Saturday, May 30, 2020

Food Safety and Inspection Service is Proposing to Amend its Regulations Relating to "Exotic Animals" in the Biological Families Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae

On June 1, 2020, the Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service published in the Federal Register (85 FR 33034) Inspection of Yak and Other Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae Species.

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend its regulations to define yak and include it among ``exotic animals'' eligible for voluntary inspection. This proposed change responds to a petition for rulemaking. It would officially allow yak products to be voluntarily inspected and to bear the USDA voluntary mark of inspection, benefitting the yak industry. FSIS is also requesting comments on whether all farmed-raised species in the biological families Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae, if not already subject to mandatory inspection, should be eligible for voluntary inspection, and whether any species in these families should be added to the list of amenable species requiring mandatory inspection. FSIS already requires mandatory inspection for several species of the Family Bovidae (cattle, sheep, and goats). The Agency also provides voluntary inspection to several species of Bovidae not subject to mandatory inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as several species of Cervidae. These species include: Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, water buffalo, and bison.

DATES: Submit comments on or before July 31, 2020.

Textile FTZ Approved with Quantitative and Time Limitations

On June 1, 2020, the Foreign-Trade Zone Board published in the Federal Register (85 FR 33087) Approval for Production Authority; Foreign-Trade Zone 158, MTD Consumer Group Inc. (Textile Grass-Catcher Bags), Verona, Mississippi. The MTD facility is used for the production of lawn and garden equipment. MTD uses imported components to manufacturer the equipment and pays import duty as high as 9%. Imported lawn and garden equipment has import duty ranging from zero to 2.4%. This situation, where the imported components have higher duty that the finished product, is known as a "tariff inversion" and can work as an incentive to import the finished product rather than manufacturing it in the U.S. In such a case the manufacturer can seek tariff relieve through the use of Foreign-Trade Zone procedures. This would allow them to import the components with no duty, manufacture the equipment in the U.S., and then, when the equipment enters U.S. commerce, pay duty on the value of the foreign components, but at the lower rate applicable to the finished product.

MTD first applied for authorization to use FTZ procedures in 2016. The list of imported components was extensive and included textile fabric grass catchers. The domestic U.S. textile industry has consistently, and almost always successfully, opposed FTZ procedures for imported textile components if there is any domestic production of the component. In January 2017, the FTZ Board authorized FTZ procedures for all but the textile input, which would continue to be subject to 3.8% import duty.

Since then MTD has continued to press to get the textile component authorized for FTZ procedures, with additional filings in 2018 and 2019. The U.S. textile industry continued to oppose, as in this letter from the National Council of Textile Organizations. MTD responded with this letter.

As noted above, the domestic textile industry has been successful in most cases in blocking FTZ filings they consider adverse to their interest. And in the cases where they not been able to stop the petition entirely, they have typically been able to get a cap on the imported quantity that does not exceed the petitioner's historic trade, and a time limitation to allow for a revisiting of the question. In this case The annual quantitative volume of textile grass-catcher bags that MTD may admit into FTZ 158 and avoid the tariff inversion is limited to no more than 2.3 million bags and the authority (with quantitative restriction) shall remain in effect for a period of five years.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Joint Statement on Hong Kong – Canada, US, UK, and Australia

"Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom. The international community has a significant and longstanding stake in Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. Direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong's own institutions as provided for under Article 23 of the Basic Law, would curtail the Hong Kong people's liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode the autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.

"China's proposals for a new national security law for Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. The proposed law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework. It also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people - including those set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

"We are also extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society; the law does nothing to build mutual understanding and foster reconciliation within Hong Kong. Rebuilding trust across Hong Kong society by allowing the people of Hong Kong to enjoy the rights and freedoms they were promised can be the only way back from the tensions and unrest that the territory has seen over the last year.

"The world's focus on a global pandemic requires enhanced trust in governments and international cooperation. Beijing's unprecedented move risks having the opposite effect.

"As Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity are jeopardized by the new imposition, we call on the Government of China to work with the Hong Kong SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong to find a mutually acceptable accommodation that will honor China’s international obligations under the UN-filed Sino-British Joint Declaration."

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Army and Air Force Apparel Contract Awarded

Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing Corp., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $11,173,437 modification (P00010) exercising the first one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1151) with four one-year option periods for various types of coats and trousers. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a Nov. 29, 2021, estimated performance completion 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. (Awarded May 21, 2020)

ITC Seeking Comments on Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty-Free Treatment for Imports from Kenya

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation into the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment for currently dutiable imports from Kenya.

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 July 7, 2020. Because COVID-19 mitigation measures are in effect, the public hearing will be held via Go to Meeting.

Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2020 Review

On May 27, 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (85 FR 31805) Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2020 Review. Specifically information is sought regarding --

(1) Advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the elimination of U.S. import duties on the articles in Table A for all beneficiary developing countries under the GSP program. In accordance with sections 503(a)(1)(A), 503(e), and 131(a) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (``the 1974 Act'') and pursuant to the authority of the President delegated to the USTR by sections 4(c) and 8(c) and (d) of Executive Order 11846 of March 31, 1975, as amended, and pursuant to section 332(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930, the USTR notified the Commission that the articles identified in Table A of the Annex to the USTR request letter are being considered for designation as eligible articles for purposes of the GSP program. The USTR requested that the Commission provide its advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the elimination of U.S. import duties on the articles identified in Table A of the Annex to the USTR request letter for all beneficiary developing countries under the GSP program (see Table A below).

 Table A--2020 GSP Annual Review--Petitions Submitted To Add Products to
 the List of Eligible Articles for the Generalized System of Preferences
                                  (GSP)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             HTS provision                      Brief description
------------------------------------------------------------------------
0603.11.00.............................  Sweetheart, Spray and other
                                          Roses, fresh cut.
0603.11.0010...........................  Sweetheart roses, fresh,
                                          suitable for bouquets or for
                                          ornamental purposes.
0603.11.0030...........................  Spray roses, fresh, suitable
                                          for bouquets or for ornamental
                                          purposes.
0603.11.0060...........................  Roses, fresh, suitable for
                                          bouquets for ornamental
                                          purposes, nesoi.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) Advice as to the probable economic effect of the removal from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP program for these articles from all countries on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers. The USTR notified the Commission that six articles from all beneficiary developing countries are being considered for removal from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP program. Under authority delegated by the President, pursuant to section 332(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930, with respect to the articles listed in Table B of the Annex to the USTR request letter, the USTR requested that the Commission provide its advice as to the probable economic effect of the removal from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP program for these articles from all beneficiary developing countries on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers (see Table B below).

Table B--2020 GSP Annual Review--Petitions Submitted To Remove Duty-Free
    Status for a Product on the List of Eligible Articles for the GSP
                                 Program
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             HTS provision                      Brief description
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1006.10.00.............................  Rice in the husk (paddy or
                                          rough).
1006.20.20.............................  Basmati rice, husked.
1006.20.40.............................  Husked (brown) rice, other than
                                          Basmati.
1006.30.10.............................  Rice semi-milled or wholly
                                          milled, whether or not
                                          polished or glazed, parboiled.
1006.30.90.............................  Rice semi-milled or wholly
                                          milled, whether or not
                                          polished or glazed, other than
                                          parboiled.
1006.40.00.............................  Broken rice.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board Meeting June 3, 2020

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board will hold an open meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Individuals and representatives of organizations who would like to offer comments and suggestions related to the MEP Advisory Board's business are invited to request a place on the agenda. Approximately 15 minutes will be reserved for public comments at the end of the meeting. Speaking times will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The amount of time per speaker will be determined by the number of requests received, but is likely to be no more than three to five minutes each. Requests must be submitted by email to cheryl.gendron@nist.gov and must be received by May 27, 2020 to be considered. The exact time for public comments will be included in the final agenda that will be posted on the MEP Advisory Board website at http://www.nist.gov/mep/about/advisory-board.cfm. Questions from the public will not be considered during this period. Speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, those who wished to speak but could not be accommodated on the agenda or those who are/were unable to attend the meeting are invited to submit written statements electronically by email to cheryl.gendron@nist.gov.

Admittance Instructions: All participants will be attending via webinar. Please contact Ms. Gendron at 301-975-2785 or cheryl.gendron@nist.gov for detailed instructions on how to join the webinar. All requests must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Thursday, May 28, 2020.

Primark Recalls Kitten Heel Court Shoes Due to High Levels of Chromium; Risk of Skin Irritation

Description: This recall involves the Primark Wide Fit Kitten Heel Court Shoes. The pumps have an approximately 1.5 inch heel. The shoes were sold in black and nude microfiber fabric. Product number 06689 and the RN code 145478 are printed on the inside of the shoe.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled shoes and return the shoes to a Primark store for a full refund of the purchase price.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold At: Primark US stores nationwide from January 2019 through November 2019 for about $16.

Importer(s): Primark US Corp., of Boston, Mass.

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 20-127

More information and photo HERE.

Secretary Pompeo Declares Hong Kong No Longer Autonomous, Potentially Leading to China 301 Tariffs on Goods from Hong Kong

On May 27, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, certified to Congress that "Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997." This has serious implications for U.S. importers who shifted sourcing from mainland China to Hong Kong to avoid China 301 tariffs, as Agathon Associates noted in an August 28, 2019 post about the Hong Kong Policy Act. So far Hong Kong has been treated separately from China as regards imposition of 301 tariffs. That can be revoked, and quickly, by an Executive Order from the President.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Burlington Industries Awarded Marine Corps Poly/Wool Cloth Contract

Burlington Industries LLC, Greensboro, North Carolina, has been awarded a maximum $7,935,500 modification (P00007) exercising the second one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-18-D-1054) with four one-year option periods for poly/wool gabardine cloth. This is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract. Location of performance is North Carolina, with a May 29, 2021, performance completion date. Using military service is Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Textile Articles on Latest China 301 Exclusion List

On May 21, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released new China 301 List 3 Exclusions. Among the articles excluded from the 25% Section 301 tariffs are--

Certain nonwovens classified at 5603.14.9090, 5603.92.0090, and 5603.93.0090.

Garment travel bags of man-made fibers, each weighing at least 0.9 kg but not more than 1.9 kg, measuring at least 100 cm but not more than 170 cm in length, with zippered compartments, with handles to carry in a folded condition and a hanger clamp (described in statistical reporting number 4202.92.3131).

Polypropylene roofing underlayment (described in statistical reporting number 4602.90.0000).

The exclusions will apply from September 24, 2018 (retroactively), to August 7, 2020, (with, based on past experience, a possibility of extension).

Maine manufacturing highlights importance of domestic supply chain

"If we've learned anything from the COVID-19 experience, it's that we need to preserve and strengthen the U.S. manufacturing base," writes Kathie Leonard, President/CEO of Auburn Manufacturing in Mechanic Falls, in the Portland Press Herald.

Air Force Coat Contract Awarded

Creighton AB Inc., Reidsville, North Carolina, has been awarded a maximum $12,080,120 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for men's and women's dress coats. This was a competitive acquisition with two responses received. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Locations of performance are North Carolina and New York, with a May 20, 2021, performance completion 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 (SPE1C1-20-D-1274).

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Memorial Day in the U.S.

Monday, May 25, 2020, is Memorial Day, a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the last Monday of May. Federal, State, and local government offices will be closed, as will nearly all non-retail businesses. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

In other years in much of the United States, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. The "three day weekend" created by the Monday holiday is enjoyed with cookouts, trips to the beach and other leisure activities as will as parades and public ceremonies honoring those who died in service of the nation. This year the nature of public observance will vary from State to State.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch: be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

—John McCrae (1872-1918)

Each year I see fewer and fewer men on the street wearing remembrance poppies on Memorial Day, since 1971 celebrated on the last Monday in May. One year I couldn't even find anyone selling "Buddy Poppies," the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans.

For more than 90 years, the VFW's Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans' welfare and the well being of their dependents. In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.

When you buy your Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day you will be giving material aid to a disabled veteran. And when you wear your Buddy Poppy you will remind everyone who sees you of the meaning of Memorial Day.

The American Legion also sells crepe paper poppies for Memorial Day. That is another fine organization worthy of your support.

Although the United States Department of Veterans Affairs states "The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day" many of us do join our friends from the British Commonwealth nations in wearing the red poppy of remembrance on November 11th as well.

This Memorial Day remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to cause of liberty.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Air Force Trouser Contract Awarded

Creighton AB Inc., Reidsville, North Carolina, has been awarded a maximum $8,256,325 modification (P00007) exercising the first one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-20-D-1211) with four one-year option periods for dress trousers. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are New York and North Carolina, with a May 22, 2021, performance completion 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

Navy Safety Boots Contract Awarded

Rocky Brands Inc., Nelsonville, Ohio, has been awarded a maximum $9,075,661 modification (P00003) exercising the first one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1150) with two one-year option periods for certified safety boots. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Ohio and Puerto Rico, with a May 20, 2021, performance completion 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.

Brooks Brothers to layoff over 400 employees at Southwick facility in Haverhill

According to a report in the Boston Herald, Brooks Brothers submitted a notice that it will layoff 413 employees at the Haverhill facility with an effective date of July 20, less than two months after the plant switched production from suits and ties to masks and gowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company last week announced it will shut down its shirt factory in North Carolina also on July 20, eliminating 146 jobs, according to a report by the Raleigh News & Observer. Another plant on Long Island, which manufactures ties, is also slated to close in August. That closure would eliminate 136 jobs, the Long Island City Post reported Tuesday.

Bunz Kidz Children’s Sleepwear Sets Recalled by Stargate Apparel Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard; Burn Hazard

Description: This recall involves Bunz Kidz-branded children’s sleepwear sets consisting of a robe, top and pants. The sleepwear sets were sold in sizes 2 through 12. The 100% micro polyester fleece robe and pants are white with allover pink star print and the 100% polyester top is pink with Dream in Glitter printed onto the chest in gold. The robe has long-sleeves, a shawl collar, two side seam pockets and a sewn-on tie located at the waist and the pants have an elastic waistband. Bunz Kidz is printed on a blue sewn-in label and style numbers L23846, L43846 or L73846 and GPU numbers 2017-246, 2017-446 or GPU 2017-746 are printed on another sewn-in label.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled sleepwear sets away from children and contact Stargate Apparel for a full refund.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold At: Boscovs, Century 21, JC Penney, Macy’s, Marshalls and TJ Maxx other stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com and Walmart.com from August 2017 through December 2019 for between $24 and $48.

Distributor(s): Stargate Apparel, of New York

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 20-125

More information and photos HERE.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Friday is Straw Hat Day

May 15th is Straw Hat Day the beginning of the season when men may wear their straw boaters and Panamas rather than the fur felt fedoras, porkpies, homburgs, and bowlers that we wear (You do wear a hat, don't you?) the rest of the year.

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

Just don't wear your straw hat after September 15th, or you may start a riot.

CPSC Staff Participating in the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Spring Committee Meetings

On May 19 and 20, 2020, Emily Maling and Paige Witzen, Consumer Product Safety Commison Directorate for Laboratory Sciences, will be participating in the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) spring committee meetings via teleconference. For more information, including call-in information, contact Emily Maling at 301-987-2301 or emaling@cpsc.gov.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Annual Review of Country Eligibility for Benefits Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act

On May 13, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 28695) Annual Review of Country Eligibility for Benefits Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is announcing the initiation of the annual review of the eligibility of the sub-Saharan African countries to receive the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (AGOA Subcommittee) is developing recommendations for the President on AGOA country eligibility for calendar year 2021. The AGOA Subcommittee requests comments for this review. Due to COVID-19, the AGOA Subcommittee will foster public participation via written submissions rather than an in-person hearing. This notice includes the schedule for submission of comments and responses to questions from the AGOA Subcommittee related to this review.

DATES:

June 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of written comments on the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive the benefits of AGOA.

July 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for the AGOA Subcommittee to pose any questions on written comments.

July 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of commenters' responses to questions from the AGOA Subcommittee.

July 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for replies from other interested parties to the written comments and responses to questions.

August 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for the AGOA Subcommittee to pose any additional questions on written comments.

August 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of responses to any additional questions from the AGOA Subcommittee.

I. Background

AGOA (Title I of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-200) (19 U.S.C. 2466a et seq.), as amended, authorizes the President to designate sub-Saharan African countries as beneficiaries eligible for duty-free treatment for certain additional products not included for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (Title V of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.) (1974 Act), as well as for the preferential treatment for certain textile and apparel articles. The President may designate a country as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country eligible for AGOA benefits if he determines that the country meets the eligibility criteria set forth in section 104 of AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703) and section 502 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462).

Section 104 of AGOA includes requirements that the country has established or is making continual progress toward establishing, among other things:

  • A market-based economy
  • the rule of law
  • political pluralism
  • right to due process
  • the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment
  • economic policies to reduce poverty
  • system to combat corruption and bribery
  • protection of internationally recognized worker rights

In addition, the country may not engage in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests or engage in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. Section 502 of the 1974 Act provides for country eligibility criteria under GSP. For a complete list of the AGOA eligibility criteria and more information on the GSP criteria, see section 104 of the AGOA and section 502 of the 1974 Act.

For 2020, the President designated the following 38 countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries:
1. Angola
2. Benin
3. Botswana
4. Burkina Faso
5. Cabo Verde
6. Central African Republic
7. Chad
8. Comoros
9. Republic of Congo
10. Cote d'Ivoire
11. Djibouti
12. Eswatini
13. Ethiopia
14. Gabon
15. The Gambia
16. Ghana
17. Guinea
18. Guinea-Bissau
19. Kenya
20. Lesotho
21. Liberia
22. Madagascar
23. Malawi
24. Mali
25. Mauritius
26. Mozambique
27. Namibia
28. Niger
29. Nigeria
30. Rwanda (AGOA apparel benefits suspended effective July 31, 2018)
31. Sao Tome & Principe
32. Senegal
33. Sierra Leone
34. South Africa
35. Tanzania
36. Togo
37. Uganda
38. Zambia

The President did not designate the following sub-Saharan African countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries for 2020:
1. Burundi
2. Cameroon
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
4. Equatorial Guinea (graduated from GSP)
5. Eritrea
6. Mauritania
7. Seychelles (graduated from GSP)
8. Somalia
9. South Sudan
10. Sudan
11. Zimbabwe

The AGOA Subcommittee is seeking public comments to develop recommendations to the President in connection with the annual review of sub-Saharan African countries' eligibility for AGOA benefits. The Secretary of Labor may consider comments related to the child labor criteria to prepare the U.S. Department of Labor's report on child labor as required under section 504 of the 1974 Act.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Customs Releases Textile Enforcement Statistics

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recognizes the importance of textile trade and the critical need for enforcement in this sector. Textile and apparel goods have some of the highest duty rates of all commodities imported into the U.S. making them susceptible to fraud. Textile risks include: schemes designed to circumvent textile tariff and trade laws include false invoicing, false marking and labeling, false claims of origin, illegal transshipment, misdescription, undervaluation, false declarations of right to make entry, false trade preference claims, and outright smuggling. Therefore, textiles have long been a CBP Priority Trade Issue (PTI) for CBP enforcement efforts.

CBP maintains a robust and comprehensive enforcement strategy to effectively minimize and analyze the various textile risk areas. Both textile importers and the U.S. domestic manufacturing industry have a substantial interest in the Textile PTI enforcement results. The Textile Enforcement Statistics reflect the results of the various CBP enforcement activities.

See the statistics HERE.

CBP Launches the United States-Mexico-Canada Center to Coordinate Implementation of USMCA

To help coordinate implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which enters into force on July 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently opened the USMCA Center.

Staffed with CBP experts from operational, legal, and audit disciplines, as well as with virtual representatives from Canadian and Mexican customs authorities, the USMCA Center is a cornerstone of CBP's USMCA implementation plan and will serve as a central communication hub for CBP and the private sector community, including traders, brokers, freight forwarders and producers, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition from the North American Free Trade Agreement to USMCA.

USMCA is a new trade agreement that modernizes certain NAFTA provisions, reflecting developments in technology and 21st Century supply chains. USMCA calls for new approaches to rules of origin, agricultural market access, digital trade, and financial services while protecting the labor rights of workers in key industries, and strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights.

The USMCA Center staff will be CBP's experts on the trade provisions of USMCA, providing guidance to private and public sector stakeholders. Center staff will facilitate a smooth transition from NAFTA by coordinating and scheduling outreach events, responding to training requests, developing and distributing information resources, and updating CBP regulations on pending USMCA topics/issues, while also providing clear and transparent technical guidance on USMCA's new compliance obligations. Center staff will work closely with Centers of Excellence and Expertise and the ports to ensure CBP’s implementation is uniform and supports U.S. economic security.

Please note: NAFTA rules will continue to apply until July 1 when USMCA enters into force.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The U.S. - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA) Interim Implementing Instructions Available Now

CBP has provided interim implementing instructions to aid the importing community HERE

Noah Clothing Recalls Men’s Reverse Fleece Hoodies Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard; Burn Hazard

This recall involves Noah Clothing-branded men’s 100% cotton brushed reverse fleece, long sleeve, hooded sweatshirts. The hoodies were sold in black, Kelly green, bright red and light blue colors and in men’s sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. They have a drawstring around the collar of the neck, color contrasting stitching and “NOAH” embroidered on the front pocket. The reverse fleece hoodie is sewn so that the fleece typically seen on the inside of the hoodie is shown on the outside (reverse) everywhere but the pocket and hood. The sewn-in label at the neck states "NOAH" with a red cross underneath. The sewn-in care label has additional information that states “RN 150322.”

Product Description

Colors

Sizes

Reverse Fleece Hoodie

 

(Style Number SS4FW19)

Black, Kelly Green, Bright Red, Light Blue

Men’s sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled reverse fleece hoodies and contact Noah Clothing for a full refund plus a $20 gift card upon sending Noah a photo of the garment cut in half. Noah Clothing is directly contacting all known purchasers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold At: Noah Clothing’s New York City  store  and at Dover Street Market’s Los Angeles, Calif., store and online at www.noahny.com from August 2019 through March 2020 for about $150.

Importer(s): Noah Clothing LLC, of New York

Manufactured In: Canada

Recall number: 20-119

More information and photos HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

USTR Considers 12 Monthly Extension of China 301 List 3 Tariff Exclusions

Effective September 24, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative imposed additional duties on goods of China with an annual trade value of approximately $200 billion as part of the action in the Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation (China 301 List 3). The U.S. Trade Representative initiated an exclusion process for the $200 billion action in June 2019, and as of March 26, 2020, has issued 11 product exclusion notices under this action. The product exclusions granted under these notices are scheduled to expire on August 7, 2020. The U.S. Trade Representative has decided to consider a possible extension for up to 12 months of particular exclusions granted under these initial 11 product exclusion notices. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) invites public comment on whether to extend particular exclusions.

The U.S. Trade Representative has decided to consider a possible extension for up to 12 months of particular exclusions granted under the initial 11 product exclusion notices under the $200 billion action. At this time, USTR is not considering product exclusion notices issued after March 26, 2020. Accordingly, USTR invites public comments on whether to extend particular exclusions granted under the following notices of product exclusions:

  • 84 FR 38717 (August 7, 2019)
  • 84 FR 49591 (September 20, 2019)
  • 84 FR 57803 (October 29, 2019)
  • 84 FR 61674 (November 13, 2019)
  • 84 FR 65882 (November 29, 2019)
  • 84 FR 69012 (December 17, 2019)
  • 85 FR 549 (January 6, 2020)
  • 85 FR 6674 (February 5, 2020)
  • 84 FR 9921 (February 20, 2020)
  • 85 FR 15015 (March 16, 2020)
  • 85 FR 17158 (March 26, 2020)

To be assured of consideration, you must submit your comment between the opening of the public docket on the portal on May 1, 2020 and the June 8, 2020 submission deadline.

ITC Releases Report on Imported Products Related to the Response to COVID-19

On May 4, 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released the results of its investigation to identify imported products related to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide trade-related information for them, including their 10-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) numbers and the source countries and applicable rates of duty of those HTS numbers.

U.S. and UK Launch Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

On May 5, 2020, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss announced the formal launch of trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and the UK.

Statement of USTR Robert Lighthizer on the Launch of U.S.-UK Trade Negotiations

Joint Statement of USTR Robert Lighthizer and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss

Proposed Revocation of Ruling Letter Relating to Textile Covered Boxes

On April 29, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced CUSTOMS BULLETIN AND DECISIONS, VOL. 54, NO. 16, beginning on page 62) Notice of proposed revocation of one ruling letter, and proposed revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of textile covered high-density fiberboard boxes.

Customs Binding Ruling Letter NY N302855 pertains to two styles of storage boxes. Each storage box is made with high-density fiberboard ("HDF") and covered in textile. The first box is an opened faced drawer organizer that contains multiple divider panels inside of it. The second box is a closed box sweater organizer with a drop front panel that is see through so consumers can view the contents inside of the box. The drop front panel can be opened to provide access to the stored items. Both storage boxes come in a variety of sizes and can be used to store clothes, accessories, hosiery, and lingerie

In NY N302855, CBP classified textile covered high-density fiberboard boxes in heading 6307, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 6307.90.98 (rate of duty 7%, HTSUS, which provides for "Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other." CBP has reviewed NY N302855 and has determined the ruling letter to be in error. It is now CBP's position that the textile covered high-density fiberboard boxes are properly classified, in heading 4420, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 4420.90.65 (rate of duty FREE), HTSUS, which provides for "Wood marquetry and inlaid wood; caskets and cases for jewelry or cutlery and similar articles, of wood; statuettes and other ornaments, of wood; wooden articles of furniture not falling within chapter 94: Other: Jewelry boxes, silverware chests, cigar and cigarette boxes, microscope cases, tool or utensil cases and similar boxes, cases and chests, all the foregoing of wood: Other: Lined with textile fabrics."

Comments must be received on or before May 29, 2020.

U.S. Notifies Full Compliance in WTO Aircraft Dispute

On May 6, 2020, The United States notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it has fully complied in the dispute brought by the European Union (EU) regarding U.S. subsidies to Boeing. In April 2019, the WTO found that the Washington State Business & Occupation (B&O) tax rate reduction continued to breach WTO subsidy rules. At that time, the EU was unsuccessful on the remainder of its challenges to 29 state and federal programs alleged to harm Airbus.

Washington enacted Senate Bill 6690 on March 25, 2020, which eliminated a preferential tax rate for aerospace manufacturing. The removal of the subsidy fully implements the WTO’s recommendation to the United States, bringing an end to this long-running dispute.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, in 2004 the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies. The EU responded by challenging what it claimed were even larger subsidies to Boeing by the United States.

Two separate WTO panels addressed the claims brought by the United States and the EU, respectively. The two processes resulted in two very different sets of WTO findings and subsequent respondent actions.

The U.S. Claims Against the EU

In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $17 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006, and that European "launch aid" subsidies breached WTO rules because they were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and to lose market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged. The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized "launch aid" financing for its A350 XWB family of aircraft. The United States filed a complaint in March 2012 alleging that the EU not only had failed to comply with the WTO’s findings but had further breached WTO rules through the new subsidized financing for the A350 XWB.

The WTO compliance panel and appellate reports found that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft continued to cause serious prejudice to U.S. interests. The reports found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB cause significant lost sales of Boeing 787 aircraft. The reports also found that subsidies to the A380 continue to cause significant lost sales of Boeing aircraft, as well as impedance of exports of Boeing very large aircraft to the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

In 2018, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures commensurate with the adverse effects that the EU subsidies continued to cause. The EU challenged the U.S. estimate, and a WTO arbitrator found that the annual adverse effects to the United States amounted to $7.5 billion per year. The United States imposed countermeasures in October 2019, consistent with the WTO’s authorization.

The EU Claims Against the United States

The EU's original 2004 complaint alleged that the United States provided unlawful subsidies to Boeing. In that dispute, the WTO found that the United States provided Boeing with $3.2-4.3 billion in subsidized research and development funding, certain federal tax benefits, and the Washington State preferential B&O tax, with far more limited market effects than the EU's subsidies to Airbus, which enabled launch of entirely new aircraft programs.

In response to the WTO's findings, the United States modified the research and development funding and revoked much of the tax benefits, which in its view removed any adverse effects to the EU from Washington B&O tax rate reduction. The EU then filed a compliance challenge in October 2012 alleging that the United States failed to comply with the findings against it. The WTO compliance panel issued a report in June 2017, which rejected 28 of the EU’s 29 claims. The appellate report likewise found only that the Washington B&O tax rate reduction continued to cause adverse effects to Airbus. The EU subsequently asked a WTO arbitrator in 2019 to determine the level of countermeasures it could take in response to U.S. non-compliance. The decision in the arbitration is expected later this year.

More Textile Articles Excluded from China 301 Tariffs

USTR has announced 146 additional articles excluded from List 3 China 301 tariffs. Among them --

15) Disposable cloths of nonwoven textile materials impregnated, coated or covered with organic surface-active preparations for washing the skin, put up for retail sale (described in statistical reporting number 3401.30.5000)

27) Backpacks with outer surface of textile materials of man-made fibers, each with padded and insulated zippered compartments measuring not more than 27 cm by 19 cm by 21.5 cm (described in statistical reporting number 4202.92.3120)

28) Cases of textile materials of man-made fibers, each measuring not more than 57 cm by 47 cm by 34 cm, specially fitted to contain a sewing machine, each with outer pockets, side handles and 4 wheels (described in statistical reporting number 4202.92.3131)

29) Cases of man-made fiber, each measuring not more than 40 cm by 27 cm by 9 cm, with clear zippered pockets, mesh pockets and a carrying handle (described in statistical reporting number 4202.92.9100)

36) Dyed sateen fabric containing at least 85 percent by weight of cotton, measuring at least 292 cm but not more than 293 cm in width, weighing not more than 210 g/m² (described in statistical reporting number 5208.39.2020)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Dept. of Defense Contract for Trousers and Parkas Awarded

Tennier Industries Inc., Delray Beach, Florida, has been awarded a maximum $8,771,992 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a variety of trousers and parkas. This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. Locations of performance are Florida and Tennessee, with an April 30, 2021, performance completion date. Using military services are the Marine Corp, 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-1273).

Canada Customs Issues USMCA Instructions

On April 3, 2020, the Canada Border Services Agency issued Customs Notice 20-14 Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

This notice provides information on the changes to the Customs Tariff that will occur as a result of the implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and summarizes the requirements in order to benefit from the CUSMA's preferential rates of duty, once the CUSMA enters info force.

Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

1. The CUSMA's implementing legislation, Bill C-4, received Royal Assent on . Upon entry into force of the Agreement, with the exception of a few agricultural goods, all qualifying imports into Canada from a CUSMA country will be customs duty free.

2. More information regarding the CUSMA and the text of the agreement can be found on the Global Affairs Canada website.

3. Regulatory amendments and new regulations made under the Customs Act as a result of the CUSMA's implementation will be announced in a separate customs notice.

Tariff Provisions

4. Entitlement to the CUSMA's preferential tariff treatment is determined in accordance with the following provisions of the CUSMA: the rules of origin set out in Chapter 4 Rules of Origin, the origin procedures set out in Chapter 5 Origin Procedures, provisions of Chapter 6 Textile and Apparel Goods, and paragraphs 8 through 10 of the Tariff Schedule of Canada in Annex 2-B.

5. CUSMA's preferential tariff treatments are: the United States Tariff (UST - tariff treatment code 10) and the Mexico Tariff (MXT - tariff treatment code 11).

6. The Mexico-United States Tariff (MUST tariff treatment code 12) used under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) cannot be used for the CUSMA, which has a simplified preferential tariff treatment provision without differing start dates for tariff commitments as there were in the NAFTA.

7. All eligible goods imported under the CUSMA are eligible for either the United States Tariff or the Mexico Tariff. The MUST will remain in place in the interim, for adjustments pertaining to importations that occurred while the NAFTA was in effect.

Advance Rulings

8. Advance rulings for origin issued under NAFTA, will only remain valid for goods imported under NAFTA's preferential tariff treatment. Therefore, an applicant wishing to have an advance ruling for origin under CUSMA, will need to submit a new application to the Canada Border Services Agency. For more information, please consult Memorandum D11-4-16, Advance Rulings for Origin under Free Trade Agreements.

Proof of Origin

9. The required proof of origin is referred to as a certification of origin and consists of a set of minimum data elements contained in Annex 5-A of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA, that may be placed on an invoice or any other document. The certification of origin may also be completed and submitted electronically including with an electronic or digital signature. Additional information concerning CUSMA's certification of origin is contained in Article 5.2 of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA. Information concerning the electronic submission can be found in Memorandum D11-4-14, Certification of Origin Under Free Trade Agreements.

10. Importers, exporters or producers of CUSMA-eligible goods may complete the certification of origin. Importers are required to have the certification of origin in their possession at the time that the importer makes a claim for preferential tariff treatment.

11. A certification of origin shall include the following minimum data elements:

i. Importer, Exporter, or Producer - Certification of Origin

Indicate whether the certifier is the exporter, producer or importer in accordance with Article 5.2 of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA.

ii. Certifier

Provide the certifier's name, title, address (including country), telephone number and e-mail address.

iii. Exporter

Provide the exporter's name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number if different from the certifier. This information is not required if the producer is completing the certification of origin and does not know the identity of the exporter. The address of the exporter shall be the place of export of the good in a Party├ó€™s territory.

iv. Producer

Provide the producer's name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number, if different from the certifier or exporter or, if there are multiple producers, state "Various" or provide a list of producers. A person that wishes for this information to remain confidential may state "Available upon request by the importing authorities". The address of the producer shall be the place of production of the good of the Party's territory.

v. Importer

Provide, if known, the importer's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number. The address of the importer shall be in the Party's territory.

vi. Description and Harmonized System (HS) Tariff Classification of the Good

a) Provide a description of the good and the HS tariff classification of the good to the 6-digit level located in the Customs Tariff. The description should be sufficient to relate it to the good covered by the certification;

b) If the certification of origin covers a single shipment of a good, indicate, if known, the invoice number related to the exportation.

vii. Origin Criteria

Specify the origin criterion under which the good qualifies, as set out in Article 4.2 (Originating Goods) of Chapter 4 of the CUSMA.

viii. Blanket Period

Include the period if the certification covers multiple shipments of identical goods for a specified period of up to 12 months as set out in Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment) of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA.

ix. Authorized Signature and Date

The certification must be signed and dated by the certifier and accompanied by the following statement:

"I certify that the goods described in this document qualify as originating and the information contained in this document is true and accurate. I assume responsibility for proving such representations and agree to maintain and present upon request or to make available during a verification visit, documentation necessary to support this certification."

Shipment Requirements

12. Goods may be shipped from a CUSMA country, with or without transshipment, to Canada. The transshipment conditions are contained in Article 4.18 of Chapter 4 of the CUSMA and the associated documentation requirements are contained in Article 5.4(3) of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA.

Exemption from the requirements of 35.1 (1) of the Customs Act

13. If the benefit of preferential tariff treatment under CUSMA is claimed for locomotives classified under heading No. 86.01 or 86.02, or railway freight cars classified under heading No. 86.06 of the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Customs Tariff, the importer and owner of the goods are exempt from the requirements of subsection 35.1(1) of the Customs Act with respect to those goods if they are transported overland from the United States into Canada.

Refunds

14. An application for a refund under paragraph 74(1)(c.11) of the Customs Act may be made within four years from the date the goods were accounted for under subsections 32(1), (3), or (5), in respect of goods that were imported from the United States or Mexico on or after the date of entry into force of CUSMA.

Additional Information

15. For more information, please call the Border Information Service line from within Canada at 1-800-461-9999 or from abroad at 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply. Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00 -- 16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada: 1-866-335-3237.

ITC Reports on U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa

On May 1, 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission ("USITC") released U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Developments (Publication 5043 Inv. No. 332-571).

U.S. imports for consumption of apparel from SSA under AGOA grew at 9.9 percent between 2016 and 2018. Within SSA, five countries:

  1. Kenya,
  2. Lesotho,
  3. Madagascar,
  4. Mauritius, and
  5. Ethiopia
accounted for almost 95 percent of all apparel imported from the region under AGOA. Notably, imports from Ethiopia had an increase of 76.5 percent between 2016 and 2018, reflecting an increase in exports to the United States from $37 million to $114 million. This growth was primarily due to the country’s focus on increasing garment production in industrial parks and its increased use of AGOA benefits. The largest categories of U.S. apparel imports from SSA in 2018 were men's or boys' cotton trousers and shorts, and men's or boys' knit shirts of manmade fiber ($225 million and $205 million, respectively)

In examining factors that may have affected the rise in apparel exports from SSA to the United States, the report states:

  • Some multinational firms are looking for new sourcing options due to a rising emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in many countries.
  • Regional integration efforts among SSA countries could also be contributing to the increase. For example, the African Continental Free Trade Area intends to remove duties on goods shipped within the continent to develop regional value chains and strengthen manufacturing capacities in SSA.
  • According to the 2019 Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, 83 percent of survey respondents expect to decrease sourcing from China over the next two years, up from 67 percent for the same question in 2018. However, the same survey found that only 28 percent of respondents were sourcing from SSA, a nearly 6 percent decline from 2016. Almost half of the respondents attributed their hesitancy about investing in the region to the temporary nature of AGOA. Moreover, long lead times, lack of infrastructure, and high logistical costs continue to deter apparel retailers from investing in the AGOA region.

Kim Glas on working with White House to help companies manufacture personal protective equipment