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In a Federal Register notice, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the opportunity for qualified, interested shippers to register as Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF). While the TSA had approved shippers to become CCSF’s previously when requested, the TSA had never fully integrated these operations into the Certified Cargo Screening Standard Security Program (CCSSSP). An incentive for shippers to consider becoming a CCSF is that, on October 31, the Impracticable to Screen (ITS) amendments that the TSA had in effect will expire. These amendments allowed cargo not easily screened due to the commodity packaging type or size to move via airfreight. After October 31, ITS cargo will require 100% screening. ITS cargo could be screened by the airline or other third-party service provider, however, higher costs for the shipper are likely to result.
To initiate the registration process, shippers must send an email indicating their interest to an address identified in the notice and TSA will respond with additional information regarding the application requirements.
Several prominent information technology associations, including the Semiconductor Industry Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the Information Technology Industry Council, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo expressing concern over the recent announcement by the Indian Government to require a license to import computers and related information and communication technology products into India. The licensing requirement is to take effect on November 1, 2023. One concern raised was that the licensing regime could make it difficult for U.S. companies with data centers in India to import servers into India that are needed for their operations. While the government announcement included certain exemptions, the associations requested more comprehensive details on the scope of the exemptions. Licensing requirements have also been used in the past as major non-tariff import barriers by various countries, which was another concern raised. The U.S. government was urged to request that India reconsider the implementation of the policy.
In an important recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the case, Royal Brush Manufacturing, Inc. vs. United States Dixon Ticonderoga Company, that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) violated the Fifth Amendment right to due process of Royal Brush by providing only redacted versions of reports that CBP utilized in making its determination that antidumping duty (ADD) evasion occurred in connection with an Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigation. The EAPA investigation centered around pencils shipped from the Philippines to Royal Brush in the United States. CBP concluded that the pencils were of Chinese origin and were transshipped via the Philippines to avoid paying the ADD under case A-570-827 for Cased Pencils from China. However, in making this determination, CBP relied on reports from a verification visit made to the Philippine factory. When Royal Brush requested copies of the reports, production number data and photographs taken at the factory were redacted due to CBP deeming this information to be confidential business information. CBP stated that there was no provision in the EAPA law itself that empowered them to issue a protective order which could have allowed release of the confidential information. Royal Brush then filed suit in the Court of International Trade (CIT).
The CIT ruled in favor of CBP, then Royal Brush appealed. The appellate court stated in its decision: “In short, the law is clear that, in adjudicative administrative proceedings, due process includes the right to know what evidence is being used against one.” The decision further stated: “As best we can make out, the government’s argument is that due process does not require public disclosure of confidential business information relied on in adjudication but only requires disclosure to affected parties under protective orders… We are aware of no case supporting any such extraordinary theory, and it is untenable on its face. The right to due process does not depend on whether statutes and regulations provide what is required by the constitution.” The case was remanded back to the CIT for CBP to provide Royal Brush the redacted information and give them an opportunity for rebuttal.
In legal circles, it is believed that this decision could also have an impact on CBP’s investigations under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act as CBP often does not release the evidence that it has compiled to the party whose cargo is being detained, which may now lead to court challenges of those decisions.
In separate Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) messages, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced postponements of two important system enhancements. First, CBP stated on 08/22/23 that it was disabling the testing of the Ocean House Bill Release in its ACE test Certification Environment. This testing was a precursor to having Ocean Bill Release go live in ACE. A new date for when either testing will continue or the Ocean House Bill Release will go live is to be determined.
Also, on 08/25/23 CBP announced that it was postponing the migration of declarations-related functionality as a part of the Phase 4 ACE portal functionality modernization. A new date for this update is to be determined as well.
Violations of anti-boycott prohibitions enforced by the Commerce Department via the Export Administration Regulations and the Internal Revenue Service via Internal Revenue Code Section 999(a)(3) can lead to very costly penalties, as law firm Sandler, Travis , & Rosenberg reminded the trade in a recent article. Any company that agrees to or actually refuses to do business with or discriminates against Israel or other blacklisted companies, inter alia, can be subject to these penalties, which include hefty fines and even jail time for criminal violations. Therefore, companies must perform their due diligence to ensure that violations of these regulations are not occurring anywhere in their operations.
In a recent advisory opinion, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department, set forth the requirements for the export, reexport, or transfer of licensed technology and software between a licensed U.S. entity and foreign nationals of a related foreign company who are on temporary rotational assignment in the United States. As long as the technology or software is within the scope of the license in question, then release to these foreign nationals would be authorized. However, any new technology or software to be released to these foreign nationals that is not authorized by the existing license would require a new export license.
In a notice to be published in the Federal Register, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will be extending to December 31, 2023 the 352 previously reinstated Section 301 duty exclusions and the 77 COVID-related 301 exclusions that were set to expire on September 30. The required four-year review of the Section 301 duties imposed on certain products from China is still underway and this extension will allow for a transition period as that review continues.
Hard to believe, but it will be 22 years this September 11th since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 caused the death of nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. We still mourn and honor those whose lives were sacrificed. What you may not know is that 187 years prior another event occurred in the month of September. On September 14, 1814, poet Francis Scott Key was watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the continuation of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain. As the U.S. soldiers gained the advantage, a large U.S. flag was hoisted above the fort. Inspired by the bravery and tenacity of the soldiers, Key penned the words to a song titled “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the rest, of course, is history! In remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11th, we share a not so well-known additional stanza of the anthem:
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace may the heaven rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave