2021.
CBSA Initiates Investigations into Dumped Container Chassis from China
The Canada Border Services Agency CBSA initiated investigations this week regarding the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of certain container chassis from China. The investigations under the Special Import Measures Act follow a complaint filed by Quebec-based Max‑Atlas Equipment International Inc. The subject goods are usually classified under tariff classification number 87126.96.36.199. CBSA will make preliminary decisions within 90 days, at which time provisional duties may apply.
Importers ‘Dropped the Ball’ by Not Filing Protests, Trade Court Rules
In a June 11 decision, the U.S. Court of International Trade ruled that importers must file protests with CBP in order to preserve their ability to obtain duty refunds in connection with exclusions from Sec. 301 tariffs. In dismissing a lawsuit brought by two importers over requests for post-liquidation refunds on products retroactively excluded from the so-called “List 2” or “List 3” Section 301 tariffs, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction since the “plaintiffs regrettably dropped the ball” by neglecting to file timely protests of the CBP liquidations assessing the punitive duties. As a result of this decision, importers that did not file a protest within 180 days after liquidation no longer have any administrative or judicial remedy.
How Trump’s Trade War Built Shein, China’s First Global Fashion Giant
A relatively new Chinese brand is upending a $36 billion industry by beating the likes of Inditex SA’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz AB at their own game. Exploiting tax loopholes in the U.S. and in China that came to the fore during the trade war, Shein has become the biggest web-only fashion brand in the world with annual sales of $10 billion. A Bloomberg article explains how the company has gained a huge competitive advantage from China’s waiving of export taxes in 2018 (a move intended to boost sales for direct-to-consumer companies) and the $800 U.S. de minimus threshold that allows its shipments to effectively bypass the Trump administration’s punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.
CBSA Workers to Hold Strike Votes Over Pay, ‘Toxic’ Workplace Culture
The union representing 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency personnel will commence strike votes on June 16 and continue them throughout the month. The Public Service Alliance of Canada says said their members have been without a contract for nearly three years. Talks with the CBSA and Treasury Board broke off in December. According to the union, the two sides have been unable to agree on better protections for staff that would address a “toxic” workplace culture and wage parity with other law enforcement personnel across Canada.