Thursday, October 18, 2018

KORUS Short Supply Request Filed

The Government of the United States received a request from the Government of Korea, submitted on September 24, 2018, to initiate consultations under the KORUS. The Government of Korea is requesting that the United States and Korea ("the Parties") consider revising the rules of origin for certain yarns, woven fabrics, and knit apparel to address availability of supply of fibers and yarns in the territories of the Parties. The President of the United States may proclaim a modification to the KORUS rules of origin for textile and apparel products after the United States reaches an agreement with the Government of Korea on a modification under the KORUS to address issues of availability of supply of fibers, yarns, or fabrics in the territories of the Parties. CITA hereby solicits public comments on this request, in particular with regard to whether certain fibers, yarns, and knit fabrics can be supplied by the U.S. domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner.

DATES: Comments must be submitted by November 16, 2018

Request #Input Product DescriptionInput Product HTSEnd-use Product Description
1Certain viscose rayon staple fibers classified in subheadings 5504.10 or 5507.005504.10
5507.00
Cotton yarn (other than sewing thread), containing less than 85% by weight of cotton, not put up for retail sale, classified in heading 52.06
2Certain textured and non-textured cuprammonium rayon filament yarns classified in subheading 5403.395403.39Woven fabrics of artificial filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from materials of heading 54.05, classified in heading 54.08
3Certain cashmere yarn classified in heading 51.0851.08Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, classified in heading 61.10;
Other made up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted, classified in heading 61.17;
Knitted or crocheted parts of garments or of clothing accessories, classified in heading 61.17

ICE HSI Rhode Island investigation leads to federal conviction, seizure of $500,000 worth of counterfeit goods

On October 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that after a recent multiagency intellectual property rights investigation resulted in federal convictions of two Rhode Island men on counterfeit goods trafficking charges and the seizure of more than $500,000 worth of counterfeit goods, special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Providence went on to coordinate an extraordinary effort that brought about the donation of half of the seized items to a non-governmental organization for use in humanitarian relief efforts.

The leaders of the counterfeit scheme, Stephen Russell and Robert Brown, both of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, were convicted in February and March of this year of trafficking in counterfeit goods charges in Rhode Island federal court; final sentencing in the case is set for January 2019.

Following the culmination of the investigation that shut down the counterfeit enterprise and ended in the successful prosecution of its leaders, HSI Providence Resident Agent in Charge Brendan Cullen his HSI personnel spearheaded an extraordinary effort to allow for the re-purposing and donation of half of the seized items to World Vision, an internationally-recognized humanitarian relief organization that brings aid and comfort to thousands of people in dire need worldwide.

Working closely with ICE's Intellectual Property Rights Center, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Fines Penalties & Forfeitures division, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and with private sector partners, Cullen and his team worked tirelessly to ensure all required steps were done to allow for the transfer. After the removal of all counterfeit labels, Cullen and the team worked to help get approval from trademark holders, to have all items tested for non-flammability, and then arranged for delivery to World Vision liaisons, who expressed deep gratitude for the gifted items.

In all, more than 1,500 clothing and footwear items out of approximately 3,000 items seized in the investigation were donated to the international humanitarian relief and development non-governmental organization.

Trump Administration Announces Intent to Negotiate Trade Agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom

Trump Administration Announces Intent to Negotiate Trade Agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom

On October 16, 2018, at the direction of the President, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that the Trump Administration intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

"Under President Trump’s leadership, we will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom," said Ambassador Lighthizer. "Today’s announcement is an important milestone in that process. We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses."

In officially notifying Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 – often referred to as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – which requires ongoing consultations with Congress. These consultations ensure that USTR develops negotiating positions with the benefit of Congress’ views. USTR will also publish notices in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus and content of the trade negotiations.

In accordance with TPA, USTR will publish objectives for the negotiations at least 30 days before formal trade negotiations begin.

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding Japan, click here.

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding the European Union, click here.

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding the United Kingdom, click here.

Background Information

U.S.-Japan Trade

U.S. goods and services trade with Japan totaled an estimated $283.6 billion in 2017. Exports were $114 billion; imports were $169.5 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Japan was $55.5 billion in 2017.

U.S.-EU Trade

U.S. goods and services trade with the EU totaled nearly $1.2 trillion in 2017. Exports totaled $527 billion; Imports totaled $627 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with the EU was $100 billion in 2017.

U.S.-UK Trade

U.S. goods and services trade with United Kingdom totaled an estimated $235.9 billion in 2017. Exports were $125.9 billion; imports were $110.0 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with United Kingdom was $15.9 billion in 2017.

CPSC to Meet with Home Furnishing Alliance on Flammability Issue

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Consumer Product Safety Commission officials Allyson Tenney, Michael Taylor, Andrew Lock, Directorate for Laboratory Sciences, and David Miller, Directorate for Epidemiology will participate in the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) 2018 Regulatory Summit. Michael Taylor, David Miller, and Andrew Lock will present on the current status of Furniture Tip over and Upholstered Furniture Flammability.

President Trump End's U.S Subsidy on Chinese Goods Mailed to U.S.

Ever wonder why you can buy Bluetooth earbuds on Ebay from China and get them in a day or two, with POSTAGE INCLUDED, for less than what the postage alone would be to ship them in the U.S.? Well, it turns U.S. taxpayers have been subsidizing China's shipments to the U.S. for decades. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, "The UPU [Universal Postal Union] negotiates global rates and other standards among its 192 members for cross-border mail. The U.N. agency has long used a tiered system that gives discounts to developing countries for packages of 2 kilos (about 4.4 lbs.) or less. Despite China's rise to become the world's second-largest economy, the UPU still classifies it as a 'tier 3' country, meaning it qualifies for the deepest discounts. The U.S. is a 'tier 1' country." President Trump has announced that the U.S. will no longer participate in this subsidy of China and will "self declare" the rate for Chinese shipments into the U.S.

TRIVIA. This not the first time that UPU rates, which had not been adjusted to reflect the reality of the strength of nation's economies, has been in the news. In 1919, Charles Ponzi, sitting in his office at 27 School Street, Boston (a block from the office of Agathon Associates), realized that he could make easy money by taking advantage of the difference between the real cost of postage nation-by-nation, and the artificial exchange rate that the UPU had never updated to reflect the changes in national economies brought about by the Great War. It worked, on a small scale, but became a criminal enterprise when took in more investors' money that there was international postage coupons in circulation to redeem.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Max Brickle's fight to save the Navy Pea Coat

Max Brickle is the owner of Northwest Woolen Mills, a company that provides 50,000 pea coats to the Navy every year. In 2019 the Navy plans to do away with the iconic garment, but Brickle and his team are fighting back.

USITC Institutes Investigation to Assess a Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has instituted an investigation to assess the likely impact of a trade agreement that the President has announced he intends to enter into with Mexico and Canada.

The investigation, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative in a letter received on August 31, 2018.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 requires the USITC to prepare a report that assesses the likely impact of the Agreement on the U.S. economy as a whole and on specific industry sectors and the interests of U.S. consumers.  The USITC’s report, which will be public, is due to the President and the Congress no more than 105 days after the President signs the Agreement, which he can do 90 days after he notifies Congress of his intent to do so.  The President notified Congress on August 31, 2018, of his intent to enter into the Agreement.

The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation beginning at 9:30 a.m. on November 15, 2018.  Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on October 29, 2018, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.  For further information, call 202-205-2000.

The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record.  Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on December 20, 2018.  All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and the procedures for written submissions is available in the USITC’s notice of investigation, dated October 12, 2018, which can be obtained from the USITC web site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or 202-205-2000.