JAS USA COMPLIANCE

News & Insights from JAS Worldwide Compliance

JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc.

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JAS USA Compliance Insights

Tidbits

JAS USA Compliance Insights on the Impact of COVID-19

WOMEN APPAREL

The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a caucus of nearly 100 members of the House of Representatives, recently issued a letter to the President outlining a list of their  legislative priorities, one of which stated “Advance equity in trade policy by considering solutions to reduce gender bias and regressivity of the tariff system, in consultation with Congress”. Now, it may seem a stretch to claim that something like the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, a legalistic, inanimate document for the classification of imported products, could be biased towards a particular gender. However, after further examination, it seems that the NDC is correct, and the tariff may be somewhat biased towards women. A study performed by the International Trade Commission entitled “Gender and Income Inequality in United States Tariff Burden” discovered, “Across genders, we find large differences in tariff burden…The gender gap exists because spending on women’s apparel is higher than on men’s and because the average applied tariff rate on women’s clothing is higher than on men’s”. The study found “the average applied tariff rate for women’s apparel was 14.9%, but it was only 12.0% on men’s apparel. It was also noted that “the gender difference in applied tariff rates is mostly attributed to the sourcing of imports as a much greater share of men’s apparel than women’s apparel comes from U.S. Free Trade Agreement partners”. Perhaps some adjustments in the tariff are in order.

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CRACKERS

Christmas crackers are a festive holiday tradition in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. They consist of a decoratively wrapped tube with a prize, a paper hat and a joke card inside. The wrapping on the tube is extended outwards on both sides and twisted around a shock sensitive card strip similar to what is used for cap gun shot caps. A person at each end will then pull on the wrapping simultaneously, generating a bang or cracking sound and causing the tube to open and reveal the prizes. It is believed that Christmas Crackers were invented in London around 1847 by a confectioner named Tom Smith who was looking for a way to repackage the candies he sold to increase sales. The hats and prizes were added by his son Walter Smith to further increase sales as other competitors began selling crackers as well. If you are planning on visiting the United Kingdom and are thinking of bringing back any Christmas Crackers, kindly note that the Transportation Security Administration does not allow crackers in carry-on bags or checked luggage on flights to the U.S.

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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.

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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!

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Did You Know? 9/11
September 6, 2023
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

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Statue of Elvis

On August 16, 1977, the world lost a music icon when rock legend Elvis Presley died at the young age of 42. Though his death will be 46 years ago this August, Elvis is still impacting our culture, as evidenced by the huge success of the recent movie made about his life. It is reported that Elvis sold over 150 million records and appeared in close to 31 movies. To this day, over 500,000 people visit the site of his home at Graceland in Memphis, TN annually. Elvis’ life story of a poor kid who makes it big is still inspiring, however, his tragic end is a reminder that money and fame can come at a heavy price. Long live the King of Rock and Roll!

                                               

If you plan on making a visit to Graceland, stop by our branch office located nearby at 7835 Hacks Cross Road in Olive Branch, MS and say hello!

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Thomas Jefferson

Every Fourth of July, Independence Day is celebrated in the U.S. with fireworks and celebrations. However, the meeting that took place on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia wherein the historic Declaration of Independence was ratified, was a rather mundane affair. The Continental Congress delegates themselves more than likely did not fully comprehend at the time the significance of the illustrious document they were agreeing to, nor did Thomas Jefferson, the young man of thirty-three years of age who penned most of the document. A committee had been created by the delegates to pen a “declaration of independence” just in case independence from Great Britain was the course all the delegates agreed to pursue. Along with Jefferson, two of the other committee members were Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. Jefferson was assigned the task of writing the draft since he, as John Adams stated, “could write ten times better” than anyone else. Then as Jefferson wrote the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”, the seeds of a great nation were sown! Happy Fourth of July to all!

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Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. Anne was a young Jewish girl who documented her family’s experiences in a series of diaries she wrote while hiding from Nazi persecution from 1942 to 1944 in an attic in Amsterdam.

The month of June is the birth month of a historical figure whose life, though brief, continues to inspire to the present day. Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. Anne was a young Jewish girl who documented her family’s experiences in a series of diaries she wrote while hiding from Nazi persecution from 1942 to 1944 in an attic in Amsterdam. Tragically, Anne and her family were eventually discovered and arrested by the Gestapo. Anne was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she tragically died. However, in spite of her suffering, Anne penned such quotes as “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again”. May we all approach each day with the same hope-filled spirit. 

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April Showers
April 4, 2023
April Showers

Thomas Tusser was a poet in 16th century England.  His poetry contains the origin of a famous saying about April showers and what follows in May.  His best-known poem was called “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.”  Tusser’s rhyme was just a little different than ours today but the message is the same!

“Sweete April showers,

Doo spring Maie flowers”

Today, it reads:

April showers bring May flowers!

Happy April!

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Did you Know?

Technically, pickles are fruit.  They are made from cucumbers which are commonly seen as vegetables; however, they are a seed containing fruit of the cucumber plant.  But what’s kind of a big “dill” is that the lucky pickles are classified correctly for importing and exporting purposes!  Pickles are to be classified in heading chapter 2001 which provides for other vegetables, fruit, prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid!  Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

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Valentines Day 2023

Valentines Day is February 14th a day that is  common to give cards to the one you love. Did you know that Valentine’s Day cards date back to the 18th Century. Initially cards were handmade. Lovers would decorate paper with flowers and love knots and they often included lines of poetry.  These cards were then slipped secretly under a door or tied to the door handle. The first commercial Valentine’s Day cards appeared in England at the end of the 18th century. These cards were often made of wood and colored by hand. In the mid 19th century Valentines Day cards rapidly gained popularity in America. Technology allowed for more elaborate cards to be produced cheaply which helped them gain in popularity. Hallmark produced the first Valentines Day card in 1913.

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History of January

January was named for the Roman god Janus, known as the protector of gates and doorways who symbolize beginnings and endings. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past, the other with the ability to see into the future. What a fitting symbol for this first day of the year; this month is our door into the new year.

Click the link below to read more information

Read More
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Holiday Lights

Did you know that more than 60% of the world's holiday accessories such as lights, come from China, not the North Pole as one might think. We of course know that these lights have to clear U.S. Customs & Border Protection, but did you know that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is also watching?

Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have plugs containing fuses.

  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • If using an extension cord, make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights – they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.
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Festive Jack-'O-Lanterns on a window sill

Trick-or-Treat! Here are some fun facts to share with the family while you hunt for the best pumpkin in the patch.

• Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the US, right under Christmas.

• Americans are expected to spend over $3 billion on costumes for Halloween in 2022.

• Another $3 billion will be spent on candy alone

• Think you can carve fast? The fastest pumpkin carving of a complete Jack O’ Lantern face according to Guinness World Records is 16.47 seconds. Beat that!

• The average pumpkin has about 500 seeds.

• Pumpkin seeds make a terrific snack! Click the button below for a simple toasted pumpkin seeds recipe that you can make with your family!

Yum!
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The Colors of Autumn
September 7, 2022
colorful leaves

It’s that time of year again. Fall is almost upon us! Fall officially starts September 22nd on the Autumnal Equinox. After months of record-breaking heat, we can finally start to wear long sleeves again, sip some warm coffee, relax, and watch the leaves change. Have you ever wondered why the leaves change? Many think it has to do with the cooling weather, but this is not the case. The beautiful red, yellow, and orange coloring we see in leaves are the result of the tree receiving less sunlight! Every leaf has a chemical inside called chlorophyll, which allows the leaf to absorb sunlight and gives them their signature green color. As the days get shorter, chemical changes take place that causes the base of the leaf to form a corklike wall where it meets the tree branch. This wall seals off the leaf from the rest of the tree, cutting off the supply of nutrients going to the leaves from the tree. The lack of nutrients and less daylight cause the chlorophyll to break down. The green color from the chlorophyll fades, and the other pigments within the leaf begin to make an appearance. Whether the leaf turns red, yellow, orange, or tan all depends on the other chemicals and pigments within the leaf.

Be sure to share these facts with your friends and family, and have a wonderful Autumn!

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Back to School!
August 1, 2022
Back to School tidbits

This August, students will begin returning to classes for the 2022-2023 school year. Let's look at some interesting facts about schooling in the US to get those brains back in action!

  • Over 50 million students will be attending public schools in 2022.
  • There are nearly 98,000 public schools in the US. 
  • About 10% of students will attend private schools.
  • Back-to-school costs for 2022 are expected to average about $864 per family.
  • On average, schools spend over $13,000 per student annually. 
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Did you know, fireworks image

Independence Day is July 4th and many Americans spent this long weekend celebrating with a BANG! Fireworks have become an integral part of celebrating major holidays in America. Here are some fun facts about fireworks:

  • Chinese alchemists first discovered how to make explosive black powder over 1000 years ago. This black powder consisted of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate. This powder would eventually be refined and developed into gunpowder – the perfect substance for launching and exploding colorful chemicals in the sky.
  • Fireworks did not have color or design until the 1830s when Italian pyrotechnicians added arial shells and metal salts to the mixture. These additions would cause brilliant colorful effects and allow for multiple timed explosions with a single firework shell.
  • Fireworks have been used to celebrate Independence Day since the very first anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1777, in Philadelphia.
  • Americans spent $1.5 billion on fireworks last year. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) projects that spending will likely exceed $2 billion this year!
  • Fireworks are getting more expensive, and there will likely be shortages. Due to rising inflation and rising shipping costs, fireworks are going up in price.
  • Display fireworks are hard to ship! Since fireworks are considered explosives, importing them comes with certain restrictions. An importer will need a Federal Explosives Importer License or an ATF license specific to the activity planned for the imported fireworks. All fireworks must be properly labeled with warnings and pass inspection upon entry to the US.

Happy 4th of July!  Please make sure to be safe when using fireworks!

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Summer Tidbits

Summer starts on June 21st, and experts say we are in for a hot one this year! Meteorologists are predicting above-average temperatures across the US, particularly in the North and Midwest. Here are some tips to keep you and your family cool as we enter the sunniest season of the year:

  • MAKE SURE YOU ARE HYDRATED! – This cannot be emphasized enough. Hydration is key to keeping your body temperature regulated. Drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks with electrolytes and stay away from coffee or other drinks that can dehydrate you.
  • Eat a popsicle – Frozen treats are a fantastic way to keep you cool when it’s hot out. As a bonus, a tasty frozen popsicle can double as a mini ice pack if you’re really burning up!
  • Dress appropriately – When dressing for the heat, make sure to wear lightly colored loose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Strap on some sandals or flip-flops to reduce feet sweat. Don a hat and put on some sunglasses to keep your head cool and block UV rays from the summer sun.
  • Eat something spicy – Yes, you read that correctly. Eating spicy food might not be comfortable for everyone, especially in the heat. However, spicy foods can improve your circulation, which causes you to sweat more, and sweat cools the body. Who knew that a dash of hot sauce could keep you cool as cucumber?
  • Freeze your sheets – Getting to sleep when it’s hot is just the worst. Combat warm nights with cold sheets! Strange as it sounds, putting your sheets in the freezer shortly before bedtime will help you cool down when you go to bed. You can also try keeping freezing gel packs between your sheets to keep you cool throughout the night.

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Arbor Day
April 1, 2022
Arbor Day 2022

On April 29th, people all around the world will be celebrating Arbor Day, a special day where we get together to celebrate trees and plant new ones. The very first Arbor Day in the US took place in Nebraska on April 10th, 1872, which means this year we will be celebrating 150 years of planting trees! This is also the 50th anniversary of the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees around the world. The Arbor Day Foundation has planted and distributed 500 million trees (and counting) over the last 50 years. If you would like to contribute to making the world a little greener or get some trees to plant yourself for future generations to enjoy, please visit the Arbor Day Foundation site. All donations are tax deductible and go towards making the world better for all!

Donate Here
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  • While it is often attributed to him, Ben Franklin actually did not come up with daylight saving time as we know it today, but he did pen the idea of adjusting schedules to the available sunlight in an unpublished satirical letter from 1784. In the letter he calculated the money that Parisians could save on candles if they woke with the sun instead of lazily waking at noon.
  • The actual name is Daylight Saving, not Daylight Savings, as it is often called.
  • Daylight Savings was not enacted officially in the US until March 1918. This was later repealed, then enacted again during WWII. After the war, states were allowed to choose whether they wanted to utilize DST or not. This resulted in massive travel issues for citizens crossing multiple state lines.
  • Modern use of DST was established in 1966, when the government passed the Uniform Time Act, creating a standard for daylight savings across the country (minus a few holdout states).
  • Hawaii, Arizona, and most US Territories do not observe DST.
  • There is much debate over whether DST has positive or negative effects on regions that use it, and whether it is necessary at all. Polls indicate that over 60% of Americans generally support the idea of eliminating DST permanently.
  • Studies show that the second Monday in March (the day we “lose an hour” every year) there are noticeable spikes in workplace accidents, traffic accidents, losses of productivity and slight increases in health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Sweep your partner off their feet with these fun Valentine’s facts.

  • In 1875, a Swiss inventor Daniel Peter combined cocoa and condensed milk to create the first Milk Chocolate, which is now the most widely consumed chocolate across the globe. The milk condensation process had been created by Henri Nestlé, who's last name may sound very familiar! These men would go on to create Nestlé, one of the largest food and confectionary companies in existence today.
  • The United States is the biggest importer of chocolate in the world! In 2020, the United States imported $2.9 billion worth of chocolate.
  • Projections for 2022 show that Americans will likely spend over $27 billion on their Valentines. This is an increase of over $5 billion compared to last year!
  • Nothing says “I Love You” like a new diamond bracelet! Lovers all across the United States spent a whopping $5.8 billion on jewelry for their significant others in 2021.  
  • Conversation Hearts (also called Sweethearts), while not exactly considered the best-tasting Valentine’s candy, have become a holiday staple since their creation in 1901 by the famous confectionary company Necco. Approximately 8 billion conversation hearts are made every year!
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January is National Meat Month, and what better way to celebrate than with the perfect steak dinner! Of course, you’ll need some quality ingredients to serve your protein-rich meal, but where did all these ingredients come from? It may surprise you to find that old traditional steak dinner requires foods and goods from all over the globe to come together on your dinner plate. The package label may say ‘New York Strip Steak’ but there is a fair chance that steak was imported from Canada, Mexico, or New Zealand. Once you get the steak going, you can add some flavor by topping it with some shiitake mushrooms, fresh from South Korea! Next, you’ll want a side for the meal, so scallop some Canadian potatoes and top it with some American cheddar cheese. Of course, you’ll need some greens to balance out the meal - time to toss a salad! Take a big pile of leafy lettuce and ripe tomatoes (both imported from Mexico) and top with some fancy cheese and dressing, both Italian! Considering all the countries that had to come together to plate this one meal, maybe we should call it International Meat Month?

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The Santa Suit Debate
December 2, 2021

Mall Santas have an important question to ask themselves when picking out their jolly red attire every winter – Am I buying a Santa Costume or a Santa Suit? The answer to that question will weigh heavily on Saint Nick’s wallet! The difference is how these outfits are officially classified within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. A cheap, lower quality costume is going to be considered a “festive article”, which is duty-free. However, a nice Santa Suit is considered clothing, sometimes categorized as “fancy dress”, which does have certain duties attached. This can hurt costume businesses hoping to import some holiday cheer. Several costume companies have petitioned the government over the years to have Santa Suits officially classified as festive articles to no avail. So, make sure your children are extra-well behaved this year when you visit Santa Claus at the mall, looking jolly can get expensive!

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Last year, NASA and ESA began an ambitious project with the intent to gather rock samples from Mars, and have those samples brought back to Earth. This multi-billion dollar project began with NASA’s launch of Perseverance, a rover designed to drill for rock samples and store them for a return trip. In order to retrieve the samples, the aerospace manufacturer Airbus has been hired to build a specialized spacecraft called the ERO, or Earth Return Orbiter – a massive structure that will cross millions of miles to Mars’ orbit. From there, it will pick up the samples stored by the Perseverance and make a return trip to Earth, resulting in what could be considered the first interplanetary cargo delivery! The ERO is expected to launch sometime in 2026. Now the real question is, what duties do NASA and ESA have to pay for several tons of Mars rock?

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International Coffee Day is celebrated each year on October 1.  Coffee has been used for centuries and grows on multiple continents around the world.  Coffee imports into the US are subject to PGA (Partner Government Agencies).  PGA requirements are diverse and require expertise to navigate.  On International Coffee Day, reflect on the expertise required to bring that beautiful concoction of caffeinated bliss to our breakfast tables!

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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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