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Congress has included the Customs Business Fairness Act on Dec. 21 as part of the latest coronavirus relief package that changes the way U.S. bankruptcy law is applied to customs brokers when importers become insolvent. Under the current law, a customs broker may be ordered by the bankruptcy trustee to give back the duty paid to it by the insolvent importer during the past 90 days. It does not matter to the bankruptcy trustee whether that money has already been paid to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to cover import duties.
The provisions amend various sections of the Bankruptcy Code on a temporary basis to provide additional relief to customs brokerage businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
Laurie Arnold, Regulatory Officer of JAS Forwarding USA Corporate Compliance, along with Whitmer and Worrall, led the NCBFAA's latest lobbying effort to include the bankruptcy bill in the latest COVID-19 relief legislation. Congratulations Laurie and everyone that helped to make this happen!
Effective January 13 at all U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain cotton products and tomato products produced in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against cotton products and tomato products produced in Xinjiang based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor. The agency identified the following forced labor indicators through the course of its investigation: debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions.
The deployment of the Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis (AIM) system scheduled for January 25, 2021 has been delayed until March 29, 2021. The AIM system website consists of an online aluminum import license application platform and public monitoring. This delay means that licenses will not be required for covered aluminum products until the new implementation date.
The U.S. Trade Representative has determined to suspend the tariff action in the Section 301 investigation of France’s Digital Services Tax (DST). The additional tariffs on certain products of France were announced in July 2020 and were scheduled to go into effect on January 6, 2021. The U.S. Trade Representative has decided to suspend the tariffs of the ongoing investigation of similar DSTs adopted or under consideration in ten other jurisdictions. Those investigations have significantly progressed; however, have not yet reached a determination on possible trade actions. A suspension of the tariff action in the France DST investigation will promote a coordinated response in the ongoing DST investigations.