Weekly Trade Briefing: May 31-June 4, 2021

International Trade News

Trade Update • JUNE 4, 2021

Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.

Box Tree Moth

USDA Halts Imports of Canadian Boxwood, Euonymus, and Holly

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently confirmed the presence of box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis, in the continental U.S. and is taking action to contain and eradicate the invasive pest that was imported on nursery plants shipped from Ontario, Canada. Accordingly, the importation of host plants from Canada, including boxwood (Buxus species), Euonymus (Euonymus species), and holly (Ilex species) has been prohibited as of May 26.

Chinese Fishing Boat

U.S. Bans Seafood Imports From Chinese Fishing Fleet Over Forced Labor Charges

U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week imposed a new import ban on seafood from a Chinese fishing fleet that the agency says is using forced labor on its 32 vessels, including abuses against many Indonesian workers. Effective May 28, CBP will detain all tuna, swordfish, and other products from the Dalian Ocean Fishing Co Ltd at U.S. ports of entry. The Withhold Release Order banning the imports also applies to other end-use products containing seafood from the company, such as canned tuna and pet food.

CPTPP Meeting

Canada and CPTPP Members Agree to Begin Accession Process with United Kingdom

International Trade Minister Mary Ng met online Tuesday with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership members to discuss the United Kingdom’s application to join the trade pact. They agreed to establish an Accession Working Group to begin negotiations with the U.K. on its proposed membership. In a statement, Ng said Canada “would welcome the agreement’s expansion to economies able to meet its high-standard commitments on the environment, labour, women’s participation, and much more.”

RFK Building (DOJ)

Justice Department Asks CIT to Dismiss Sec. 301 China Tariff Refund Cases

The U.S. Court of International Trade should dismiss thousands of pending complaints against tariffs on goods from China because they were lawfully imposed and can’t be subjected to judicial review, the Justice Department said in a court filing this week. In its motion to dismiss, DOJ said importers “have not pled a justiciable claim” arguing that the USTR’s determination and implementation of the Sec. 301 action “is wholly discretionary and thus non-justiciable because the statute contains no ‘judicially discoverable and manageable standard.’”

CFIA Seeking Feedback on Import Revitalization Project

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding its current programs as it embarks on an Import Revitalization Project in response to changing industry requirements, technological advancements, enhanced risk modelling, and evolving partner relationships. To assist in this process, the agency has published “A Blueprint for Imports” summarizing recommendations to revitalize the CFIA’s import programs and help ensure that they stay effective, efficient, and current. Comments or questions about the blueprint can be made via e-mail.

Ziploc Bags

Ziploc Maker Loses Appeal Over Reclassification of Plastic Sandwich Bags

The Federal Circuit this week rejected an appeal from S.C. Johnson, bringing to an end the manufacturing giant’s effort to have its Ziploc resealable sandwich bags reclassified as “household goods” rather than packaging. Because the goods were manufactured in Thailand, tariff heading would have made them eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. Siding with CBP and the Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed their position that the goods are more specifically provided for by heading 3923.21.00 as plastic “sacks and bags.”

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