JAS USA COMPLIANCE

News & Insights from JAS Worldwide Compliance

JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc.

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JAS USA Compliance Insights

Announcements

JAS USA Compliance Insights on the Impact of COVID-19

CBP HOLDS GREEN TRADE FORUM WITH ACTING COMMISSIONER MILLER DELIVERING ADDRESS

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held its inaugural Green Trade Forum on July 11. Various strategies to incentivize green trade and encourage innovation were discussed. Several commentators mentioned the possibility of utilizing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to promote green trade by adding tariff breakouts for goods made with environmentally preferred materials such as recycled or organically grown materials. CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller spoke at the event highlighting such CBP actions as a goal to have 50% of the CBP vehicle fleet consist of electric vehicles by 2030, CBP’s goal to digitize any remaining manual and paper-based processes, and their commitment to work with interagency partners, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), inter alia, to prevent natural resource crimes such as illegal deforestation and logging and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. A recording of the forum will be made available soon on the Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum page on the CBP website.

Link to the Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum web pageLink to the text of the speech by Acting Commissioner Miller
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SHEFFIELD HALLAM RELEASES EXTENSIVE LIST OF UYGHUR REGION COMPANIES

Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom via its Forced Labor Lab released another forced labor resource in the form of a spreadsheet listing over 50,000 companies that operate in the Uyghur Region of China. The spreadsheet also has a section grouping over 35,000 companies under specific industry categories. Sheffield Hallam provides numerous resources on its website relating to forced labor issues in the Uyghur region, including a 50+ page report on automotive supply chain connections to forced labor in the region.

Link to the spreadsheet
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United States Capitol

A letter signed by 66 members of the U.S. House of Representatives was sent to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, urging renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP). The GSP is a trade program that provides nonreciprocal, duty free treatment for certain U.S. imports from eligible developing countries. The program expired in December 2020. Various measures to renew the program have been introduced since its expiration, some with provisions to alter eligibility requirements, however, the program remains expired at present.

Copy of the Representatives letter
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Cosmetic Registration Requirement

In a recent letter, the National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to delay for a year the requirement for cosmetic facility registration under the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA). MoCRA requires any establishment that manufacturers or processes cosmetic products that are distributed in the United States to assume various new responsibilities as follows:

  • Adverse event reporting
  • Facility registration
  • Product listing
  • Product safety substantiation
  • FDA Mandatory Recall authority

The present deadline for registration and product listing is December 31, 2023. FDA, however, has not outlined exactly how the registation process will work or what system will be utilized. Therefore, NCBFAA is requesting a year extension to allow the trade more time to prepare.

Link to details of MoCRA
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Porpoises swimming

The latest chapter in the ongoing efforts to save the endangered vaquita porpoise and the resulting impact on trade with Mexico unfolded on July 17 when the current administration published a letter to Congress outlining what trade sanctions, if any, would be imposed upon the government of Mexico. The letter was mandated by a settlement between the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and three conservation groups that had filed suit in the Court of International Trade. The conservation groups had been petitioning Interior since 2014 to take action under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967 to certify that Mexico was in violation of the act and international agreements by not taking adequate measures to protect the vaquita. Interior agreed to certify that Mexico was not meeting its obligations and that the executive branch must then determine what action to take. The vaquita is a miniature porpoise indigenous only to the Northern Gulf of California. It is protected under several U.S. laws. There are believed to be only 15 or less left in the wild.

The main threat to the vaquita is the use of gillnets to catch the totoaba fish that shares the same habitat with the vaquita. The vaquita can become entangled in these nets and drown. The totoaba are also endangered, however, the swim bladder of the totoaba is highly valued in China for its supposed medicinal properties. Customs and Border Protection in June seized 242 pounds of totoaba bladders attempting to be smuggled through the Port of Nogales. The estimated value was almost 3 million dollars. In the letter, it was stated that no sanctions would be imposed on Mexico at this time, as progress is being made in the ongoing dialogue between the two countries. There certainly will be more to come concerning the fate of the vaquita and how this will impact trade.

Link to the Letter
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GAO RELEASES SECTION 232 DUTY EXCLUSION REPORT

Following a request from several influential members of Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), issued a report in July on the administration of approved Section 232 duty exclusions for steel and aluminum. The review period was from March 2018 to September 2021. Various issues were discovered with the process by which the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) transmits data on approved exclusions to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is done via spreadsheets from which CBP must manually upload the data to the ACE system. CBP also stated that there is not an automated way for them to monitor exclusion usage against the approved total quantities allowed. CBP staff have to monitor the usage and manually deactivate an exclusion that has reached the total quantity limit. As a result of these issues, the GAO found that almost $32 million in duty exclusions were allowed by CBP for imports that had, in fact, exceeded the total quantities authorized under the particular exclusion.

In an appendix to the report, a review of the tariff rate and absolute annual quotas on steel and aluminum that are in effect from the European Union, Korea, Brazil, and Argentina revealed issues as well. CBP staff communicated that these quotas are very complex and laborious to administer, many of which were instituted without allowing adequate time for ACE to be programmed accordingly.

Link to the GAO report
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CBP Logo

On July 28, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced adjusted amounts for certain user fees for fiscal year 2024 as mandated by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The COBRA requires CBP to adjust certain fees to reflect increases in inflation. The changes will be in effect as of October 1, 2023. Some of the listed changes include :

  • The Merchandise Processing Fee minimum charge will increase to $31.67 and the maximum charge increases to $614.35.
  • The Customs Broker Permit User Fee increases to $174.80.
  • The Informal Entry Fee for Automated release increases to $2.53.
Link to the Federal Register Notice
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CBP PUBLISHES FINAL RULE FOR CUSTOMS BROKER CONTINUING EDUCATION

On June 23, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register its much-anticipated final rule for Continuing Education for Licensed Customs Brokers. The rule will be effective as of July 24, 2023. The final rule closely resembles the proposed rule that was published on September 10, 2021, with some minor changes. Some key elements of the rule:

  • Individual brokers will be required to complete at least 36 continuing education credits per each triennial reporting period.
  • Individual brokers will be required to certify compliance as a part of the filing of their triennial status reports. Records to substantiate the credits earned must be maintained but will only need to be provided to CBP upon request.
  • The first reporting period that it will apply to will be the 2024 to 2027 period.
  • For the triennial period beginning on February 1, 2024, CBP will reduce the 36 continuing education credits, required to be completed, by six credits for approximately every six months that elapse between February 1, 2024 and the compliance date on which individual brokers may begin completing qualified continuing broker education courses.
  • The actual number of credits required for the 2024 to 2027 period and the date from which brokers can start earning credits will be announced in a subsequent Federal Register notice.
  • CBP will utilize the System for Award Management (SAM) to vet and approve qualified accreditors to accredit training and educational activities.
  • CBP-selected accreditors will not be allowed to self-certify the party’s own training and educational activities.

CBP has also created a new page on its website to obtain information on this requirement going forward. link to the Federal Register notice
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WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION ELECTS U.S. CANDIDATE

Ian Saunders was elected to become the next Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO). The WCO, an independent intergovernmental body representing 185 Customs administrations across the globe, is the global center of customs expertise whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. Mr. Saunders was the U.S. candidate and is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Mr. Saunders stated previously that: “My vision for the WCO is to have an organization that builds on its past. The WCO is responsible for a lot of the consistency that we have in the management of local trade now. But I want to make sure that we’re building an organization that is focused on providing the right information products and services to members that will allow them to protect their societies better from both a revenue and a security perspective.”

“My vision also includes engaging the private sector in a different way. The WCO’s individual customs administrations have constraints on their resources, and we need to find ways to mine the expertise and resources of the private sector that shares an interest in seeing international trade function well. We need to engage in a way that allows those insights and those resources to be brought to bear on the problems that are bigger than any one of us alone.”

link to the announcement
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CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY PROPOSES AMENDMENTS

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has proposed a controversial amendment to the rules governing the valuation of imports into Canada under the Valuation for Duty Regulations.  One of the items causing concern is a proposed change to the term “sale for export”.  The CBSA stated the following in a consultation notice:

“This proposal would ensure that the value for duty of imported goods determined under the transaction value method is based on the sale that causes the goods to be exported to Canada, i.e. the last transaction in the commercial chain, irrespective of the chronological order of the sales. Under the proposal, the term "sale" would be constructed in a broad sense, which would include any type of arrangements that cause the goods to be exported to Canada.”

One concern is that the above broad definition of “sale for export” could lead to a situation wherein a subsequent domestic sale in Canada for a higher price for the merchandise being imported could be construed as the last transaction in the chain that caused the goods to be exported to Canada. This could then lead to higher determined valuation amounts and increased duty liabilities.

A link to information on the proposal
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EU Flag

As the European Union’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2) second release deployment window comes to an end on July 1, requiring all airlines to submit detailed shipment information into a new centralized system known as the “Shared Trader Interface” before goods are loaded onto an aircraft, JAS USA is more than ready. Laurie Arnold, Vice President Compliance of JAS USA, stated:

“We're going to be ready. We know what we're doing. We're not going to have to try to figure out how we're going to transmit this data to the airlines or how the airlines are going to get it and transmit it to the government. We will be ahead of the game.”

Click for more information
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CBP BALTIMORE FIELD OFFICE INTERCEPTS MOST STOLEN VEHICLES FOR 2022

Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Baltimore Field Office (which covers the ports of Baltimore MD, Norfolk VA, and Philadelphia PA, inter alia) took the top spot for intercepting the most stolen vehicles attempting to be exported during the 2022 fiscal year. A total of 239 stolen vehicles were seized with an estimated total value of $11,500,000. The most expensive vehicle recovered was a 2022 Bentley Bentayga, valued at $187,600. Some other interesting aspects of these seizures were:

  • 95 percent (225 vehicles) were destined to West African nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • The top-5 recovered stolen vehicles were the Land Rover Range Rover (27 vehicles), Toyota 4-Runner (18), Toyota Rav4 (17), BMW X7 (16), and BMW X5 (15).
  • The oldest vehicle was a 1973 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow recovered in Baltimore and destined to Saudi Arabia. The Silver Shadow was valued at $11,700.

Click to read the announcement from CBP
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RECENT EAPA INVESTIGATIONS INITIATED

Although the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA) was repealed in 2005, there are still antidumping and countervailing duty orders with assessed amounts that can be claimed by affected domestic producers who qualify and submit the required certifications by July 31, 2023.

Customs and Border Protection has also recently initiated several Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigations alleging evasion of antidumping/countervailing duty orders. Some of the products concerned are Chassis and Subassembiles from China, Quartz Surface Products from China, and Xanthan Gum from China.

Click to access the Federal Register notice with full informationClick for more details on the investigations
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European Commission Announces EU Customs Reform Plan

On May 17, the European Commission (EC) unveiled an ambitious reform plan for the EU Customs Union to include the creation of the EU Customs Data Hub to provide a single interface and data repository for all traders to interact with EU Customs. The proposal also includes a “Trust & Check” program for approved traders to import goods without customs intervention, self-monitor for compliance, and pay duties periodically. The de minimis duty exemption of 150 Euro would be eliminated and online platforms would become the “deemed importer” for e-commerce shipments instead of the purchaser.

Read the notice from the EC
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Customs and Border Protection's Green Trade Strategy

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced its Green Trade Strategy to incentivize green trade, strengthen CBP’s environmental enforcement posture, accelerate green innovation, and improve climate resilience and resource efficiency. On July 11, 2023, CBP will host a Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum to allow members of the trade industry, academia, and any other interested entities to share ideas and innovations related to this strategy.

Access a video introducing the strategy hereGet more information here
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CBP Delays Ocean House Bill Release in Ace and Automation of CBP Form 6051D for Detentions

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announed on 05/12/23 an indefinite delay in the deployment of the much anticipated Ocean House Bill of Lading Release in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). A follow-up notice will be issued once a new date is established. Also, the recently announced deloyment date of 05/20/23 for the “Automation of CBP Form 6051D for Detentions Filed in ACE” was changed to “TBD” (To be determined). This was noted on the ACE Deployment Schedule without an official announcement.

Read More (1) Read More (2)
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Sheffield Hallam University Publishes Brief Detailing Expanded List of Products Made with Forced Labor

Sheffield Hallam University released a new brief entitled “Products Made with Uyghur Forced Labor”. The University’s past briefs and investigations have informed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) actions relating to forced labor. The brief outlines an extensive list of products currently being manufactured in the Xinjiang region of China including aluminum, steel, copper, food additives and supplements and batteries.

Link to this and previous briefs released by the University
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British tobacco company settles for $629 million for violations for North Korean sanctions

British American Tobacco and its Singaporean subsidiary agreed to pay combined penalties of more than $629 million in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for bank fraud and sanctions violations concerning clandestine sales of tobacco to various North Korean entities. Assitant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen was quoted as saying, “Today’s action, which involves the largest North Korean sanctions penalty in the history of the Justice Department, should serve as a clear warning to companies everywhere about the costs and consequences of violating U.S. sanctions.”

Read the DOJ Press Release
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 2023 Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit was held April 17 to 19 in Boston with a record live attendance of 1,200 and 3,000 virtual participants.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 2023 Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit was held April 17 to 19 in Boston with a record live attendance of 1,200 and 3,000 virtual participants. Panel and breakout sessions covered a variety of topics including De Minimis challenges, Cybersecurity, Forced labor enforcement, Green trade, E-commerce, Broker Modernization, and several Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) sessions. CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller spoke at the event and stated, “Protecting the security, health and economic vitality of the American people has required intense work and commitment from customs brokers, logistics experts, importers and exporters, legal advisors, civil society and many more. Thank you for your partnership.”

Click for details of the summit
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Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Imposes $300 Million Penalty

On April 19, 2023, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued the largest standalone administrative penalty in its history.  The US Company and its Singaporean affiliate were imposed a $300 million civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of U.S. Export Controls related to selling hard disk drives to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.  The US Company continued to do business with Huawei despite being aware of the August 2020 controls that BIS imposed on Huawei.  This is another reminder of the importance of entity screening and the need to discontinue relations with sanctioned entities.  To read more details, check out the BIS press release in the link below.

BIS Press Release
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EEI Data Private May 2023

As a reminder, per 15 CFR 30.60, the Electronic Export Information (EEI) collected by the Census Bureau is confidential and it "shall not be disclosed to anyone by any officer, employee, contractor, agent of the federal government or other parties with access to the EEI other than to the USPPI or the authorized agent of the USPPI." 

Official Statement
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IRS EV May 2023

The Internal Revenue Service issued its much anticipated notice of proposed rulemaking outlining the requirements for electric vehicle eligibility for the Section 30D New Clean Vehicle Credit of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.  A total credit of $7,500 is available provided that; 40% of the critical minerals used to manufacture the vehicle's battery must be extracted or processed in the U.S. or any country the U.S. has a free trade agreement with (which increases to 80% by 2026); and 50% of the battery components must be manufactured or assembled in North America (which increases to 100% by 2028).  There are also maximum vehicle value limitations and phased in prohibitions for components and minerals coming from a "foreign entity of concern" (to be defined at a later date).  Check out the full Federal Register notice at the link below:

Read More
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UFLPA Article

The implementation of UFLPA has led to a marked increase in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detentions which, at present, are notified to the trade via a paper CBP form 6051D Notice of Detention.  On May 20, 2023, CBP will deploy to the ACE Secure Data Portal the automation of the form to allow the trade to complete the form and provide additional documentation to CBP via the portal.

The lead Congressional sponsor of UFLPA, Senators Jeffrey Merkley and Marco Rubio and Representatives James McGovern and Christopher Smith, sent a letter to Robert Silvers, Chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) requesting, inter alia, more robust reporting to Congress of UFLPA enforcement measures, expansion of the Entity List, and increased scrutiny of de minimis shipments.  To read more, click the button below.

Click below for more information on the above (1)Click below for more information on the above (2)
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G-TEC, Global Trade Educational Conference

The 9th annual Global Trade Education Conference (G-TEC), hosted by the NCBFAA Educational Instistute (NEI) will be held at the Omni Hotel in Oklahoma City, OK from July 31 toAugust 1, 2023. G-TEC is the premier industry training conference and this year's event includes a Pre-Conference Workshop on Sunday afternoon. For more details and registration information, click below.

G-TEC Information and Registration
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Delay of Section 232 Aluminum Smelt and Cast Reporting Requirements

March 30, 2023, CSMS message 55701614 was released indicating “The new requirements for reporting the countries of smelt and cast for imports of aluminum and aluminum derivative products effective on April 10, 2023 have been delayed thirty days until May 10, 2023.  This will allow additional time for the trade to update their software programming and systems to comply with these new reporting requirements.”

To read more, click here
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SEMICONDUCTOR

On October 25, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register several updates to its comprehensive interim final rule of October 7, 2022, which amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement controls on advanced computing integrated circuits (ICs), computer commodities that contain such ICs, and certain semiconductor manufacturing items exported to China. The updates, inter alia, adjust the thresholds for which chips are covered by the regulations, expand licensing requirements to an additional 43 countries included in the D:5 Country Group of the EAR, and add several dozen items to the list of controlled semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Exporters of ICs and semiconductor manufacturing items should thoroughly review the notice and submit any comments to BIS by the December 18, 2023, deadline. The Center for Strategic & International Studies has published a concise summary and commentary on these updates prepared by Emily Benson. A link to this commentary is below.

GOAT

Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists (CBPAS) are tasked with preventing the introduction of invasive species and toxic substances into American agriculture and natural resources. To accomplish this task, a CBPAS will utilize targeting, detection and interception techniques while examining passengers returning to the United States and commercial cargo arriving into U.S. ports of entry. CBPAS’ also work to identify and prevent any attempts at agro-terrorism via the intentional introduction of disease or the contamination of food products with toxic substances. The diversity of passengers and cargo attempting to enter the United States on a daily basis can lead to some interesting interceptions by agriculture specialists.

One recent example took place at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in early October. CBPAS’ inspected a small box carried by a passenger returning from Kenya. To the specialists surprise, the box contained giraffe fecal material. The passenger then advised that she had obtained the droppings in Kenya and planned to make a necklace with them, also stating that she had used moose feces at her home in Iowa in the past for the same purpose. The box was then seized and destroyed.

Another recent example occurred at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Two passengers returning from Congo were referred for inspection. Inside their baggage was found an unknown meat along with 15 pounds of raw goat viscera including, among other things, the heart, lungs and entire digestive system of a goat. The items, of course, were confiscated. Never a dull moment in the life of a CBPAS!

CBP LOGO

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) quietly unveiled a new online portal, ePetition, for the filing of required documentation for petitions for mitigation of amounts charged in penalty notices and liquidated damage claims. Petition filers, however, should still make contact with the responsible CBP officer stated on the notice to confirm that uploaded documents are well received. Petitions can then subsequently be looked up on the portal and the status checked.

CONTAINERS LA

As of November 1, 2023, the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) charged at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will increase 4 percent. The increase is a result of the 4 percent increase in longshore wage and assessment rates recently ratified in the coastwide contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. The TMF was instituted as a way to encourage shippers to have their cargo picked up at the terminals during late night shifts or on weekends to reduce the congestion at the terminals occurring during normal business hours. Beginning November 1, the TMF will be $35.57 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or $71.14 per forty-foot container.

TRAINING GROUP

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that it will be providing a quarterly series of webinars free of charge to assist and train small and medium-sized businesses on how to report trade violations that could threaten their bottom line and hurt the overall economy. The webinars will run from November 7, 2023, through September 10, 2024, and will guide participants through the process of reporting commercial trade violations using the Trade Violations Reporting Tool. The webinars will demonstrate how to report allegations of a variety of trade violations, including antidumping and countervailing duty evasion, forced labor, and natural resource crimes.

LEIDEN

On November 23, Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated in the United States. In the town of Leiden, Netherlands stands an ancient church, called the Pieterskerk, that has a unique connection to the Thanksgiving Day celebration. Inside this church, you will find a large display dedicated to the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, MA on December 22, 1620. The one hundred or so individuals who arrived in Plymouth on the vessel Mayflower are widely known for having fled England to escape religious persecution for their Puritan faith. However, less widely known, is that many of these pilgrims actually first fled to Leiden in the Netherlands and lived there for around 12 years before setting sail for America. Their pastor John Robinson was buried at this church and there is a prominent memorial display for him inside. The church also has an ancient pipe organ that is still played and that contains some pipes dating to the 1400’s. Another interesting fact about Leiden is that during the same time the pilgrims were living there, a teenager by the name of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was living there as well. This young man became known to history as a brilliant painter and printmaker, going simply by his first name, Rembrandt. If you ever travel to the Netherlands, make sure to visit Leiden and the Pieterskerk.

CCSF WAREHOUSE

JAS Forwarding had its ninth facility certified for cargo screening as a Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on August 9, 2023. Located in Somerset, NJ, the facility handles eCommerce and, as a result, 60 pallets a day on average are being screened. This equates to approximately 10,000 to 15,000 pieces of cargo being screened at this one facility. With the approaching eCommerce peak season about to start in November, the volume of cargo screened is expected to increase 150%! The primary screening method is K9, therefore, our K9 handlers and K9’s such as Zeus (pictured above and below) will be hard at work!

CLOSED SIGN

A U.S. government shutdown was averted at the eleventh hour on the evening of September 30, when both the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills to extend present government funding levels for 45 days to November 17. Additional aid to Ukraine and provisions to enhance border security were left out of the measures, while a large appropriation of $16 billion for disaster relief was included. The limited term of the measures, however, means that a shutdown could well become imminent again unless longer term funding bills are approved within the next 45 days.

COMPLIANCE PIECE

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed a civil penalty of $48,750 against a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines to resolve 13 violations of the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as was alleged in a Proposed Charging letter. Between May 2019 and March 2020, the manufacturer received requests on thirteen different occasions from a Middle Eastern airline to not import any Israeli origin goods into the Middle East to fulfill purchase orders from the airline. The manufacturer failed to report to BIS the receipt of these requests as required by 15 CFR 760.5. However, the manufacturer fully cooperated with the investigation and significantly reduced the penalty imposed as a result of the remedial measures taken after discovery of the conduct. This is another reminder of the need to have robust procedures in place to monitor receipt of any such boycott requests and to have a mechanism in place to report them immediately to BIS.

SOFTWOOD LUMBER

Another chapter in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada was opened on September 1. Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng announced that Canada was launching a Chapter 10 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) challenge to the latest countervailing duties (CVD) in place on importations of softwood lumber into the U.S. Additionally, a suit is being filed by Canada in the U.S. Court of International Trade to challenge the antidumping duties (ADD) on softwood lumber from Canada also now in effect.

The dispute goes back to 1981 when the U.S. lumber industry first requested the Department of Commerce to investigate Canadian stumpage programs and impose countervaling duties. The issue is rooted in the fact that most Canadian land where softwood lumber is harvested from is owned by provincial governments, and the fees charged to harvest timber on the land, or the stumpage rates, are set by government regulation. In the United States, most softwood timber land is privately owned and the stumpage rates are determined by market forces. U.S. lumber companies have long claimed that the stumpage rates charged to harvesters by the provinces in Canada are well below market rates and are, therefore, countervailable subsidies. An agreement to suspend the application of any ADD or CVD that had been in effect expired in 2015, and the battle has raged on ever since. The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of Canada in 2020 and stated that the United States CVD measures were not in conformity with its WTO obligations. However, the U.S. has ignored that determination for the most part. Talks between the leaders of Canada and the U.S. in Ottawa earlier this year did not break the impasse.

COSMETIC BAG FDA REGISTRATION

The Food and Drug Administration recently published its much anticipated Draft Guidance on Registration and Listing of Cosmetic Product Facilities and Products as mandated by the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022. The guidance provides details on which facilities must register and the information required to be provided in cosmetic product listings. FDA also published screenshots for the “Cosmetics Direct” electronic submissions portal to be utilized for the registration and listings. The portal is supposed to be available in October.

CRITICAL MINERALS

The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 along with the increased attention given to clean energy transportation alternatives and environmental protection has highlighted the increasingly important role played in the economy by what are termed critical minerals and rare earth elements. The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) has published a very helpful primer that explains what these items are, where the main sources of supply are, and their end uses and applications. The IGF is a forum of more than 80 member countries established to support the advancing of sustainable development goals through effective laws, policies, and regulations for the mining sector.

As the primer states, critical minerals are the minerals and metals necessary for renewable energy and clean technology. It further states that “there is no universally agreed upon definition of what “criticality” means, and criticality changes over time, depending on the needs of society and the availability of supply”. Rare earth elements are “a set of 17 metallic elements that are considered critical because of their properties”. These elements are not in fact rare but are referred to as rare because they can be difficult to extract and can be complex to process.

The need for and importance of these minerals and elements will only increase and will continue to have major impacts on United States trade policy and the logistics industry.

FTZ CONFERENCE OCTOBER

JAS employees were on the move in September as Compliance Project Manager Scott Cassell and Miami FTZ Administrator Ivel Martinez attended the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones “Celebrating 50 Years of NAFTZ” conference held in Miami on September 10 to 13. JAS operates foreign trade zones (FTZ) in both Charleston, SC and Miami, FL and the conference was a great opportunity for the JAS team to stay abreast of the current issues and regulatory changes affecting FTZ’s.

The entire JAS compliance team also meet on September 19 and 20 at the JAS headquarters in Atlanta for their annual meeting. Led by Vice President of Compliance Laurie Arnold this year’s theme was “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success!”. Various topics were discussed and strategies for the coming year were formulated.

HALLOWEEN

It is October and that means Halloween is around the corner! The Library of Congress reports that Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “SAH-win”). Samhain was a pagan religious celebration at the time of the harvest at the end of summer in which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Then, in the eight century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a day to honor Catholic saints and this was called All Saints Day. All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before All Saints Day then became a holiday as well and was celebrated as All Hallows Eve, from which we derive Halloween. The Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns is rooted in the Celtic legend about a man named Stingy Jack who was able to repeatedly trap the devil and would only let him go if he promised that Jack would never go to hell. However, when Jack died, heaven did not want him either, so he had to wander the earth as a ghost for eternity. The devil then gave Jack a burning lump of coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. The tradition then started in Ireland of carving scary faces in turnips to frighten the ghost of Jack and other evil spirits away. Have a safe and happy Halloween and look out for Jack!

Worker Examination

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.

PCB

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.

Pencils

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.

Allow Delay

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.

Law Book

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.

Passport

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.

USTR Logo

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.

American Flag

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

SHEFFIELD HALLAM RELEASES EXTENSIVE LIST OF UYGHUR REGION COMPANIES

Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom via its Forced Labor Lab released another forced labor resource in the form of a spreadsheet listing over 50,000 companies that operate in the Uyghur Region of China. The spreadsheet also has a section grouping over 35,000 companies under specific industry categories. Sheffield Hallam provides numerous resources on its website relating to forced labor issues in the Uyghur region, including a 50+ page report on automotive supply chain connections to forced labor in the region.

United States Capitol

A letter signed by 66 members of the U.S. House of Representatives was sent to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, urging renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP). The GSP is a trade program that provides nonreciprocal, duty free treatment for certain U.S. imports from eligible developing countries. The program expired in December 2020. Various measures to renew the program have been introduced since its expiration, some with provisions to alter eligibility requirements, however, the program remains expired at present.

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