Saturday, September 19, 2020

Federal Prison Industries Awarded Army Contract

Federal Prison Industries, Inc., Washington, D.C., has been awarded a $39,270,400 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for Molle 4000 rucksack carriers. This is a three-year contract with no option periods. Locations of performance are Washington, D.C., North Carolina and South Carolina, with a Dec. 17, 2023, ordering period end date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-F065).

Army and Navy Tarpaulin Contract Awarded

Transhield Inc., Elkhart, Indiana, has been awarded a maximum $7,705,846 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for tarpaulins and fitted vehicular covers. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a three-year base contract with two one-year option periods. Location of performance is Indiana, with a Sept. 18, 2023, performance completion date. Using military services are Army and Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio (SPE7LX-20-D-0218).

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

The COAC will hear from the current subcommittees on the topics listed below and then will review, deliberate, provide observations, and formulate recommendations on how to proceed:

1. The Intelligent Enforcement Subcommittee will discuss its White Paper on Enforcement Modernization to support CBP’s 21st Century Customs Framework, which aims to further improve risk management and the impact of efforts to detect high-risk activity, deter noncompliance, and disrupt fraudulent behavior by better utilizing technology, big data, and predictive analysis to drive decision-making. The subcommittee also will discuss prioritized past recommendations and any new recommendations from the Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duty (AD/CVD), Bond, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and Forced Labor Working Groups. The Forced Labor Working Group will present recommendations on CBP’s existing forced labor allegations submission mechanisms including the e-Allegations web portal.

2. The Secure Trade Lanes Subcommittee will provide updates on the Trusted Trader Working Group’s activities specific to the CTPAT Trade Compliance program enhancements including benefits, Participating Government Agency engagement, and forced labor. The Export Modernization Working Group will provide updates and recommendations focusing on improving current export processes. The subcommittee will also report on the activities of the Remote and Autonomous Cargo Processing Working Group.

3. The Next Generation Facilitation Subcommittee will provide an update on the progress of the One U.S. Government Working Group with Partner Government Agencies regarding advancement in Trusted Trader initiatives. There will be an update on the progress of the Unified Entry Processing Working Group’s operational framework. Finally the Emerging Technologies Working Group will provide an assessment of various technologies evaluated this past quarter that could be adapted for CBP and the trade.

4. The Rapid Response Subcommittee will provide updates on the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) Automotive Working Group activities regarding the plans for Auto Certification Submissions and challenges/concerns post entry into force of the USMCA. The Broker Exam Modernization Working Group will discuss alternate locations for broker exams and remote proctoring exam options.

Counterfeit Designer Shoes, Handbags, & Clothes Seized by CBP in Louisville

On September 17, 2020, a CBP officer in Louisville held a shipment, manifested as women’s clothes, for inspection. The parcels was inspected to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. When the shipment was opened designer shoes, handbags, and clothes were found inside. The items were inspected by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit. In all, 95 items were seized. If these items were real, the total MSRP for these would have been $193,740. The packages were coming from Vietnam and were heading to Westminster, California.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is a priority trade issue for CBP. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, CBP and their partner agency Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized 27,599 shipments containing IPR violations with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $1.5 billion had the goods been genuine. Watches and jewelry represent 15 percent of all IPR seizures, and continue to top the list of all seized IPR materials.

Dulles CBP Officers Seize Nearly $3 Million in Counterfeit Consumer Goods

On September 15, 2020, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport checked those boxes when they seized nearly $3 million in counterfeit consumer goods from China.

The shipment, which arrived on August 22, and destined to a drop shipper in Dallas, was manifested as “sticker storage bag.” The shipment consisted of 74 boxes that included 4,213 belts of various designer brand names, 176 Louis Vuitton handbags, 39 Gucci shirts, 37 pairs of Gucci pants, and six Louis Vuitton shirts.

CBP officers detained the shipment August 24 as suspected counterfeit goods. CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center of Excellence and Expertise and the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles CEE, the agency’s trade experts, worked with trademark holders and verified that all 4,471 products were counterfeit. They appraised the products at $2,950,479 manufacturer’s suggested retail price, if authentic.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in FY 2018. However, the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.

E- Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In FY 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.

Rhode Island textile manufacturer forges ahead in uncertain times with Defense procurement contracts awards.

Northwest Woolen Mills, a division of The Brickle Group, has recently been awarded a string of Department of Defense contracts for textile clothing requirements for the armed forces.

The company submitted and won awards for a three-year contract for both Snow Camo Trousers and Parka for the Army expected to be worth nearly $13 million dollars. In addition, the most recent 5-year contract for Wool Berets was also awarded last month to Northwest Woolen Mills, expected to be worth over $18 million dollars.

Max Brickle, President of The Brickle Group, noted, “We’re excited to be able to continue supporting our troops and local communities and industries that will benefit from this award. Especially during these uncertain economic times that Covid19 has brought us to. This will help not only our company and employees and our Rhode Island community, but all of our subcontractors and their staff as we all weather the Covid-19 storm.” With its extensive background and global contacts in the textiles industry, Northwest Woolen Mills has also recently converted part of its business focus to sourcing and supplying PPE gear for federal, state and local government, businesses large and small, NGOs and schools around the country to fight Covid-19. It is currently waiting to hear on several federal government contracts related to hard to find USA made PPE.

The Brickle Group to which Northwest Woolen Mills belongs, is a diverse textiles manufacturing company. Its other divisions include Bouckaert Industrial Textiles, which manufactures nonwoven fabrics, and Hyman Brickle and Son which recycles fabrics and yarns and creates new textile products like the yarn that goes into every MLB baseball.

CBP Intercepts 20,000 Counterfeit N95 Masks in Boston

On Wednesday, September 2, CBP Officers targeted a suspicious shipment arriving from Hong Kong. Officers detained the shipment of 43 boxes that appeared to contain counterfeit N95 respirator masks. The boxes were brought to the International Cargo Port where specialists from CBP’s Apparel, Footwear and Textile Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) determined the items to be counterfeit with an appraised value of $163,200.

“Counterfeit personal protective equipment puts frontline workers and the general public’s health at risk,” said Michael Denning, Director of Field Operations for the Boston Field Office. “CBP Officers and our trade teams are trained to identify and intercept these dangerous goods before they can do harm to our communities and the American consumer.”

Certain organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace.

To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Military Clothing Contracts Awarded

The National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $14,834,277 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for advanced combat shirts. This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods. Locations of performance are Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, and New York, with a Sept. 15, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-B090).

M&M Manufacturing, Lajas, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $9,213,750 modification (P00015) exercising the first one-year option period of an 18-month base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1145) with three one-year option periods for various types of blouses and coats. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a Sept. 19, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Navy, Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WTO Panel Rules U.S. Section 301 China Tariffs Illegal

On September 15, 2020, a World Trade Organization the Panel released its report which concludes that the U.S. Section 301 tariffs in China are inconsistent with the U.S. WTO obligations because the additional duties apply only to products from China and thus fail to accord to products originating in China an advantage granted to the like product originating in all other WTO Members. The panel also said the tariffs are WTO-illegan because the additional duties are ordinary customs duties applied in excess of the rates to which the United States bound itself in its Schedule and accord imports from China "less favourable treatment" than that provided in the United States' Schedule.

The ruling is not legalling binding.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer was dismissive.

“This panel report confirms what the Trump Administration has been saying for four years: The WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the United States of intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct. The United States must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices, and the Trump Administration will not let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. It is important to note that this report has no effect on the historic Phase One Agreement between the United States and China, which includes new, enforceable commitments by China to prevent the theft of American technology.”

IN MY OPINION: If Trump is re-elected, I believe he will keep the China tariffs. He has repeatedly stated that he likes tariffs as a tool to deal with China. It plays well with his base. Year after year, since China entered the WTO at the end of 2001, the U.S. issued an annual report on all the ways China is out of compliance with its WTO commitments and how that is harming the U.S. economy. And year after year the U.S. did nothing about it. Trump took action, and even his detractors concede that action against China was overdue.

IN MY OPINION: If Biden is elected I expect he will end the China tariffs quickly. Even though Biden may be forced to recognize that the U.S. must do something about China, he likely will say that Trump's tariffs on a wide swathe of trade, most of it unrelated to the underlying reason for the tariffs, is, arguable, a blunt instrument. Therefore I expect that Biden will suspend these tariffs and seek a more diplomatic and nuanced approach. Personally, I think such a more subtile approach will be unsuccessful, but I can easily see him going in that direction. He will likely also cite yesterday's WTO ruling as evidence that Trump has made the U.S. a rogue nation, embarrassed the U.S. internationally, and abandoned the U.S. long commitment to a rules-based interational trading regime.

Lawsuit Challenges China 301 Tariff, Deadline Join is Friday, September 18

A lawsuit was filed last Friday challenging the legality of the Section 301 tariffs on China. It specifically challenges List 3 and List 4. The nature of legal remedy they are relying on means that if they are successful the plaintiffs would recover all Section 301 tariffs back to the date the tariff was first applied. HOWEVER relief will NOT BE AVAILABLE to others who have paid those tariffs. The only way to get relief, if relief is granted, is to FILE YOUR OWN lawsuit. AND YOU MUST ACT QUICKLY, the deadline to file is Friday, September 18, 2020.

Here's a link to the lawsuit

https://filehost.thompsonhine.com/uploads/USCIT_-_HMTX_Industries_LLC_et_al_v_United_States_-_Sept_2020_2ea7.pdf

If you Google on "Court No. 20-00177" you will find several trade lawyers who can explain this action.

Back in September 2018 I posted my opinion that a lawsuit might be successful, but due to high cost and the likelihood of winning no one, until now, has attempted this approach.

Now, with this lawsuit commenced I suggest you contact whoever you use as an international trade attorney ask for a consultation to determine whether you should act quickly and file your own suit.

AGOA TPLs Announced

The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act ("AGOA") provides for duty-free entry of apparel assembled in the AGOA region of fabric formed in the U.S. of yarn formed in the U.S. It also provided for a Tariff Preference Level ("TPL") equal to seven percent of all U.S. apparel imports for apparel assembled in the AGOA region of fabric from the AGOA region. The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements ("CITA"), in a notice to be published tomorrow, announces the TPL for the period October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021 will be 1,856,390,368 square meter equivalents ("SME"). There is also a TPL for Lesser Developed Countries ("LDCs") in the AGOA region for apparel assembled in an AGOA LDC of third-country fabric. The TPL is set at 3.5 percent of all U.S. apparel imports. Today CITA announced the TPL for the 12-month period starting October 1, 2020 will be 928,195,184 SME.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

500,000 Counterfeit N95 Masks Seized by Chicago CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers attached to the Anti Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) in Chicago were contacted by Homeland Security Investigation to seize a shipment arriving from Schenzhen China. On September 10, 2020, the shipment was seized.500K Fake Mask

The shipment listed 500,000 N-95 respirator masks, which were believed to be counterfeit. A-TCET officers removed 30 masks and sent them to a CDC testing office in West Virginia. The CDC report concluded that 10% of the respirators tested had a filter efficiency rating below 95%. The shipment was seized under Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Adulterated or Misbranded Products.

An appraisal performed by an Import Specialist established the Domestic Value at $3,074,385.00 and MSRP at $474,905.00. The Domestic Value is higher than the MSRP strictly due to the masks being in high demand. The package was destined for a company in Manalapan, New Jersey.

“Our CBP officers working with partners in HSI were able to stop these faulty mask from being sold under the guise of fully protecting Americans,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “These masks did not meet the safety standards outlined by the CDC, which puts the public at risk, jeopardizing the health and well being of everyone.”

The shipment of masks were turned over to HSI for further investigation and enforcement.

Certain organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace.

To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.

DHS Cracks Down on Goods Produced by China’s State-Sponsored Forced Labor

On September 14, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five Withhold Release Orders (WRO) on products from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The products subject to the WROs are produced with state-sponsored forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaged in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.

“By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labor, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States. When China attempts to import these goods into our supply chains, it also disadvantages American workers and businesses,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “President Trump and this Department have, and always will, put American workers and businesses first and protect American citizens from participating in these egregious human rights violations.”

“The Trump Administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject vulnerable workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Today’s Withhold Release Orders send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains.”

The new WROs direct CBP Officers at all ports of entry to withhold release on the following goods:

  1. All products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that this “re-education” internment camp, which is often called a Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, is providing prison labor to nearby manufacturing entities in Xinjiang. CBP identified forced labor indicators including highly coercive/unfree recruitment, work and life under duress, and restriction of movement.
  2. Hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates this site is manufacturing products with forced labor of the Uyghur people and other minority ethnic groups who are detained in “re-education” internment camps in Xinjiang. CBP identified forced labor indicators including highly coercive/unfree recruitment, work and life under duress, and restriction of movement.
  3. Apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that these entities use prison and forced labor in apparel production. CBP identified forced labor indicators including the restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.
  4. Cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Information reasonably indicates that this entity and its subsidiaries use prison labor in their raw cotton processing operations in Xinjiang. Cotton-processing factories and cotton farms in this region are prison enterprises that use convict labor.
  5. Computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co., Ltd. in Anhui, China. Information reasonably indicates that Hefei Bitland uses both prison and forced labor to produce electronics. CBP identified forced labor indicators including abuse of vulnerability, restriction of movement, isolation, and intimidation and threats.

“The series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor conditions in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the U.S. supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports. American consumers deserve and demand better.”

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP has issued an unprecedented 12 WROs in a single fiscal year, including 8 WROs on products from China. All WROs are publicly available and listed by country on CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings webpage.

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) prohibits the importation of all goods and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by forced labor, convict labor, or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions, including forced child labor. CBP combats import risks, detects high-risk activity, deters non-compliance, disrupts fraudulent behavior, and thoroughly investigates allegations of forced labor.

CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter at @CBPTradeGov.

Last modified: 
September 14, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

UK and Japan agree historic free trade agreement

The UK has secured a free trade agreement with Japan, which is the UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation and will increase trade with Japan by an estimated £15.2 billion.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on a video call this morning (Friday 11 September).

The deal is tailored to the UK economy and secures additional benefits beyond the EU-Japan trade deal, giving UK companies exporting to Japan a competitive advantage in a number of areas. It will help to create jobs and drive economic growth throughout the whole of the UK.

The deal is also an important step towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will give UK businesses a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains.

UK businesses will benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan. Government analysis shows that a deal with Japan will deliver a £1.5 billion boost to the UK economy and increase UK workers’ wages by £800 million in the long run.

UK manufacturers, food and drink producers and the tech sector are all set to benefit from the measures in the UK-Japan deal, which include:

  • Cutting-edge digital & data provisions that go far beyond the EU-Japan deal. These will enable free flow of data whilst maintaining high standards of protection for personal data. We have also committed to uphold the principles of net neutrality, as well as introducing a ban on data localisation, which will prevent British businesses from having the extra cost of setting up servers in Japan. This will help UK fintech firms operating in Japan - like Revolut and Transferwise - to innovate and grow.

  • Improved market access for UK financial services – including greater transparency and streamlined application processes for UK firms seeking licences to operate in Japan. The deal creates an annual dialogue between Her Majesty’s Treasury, UK financial regulators, and the Japanese FSA that will explore ways to further reduce regulatory friction - something that would be impossible were the UK still in the EU. Financial services are our biggest export to Japan, accounting for 28% of all UK exports.

  • Tariff free access for more UK goods – new and more liberal Rules of Origin will allow producers of coats, knitwear and biscuits to source inputs from around the world for their exports to Japan – making it easier and cheaper for them to sell to the Japanese market.

  • New protection for more iconic UK goods – increasing geographical indications (GIs) from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70 under our new agreement, covering goods including English sparkling wine, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb. This would lead to improved recognition of key UK brands in the Japanese market.

  • New protections for UK creative industries – British businesses can now be confident that their brands and innovations will be protected. We have gone beyond the EU on provisions that tackle online infringement of IP rights, such as film and music piracy.

  • Improved mobility for business people – securing more flexibility for Japanese and British companies to move talent into each country, covering a range of UK skilled workers to enter Japan, from computer services to construction. This includes commitments that go beyond the EU-Japan deal, for investors, spouses and dependents, and a wider range of intra-company transfers. Requirements for visas will be clear, transparent, and with an aim that they be processed in 90 days. A worker transferring from their UK HQ to the Tokyo office will be able to bring their spouse and dependents and stay for up to five years.

  • Supporting UK car and rail manufacturing – supporting major investors in the UK like Nissan and Hitachi through reduced tariffs on parts coming from Japan, streamlined regulatory procedures and greater legal certainty for their operations.

  • More generous market access for malt producers – Japan has guaranteed market access for UK malt exports under an existing quota which is more generous and easier to access than the EU quota. The UK is the second biggest exporter of malt to Japan, with UK producers exporting £37m there each year.

  • Strong tariff reductions for UK pork and beef exports – We have negotiated a deal that sees tariffs fall on pork, beef, salmon and a range of other agricultural exports. We will continue to benefit from access to the low tariffs for key food and drink products covered by quotas, such as Stilton cheese, tea extracts and bread mixes. This forms a pathway to further market access under CPTPP, which has been committed to by Japan as part of our agreement.

The UK and Japan have a long-shared history as free trading nations and this deal marks an historic moment that will deepen the partnership between two democratic island nations.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:

This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal. The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

From our automotive workers in Wales to our shoemakers in the North of England, this deal will help build back better as we create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.

Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.

Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry said:

As we look to the UK’s global trading future, trade deals we sign should be about businesses of all sizes, which is why we are delighted to see a UK-Japan trade deal today that includes a comprehensive chapter for SMEs. FSB has long campaigned for these chapters to be included in trade deals, to give UK small businesses the support and tools they need to reach new markets.

The UK-Japan trade deal therefore marks a major moment. It provides access to a major global market for the UK’s small business exporters, with one in ten viewing Japan as a crucial market to tap into. With over 130,000 small businesses already exporting to Japan, this should provide small businesses looking to grow, maintain or start exporting to Japan with the certainty they need for the future.

Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn said:

The signing of the UK-Japan trade deal is a breakthrough moment. It will be welcomed by businesses across the country. The Government and business now need to work together to make the most from the deal. It’s a huge opportunity to secure new Japanese investment across a wider range of sectors and UK regions.

Business will help support the Government in its efforts to secure more trade deals around the world and promote their benefits to communities. The Japan deal can be the first of many.

CEO of TechUK, Julian David said:

TechUK welcomes the conclusion of the UK-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement with its comprehensive digital trade chapter. Today’s agreement improves an already flourishing relationship between the UK and Japan tech sectors and creates significant opportunities for trade and investment for both our countries.

Since 2018, in partnership with JEITA, we have run a successful UK-Japan Tech Forum to enable our members to develop a closer relationship with Japan and we look forward to working with the Government and our partners in Japan to assist the tech sector in taking full opportunity of this agreement.

Jim Walker, Managing Director of Walkers Shortbread said:

We welcome the news that a UK-Japan agreement has been agreed today. Japan remains one of Walkers’ most important markets and sales have grown steadily there since first launching in Japan over 40 years ago.

This deal will help provide certainty and create more opportunities to continue building sales in the future in a market where our products already enjoy success.

Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade, Food and Drink Federation said:

UK food and drink manufacturers are delighted to hear the UK has concluded a comprehensive new trade deal with Japan. As the world’s largest net importer of food and drink, this deal with Japan improves our existing terms of trade and offers significant new growth opportunities for quality UK manufacturing. We particularly welcome the additional flexibility this deal delivers in terms of rules of origin which are so crucial for our industry.

The agreement recognises the unique challenge posed by seasonality and provides confidence for UK exporters across a wide range of product categories. This deal can make a vital contribution towards the UK’s economic recovery and our industry is ready to deliver for every community across the UK.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Tuesday is Felt Hat Day

September 15th is Felt Hat Day the end of the season when men may wear their straw boaters and Panamas rather than the fur felt fedoras, porkpies, homburgs, Western-style, and bowlers that we wear (You do wear a hat, don't you?) the rest of the year. For more information see www.thefedoralounge.com. Straw hats may not be worn again until Straw Hat Day which is May 15th.

For more information, or to buy quality hats, including hats made in the U.S.A., visit these fine vendors:

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Marine Combat Uniform Contract Awarded

American Apparel Inc., Selma, Alabama, is awarded a $7,260,212 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the purchase of up to a maximum of 70,200 marine corps tropical combat uniforms. Work will be performed in Selma, Alabama, and is expected to be complete by September 2025. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $1,201,631 will be obligated on the first delivery order immediately following contract award and funds will expire at the end of fiscal 2020. This contract was competitively procured via the official contract opportunities website beta.SAM.gov, with one offer received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-20-D-1690).

Friday, September 11, 2020

President Trump Strengthens Buy American Requirement for Government Contracting

A Federal Register notice scheduled to be published September 14, 2020, implements President Trump's Executive Order increasing the minimum domestic content required for most government acquistions and increasing the financial incentive for using domestic content.

On July 15, 2019, the President signed E.O. 13881, Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials (84 FR 34257, July 18, 2019). This E.O. changes regulkations implementing the Buy American statute by increasing the—

1. Domestic content requirements; and

2. Price preference for domestic products.

Under E.O. 13881, the domestic content requirement for iron and steel end products increases to 95 percent. For everything else, the domestic content requirement increases from 50 percent to exceeds 55 percent of the cost of all components.

The Buy American statute does not prohibit the purchase of foreign end products or use of foreign construction material. Instead, it encourages the use of domestic end products and construction material by imposing a price preference for domestic end products and construction material.The Buy American statute does not prohibit the purchase of foreign end products or use of foreign construction material. Instead, it encourages the use of domestic end products and construction material by imposing a price preference for domestic end products and construction material. E.O. 13881 increases the price preference from 6 percent to 20 percent for large businesses and from 12 percent to 30 percent for small businesses.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

National Council of Textile Organizations and National Cotton Council Send Letter to Lead House & Senate Committee Members in Support of CBTPA

On September 9, 2020, he National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and National Cotton Council (NCC) sent a letter today to the chairs and ranking members of two key congressional committees today, voicing support for a timely extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which expires on Sept. 30. The House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade is holding a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 PM on this important trade preference program.

The CBTPA has provided a structured system of textile and apparel duty preferences for certain countries-- most notably Haiti-- since it was implemented in 2000. U.S. textile and cotton industries see significant benefits from the program, which has helped establish an export market for U.S.-grown cotton, U.S.-spun yarn and other textile materials of U.S. origin.

The U.S. content rule contained in CBTPA provides a mutual benefit to the U.S. industry and the Caribbean Basin region economies.

The associations’ support is contingent upon the trade program not being tied to other unrelated and harmful trade and tariff provisions as noted in their joint letter.

The NCTO and NCC sent the letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking member Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

See the full letter here.

Updates to CBP Suggested Template for Certifications of Origin

CBP has updated the suggested certification of origin template for trade agreements to include the U.S. – Japan Trade Agreement (EIF 1/1/2020) and the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (EIF 7/1/2020). Please find the suggested template at https://www.cbp.gov/document/guidance/certification-origin-template.

Request for Comments To Compile the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

On September 10 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 55925) Request for Comments To Compile the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

USITC Releases the Year in Trade 2019

On August 31, 2020, The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released The Year in Trade 2019, its annual overview of developments regarding the administration of U.S. trade laws and trade agreements.

The USITC's The Year in Trade is one of the government's most comprehensive reports available regarding activities related to U.S. trade policies, agreements, and trade laws. This report is the 71st in a series of annual reports submitted to the U.S. Congress under section 163(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2213(c)) and its predecessor legislation.

The publication reviews U.S. international trade laws and actions under these laws, activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and developments regarding U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs), FTA negotiations, and U.S. bilateral trade relations with major trading partners in 2019.

The Year in Trade 2019 covers:

  • all U.S. antidumping, countervailing duty, safeguard, intellectual property rights infringement, national security, and section 301 cases active in 2019.  In addition, the 2019 report covers the operation of U.S. trade preference programs, including the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Nepal Trade Preferences Act, and the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, including initiatives for Haiti;

  • WTO dispute settlement decisions and other significant activities in the WTO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum;

  • negotiations on U.S. FTAs with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom; negotiations on modifications to the U.S.-Korea FTA and the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement; and developments regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement and other U.S. FTAs already in effect; and

  • bilateral trade issues with selected major U.S. trading partners -- the European Union, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Taiwan.

The report also provides an overview of U.S. trade in goods and services during 2019. Statistical tables highlight U.S. bilateral trade with major trading partners and trade under U.S. trade preference programs and FTAs.

An interactive, web-based version of The Year in Trade 2019 is also available at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/tradebalance.html and https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/appendixa.html.

The Year in Trade 2019 (USITC Publication 5055, August 2020) will be posted on the USITC's Internet site at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub5055.pdf

Other reports in this series dating back many years can also be found on the Commission's website at https://www.usitc.gov/annual_reports_archive.

USITC Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2019

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2019 (2019 Trade Shifts) is now available on the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) internet site.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan factfinding federal agency, produces its web-based comprehensive review of changes in U.S. trade patterns annually.

2019 Trade Shifts includes new interactive features, such as tables and graphics that allow users to view and refine, as they choose, the official government data presented. The report highlights changes in U.S. exports and imports by sector and select trading partners in terms of absolute value changes, relative percent changes, and changes in rank.

Highlights from the 2019 Trade Shifts report include:

  • In 2019, U.S. total exports and general imports both decreased though both were still above 2017 levels. Since U.S. imports fell more than U.S. exports, the overall merchandise trade deficit narrowed slightly.

  • U.S. total exports in two-thirds of merchandise sectors decreased from 2018 to 2019. The largest decreases in U.S. total exports were seen in the minerals and metals sector. The largest decrease in U.S. general imports by both absolute and percent change occurred in energy-related products.

  • Mexico, Canada, and China continued to be the main U.S. trading partners in 2019, consistent with past reports. China continued to be the top source of U.S. imports and remained the third largest destination market for U.S. exports. The largest destination markets for U.S. exports, however, were Canada and Mexico. Combined, U.S. exports to these two countries accounted for one-third of all U.S. exports of merchandise in 2019.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2nd person pleads guilty in counterfeit clothing scheme

A New York City man has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to manufacture counterfeit brand-name clothing overseas that was then sold in the U.S., including to the military in violation of federal law, prosecutors said Thursday. To read more CLICK HERE.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program; Comment Period Reopened

On September 8, 2020, the Department of Agriculture published in the Federal Register (85 FR 55363 Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program; Interim final rule; reopening of comment period.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is providing an additional thirty (30) days for public comments on the interim final rule (IFR) that established the Domestic Hemp Production Program on October 31, 2019. Reopening the comment period gives interested persons an additional opportunity to comment on the IFR. Comments are solicited from all stakeholders, notably those who were subject to the regulatory requirements of the IFR during the 2020 production cycle. The comment period for the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019, at 84 FR 58522, is reopened. Comments must be received by October 8, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Monday is Labor Day in the USA

Monday, September 7th, is Labor Day in the United States. National, state, and local government offices will be closed, as will most non-retail business. In a normal year Labor Day marks end of summer.

As I sit in a comfortable chair in my air-conditioned office today the outdoor temperature is expected to exceed 80. As my fingers move across the keyboard the overhead light reflects off my freshly manicured nails and the cuff links in my soft clean white shirt. As I think of my relative comfort I remember that I enjoy ease because other men and women are out in the heat and sun doing dirty backbreaking work. And that is why we set aside the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Of course, Labor Day honors all workers, not only those who do manual labor. But it is good to remind ourselves from time to time of the necessity of manual labor. Ordinary Americans today enjoy necessities of life, security, and even luxuries, the envy of princes in an earlier age. The bright, hardworking, and daring men and women of Wall Street and other financial markets created new and innovative ways to maximize wealth and gave us the most prosperous society the world has known, and one in which wealth, has been distributed more widely than ever before. In sum, our financial markets —- at least when left alone —- do a bully job of managing wealth. But they do not create wealth. Ultimately you have to make it (manufacturing), mine it (digging or drilling), or grow it (agriculture). Someone has to build houses for the economic indicators to register an increase in housing starts. Some has to drill if we are to have the oil to fuel our economy. Someone has to hoe and weed to keep Whole Foods (whole-paycheck we call it my house) stocked with the organic fruit and vegetables we love to consume.

Politicians in Washington will talk much this Labor Day weekend about the dignity of the workingmen and women of America, but the policies they enact tell a different tale. You do not respect the dignity of the workingman or woman by destroying his job.

A Half-Million Dollars Worth of Counterfeit Designer Bags Seized in Louisville

In the early morning of August 31, CBP officers in Louisville held four packages for inspection to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. When the shipments were opened designer bags were found inside. The bags were sent to an import specialist who determined the bags were counterfeit. In all, 204 counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags were seized. If these bags were real, the total MSRP for these belts would have been $583,440. The packages were coming from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and were heading to a residence in Brooklyn, New York.

Read more HERE.

Customs Fraud and Tax Fraud Gets Fashion Company $118 Million Fine

In a customs fraud scheme, Ambiance Apparel imported clothing from Asian countries and submitted fraudulent invoices to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that undervalued the shipments and allowed Ambiance to avoid paying the full amount of tariffs owed on the imports. At the driection of the American importers, the Asian manufacturers prepared two invoices for the clothing, one that usually reflected 60 to 70 percent of the actual price and was paid by letter of credit, and one that reflected the balance of the actual price and was paid by wire transfer.

To read the U.S. Department of Justice press release CLICK HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Air Force Undershirts and Moisture Wicking T-Shirt Contract Awarded

Campbellsville Apparel Co., Campbellsville, Kentucky, has been awarded a maximum $7,709,600 modification (P00012) exercising the fourth one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-16-D-1083) with four one-year option periods for undershirts and moisture wicking t-shirts. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Kentucky, with a Sept. 7, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Army and Air Force Coat Contract Awarded

Aurora Industries LLC, Orocovis, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $25,608,088 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for coats. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. This was a competitive acquisition with 10 responses received. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with an Aug. 23, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-1283).

Friday, August 21, 2020

CPSC Seeks Comments Regarding Review of the Testing and Labeling Regulations Pertaining to Product Certification of Children’s Products, Including Reliance on Component Part Testing

In a Federal Register Notice scheduled for publication August 24, 3030, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission or CPSC) announces it is conducting a review of the regulations for third party testing and certification to demonstrate compliance with safety standards for children’s products, under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

ITC Investigation COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a new investigation on COVID-19 related industry sectors and particular products. The investigation, COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges, was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in a letter received on August 13, 2020.

As requested, the USITC, an independent nonpartisan factfinding federal agency, will provide the following:

  • a brief overview of key U.S. industry sectors producing COVID-related goods, including, but not limited to, medical devices; personal protective equipment; and medicines (pharmaceuticals). The overviews will include, to the extent practicable, information on U.S. production, employment, and trade.
  • case studies on key products within each relevant industry sector, including N95 respirators, ventilators, vaccines, and COVID-19 test kits. The case studies will focus on products for which there were reported shortages in the first half of 2020, including those affected by supply chain fragility, blockages, or barriers, and will include information on:
    • the U.S. industry, market, and trade, including, to the extent available:
      • the product, including key components and the production process;
      • the size and characteristics of the U.S. market;
      • the U.S. manufacturing industry, including key producers of finished goods and intermediate inputs, the extent of U.S. production, and employment; and
      • U.S. imports of finished goods and inputs, including leading source countries and supplying firms; and
    • supply chain challenges and constraints, including, but not limited to:
      • factors affecting domestic production, including, to the extent practicable, regulatory requirements that may impact entry into the market;
      • and foreign trade barriers and restrictions and other factors that may affect U.S. imports of finished goods or inputs needed for domestic production.

The USITC expects to deliver its report to the Committees by December 15, 2020.

The USITC is seeking input for the investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the USITC is requested to provide information and advice. The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on September 23, 2020. See below for important information regarding the format and location of the hearing.

Additional 45-day Compliance Period for Executive Order 13936 – Hong Kong Normalization

On August 21, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that the 45-day transition period for compliance with the President’s Executive Order (EO) on Hong Kong Normalization has been extended for an additional 45 days through November 9, 2020.

On July 14, 2020, the President issued Executive Order 13936 dealing with Hong Kong Normalization, and suspended, among other things, the application of section 201(a) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to certain statutes, including 19 U.S.C. 1304. On August 11, 2020, CBP issued a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 48551) notifying the public that, unless excepted from marking, goods produced in Hong Kong must be marked to indicate that their origin is “China” for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304. The position set forth in the notice became applicable as of July 29, 2020; however, CBP granted a transition period until September 25, 2020 for importers to implement marking consistent with the notice.

In an effort to allow importers ample time to comply with EO requirements for goods produced in Hong Kong to be appropriately marked with the origin of “China”, CBP is extending the transition period for an additional 45 days, through November 9, 2020. During this period, CBP personnel from the Ports of Entry and Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers) should not take any enforcement actions (i.e., marking notices, marking penalties, etc.) on goods produced in Hong Kong for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Centers and Ports of Entry should take measures to inform accounts and importers of these new marking rules for Hong Kong set forth in the EO.

This change in marking requirements does not affect country of origin determinations for purposes of assessing ordinary duties under Chapters 1-97 of the HTSUS or temporary or additional duties under Chapter 99 of the HTSUS. Entry summary procedures also have not changed. Given that this new rule only applies to marking requirements under 19 U.S.C. 1304, filers should continue to file their entry summaries and submit payments for applicable duties, taxes and fees in accordance with current regulations and policies.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Air Force Trouser Contract Awarded

Bremen-Bowdon Investment Co., Bowdon, Georgia, has been awarded a maximum $8,125,822 modification (P00012) exercising the third one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-17-D-1085) with four one-year option periods for men’s trousers. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Georgia, with an Aug. 23, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Navy Uniform Contract Awarded

Silver Oak Leaf Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia, has been awarded a maximum $10,716,250 modification (P00010) exercising the first one-year option period of an 18-month base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1135) with three one-year option periods for working uniform blouses and trousers. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Puerto Rico and Georgia, with an Aug. 24, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Army Rucksack Contract Awarded

Point Blank Protective Apparel & Uniform, Guanica, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a $20,953,625 firm-fixed price, fixed-quantity contract for MOLLE 4000 rucksack sets. This was a competitive acquisition with five responses received. This is a one-year contract with no options periods. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a Sept. 30, 2021, performance completion date.Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-C-0016).

Navy Flame Resisant Coverall Contract Awarded

Excel Garment Manufacturing, Ltd., El Paso, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $25,009,200 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for improved flame resistant version utility coveralls. This was a competitive acquisition with three offers received. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Location of performance is Texas, with an Aug. 20, 2021, ordering period end date. Using customer is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-1248).

Flag makers use technology, social distance to continue mission during pandemic

Nearly eight years ago at a print shop in Philadelphia, a graphic designer taught himself machine embroidery and went from designing custom shoes for Lebron James to helping create the first U.S. Space Force flag. Adam Walstrum is an embroidery digitizer in the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support flag room, where he helps make military and government flags as part of the clothing and textiles supply chain. He is one of three flag room employees who’ve proven essential to the flag room’s mission since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. Walstrum physically works in the flag room with Linda Farrell, flag room supervisor, and Nancy Chhim, sewing machine operator, while wearing personal protective equipment and practicing social distancing. In June, Farrell gradually brought in additional staff, including hand embroiderers who make the presidential and vice presidential flags, to work on staggered schedules. To read more CLICK HERE.

$115K of Counterfeit Items Seized by CBP Officers in Louisville

On Aug 18, CBP Officers in Louisville seized the shipment that contained counterfeit Louis Vuitton hats, purses and bags. Also inside were other designer items from Gucci, Chanel, Tory Burch, Tiffany, and Michael Kors, as well as counterfeit make-up, shoes and electronics. The parcel contained 55 counterfeit items. It was arriving from Hong Kong and was destined for residence in Saginaw, Texas. If the items were real, the appraised total MSRP of the shipment was $115,862.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Army and Air Force Cold/Wet Jacket Contract Awarded

Tennier Industries Inc., Delray Beach, Florida, has been awarded a maximum $17,148,584 modification (P00005) exercising the one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1136) with one one-year option period for extreme cold/wet weather jackets. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Florida and Tennessee, with an Aug. 20, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Senators Portman and Peters Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Require the Defense Logistics Agency to Issue Long-Term Contracts for American-Made PPE

On August 18, 2020, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation that will strengthen efforts to onshore production of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the United States by requiring the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to issue long-term contracts for American-made PPE. Reshoring production will ensure American workers, students, health care professionals, and more have the PPE they need as the economy continues to reopen. Domestic production of PPE supplies will also create manufacturing American jobs.

“The American people should not have to rely so heavily on foreign countries for personal protective equipment, and that’s why we must bring PPE production back to our shores,” said Senator Portman. “When I talk to PPE manufacturers about re-shoring this production to America, the number one thing I hear about is the need for long-term contracts. Multi-year contracts give producers the certainty to know that their investment in the United States will be worth it, because the government will be there to buy the PPE they produce. By re-shoring production of PPE, we can continue to support a safe and effective reopening of our schools, workplaces and the economy and I urge my colleagues to support this important bipartisan legislation.”

“Our nation’s dependence on foreign manufacturers for PPE, such as masks, gloves, and respirators, is a serious national security risk,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I raised concerns about this problem in a report last year, and the shortages caused by the Coronavirus pandemic only underscore the need to incentivize American manufacturers to produce these critical supplies in the United States. Workers and companies in Michigan and across the country know how to manufacture great products, and this bipartisan bill will help provide certainty for American companies to create jobs, make PPE and strengthen our ability to respond to this and future pandemics.”

“We want to thank Senators Portman and Peters for introducing the ‘Make PPE in America Act’ to help onshore critical PPE production,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “By using the purchasing power of the federal government to issue long-term contracts to American companies and its workforce, this legislation will ensure vital investment in the United States for years to come, while helping our nation become self-sufficient in lifesaving PPE materials.”

“We fully support the courageous and forward-thinking ‘Make PPE in America Act’ proposed by our own Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Senator Rob Portman from Ohio,” says Lance Keziah, CEO of Crypton. “As a Michigan-based textile manufacturer, we have seen decline across the entire domestic industry…an industry critical to PPE. This bill will provide long-term contracts to American companies of varying scale necessary to its production while supporting our essential workforce. This legislation will provide investment in the United States for years to come, insuring that our nation remains self-sufficient in supplying lifesaving PPE materials. Supporting American textile manufacturing means a more stable economy; affordable, sustainable PPE, and a healthy workforce.”

USTR Seeks Comments on China's WTO Compliance

On August 18, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 50864) Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearing Concerning China's Compliance With WTO Commitments.

China became a Member of the WTO on December 11, 2001. In accordance with section 421 of the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-286), USTR is required to submit by December 11 of each year, a report to Congress on China's compliance with commitments made in connection with its accession to the WTO, including multilateral commitments and any bilateral commitments made to the United States. In accordance with section 421, and to assist it in preparing this year's report, the TPSC is soliciting public comments. You can find last year's report on USTR's website at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2019_Report_on_China%E2%80%99s_WTO_Compliance.pdf.

September 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT is the deadline for submission of comments.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Duvaltex launches full range of innovative medical textiles to protect american healthcare personnel and patients

Duvaltex is ramping up production to offer its full range of high-quality Level 1 and Level 2 gowns and antimicrobial scrub textiles to front-line healthcare workers and their patients in the United States. Made from durable, breathable and soft touch engineered fabrics, Duvaltex's textiles meet the most stringent quality specifications to provide optimal protection against the transfer of microorganisms, body fluids, and particulate matter.

“Our U.S. teams, based in Maine and Michigan, have been developing and manufacturing medical textiles and products for the healthcare industry for more than 20 years and are ready to meet increasing demand for personal protective equipment,” said Alain Duval, Chief Executive Officer of Duvaltex. “We are especially proud of the durability of our textiles, which can be washed and reused over 100 times. Each lot is tested to meet the highest quality and traceability standards and ensure they are defect free.”

Duvaltex's engineered Level 1 and 2 reusable fabrics are woven to make medical and hospital gowns as well as laboratory and protective clothing, with and without antistatic performance capabilities. The antistatic technology incorporated in the medical fabric construction reduces the build-up of static charges, ensuring a cleaner and safer work environment.

As a recognized leader in specialty textile innovation, Duvaltex has developed advanced technical fabrics designed to meet the needs of front-line healthcare workers. Its antimicrobial scrub fabric is used to make scrub shirts, tops, tunics, jackets, pants and uniforms, and can be washed and reused multiple times. The company also offers cubicle curtain fabric for healthcare environments that can be seen from both sides. All Duvaltex fabrics meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Society of Testing Materials International (ASTM), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) quality standards.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duvaltex has mobilized its North American manufacturing facilities to produce millions of yards of medical textiles in record time to meet major government contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) and support healthcare institutions. Employees at the company's facilities and offices in Guilford, ME, Grand Rapids, MI, New York, NY, and Elkin, NC, as well as companies in its U.S. supply chain, have played a key role in this major effort alongside Duvaltex teams located in Canada.


As part of its ongoing efforts to protect people and limit the spread of viruses, such as COVID-19, Duvaltex recently launched a highly innovative, non-medical protective face mask. The company made substantial investments in new 3D knitting equipment at its Grand Rapids facility to provide it with the capacity to produce millions of the X7 mask. It is available in bulk quantities for large businesses as well as the retail, hospitality, and service sectors, or individually, through a dedicated e-commerce platform at knit.duvaltex.com.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

USTR Modifies $7.5 Billion WTO Award Implementation Relating to Illegal Airbus Subsidies

On August 12, 2020, the United States Trade Representative issued a modification to the list of products subject to WTO-authorized additional duties in the United States' successful WTO challenge to subsidies for large civil aircraft provided by the European Union, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. USTR is removing from the tariff list certain products from Greece and the United Kingdom and adding an equivalent amount of trade from France and Germany. The changes are modest; the amount of products subject to countermeasures will remain unchanged at $7.5 billion and the tariff rates will remain unchanged at 15% for aircraft and 25% for all other products.

"The EU and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with WTO decisions," Ambassador Robert Lighthizer stated. "The United States, however, is committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to this dispute. Accordingly, the United States will begin a new process with the EU in an effort to reach an agreement that will remedy the conduct that harmed the U.S. aviation industry and workers and will ensure a level playing field for U.S. companies."

The modifications announced today will take effect on Sept. 1, 2020.

Currently textile products of the United Kingdom described below are subject to additional import duties of 25 percent ad valorem, there is no change to this list:

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.

BACKGROUND
In October 2019, the WTO authorized the United States to take $7.5 billion in countermeasures following the largest victory in WTO history in the long-running dispute against the EU, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom regarding their illegal subsidies for the Airbus consortium. Following a notice and comment process, on October 9, 2019, the United States imposed additional tariffs of up to 25 percent on products of current and former EU member states with a trade value of approximately $7.5 billion. The section 301 statute provides for periodic review and modification of the tariff action. A prior revision was made in February 2020.

The details of the modification are set out in a Notice that will be published in the Federal Register.

Carbon Fiber FTZ Application Filed

On August 13, 2020, the Foreign-Trade Zone Board published in the Federal Register (85 FR 54837) Foreign-Trade Zone 38-Spartanburg County, South Carolina; Application for Production Authority; Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc. (Polyacrylonitrile-Based Carbon Fiber); Greenwood, South Carolina. Teijin filed for FTZ benefits in 2019 and was opposed, as is typical for carbon fiber applications, was opposed by Hexcel Corporation. The FTZ Board granted FTZ benefits for export production only. Teijin now seeks to have that restriction lifted.

U.S. Government Seeks Comments Regarding Improvement of Administration and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws

On August 13, 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (85 FR 49472) Regulations To Improve Administration and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws.

According to the notice the purpose of the regulatory changes proposed in this rulemaking is to strengthen the administration and enforcement of AD/CVD laws, make such administration and enforcement more efficient, and create new enforcement tools for Commerce to address circumvention and evasion of trade remedies. If adopted, these changes would equip Commerce to better fulfill the Congressional intent behind the AD/CVD laws—namely, to protect U.S. companies, workers, farmers, and ranchers from the injurious effects of unfairly traded imports. In addition, if adopted, these changes would promote the Administration's objective to enforce the AD/CVD laws rigorously, and to aggressively pursue parties that seek to skirt them. Moreover, the proposed regulations facilitate a stronger and more efficient administration of the AD and CVD laws in the context of Commerce's proceedings. To be assured of consideration, written comments must be received no later than September 14, 2020.

USTR Accepting Comments on Russia's WTO Compliance

On August 13, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 49412) Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearing Concerning Russia's Implementation of Its WTO Commitments.

DATES:

September 21, 2020 (Monday) at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of written comments on 2020 Russia WTO implementation report.

September 30, 2020 (Wednesday) at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for the Trade Policy Staff Committee ("TPSC") to pose questions on written comments.

October 9, 2020 (Friday) at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of responses to questions from the TPSC.

Frequently Asked Questions - Guidance on Marking of Goods of Hong Kong – Executive Order 13936

Q. How does the Hong Kong marking executive order (EO) impact imported goods that are products of Hong Kong after the transition period?

Every article of foreign origin or its container imported into the Customs territory of the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place and in such manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article (19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 CFR 134.11).

Imported goods that are produced in Hong Kong that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption into the United States after the transition period must be marked to indicate that their origin is “China” for purposes of 19 U.S.C. § 1304.

Goods that are not marked properly after the transition period may be brought into a Foreign Trade Zone to be properly marked under a permit to manipulate issued by the Port Director.

Similarly, goods which are improperly or falsely marked may be brought into an FTZ under a permit to manipulate to correct or remove such marking so as to comply with the laws and regulations (19 CFR 134.13(b)).

See Foreign Trade Zone Manual, Publication #: 0000-0559A (2011), Chapter 8, Paragraph 8.5, available at https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/FTZmanual2011.pdf

Q. How does the marking rule affect the country of origin for purposes of assessing ordinary duties under Chap 1-97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) or temporary or additional duties under Chapter 99 of the HTSUS?

The change in marking requirements does not affect country of origin determinations for purposes of assessing ordinary duties under Chapters 1-97 of the HTSUS or temporary or additional duties under Chapter 99 of the HTSUS. Therefore, goods that are products of Hong Kong should continue to report International Organization for Standardization (ISO) country code “HK” as the country of origin when required.

Q. How does the EO marking rule affect entry summary requirements, such as country of origin reporting, duty payments, etc.?

This rule only applies to marking requirements under 19 U.S.C. 1304. Entry summary procedures have not changed. Filers should continue to file their entry summaries and duty payments according to current regulation and policy.

Q. What if goods are marked as “Made in China” but qualify for outward processing treatment (OPA) as Hong Kong origin goods?

CBP’s FRN affects marking requirements not country of origin. There is no change with regard to the Outward Processing Arrangements (OPA).

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

CBP New Orleans Seizes $83K in Counterfeit Designer Goods

Officers found 75 Gucci and Hermes belts, as well as Louis Vuitton duffle bags, backpacks, wallets, and purses, and 10 Mac brush kits. All of the items were seized pursuant to 19 USC 1526e for bearing the counterfeit trademarks.

Counterfeit Apparel & Electronics Worth Over $1M Seized in Chicago

Fake "Nike," "Air Jordan," "Louis Vuitton," and "Gucci" articles seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

CBP Issues Detention Order on Garments Manufactured with Prison Labor in China

Effective August 11 at all U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain imported merchandise containing garments produced by the Hero Vast Group (including Shanghai Hero Vast International Trading Co., Ltd.; Henan Hero Vast Garment Co., Ltd.; Yuexi Hero Vast Garment Co., Ltd.; Ying Han International Co., Ltd.; and Hero Vast Canada Inc.). CBP’s Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade directed the issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against the Hero Vast Group and its garments based on information that reasonably indicated the use of prison labor in the production of those garments.

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. This WRO will require the detention at all U.S. ports of entry of garments and any such merchandise manufactured by the Hero Vast Group. Importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof to CBP that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

“As part of its trade enforcement responsibilities, CBP is dedicated to vigilantly monitoring U.S.-bound supply chains for links to forced labor, including prison labor, and will act to deter and disrupt the importation of merchandise made with forced labor practices,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “The use of forced labor is not just a serious human rights issue, but it also brings about unfair competition in our global supply chains. CBP’s goal is to ensure that goods made by forced labor never reach U.S. consumers.”

Since September 2019, CBP has issued eleven WROs, including four WROs against products from China. All WROs are publically available and listed by country on CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings webpage. The Forced Labor Division, established in 2017 within CBP’s Office of Trade, leads enforcement of the prohibition against importing goods made with forced labor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

U.S. Customs Law Declares Hong Kong is China, No Long Separate Customs Territory

On August 11, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (85 FR 48551) notice that in light of the President's Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization, issued on July 14, 2020, suspending the application of section 201(a) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to the marking statute, section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, with respect to imported goods produced in Hong Kong, such goods may no longer be marked to indicate "Hong Kong" as their origin, but must be marked to indicate "China." Given the commercial realities, CBP is allowing a transition period to implement new marking. The transition period extends through September 25, 2020.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Celusuede Products Announces Acquisition of Engineered Fibers Technology

Flock producer Cellusuede Products, Inc, Rockford, Illinois, has announced it has acquired Engineered Fibers Technology, (EFT) Shelton, Connecticut. On June 30, 2020, Cellusuede completed the purchase and now has 100% interest in EFT ownership, greatly expanding Cellusuede’s capabilities as a precision short-cut fiber supplier.

EFT, founded in 1998, is an industry leader in precision short-cut technical fibers (including Ni-coated carbon, Vectran, BioMid, lyocell, S-2 glass, aramid, and PEEK, among several others) into technical markets, including specialty papers, construction and composites, as well as into thermoplastic /thermoset molding compounds, with coated (controlled strand integrity) fibers. EFT also has a well-established and unique line of wet processed fibers that includes EFTec™ Nanofibrillated fibers for filtration, wipes, and specialty papers. In addition, EFT’s offerings include its DensePakTM proprietary short fiber and packaging expertise used to manufacture obscurant devices employed by the U.S. Government as a defense against sophisticated electro-optical sensors and advanced weapon systems.

EFT is well recognized for its materials science expertise and proprietary technology for high performance technical applications. EFT’s solutions-based technical focus combined with Cellusuede’s long standing history of highest quality short-cut fibers and larger scale capacity will catapult the Company into new technical markets while entrenching the Company even further into existing markets as a first quality partner to our customer base.

Cellusuede, an ESOP company founded in 1938, will look to leverage EFT’s capabilities to grow its business in energy storage markets, automotive applications, and additive manufacturing. Andy Honkamp, President and CEO of Cellusuede, is the new President of EFT. Bob Evans, founder, and former Managing Director of EFT will stay on in a technical consulting role, and Dave Merrill, former Sales and Marketing Director for EFT, will remain in a sales and customer service support role. EFT will continue operations in Shelton, CT.

Spectro Coating Aquires Dorrie International, will be the Only Vertically Integrated Provider of Flock Tape

New England flock company Spectro Coating Corp. announces the acquisition of the assets of Dorrie International / Hicks & Otis Prints Inc. of Norwalk Connecticut. Dorrie International was a major supplier of automotive flock tape for automotive window sealing systems.

The new division will be called American Flock Tape (AFT), and will be the only vertically integrated provider of flock tape in the world. The acquisition will allow them to slit and spool to the demanding requirements of the automotive, medical, and other markets.

Spectro Coating Corp. has been in business for over 30 years under the current ownership, with roots going back more than 80 years. Claremont Flock, a division of Spectro Coating Corp. has been one of the largest flock manufacturers since 1914. We are certified ISO 9001:2015 and a Minority Owned Business.

All products are proudly Manufactured in the U S A.

Section 301 Exclusions Relating to Several Textile Articles on List 3 Extended through December 31, 2020

On August 6, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that several articles on the China Section 301 List 3 which have been granted exclusions which are scheduled to expire on August 7, 2020, will continue to enjoy exclusion status through December 31, 2020. Publication in th eFederal Register will follow in a few days.

(11) 5603.12.0090

(12) 5603.14.9090

(13) 5603.92.0090

(14) 5603.93.0090

(83) Silk fabrics, containing 85 percent or more by weight of silk or of silk waste other than noil silk, the foregoing not printed, not jacquard woven, measuring over 127 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5007.20.0065)

(84) Silk fabrics, containing 85 percent or more by weight of silk or of silk waste other than noil silk, the foregoing not printed, not jacquard woven, measuring 107 cm or more but not over 127 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5007.20.0085)

(85) Yarn of cashmere or camel hair, carded but not combed, not put up for retail sale (described in statistical reporting number 5108.10.8000)

(86) Woven dyed fabrics of 100 percent textured polyester filament yarn, measuring 332.7 cm in width, weighing more than 170 g/m² (described in statistical reporting number 5407.52.2060)

(87) Woven fabric of 100 percent textured polyester filaments, dyed, weighing more than 170 g/m², measuring not more than 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5407.52.2060)

(88) Woven fabric of synthetic filament yarn containing 85 percent or more by weight of textured polyester filaments, dyed, measuring 249 cm in width, weighing more than 170 g/m² (described in statistical reporting number 5407.52.2060)

(89) Woven dupioni fabric wholly of non-textured dyed polyester filaments, weighing not more than 170 g/m², measuring not more than 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5407.61.9930)

(90) Woven fabric wholly of polyester, dyed, not flat, containing non-textured polyester filaments, weighing not more than 170 g/m², measuring not over 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5407.61.9930)

(91) Woven fabric wholly of polyester, dyed, containing non-textured polyester filaments, weighing more than 170 g/m², measuring not over 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5407.61.9935)

(92) Woven fabric containing by weight 47 percent of nylon and 53 percent of polyester, dyed, containing textured filaments, weighing not more than 170 g/m², measuring greater than 274 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5407.72.0015)

(93) Polyester filament tow, measuring more than 50 ktex but not more than 275 ktex (described in statistical reporting number 5501.20.0000)

(94) Polypropylene fiber tow, measuring more than 50 ktex but not more than 275 ktex (described in statistical reporting number 5501.40.0000)

(95) Woven dyed fabrics wholly of spun polyester, weighing more than 240 g/m² and measuring not more than 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5512.19.0090)

(96) Woven dyed 3-thread twill fabrics containing by weight 65 percent of polyester and 35 percent of cotton staple fibers, not napped, weighing more than 200 g/m² and exceeding 310 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5514.22.0020)

(97) Nonwoven fabrics of man-made fibers, weighing more than 25 g/m² but not more than 70 g/m², with a smooth or embossed texture (not impregnated, coated or covered with material other than or in addition to rubber, plastics, wood pulp or glass fibers), in rolls that are pre-slitted in lengths of not less than 15 cm to not more than 107 cm, for use in the manufacture of personal care wipes (described in statistical reporting number 5603.12.0090)

(98) Non-woven fabrics of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), in sheets measuring not more than 160 cm by 250 cm, weighing more than 1,800 g/m² but not more than 3,000 g/m² (described in statistical reporting number 5603.94.9090)

(99) Rugs of hand-knotted pile, of nylon and polypropylene, measuring at least 1.2 m2 (described in statistical reporting number 5701.90.1010)

(100) Rugs of 100 percent polyester or polypropylene, with brass grommets and stainless steel springs, each measuring at least 44 cm by 45 cm but not exceeding 56 cm by 59 cm (described in statistical reporting number 5705.00.2030)

(101) Woven dyed embroidery fabrics containing by weight 55 percent of polyester and 45 percent of nylon, weighing less than 115 g/m² and measuring 289 cm in width (described in statistical reporting number 5810.92.9080)

(102) Long pile knit fabrics, of acrylic pile on polyester ground, valued not over $16 per m2 (described in statistical reporting number 6001.10.2000)

(103) Knitted or crocheted fabrics of artificial staple fibers derived from bamboo (described in statistical reporting number 6003.40.6000)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

U.S. Businesses Must Take a Stand Against China’s Human Rights Abuses

Many American brands have become household names around the globe, renowned for their exceptional quality and value. But with that visibility and consumer trust come great responsibility. American companies increasingly realize that corporate responsibility isn't just social responsibility, it is also national security. As part of this, companies must perform human rights due diligence and ask themselves tough questions to make sure their foreign deals do not, in the words of Secretary of State Pompeo, "tighten a regime's grip of repression."

To help our companies navigate this difficult landscape, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have joined with the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce to issue a business advisory on the risks and considerations for businesses with potential supply chain exposure to entities engaged in forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang. By following this guidance, businesses can be more confident that they are not contributing to human rights abuses in China.

Read more from the U.S. Department of State.

The Brickle Group and Darlington Fabrics Among Rhode Island Textile Manufacturers Who Have Switch to Making PPE

Rhode Island’s textile companies, all members of the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN), immediately responded to the challenge of lack of a domestic manufacturing base for personal protection equipment, pivoting to create products and processes that were entirely new, while keeping our customers and employees safe. Read more in the Providence Journal.

Monday, August 3, 2020

CBP Issues Administrative Ruling Clarifying Use of Section 321 $800 Exemption

Section 321(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, authorizes CBP to provide an administrative exemption to admit free from duty and tax shipments of merchandise (other than bona fide gifts and certain personal and household goods) imported by one person on one day having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of not more than $800. This exemption is known as a de minimis entry.

With the rise, in 2019, of the de minimis from $200 to $800 we have seen more online retailers taking advantage of it. For example, Sears has a warehouse in Canada for de minimis shipments of apparel direct to consumers in the U.S. Customs has advised online retailers that they must be careful to follow the rules for Section 321, including the "single customer on a single day" provision.

Recently CBP issued an administrative ruling that clarifies whether importations made by a nonresident importer in one day and sent to a U.S. fulfillment facility or warehouse may qualify for informal duty-free entry under 19 U.S.C. § 1321(a)(2)(c) [hereafter “Section 321”]. The administrative ruling went into effect on July 28, 2020 and was published in the Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS) on July 31, 2020.

Moving forward, in situations where merchandise has not been sold to a consumer at the time of importation, CBP will consider the consignee (likely the U.S. fulfillment facility or warehouse taking custody of the merchandise) to be the “person” for Section 321 eligibility purposes. The owner or the purchaser of the merchandise (likely the foreign seller) may also qualify as the “person” provided the owner or purchaser’s identity is presented to CBP. Accordingly, when the identity of the owner or purchaser of the merchandise is not presented to CBP, any affiliated shipment(s) may be subject to informal or formal entry procedures when the aggregate value exceeds the $800 limit or CBP determines it is necessary to protect the revenue or national interest.

This ruling better positions CBP to identify duty evasions and other abuses consistent with current authorities and helps create a more predictable enforcement environment for trade. This ruling also provides CBP with important foreign seller information with which to target and interdict counterfeit products, consumer safety violations, and other threats before they enter the United States.

In order for the owner or purchaser to qualify as the “person” under Section 321, importers will be required to provide the first and last name of the owner or purchaser, or the name of the business. Specifically, AMS filers must provide in the “consignee” field, the name of the owner or purchaser “in care of” the address of the domestic warehouse or fulfillment center to which the shipment is destined. Similarly, ABI filers may provide in the “ship to” and/or “buyer” fields, the name of the owner or purchaser “in care of” the address of the domestic warehouse or fulfillment center to which the shipment is destined. CBP will publish CATAIR and CAMIR updates next week.

This ruling took effect and is thereby enforceable beginning July 28, 2020. CBP intends to take near-term enforcement action against egregious violators who the agency believes are structuring their shipments to evade duty and entry requirements. Longer-term, egregious and/or repeat violators may lose their Section 321 privileges and may be required to file formal entry on subsequent shipments.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Army and Air Force Cold/Wet Weather Jacket Contract Awarded

Aurora Industries LLC, Camuy, Puerto Rico (SPE1C1-19-D-1133 (P00010), $17,203,245); and Coachys & Associates LLC, Roswell, Georgia (SPE1C1-19-D-1134 (P00004), $15,965,766), have each been awarded a modification exercising the one-year option period of a one-year base contract with one one-year option period for extreme cold/wet weather jackets. These are firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts under solicitation SPE1C1-18-R-0115. Locations of performance are Puerto Rico and Georgia, with a July 31, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.