Friday, July 31, 2020
On July 29, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (85 FR 45646) Notice of COBRA Fees To Be Adjusted for Inflation in Fiscal Year 2021.
Thursday, July 23, 2020
On July 23, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 4456) Notice of Product Exclusions and Amendments: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.
2) Rayon staple fibers, not carded, combed or otherwise processed for spinning (described in statistical reporting number 5504.10.0000)
18) Women's knit robes in chief weight of cotton, with hook and loop tab closure (described in statistical reporting number 6108.91.0030)
19) Babies' gowns of cotton knitted interlock fabric, each with sleeves, neck opening and elasticized bottom opening (described in statistical reporting number 6111.20.6070)
20) Babies' sleep sacks, knitted, of cotton, each with neck opening and two-way zipper (described in statistical reporting number 6111.20.6070)
21) Babies' sleep sacks of cotton interlock knitted fabric, sleeveless, each with neck opening and two-way zipper (described in statistical reporting number 6111.20.6070)
22) Babies' swaddle sacks of cotton knitted interlock fabric, each with sleeves and mitten cuffs (described in statistical reporting number 6111.20.6070)
23) Babies' blanket sleepers of polyester knitted fleece, sleeveless, each with two-way zipper (described in statistical reporting number 6111.30.5015)
24) Men's and boys' cotton terry bathrobes with muslin trim, each beltless but featuring a hook-and-loop tab (described in statistical reporting number 6207.91.1000)
25) Women's cotton terry bathrobes with muslin trim, each beltless but featuring a hook-and-loop tab (described in statistical reporting number 6208.91.1010)
26) Girls' cotton terry bathrobes with muslin trim, each beltless but featuring a hookand-loop tab (described in statistical reporting number 6208.91.1020)
27) Girls' fleece bathrobes, each beltless but featuring a hook-and-loop tab (described in statistical reporting number 6208.92.0020)
28) Blankets (other than electric blankets) of cotton, woven, each measuring at least 116 cm but not more than 118 cm on an edge (described in statistical reporting number 6301.30.0010)
29) Blankets (other than electric blankets) of cotton, other than woven, each measuring at least 116 cm but not more than 118 cm on an edge (described in statistical reporting number 6301.30.0020)
30) Crib sheets of muslin cotton, fitted with elastic (described in statistical reporting number 6302.31.9020)
31) Protective covers of cotton for pillows, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton, not napped or printed, each with full encasement construction and zipper opening (described in statistical reporting number 6302.31.9040)
32) Oven mitts, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton, each incorporating a hanging loop, measuring at least 16 cm but not more than 19 cm in width by at least 29 cm but not more than 32 cm in length (described in statistical reporting number 6304.92.0000)
33) Handrail covers for spas and pools, the foregoing composed of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex by weight, each measuring at least 60 cm but not more than 306 cm in length (described in statistical reporting number 6307.90.9889 prior to July 1, 2020; described in statistical reporting number 6307.90.9891 effective July 1, 2020)
34) Outdoor shelters, each comprising a canopy of textiles, a folding frame and a carrying case with wheels (described in statistical reporting number 6307.90.9889 prior to July 1, 2020; described in statistical reporting number 6307.90.9891 effective July 1, 2020)
On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and director of the Defense Logistics Agency. She replaces Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, who relinquished command July 8 to DLA Vice Director Mike Scott and will retire next month. Read more HERE.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Made Overly Broad and Misleading ‘Made in USA’ Claims about Houseware and Furniture Products
On July 16, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (85 FR 43162) Made in USA Labeling Rule; Notice of proposed rulemaking.
Since at least 1940, the Commission has pursued enforcement actions to prevent unfair and deceptive "Made in USA" and other U.S.-origin claims (``MUSA claims''). Currently, the Commission's comprehensive MUSA program consists of compliance monitoring, counseling, and targeted enforcement pursuant to the FTC's general authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45. However, Congress has also granted the FTC authority to address MUSA labeling, including rulemaking authority, under a separate statute, 15 U.S.C. 45a. To date, the Commission has not exercised its rulemaking authority under that provision.
Recently, the FTC held a public workshop and collected public comments in support of a review of its MUSA program. Workshop participants and commenters discussed a variety of issues, including consumer perception of MUSA claims, concerns about the FTC's current enforcement approach, and potential changes to the FTC's MUSA program, including through rulemaking. During that proceeding, stakeholders expressed nearly universal support for the Commission to exercise authority pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 45a to issue a rule addressing MUSA claims. Commenters argued such a rule could have a strong deterrent effect against unlawful MUSA claims without imposing new burdens on law-abiding companies.
The proposed rule would continue the Commission's current requirement that in order to make a "Made in USA" claim, final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States, all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States, and all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States. In general the proposed rule would codify existing FTC practices.
The rule would apply to advertising.
The rule states that violation shall be treated as a violation of a rule under section 18 of the Federal Trade Commission.
The rule does not supersede other federal country of origin labeling requirements, such as the Wool Rules and Textile Rules.
The proposed rule provides that states may adopt stronger rules. This provision may be controversial as it would allow a state to adopt a 100% USA requirement with no de minimis provision, resulting in an article legally marked "Made in USA" in 49 states but not so in one state.
Comments must be received by September 14, 2020.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
On July 14, 2020, the President of the United States of America, signed an Executive Order determining, pursuant to section 202 of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, that the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) is no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to the People's Republic of China.
The Order suspends the application of section 201(a) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, as amended (22 U.S.C. 5721(a)), which is the provision in U.S. law that treats Hong Kong as separate from China as regards the application of certain laws. Specifically the Order list the following statutes:
(a) section 103 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (8 U.S.C. 1152 note);
(b) sections 203(c), 212(l), and 221(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1153(c), 1182(l), and 1201(c), respectively);
(c) the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.);
(d) section 721(m) of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. 4565(m));
(e) the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (50 U.S.C. 4801 et seq.); and
(f) section 1304 of title 19, United States Code. This law relates to the country of origin labeling of imported merchandise and could be disruptive for companies that relocated manufacturing from China to Hong Kong to avoid additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as Agathon Associates reported in August 2019.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
On July 10, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 41658) Notice of Product Exclusions and Amendments: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation, including several home textile articles in Chapter 63 and Chapter 94 of the tariff schedule.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Joint Statement Between the United States and Kenya on the Launch of Negotiations Towards a Free Trade Agreement
On July 8, 2020, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development Betty Maina formally launched trade agreement negotiations between the United States and the Republic of Kenya.
"Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties," said Ambassador Lighthizer. "Under President Trump's leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.
"We believe this agreement with Kenya will complement Africa's regional integration efforts, including in the East African Community and the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the United States pledges its continued support to help the AfCFTA achieve its fullest potential."
Cabinet Secretary Maina said, "Kenya and the United States have strong trade relations demonstrated by growing exports and imports which have increased over the years. The United States of America is a significant destination market for Kenya, a position that has been sustained over the years after the East Africa Community (EAC), European Union (EU) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
"Increasing and sustaining export performance to the United States requires a trade arrangement that is predictable and guarantees preferential market access for Kenyan products. Kenya is also keen to attract Foreign Direct Investment from the United States that will improve vertical and horizontal linkages in the Kenyan economy. The increased inflow of investment from the United States has the potential to create job opportunities and catalyze other value chains that will benefit Micro and Small Enterprises in Kenya."
In light of the ongoing global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the first round of negotiations is being conducted virtually, with the U.S. and Kenyan negotiators engaging in discussions over the next two weeks in multiple negotiating sessions covering all aspects of a comprehensive trade agreement.
The United States and Kenya share a deep and enduring relationship that encompasses longstanding social, cultural, economic, and political ties. Both countries have worked closely together to strengthen agriculture, protect wildlife, improve health and welfare, assist in civic education, and combat the scourge of terrorism.
In 2018, President Donald Trump and President Uhuru Kenyatta elevated the U.S.-Kenya bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership, and established a Trade and Investment Working Group to explore ways to deepen the trade and investment ties between the two countries and lay the groundwork for a stronger future trade relationship. In 2020, the two presidents agreed to pursue closer economic ties through the negotiation of a free trade agreement.
The United States and Kenya seek to conclude a free trade agreement that will complement regional integration efforts within the East African Community (EAC), as well as the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area.
The two countries recognize that an agreement between them has the potential to serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa, including with other EAC partner states.
In addition to the launch of trade negotiations, the United States and Kenya agreed on a Strategic Cooperation Framework to provide technical assistance and trade capacity building in Kenya with the aim of maximizing Kenya’s utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade benefits for the remaining years of the preference program, which is scheduled to expire in 2025. The Framework will also support the development and competitiveness of key agricultural value chains in Kenya.
The United States and Kenya intend to intensify efforts to bolster commercial cooperation under the bilateral commercial Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2018, and to work together to identify and prioritize trade and investment opportunities in strategic sectors including energy, health, digital economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Both governments are committed to a successful outcome that makes workers, farmers, and business people in both countries more prosperous.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
For example --
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring December 28, 2019, was published on December 23, 2019.
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring March 25, 2020, was published on March 19, 2020
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring April 18, 2020, was published on April 10, 2020.
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring May 14, 2020, was published on May 15, 2020.
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring June 4, 2020, was published on June 2, 2020.
The Notice of Extensions for Exclusions Expiring July 9, 2020, was published on July 6, 2020.
Monday, July 6, 2020
The purpose of the event is to provide current and potential suppliers of PPE an understanding of U.S. government demand, including an overview of the tranche 2 requirements for DLA (in support of HHS), as well as the long-term demand for PPE across the coming year based on market research. The event will also include major trade associations providing their medical and non-medical grade PPE requirements in order for industry to return to full work capacity.
Target Audience: Current and potential domestic producers of PPE (end-items as well as sub-tier suppliers of material) and major trade associations and members, representing consumers of PPE.
Location: Virtual event (Zoom webcast, specific details TBD)
Days / Times: Tuesday, July 14 and Wednesday, July 15
For more information about the event and a registration link, see: https://www.dla.mil/HQ/Acquisition/Business/JointIndustryEngagementVirtual/
Friday, July 3, 2020
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
The U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a business advisory to caution businesses about the risks of supply chain links to entities that engage in human rights abuses, including forced labor, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) and elsewhere in China.
The People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) government continues to carry out a campaign of repression in Xinjiang, targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups.
The advisory highlights the risks for businesses with supply chain links to entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang and throughout China. The three primary types of supply chain exposure to entities engaged in human rights abuses discussed in this advisory are:
- Assisting in developing surveillance tools for the P.R.C. government in Xinjiang;
- Relying on labor or goods sourced in Xinjiang, or from factories elsewhere in China implicated in the forced labor of individuals from Xinjiang in their supply chains, given the prevalence of forced labor and other labor abuses in the region; and
- Aiding in the construction of internment facilities used to detain Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups, and/or in the construction of manufacturing facilities that are in close proximity to camps operated by businesses accepting subsidies from the P.R.C. government to subject minority groups to forced labor.
Businesses with potential exposure in their supply chain to entities that engage in human rights abuses in Xinjiang or to facilities outside Xinjiang that use forced labor from Xinjiang in the manufacture of goods intended for domestic and international distribution should be aware of the reputational, economic, and legal risks of involvement with such entities.
In order to mitigate reputational and other risks, businesses should apply appropriate industry due diligence policies and procedures.
On June 26, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 38488) notice that it is conducting a review of the action being taken in the Section 301 investigation involving the enforcement of U.S. World Trade Organization (WTO) rights in the Large Civil Aircraft dispute. In connection with this review, the U.S. Trade Representative is considering modifying the list of products of certain current or former European Union (EU) member States that currently are subject to additional duties. Annex I to this notice contains the list of products currently subject to additional duties. Annex II contains a list of products, originally published in the April and July 2019 notices in this investigation, under consideration but not currently subject to additional duties. Annex III contains a new list of products being considered for imposition of additional duties. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests comments with respect to whether products listed in Annex I should be removed from the list or remain on the list; whether the rate of additional duty on specific products should be increased, up to a level of 100 percent; whether additional duties should be imposed on specific products listed in Annex II or Annex III; and on the rate of additional duty of up to 100 percent to be applied to any products drawn from Annex II or Annex III. On June 26, 2020, USTR is opening an electronic portal for submission of comments regarding the review of the action.
Comments are due by July 26, 2020.
Currently textile products of the United Kingdom described below are subject to additional import duties of 25 percent ad valorem:
|HTS||Subheading Product Description|
|6110.11.00||Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of wool|
|6110.12.10||Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of Kashmir goats, wholly of cashmere|
|6110.20.20||Sweaters, pullovers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of cotton, nesoi*|
|6110.30.30||Sweaters, pullovers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, nesoi|
|6202.99.15||Recreational 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|
|6202.99.80||Women'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,|
|6203.11.60||Men's or boys' suits of wool, not knitted or crocheted, nesoi, of wool yarn with average fiber diameter of 18.5 micron or less|
|6203.11.90||Men's or boys' suits of wool or fine animal hair, not knitted or crocheted, nesoi|
|6203.19.30||Men's or boys' suits, of artificial fibers, nesoi, not knitted or crocheted|
|6203.19.90||Men'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|
|6208.21.00||Women's or girls' nightdresses and pajamas, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton|
|6211.12.40||Women's or girls' swimwear, of textile materials(except MMF), containing 70% or more by weight of silk or silk waste, not knit or crocheted|
|6211.12.80||Women's or girls' swimwear, of textile materials(except MMF), containing under 70% by weight of silk or silk waste, not knit or crocheted|
|6301.30.00||Blankets (other than electric blankets) and traveling rugs, of cotton|
|6301.90.00||Blankets and traveling rugs, nesoi|
|6302.21.50||Bed linen, not knit or crocheted, printed, of cotton, cont any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work, n/napped|
|6302.21.90||Bed linen, not knit or croc, printed, of cotton, not cont any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work, not napped|
NESOI means Not Elsewhere Specified or Included.
Addition tariffs, up to 100%, are being considered for several textile articles from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
On July 1, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (85 FR 39690) Implementation of the Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (USMCA) Uniform Regulations Regarding Rules of Origin.
This interim final rule is effective on July 1, 2020; comments must be received by August 31, 2020.
Ambassador Lighthizer Celebrates USMCA’s Entry Into Force Today Landmark trade agreement fulfills core Trump promise to end job-killing NAFTA
Washington, DC – The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) enters into force today, replacing the job-killing NAFTA failure and fulfilling a core promise President Trump made to the American people.
The USMCA, which President Trump successfully negotiated in 2018, rebalances trade between the three countries and will lead to significant economic and job growth in the United States.
At President Trump's direction, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer worked closely with Congress to win overwhelming bipartisan approval of the USMCA.
Ambassador Lighthizer issued the following statement about USMCA’s entry into force:
"Today marks the beginning of a new and better chapter for trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada – just as President Trump promised he would deliver for the American people.
"From day one of his Administration, President Trump has changed the focus of America's trade policy away from what is best for big, multi-national corporations to instead what is best for America's workers, farmers and ranchers. That's a monumental change. His success in creating a bipartisan consensus on this new model for trade policy -- in spite of the establishment critics who said it couldn't be done -- is truly remarkable.
"The USMCA contains significant improvements and modernized approaches that will deliver more jobs, stronger worker protections, expanded market access, and greater opportunities to trade for companies large and small. We have worked closely with the governments of Mexico and Canada to ensure that the obligations and responsibilities of all three nations under the agreement have been met, and we will continue to do so to ensure the USMCA is enforced.
"The recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates that now, more than ever, the United States must stop the outsourcing of jobs and increase our manufacturing capacity and investment here at home. With the USMCA's entry into force, we take another giant step forward in reaching this goal and advancing President Trump's vision for pro-worker trade policies."
Locally, here in Boston, at ten o'clock on the morning of July 4, the Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston, just as it was first read in Boston on July 18, 1776. Yes, back in the Revolutionary (before E-mail) Period it could take two weeks to get a document from Philadelphia to Boston.
The memorable words of the Declaration:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,
punctuate one scene in a sweeping drama of history going back thousands of years.
Liberty and equality before law can be traced back to the Great Charter of England (Magna Carta), signed by King John over 800 years ago, on June 15, 1215, which declared:
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.
And that medieval declaration of rights echoes an earlier act in the drama of freedom. In the Institutes of the Roman Emperor Justinian (A.D. 535) we read:
The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due. Freedom, from which men are called free, is a man's natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force or law: Slavery is an institution of the law of nations, against nature subjecting one man to the dominion of another.
A thousand years earlier, Pericles (439 B.C.) said of Democratic Athens:
Our constitution favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all.
And our founding fathers, who threw off allegiance to King George, must have agreed with the words of the Hebrew prophet Samuel who, half a millennium before Pericles warned the people that asked of him a king.
This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you. --1 Samuel Chapter 8.
With the Chinese Communist Part's imposition of new security measures on Hong Kong, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the risk that sensitive U.S. technology will be diverted to the People's Liberation Army or Ministry of State Security has increased, all while undermining the territory's autonomy. Those are risks the U.S. refuses to accept and have resulted in the revocation of Hong Kong's special status.
Commerce Department regulations affording preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export license exceptions, are suspended. Further actions to eliminate differential treatment are also being evaluated.