A weekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
CBP Pilot Project to Cut Wait-Times at Laredo Border Crossing
Starting December 7, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is launching a pilot project at the port of Laredo that will route all northbound empties, with the exception of trusted trader participants (C-TPAT/FAST) to the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge. Acting Port Director Eugene Crawford said the pilot program “will help greatly to alleviate wait times at World Trade Bridge [and] provide for a more orderly and efficient facilitation of lawful trade.” The hours of operation for the pilot program will be 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Book Version of ‘Finding Nemo’ Not Classifiable as Children’s Book, CBP Rules
A hardbound “Finding Nemo” story and picture book doesn’t meet the classification requirements for heading 4903, which covers “Children’s picture, drawing or coloring books,” CBP stated in a recently published ruling. Drawing attention to the Chapter notes which indicate that for the purposes of heading 4903, “the expression ‘children’s picture books’ means books for children in which the pictures form the principal interest and the text is subsidiary,’ CBP found this not to be the case in this instance because the book in question “contains a fair amount of text and conveys a storyline that can be supported even without the pictures.”
Trudeau Government Announces Funding to Compensate Poultry and Egg Farmers
Last weekend, Canadian agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a schedule for the payment of $691 million to egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share as a result of two recent free-trade agreements. The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to the CETA and CPTPP trade deals, that is now being disbursed over three years rather than five as originally planned. The federal government’s March 2019 budget allocated up to $3.9 billion in compensation for concessions made on supply management with trade partners seeking more Canadian access for their products.
U.S. Pork Producers’ Trade-Related Wishes For 2021
Among the list of 21 wishes for the U.S. pork industry in the coming year is that: the U.S. gets China to drop its various market access barriers, including COVID-19 related measures and the 25% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork; U.S. export destinations remain diversified and the industry continues to pursue this goal aggressively, both in the Asia Pacific region and the Western Hemisphere; and barriers are eliminated that greatly limit U.S. red meat access in the European Union, including high tariffs, restrictive quotas and sanitary measures.
Think Tank Urges Biden to ‘Rebuild the Trans-Pacific Partnership Back Better’
The incoming Biden administration should help design a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would “reassert leadership in the region” while prioritizing workers and the environment, says Jeffrey Schott, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In a Nov. 30 article, the economist claims that an improved deal backed by the new administration could deepen U.S. trade ties with Taiwan, advance trade rules using U.S. trade laws and practices as a basis, for example, subsidies for state-owned enterprises and digital trade, while addressing China’s aggressive efforts to expand its influence in the region.
Ag Export Group Urges MPs Not to Tie Hands of Canada's Trade Negotiators
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance warns a bill that would prevent federal trade negotiators from granting further access to Canada’s dairy, egg and poultry markets would impair the government’s ability to negotiate the best deals in future. It ‘effectively ties the hands of negotiators’ before talks even begin, the group wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and other leaders in parliament requesting they not support Bill C-216. The legislation’s sponsor, Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon, has argued that the two major parties cannot be trusted with protecting the integrity of the country's supply management system in future trade negotiations.
Canadian Exports to China on the Rise Despite Pandemic
Canada’s business with China has apparently thrived during the pandemic even as diplomatic relations remain in a deep freeze, the Globe & Mail reported this week. New analysis from Carelton University shows that exports to China increased by nearly 10% to almost $15 billion in the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic over the same period in 2019. The growth came even as Canadian exports overall fell nearly 20% in the same March to September period. The rise came mainly from increased shipments of ores, cereal grains such as wheat, meat, animal or vegetable fats, and vegetables.
Commerce Terminates Section 232 Investigation into Mobile Crane Imports
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently ended a probe into the national security implications of mobile crane imports at the request of the petitioner, according to a statement released Friday. The investigation had been launched in May, following complaints by Wisconsin-based Manitowoc Co. Inc. arguing that surges of low-priced imports and infringement of its intellectual property had resulted in the closure of one of its production facilities in the U.S. However, in a Sept. 8 termination request, the company cited “a changing economic environment due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” in asking Commerce to end the probe.