Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.
CBP Bans Imports from Malaysian Glove Makers Over Use of Forced Labor
U.S. Customs Border Protection last week issued a Withhold Release Order against disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by a group of companies collectively known as Smart Glove. The WRO was based on information that reasonably indicates that Smart Glove production facilities utilize forced labor and therefore violate U.S. law. Accordingly, shipments from Smart Glove and its subsidiaries will, effective Nov. 4, be detained by CBP at all ports of entry. Last month CBP also issued a WRO against three other Malaysian glove producers that were also found to be utilizing forced labor.
Aluminum Producers Push for Stronger Trade Enforcement
Following the recent agreement between the U.S. and European Union over steel and aluminum imports, the trade group representing North American aluminum producers is urging the Biden administration “to redouble efforts to promote strong trade enforcement and eliminate massive industrial subsidies that drive excess capacity in the Chinese aluminum sector” in future negotiations. While opposing the tariff-rate quota (the group had recommended a 3-year phase-out of the Sec. 232 duties), it welcomed efforts to tackle unfair trade practices and in this regard called on the USTR to push the European Commission to reimplement recently suspended tariffs on unfairly dumped Chinese flat-rolled aluminum.
APEC Ministers Push for ‘Concrete’ Outcomes at WTO Ministerial
Trade and foreign ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries meeting virtually this week urged World Trade Organization members to ensure the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) delivers “concrete” outcomes in a number of key areas including pandemic recovery, trade and investment, and the digital economy. In a joint communique following the meetings, the APEC ministers pledged their support for revitalizing and modernizing the WTO, which they called to deliver “comprehensive” disciplines on harmful fisheries subsidies, a “meaningful” outcome on agriculture, and “pragmatic and effective” measures to facilitate the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden to Host Trudeau and López Obrador at North American Leaders’ Summit on Nov. 18
President Biden will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador next week for the first North American Leaders’ Summit since 2016, the White House announced on Wednesday. Priorities for the trilateral summit include “finishing the fight against COVID-19, getting the job done on vaccines, tackling the climate crisis, creating new middle-class jobs, building an economic recovery that works for everyone, and migration,” according to a statement released by the Canadian PMO.
WTO Panel Named in Canada’s Complaint Against China Over Canola Seeds
On Friday, the World Trade Organization announced the panelists that will oversee the case brought earlier this year by Canada regarding Chinese measures restricting imports of canola seeds. Widely viewed as political in nature, the dispute follows increased inspections and the revocation of export licenses beginning in 2019 that resulted in a 70% drop in Canadian imports with an estimated revenue loss of roughly $1 billion. The announcement also notes that Australia, Brazil, the EU, India, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, the U.S., and Vietnam have reserved their rights to participate in the panel proceedings as third parties.
U.S. Business Groups Raise Concerns About India’s Trade Practices
Ahead of USTR Katherine Tai’s upcoming meetings in New Delhi (November 22-23) marking the relaunch of the bilateral Trade Policy Forum which had lapsed under the previous administration, a coalition of U.S. businesses outlined a litany of trade irritants with India. An 8-page letter to the USTR highlights unresolved disputes with India’s policies in regards to several key areas: intellectual property; medical devices and pharmaceuticals; digital trade barriers; tariffs on farm goods, tech products and manufactured goods; and various regulatory and technical barriers to trade.