Friday, July 3, 2020

Surgical Mask Contracts Awarded

New Market Veterans, New York, New York (SPE1C1-20-D-1296, $15,061,167); Big Apple Visual Group, New York, New York (SPE1C1-20-D-1294, $14,604,768); and Hilo Enterprises, McLean, Virginia (SPE1C1-20-D-1295, $13,235,571), have each been awarded a maximum firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract under solicitation SPE1C1-20-R-0102 for surgical masks. These were competitive acquisitions with 98 offers received. They are five-month contracts with no option periods. Locations of performance are Virginia, New York, China, and Taiwan, with a Dec. 31, 2020, ordering period end date. Using customer is Health and Human Services. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

The U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a business advisory to caution businesses about the risks of supply chain links to entities that engage in human rights abuses, including forced labor, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) and elsewhere in China.

The People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) government continues to carry out a campaign of repression in Xinjiang, targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups.

The advisory highlights the risks for businesses with supply chain links to entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang and throughout China. The three primary types of supply chain exposure to entities engaged in human rights abuses discussed in this advisory are:

  • Assisting in developing surveillance tools for the P.R.C. government in Xinjiang;
  • Relying on labor or goods sourced in Xinjiang, or from factories elsewhere in China implicated in the forced labor of individuals from Xinjiang in their supply chains, given the prevalence of forced labor and other labor abuses in the region; and
  • Aiding in the construction of internment facilities used to detain Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups, and/or in the construction of manufacturing facilities that are in close proximity to camps operated by businesses accepting subsidies from the P.R.C. government to subject minority groups to forced labor.

Businesses with potential exposure in their supply chain to entities that engage in human rights abuses in Xinjiang or to facilities outside Xinjiang that use forced labor from Xinjiang in the manufacture of goods intended for domestic and international distribution should be aware of the reputational, economic, and legal risks of involvement with such entities.

In order to mitigate reputational and other risks, businesses should apply appropriate industry due diligence policies and procedures.

Several Textile Articles from Europe Face Potential Tariff Hikes

On June 26, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 38488) notice that it is conducting a review of the action being taken in the Section 301 investigation involving the enforcement of U.S. World Trade Organization (WTO) rights in the Large Civil Aircraft dispute. In connection with this review, the U.S. Trade Representative is considering modifying the list of products of certain current or former European Union (EU) member States that currently are subject to additional duties. Annex I to this notice contains the list of products currently subject to additional duties. Annex II contains a list of products, originally published in the April and July 2019 notices in this investigation, under consideration but not currently subject to additional duties. Annex III contains a new list of products being considered for imposition of additional duties. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests comments with respect to whether products listed in Annex I should be removed from the list or remain on the list; whether the rate of additional duty on specific products should be increased, up to a level of 100 percent; whether additional duties should be imposed on specific products listed in Annex II or Annex III; and on the rate of additional duty of up to 100 percent to be applied to any products drawn from Annex II or Annex III. On June 26, 2020, USTR is opening an electronic portal for submission of comments regarding the review of the action.

Comments are due by July 26, 2020.

Currently textile products of the United Kingdom described below are subject to additional import duties of 25 percent ad valorem:

HTSSubheading Product Description
6110.11.00Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of wool
6110.12.10Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of Kashmir goats, wholly of cashmere
6110.20.20Sweaters, pullovers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of cotton, nesoi*
6110.30.30Sweaters, pullovers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, nesoi
6202.99.15Recreational performance outwear, women's/girls' anoraks, wind-breakers & similar articles, not knitted or crocheted, of other textile materials (not wool, cotton or MMF), containing <70 percent by weight of silk
6202.99.80Women's/girls' anoraks, wind-breakers & similar articles, not knitted or crocheted, of other texile materials (not wool, cotton or MMF), containing <70% by weight of silk,
6203.11.60Men's or boys' suits of wool, not knitted or crocheted, nesoi, of wool yarn with average fiber diameter of 18.5 micron or less
6203.11.90Men's or boys' suits of wool or fine animal hair, not knitted or crocheted, nesoi
6203.19.30Men's or boys' suits, of artificial fibers, nesoi, not knitted or crocheted
6203.19.90Men's or boys' suits, of textile mats(except wool, cotton or MMF), containing under 70 percent by weight of silk or silk waste, not knit or crocheted
6208.21.00Women's or girls' nightdresses and pajamas, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton
6211.12.40Women's or girls' swimwear, of textile materials(except MMF), containing 70% or more by weight of silk or silk waste, not knit or crocheted
6211.12.80Women's or girls' swimwear, of textile materials(except MMF), containing under 70% by weight of silk or silk waste, not knit or crocheted
6301.30.00Blankets (other than electric blankets) and traveling rugs, of cotton
6301.90.00Blankets and traveling rugs, nesoi
6302.21.50Bed linen, not knit or crocheted, printed, of cotton, cont any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work, n/napped
6302.21.90Bed linen, not knit or croc, printed, of cotton, not cont any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work, not napped

NESOI means Not Elsewhere Specified or Included.

Addition tariffs, up to 100%, are being considered for several textile articles from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

President Trump Proclaims Implementation of USMCA

On June 29, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed Proclamation 10053 To Take Certain Actions Under the United States-MexicoCanada Agreement Implementation Act and for Other Purposes.

Customs Issues Regulations Regarding USMCA Rules of Origin

On July 1, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (85 FR 39690) Implementation of the Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (USMCA) Uniform Regulations Regarding Rules of Origin.

This interim final rule is effective on July 1, 2020; comments must be received by August 31, 2020.

Ambassador Lighthizer Celebrates USMCA’s Entry Into Force Today Landmark trade agreement fulfills core Trump promise to end job-killing NAFTA

Washington, DC – The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) enters into force today, replacing the job-killing NAFTA failure and fulfilling a core promise President Trump made to the American people.

The USMCA, which President Trump successfully negotiated in 2018, rebalances trade between the three countries and will lead to significant economic and job growth in the United States.

At President Trump's direction, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer worked closely with Congress to win overwhelming bipartisan approval of the USMCA.

Ambassador Lighthizer issued the following statement about USMCA’s entry into force:

"Today marks the beginning of a new and better chapter for trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada – just as President Trump promised he would deliver for the American people.

"From day one of his Administration, President Trump has changed the focus of America's trade policy away from what is best for big, multi-national corporations to instead what is best for America's workers, farmers and ranchers. That's a monumental change. His success in creating a bipartisan consensus on this new model for trade policy -- in spite of the establishment critics who said it couldn't be done -- is truly remarkable.

"The USMCA contains significant improvements and modernized approaches that will deliver more jobs, stronger worker protections, expanded market access, and greater opportunities to trade for companies large and small. We have worked closely with the governments of Mexico and Canada to ensure that the obligations and responsibilities of all three nations under the agreement have been met, and we will continue to do so to ensure the USMCA is enforced.

"The recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates that now, more than ever, the United States must stop the outsourcing of jobs and increase our manufacturing capacity and investment here at home. With the USMCA's entry into force, we take another giant step forward in reaching this goal and advancing President Trump's vision for pro-worker trade policies."

On Independence Day Remember the History of American Freedom and Equality

This year Independence Day in the United States, the 4th of July, falls on a Saturday. National, state, and local government offices will close on Friday to give give government workers an additional day off. Many private businesses will close as well.

Locally, here in Boston, at ten o'clock on the morning of July 4, the Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston, just as it was first read in Boston on July 18, 1776. Yes, back in the Revolutionary (before E-mail) Period it could take two weeks to get a document from Philadelphia to Boston.

The memorable words of the Declaration:

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, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,

punctuate one scene in a sweeping drama of history going back thousands of years.

Liberty and equality before law can be traced back to the Great Charter of England (Magna Carta), signed by King John over 800 years ago, on June 15, 1215, which declared:

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.

And that medieval declaration of rights echoes an earlier act in the drama of freedom. In the Institutes of the Roman Emperor Justinian (A.D. 535) we read:

The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due. Freedom, from which men are called free, is a man's natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force or law: Slavery is an institution of the law of nations, against nature subjecting one man to the dominion of another.

A thousand years earlier, Pericles (439 B.C.) said of Democratic Athens:

Our constitution favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all.

And our founding fathers, who threw off allegiance to King George, must have agreed with the words of the Hebrew prophet Samuel who, half a millennium before Pericles warned the people that asked of him a king.

This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you. --1 Samuel Chapter 8.