A weekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
USITC to Monitor Imports of Bell Peppers and Strawberries
The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on December 2 that it would begin monitoring imports of bell peppers and strawberries, following a request from USTR Robert Lighthizer for a safeguard investigation in response to complaints from U.S. producers about rising imports of seasonal fruits from Mexico. Accordingly, the USITC will monitor imports of the subject goods for a 90-day period and will have three weeks to prepare and submit a recommendation to the president with the appropriate trade remedies.
U.S. and Ecuador Update Trade and Investment Agreement
On Tuesday, the United States and Ecuador signed a new Protocol on Trade Rules and Transparency that updates the U.S.-Ecuador Trade and Investment Council Agreement. The Protocol adds four new annexes dealing with customs administration/trade Facilitation, good regulatory practices, anti-corruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises. The new protocol will streamline customs procedures, including electronic submission of customs declarations and consistent procedures between ports. In a statement, USTR Robert Lighthizer said the bilateral mini-deal “is an important step in establishing closer economic ties between our countries.” Two-way trade between the U.S and Ecuador was valued at $12.5 billion in 2019.
Parliament Considering Bill To Combat Child Labour in Corporate Supply Chains
Lawmakers in Ottawa are considering legislation to address modern slavery in corporate supply chains. Bill S-216: An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff is currently at second reading in the Senate. If passed into law, the Bill will require the reporting of preventative supply chain compliance measures taken and will also restrict trade in imports of any goods made by child labour, adding to the prohibition on imports made with forced labour introduced earlier this year.
CBP Publishes COAC December Meeting Issue Papers
CBP this week published a variety of issue papers ahead of the December 16th virtual meeting of the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee. COAC is an independent body that provides feedback and recommendations on commercial operations of CBP and related DHS and Treasury functions. The issue papers cover the topics that will be discussed in the upcoming meeting including Intellectual Property Rights, Forced Labor, and Emerging Technology.
Commerce Finds Dumping of Korean Cigarettes
U.S. Department of Commerce announced its affirmative final determination in the antidumping duty investigation of so-called 4th tier (Kings and 100s) cigarettes from South Korea. Commerce determined that Korean exporters have dumped the subject cigarettes in the U.S. at a rate of 5.48%. The International Trade Commission had previously made an affirmative preliminary determination of material injury to the two U.S. cigarette manufacturers who initiated the complaint
USTR Responds to UK Plan to Drop Tariffs on U.S. Goods in Boeing-Airbus Dispute
USTR Robert Lighthizer issued a statement on Wednesday responding to the United Kingdom's announcement this week that it will suspend retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. goods as part of the long-running Airbus-Boeing dispute starting next year. While welcoming the move and endorsing the UK’s objective of de-escalating transatlantic trade tensions and reaching a negotiated settlement, Lighthizer indicates that the U.S. does not feel the UK would actually have the authority from the World Trade Organization to impose tariffs in this regard once it leaves the European Union.
Government Introduces Legislation in House of Commons to Implement Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement
On December 9, Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, introduced Bill C-18, An Act to implement the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, in the House of Commons. The legislation would ratify the deal struck last month to maintain the benefits of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the EU once the Brexit transition ends.
USITC Votes to Continue Investigations into Polyester Textured Yarn
The U.S. International Trade Commission today determined there is a reasonable indication of material injury to domestic producers due to the alleged dumping of certain polyester textured yarn from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Commerce will therefore continue its investigations into imports of the subject goods, with its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due on or about April 6, 2021.