Friday, October 30, 2020
In just one day this month, CBP officers at LAX IMF intercepted 812 shipments containing counterfeit footwear, handbags, wearing apparel, prohibited plant and animal products, and other items that threaten the health and safety of consumers, undermine the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and put U.S. agriculture and the environment at risk.
“Counterfeit and other illicit goods from China pose a very real threat to the safety and economic prosperity of the American people, said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “CBP will continue to use all methods at its disposal to ensure items entering the U.S. do not harm Americans and to foster a fair and competitive trade environment for American manufacturers.”
Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers. Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.
“The e-commerce explosion has created a collateral massive underground market for all sorts of illicit goods, from fake prescription medicine, electronics, wearing apparel to prohibited food products containing potentially deadly animal diseases,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP LAX Area Port Director.
Through its nationwide Mega Flex operations, CBP has found that more than 13 percent of targeted shipments contain counterfeit goods or contraband. Since July 2019, CBP has seized more than 4,800 shipments and nearly 2,600 agriculture violations through Operation Mega Flex that posed health, safety, or economic threats to the United States and its people.
Reade more HERE.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Public Designation of Current and Former Members of the Guatemalan Congress Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption
On October 28, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the designation of First Secretary in the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, and former Deputy Delia Bac, due to their involvement in significant corruption. Mr. Alejos’ and Ms. Bac’s corruption has undermined the rule of law and the Guatemalan public’s faith in their government and their country’s democratic institutions and public processes. While acting in his official capacity as a deputy in the Guatemalan Congress, Mr. Alejos was involved in corrupt acts to enrich himself, while also seriously harming U.S. businesses’ international economic activity. In her official capacity as a deputy from 2008 to 2020, Ms. Bac was involved in corrupt acts including using her political influence for the personal enrichment and advancement of herself and her family.
These designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94). Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to Mr. Alejos, the Department is publicly designating his spouse, Maria Ximena Morales de Alejos, and his minor sons.
On October 29, 2020, the Foreign Trade Zone Board announced Extension of Rebuttal Comment Period for Docket B-52-2020, Foreign-Trade Zone 38--Spartanburg County, South Carolina; Application for Production Authority; Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc.
The rebuttal period for the application for production authority within FTZ 38 on behalf of Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc. in Greenwood, South Carolina, submitted by the South Carolina Ports Authority (85 FR 49359, August 13, 2020), is being extended based on a request from the applicant to November 10, 2020, to allow additional time for the submission of rebuttal comments.
In a Federal Register Notice scheduled for publication October 30, 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission, or CPSC) is proposing to amend its Standard for the Flammability of Mattresses and Mattress Pads. The ignition source cigarette specified in the standard for use in the mattress standard’s performance tests, Standard Reference Material cigarette SRM 1196, is no longer available for purchase. The Commission is proposing to amend the mattress standard to require a revised Standard Reference Material cigarette, SRM 1196a, which was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as the ignition source for testing to the mattress standard.
Statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the WTO Director-General Selection Process
On October 28, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative issued the following statement on the selection of the next World Trade Organization Director-General.
The United States supports the selection of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as the next WTO Director-General. Minister Yoo is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker. She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.
This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations. The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
SUMMARY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is considering the amendment of its regulations to mandate continuing education for licensed customs brokers. CBP is seeking comments on a potential framework of continuing education requirements for licensed customs brokers in order to assess the current situation among members of the customs broker industry and analyze the potential impact of such a framework on customs brokers.
DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 28, 2020.
You can read the proposal in the October 28, 2020, Federal Register (85 FR 68260).
Chinese officials are testing an entire city for coronavirus after a large number of asymptomatic cases was detected in a garment factory in the country's Xinjiang region.
Read more HERE with free registration.
All recruits will now receive two operational camouflage patterned combat uniforms and two IHWCUs with initial issue. While the uniform styles are similar, the IHWCU is lighter and more breathable with 7% more nylon, said Karla Williams, C&T product services branch chief for utility clothing and accessory items.
Read more HERE.
CBP Seizes Fake Viagra Pills, Footwear, Wearing Apparel, Makeup and Perfume Worth Over $3.5 Million at LA/Long Beach Seaport
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport in coordination with import specialists from the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM), the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles (AFT) and the Pharmaceuticals, Health and Chemicals (PHC) Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers) seized 31,072 counterfeit products arriving in a containerized cargo shipment from China.
The seized items included 25,000 counterfeit Viagra pills, 5,145 pieces of wearing apparel and footwear in violation of the Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Moschino, Versace, Balenciaga, Nike’s Jordan and Air Max registered and recorded trademarks, and 927 pieces of counterfeit makeup and perfume in violation of the MAC and Chanel registered and recorded trademarks. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $3,536,949.00.
CBP officers in coordination with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized all counterfeit items and turned them over to the Los Angeles Police (LAPD) Illicit Pharmaceutical and Counterfeit Unit for further investigation on September 21.
“CBP is committed to detecting, intercepting and seizing contraband and dangerous imports arriving at our Greater Los Angeles Area ports of entry every day,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Not only do counterfeits damage the American economy, such goods can threaten the health and safety of consumers.”
Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers. Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.
“The best way consumers can protect themselves and avoid this type of fraud is to purchase items from legitimate sources only,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP LA/Long Beach Seaport Port Director. “Consumers should also know that the money they pay for fake products often funds transnational criminal organizations.”
Nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2019, CBP seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.5 billion from more than $1.4 billion in FY 2018.
Watches and jewelry topped the list for number of seizures based on intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, with 4,242 representing 15 percent of all such seizures. Watches and jewelry continued as the top product seized for IPR violations by total MSRP value with seizures valued at more than $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total MSRP value of seizures in this category. Violative wearing apparel and accessories seizures placed second by MSRP value, with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.
If you have any suspicion of or information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
Pursuant to an examination of the record in Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) Investigation 7404, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined that there is substantial evidence that Mac Swed, Inc. (Mac Swed) entered merchandise covered by antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty orders A -552-806 and C-552-805 into the customs territory of theUnited States through evasion. Substantial evidence demonstrates that Mac Swed imported polyethylene retail carrier bags (polyethylene bags) into the United States from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) by misclassifying the merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and misrepresenting the country of origin. Mac Sweddid not declare that the merchandise was subject to the AD/CVD orders upon entry and, as a result, no cash deposits were collected on the merchandise
As the second-largest revenue-collecting agency in the federal government, CBP uses EAPA to ensure that foreign companies and other entities exporting goods into the United States pay the correct duties associated with their products. The U.S. Government adds duties to imports produced by companies that receive subsidies in their home country or other advantages that allow them to sell the good for less than market value in the United States.
When exporters find ways to evade paying these antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD), they have an unfair advantage over domestic companies, as they can afford to sell their goods at a lower price. Duty collection gives American businesses a fair chance to compete in the same market. The significant increase in the prevention of duty evasion since FY 2017 is a testament to CBP’s ability to ensure a level playing for American businesses through EAPA.
“Under EAPA, CBP’s work with the trade community on allegations of duty evasion has been a game-changer in combatting unfair trade practices and leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “CBP is exercising this authority to protect American businesses from those using fraud and evasion to undermine our economy.”
To combat the ever-evolving schemes to evade U.S. trade laws, CBP uses EAPA in the following ways:
- Pause the final billing to prevent evaders from skirting their obligations.
- CBP thoroughly vets an importer’s transaction history over the course of an entire year before determining the final payment owed the U.S. Government.
- Conduct onsite visits in foreign countries to determine firsthand if fraud is occurring.
- Leverage new authorities to ensure importers cooperate in evasion investigations, which was not possible before EAPA.
- Adverse inference is a powerful authority that allows CBP to legally pursue entities that fail to provide information regarding product compliance.
- Hold importers accountable for understanding the origins of their supply chains.
The majority of AD/CVD evasion investigated through the EAPA program this year involved Chinese goods transshipped through Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, India, Malaysia, Laos, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, or Vietnam. Some of the most common evasion schemes include illegally shipping goods through a third country or attempting to undervalue or misclassify goods upon entrance into the United States. One recent case involved the illegal shipment of Chinese-origin xanthan gum through Malaysia to avoid a 154.07 percent duty rate, and another involved importers claiming a $0.08 per kilogram duty rate for Chinese-origin fresh garlic, when the actual duty rate of $4.71 was nearly 6,000 percent higher.
The difference between $0.08 and $4.71 adds up quickly when more than 61 million kilograms of fresh garlic from China crossed the border in 2019 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These duties can be the difference between American garlic farmers selling their product or not. They also ensure that American consumers having a variety of options to choose from and that the U.S. Government receives the revenue it needs to continue to protect Americans from unsafe and illegal goods.
Established in 2016, EAPA is one of the most powerful and successful authorities in CBP’s arsenal of tools to protect American workers, manufacturers, farmers, and consumers from businesses and people determined to evade U.S. trade laws. Despite a recent slowdown in the flow of international trade, CBP is currently leveraging EAPA to investigate 59 evasion schemes.
GAO Says CBP Has Taken Steps to Combat Counterfeit Goods in Small Packages but Could Streamline Enforcement
Counterfeiters sometimes post photos of authentic goods on e-commerce sites, but then fill orders with fakes. These counterfeit goods infringe on intellectual property rights, and can harm the U.S. economy and threaten consumer safety.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and European customs officials are trying to combat the increasing numbers of small packages containing counterfeit goods that are being sent directly to consumers. But CBP officials said the seizure and forfeiture processes that U.S. law requires are time and resource intensive.
The Government Accountability Office has recommended that CBP develop a more streamlined approach to enforcement in this area.
On October 23, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, which is delivering historic results for American agriculture.
Since the Agreement entered into force, the United States and China have addressed a multitude of structural barriers in China that had been impeding exports of U.S. food and agricultural products. To date, China has implemented at least 50 of the 57 technical commitments under the Phase One Agreement. These structural changes will benefit American farmers for decades to come. China also has substantially ramped up its purchases of U.S. agricultural products. To date, China has purchased over $23 billion in agricultural products, approximately 71% of its target under the Phase One Agreement. Highlights outlined in the report include:
- Corn: Outstanding sales of U.S. corn to China are at an all-time high of 8.7 million tons.
- Soybeans: U.S. soybeans sales for marketing year 2021 are off to the strongest start in history, with outstanding sales to China double 2017 levels.
- Sorghum: U.S. exports of sorghum to China from January to August 2020 totaled $617 million, up from $561 million for the same period in 2017.
- Pork: U.S. pork exports to China hit an all-time record in just the first five months of 2020.
- Beef: U.S. beef and beef products exports to China through August 2020 are already more than triple the total for 2017.
In addition to these products, USDA expects 2020 sales to China to hit record or near-record levels for numerous other U.S. agricultural products including pet food, alfalfa hay, pecans, peanuts, and prepared foods.
"This China Phase One Agreement is proof President Trump’s negotiating strategy is working. While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and is a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "Being able to participate in this market in a more fair and equitable way has generated more sales that are supporting higher prices and strengthening the rural economy."
"President Trump delivered on his promise to confront China’s unfair trade practices and expand market opportunities for U.S. agriculture through the Phase One Agreement. Since the Agreement entered into force eight months ago, we have seen remarkable improvements in our agricultural trade relationship with China, which will benefit our farmers and ranchers for years to come," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
USTR and USDA continue to work closely with the Chinese government to ensure that the Phase One Agreement is fully and properly implemented, so that access for U.S. food and agricultural products into the Chinese market can continue to expand moving forward.
The report is available here.
Friday, October 23, 2020
At ReportFraud.ftc.gov, consumers will find a streamlined and user-friendly way to submit reports to the FTC about scams, frauds, and bad business practices. The FTC has long encouraged consumers to report these issues to the FTC when they encounter them—whether or not they lost money to the fraud.
“Every time you report scams or bad business practices to the FTC, you’re helping to protect your community,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “With ReportFraud.ftc.gov, it’s quicker and easier than ever to share your story, and each report helps the FTC, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, fight fraud.”
One new feature of the site is that consumers who file a report will receive next steps from the FTC with advice on what to do based on their particular report. The FTC has more information available for consumers, including a new video explaining how the site works.
The site takes the place of the FTC Complaint Assistant, and consumers visiting that site will be redirected to ReportFraud.ftc.gov to share their information. The site is also in Spanish at ReporteFraude.ftc.gov.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a fraud report online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
“Democrats are still going to be looking at tariffs as a policy,” said Stephen Lamar, CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
Read more HERE
Mohair South Africa, the industry body for mohair in South Africa, has increased its commitment to sustainable mohair by partnering with scientific traceability company, Oritain.
South Africa currently produces approximately 50% of the world’s mohair, accounting for nearly 30,000 jobs for local South Africans.
Read more HERE.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Kathie Leonard, president and CEO of Auburn Manufacturing Inc., said the dumping – selling products in the U.S. at a very low price, sometimes below the cost of production, to capture market share from domestic companies – is hurting her company as she tries to deal with the business impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It also comes just after Auburn Manufacturing successfully fought off dumping of the same products by China.
Read more in the Press Herald.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport detained a shipment containing 32 cartons of women’s leather gloves suspected to have been manufactured using forced labor. The shipment originated in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaging in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.
CBP detained the shipment in September in accordance with a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on apparel manufactured by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd. That WRO was the product of a months-long CBP investigation that identified forced labor indicators at Yili Zhuowan and Baoding manufacturing sites including the restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.
“The Trump administration is taking decisive action to combat the brutal practice of forced labor and counteract China’s unfair trade practices,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Forced labor not only subjects workers to violence and intimidation, but it also hurts U.S. businesses and the economy.”
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. CBP issues WROs to direct personnel at ports of entry to detain shipments of goods reasonably suspected to have been made by forced labor. Importers of record have three months to re-export detained shipments or to submit proof to CBP that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.
Imported goods made with forced labor create unfair competition for U.S. companies that respect human rights and fair labor standards. All importers operating in the United States are responsible for ensuring that their supply chains are free of forced labor and that the origin and quality of their merchandise align with the laws and principles established by the U.S. Government.
“CBP will not tolerate modern slavery in U.S. commerce,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Trade. “We expect every U.S. importer to ensure that its supply chains are free of forced labor.”
In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP issued an unprecedented 13 WROs, including eight on goods from China. Recent CBP WROs have encouraged entities to address concerns about forced labor in their tobacco, gold>, and seafood supply chains, among others. CBP publishes all WROs to its Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings web page.
CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the 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 U.S. can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
GUIDANCE: Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBPTA) Renewal with Procedures for Retroactive Duty Refunds
The purpose of this guidance is to inform the Trade of the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and to provide information on the procedures for requesting a refund of duties paid during the lapse.
On Saturday, October 10, 2020, the President signed bill H.R. 991, the “Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act,” extending CBTPA for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2030.
Requesting Duty Refund
Additionally, this bill allows for the refund of duties paid by the importer on CBTPA-eligible goods entered during the lapse period, October 1, 2020 through October 14, 2020.
Importers may file a Post Summary Correction (PSC) requesting a refund of duties paid on goods that were eligible for CBTPA during the lapsed period. The PSC must be filed in a timely manner. If an entry has already liquidated, the refund request may be submitted as a protest. (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174).
Filing CBTPA Claims
On and after October 15, 2020, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will accept CBTPA (special program indicator “R”) claims, as well as the following provisional HTS numbers for textile and apparel goods:
9820.11.03 9820.11.06 9820.11.09 9820.11.12 9820.11.15 9820.11.18 9820.11.21 9820.11.24 9820.11.27 9820.11.30 9820.11.33 9802.00.8044 9802.00.8046
Post-Importation CBTPA Claims on Importations Prior to Expiration
Importations made on or before September 30, 2020, remain unaffected by the aforementioned instructions. Importers may continue to make post-importation CBTPA claims in accordance with applicable PSC and protest procedures (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174).
CBP proposed revocation of one ruling letter and revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of foil print fabric.
On October 14, 2020, (Customs Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 40, beginning on page 17) CBP proposed revocation of one ruling letter and revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of foil print fabric.
In Binding Ruling Letter NY N267195, U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified foil print fabric in heading 6004, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 6004.10.85, HTSUS, which provides for “Knitted or crocheted fabrics of a width exceeding 30 cm, containing by weight 5 percent or more of elastometric yarn or rubber thread, other than those of heading 6001: Containing by weight 5 percent or more of elastometric yarn but not containing rubber thread, Other.” CBP has reviewed NY N267195 and has determined the ruling letter to be in error. It is now CBP’s position that foil print fabric is properly classified, in heading 5903, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 5903.90.25, HTSUS, which provides for “Textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902: Other: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other.”
The provisions relating to Coated Textiles Classified in Chapter 59 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States And Articles Thereof have been the subject of many rulings, reversal of ruling, and even litigation. >Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor Service can learn more at http://agathonassociates.com/textile-pri/coated-textiles/index.htm. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at email@example.com.
On October 13, 2020, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement concerning the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act:
“President Trump’s October 10 action to reauthorize certain provisions of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) will help to preserve well-paying jobs in the U.S. textile industry while also strengthening our trade ties with Caribbean beneficiary countries, especially Haiti. Importantly, CBERA’s eligibility criteria also provide a means to promote more open markets, protection of intellectual property rights, and stronger worker rights in beneficiary countries.”
The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act was launched in 1983 to facilitate economic development and promote economic diversification in the Caribbean region by providing duty-free access to the U.S. market for certain goods from Caribbean beneficiary countries. In 2000, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) expanded this access to additional goods not covered under CBERA including apparel, petroleum products, and some agricultural products. The legislation signed by President Trump extends the CBTPA provisions of CBERA through September 30, 2030. CBTPA is unique among U.S. trade preference programs in that it requires the use of U.S.-manufactured yarns or fabrics in finished apparel goods eligible for trade benefits, supporting many jobs in the U.S. textile sector. The eligibility criteria under CBERA and CBTPA require that beneficiary countries meet certain requirements including 1) providing equitable and reasonable access to the markets and basic commodity resources of the country, 2) protection of intellectual property rights, and 3) taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to their workers. CBTPA beneficiary countries are Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
On October 6, 2020, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement concerning the August 2020 trade data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce:
“The trade data released today reflect the effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. and our trading partners. Basically, many of our partners were more negatively affected by the pandemic than we were. Indeed, the U.S. economy has outperformed every other G7 country. In spite of the pandemic, our goods deficit is down 2.4% year-to-date. The goods deficit would have decreased by at least 6% but for a large spike in gold imports reflecting risk-hedging strategies during the pandemic, not underlying economics. Our services surplus is down 19%, but that is largely due to reduced tourism, travel, and transport. As other countries recover and reopen, we expect both imports and exports to improve substantially.”
“Additionally, it is worth noting that our year-to-date goods deficit with China is down 16.5%, and is likewise down with Japan (34.7%), the EU 27 (7.7%), and Korea (7%). In the USMCA countries, the U.S. deficit with Canada is down 36% this year and Mexico’s surplus is slightly up due to their economic downturn’s effect on their demand for our exports."
“Overall, the Trump trade policy is working in spite of the virus. It is worth remembering that before the fallout from the pandemic, our goods trade deficit had been down from the previous year in five of the last six quarters, 7.2 million jobs had been created since the election—including over 510,000 manufacturing jobs—and median family income had increased by 6.8% in 2019, the largest increase in U.S. history.”
• The trade deficit increased in August because America’s economy has recovered more quickly than our trade partners’. Because of President Trump’s leadership, coronavirus has had a smaller effect on our economy than any other G7 nation. U.S. GDP is down 9% from a year ago compared to 21.5% for Britain, 18.9% for France, 17.7% for Italy, 13% for Canada, 11.3% for Germany, and 9.9% for Japan. Since May, U.S. exports and imports have both begun to rebound, but imports have recovered more quickly. With that said, U.S. goods exports still increased from $90 billion in May to $119.1 billion in August, a 32% increase.
• The trade deficit was shrinking before the pandemic. The U.S. goods trade deficit fell by $16 billion in 2019 and has been down from the previous year in five of the last six quarters.
• This year’s trade deficit increases have been driven by imports of gold bars. Of the $22.6 billion year-t0-date increase in the trade deficit, $22 billion is attributable to a spike in non-monetary gold imports, which reflect risk-hedging strategies by traders and investors during the pandemic and not underlying economics.
• The trade deficit with China is shrinking as the Phase One Deal continues to take effect. In August, the trade deficit with China fell $1.9 billion as exports to China rose and imports remained level. Year-to-date, the goods trade deficit with China also decreased by $38.2 billion (16.5%) from the same period in 2019.
• Overall job growth and manufacturing job growth were strong prior to the pandemic. Between November 2016 and February 2020, the Trump economy added more than 7.2 million jobs, including over 510 thousand manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate had also fallen from 5.1% in November 2016 to 3.5% in February 2020, a 50-year low.
• Middle class income was surging prior to the pandemic. In 2019, median household income rose by over $4,300 (6.8%) – the largest annual increase on record and nearly 50 percent more than during the entire eight years of the Obama Administration ($3,021).
• Manufacturing wages have continued to rise, despite the pandemic. Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in manufacturing rose by 11.4% between November 2016 and September 2020.
• The U.S. has already regained over half of the jobs that were lost due to the pandemic, including over half of the manufacturing jobs. This year saw the four best months for job growth since the government began tracking the data in 1939: 4.8 million jobs in June, 2.7 million in May, 1.7 million in July, 1.4 million in August. In September, the economy added an additional 661,000, still the highest numbers since September 1983 if you exclude May-August. These numbers include 716,000 manufacturing jobs regained since April. Despite the CBO forecasting an unemployment rate of 16 percent in the third quarter of 2020, the rate has already fallen to 7.9 percent, down from 14.7 percent in April.
Friday, October 9, 2020
The American Flock Association 2020 Annual Meeting will be from 9am to 12 noon on Thursday November 12th via ZOOM. This is an opportunity to stay in touch with fellow industry members. There will be presentations on new developments in the Flock industry as well as updates on trade and tariff issues from Washington.
These are unusual times that call for creative solutions. Although the industry trade shows were canceled the Association wanted to go forward with the Annual Meeting. A virtual meeting on ZOOM eliminates travel time and expenses and allows companies to include colleagues that would not normally travel to the Annual Meeting. Companies are encouraged to have multiple attendees. These folks now have the opportunity of learning first hand about what is going on in the industry.
For more information or to register CLICK HERE.
On October 8, 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, praised University of Rhode Island leaders for their months of preparation that led to a flexible response to the COVID-19 pandemic during her visit to the Kingston Campus.
Read more HERE.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
CBP Baltimore Field Office Seizes nearly 59,000 Counterfeit COVID-19 Facemasks and other Test Kits and Medications
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Columbus and the Last Hope of Mankind
"We do not read even of the discovery of this continent, without feeling something of a personal interest in the event; without being reminded how much it has affected our own fortunes and our own existence. It would be still more unnatural for us, therefore, than for others, to contemplate with unaffected minds that interesting, I may say that most touching and pathetic scene, when the great discoverer of America stood on the deck of his shattered bark, the shades of night falling on the sea, yet no man sleeping; tossed on the billows of an unknown ocean, yet the stronger billows of alternate hope and despair tossing his own troubled thoughts; extending forward his harassed frame, straining westward his anxious and eager eyes, till Heaven at last granted him a moment of rapture and ecstasy, in blessing his vision with the sight of the unknown world." -- Daniel Webster, First Bunker Hill Monument Oration, 1825
In Boston we are surrounded by familiar sights -- Old North Church, the Old State House, Old South Meeting House, and the other stops on the Freedom Trail -- that remind us of Boston's unique Revolutionary War history. At 245 years distance from 1775, we are nearly two-and-a–half centuries removed from the beginning of the American War of Independence. In like manner, 1775 was a bit more than two-and-a-half centuries (283 years to be precise) removed from Columbus' discovery of the New World. Independence and the Revolutionary War mark not the beginning, but the halfway point in the history of European civilization in America.
In his remarks, quoted above, Mr. Webster, on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, traced the origins of the United States not to the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock (although he mentions them in the oration), nor to the earlier English settlement of Virginia (not even mentioned by Webster), but to Christopher Columbus and his first "sight of the unknown world."
Others came here earlier -- possibly the Vikings, maybe other Europeans, and certainly the American Indians who arrived most probably from Asia by land-bridge to Alaska. But Webster -- and many of us concur -- begins our history with Columbus. All month we celebrate Italian-American Heritage and we celebrate the brave and persevering Italian navigator who opened the way for immigrants from every nation to settle in this New World and create the United States that remains, to quote again from Webster's speech, "the last hope of mankind." This is a phrase that will be echoed by Abraham Lincoln in his December 1862 Annual Message to Congress ("the last best, hope of earth") and Ronald Reagan in his January 1974 "We Will Be a City on a Hill" speech ("the last best hope of man on earth"). God willing America shall continue for many years as a beacon of liberty.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission (‘‘FTC’’ or ‘‘Commission’’) amends the Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (‘‘Textile Rules’’ or ‘‘Rules’’) to incorporate the most recent ISO 2076 standard for generic fiber names.
DATES: This rule is effective November 5, 2020. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of November 5, 2020.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (‘‘NPRM’’) published on February 18, 2020 (85 FR 8781),the Commission proposed amending § 303.7 to incorporate the most recent version of the relevant ISO standard, ISO 2076:2013(E), ‘‘Textiles— Man-made fibres—Generic names.’’ This standard includes seven generic fiber names that are not defined in the currently-incorporated 2010 ISO standard:
- ‘‘polypropylene/polyamide bicomponent,’’
- ‘‘protein,’’ and
Monday, October 5, 2020
At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is initiating an investigation addressing two significant issues with respect to Vietnam. USTR will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded, and will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices that may contribute to the undervaluation of its currency and the resultant harm caused to U.S. commerce. USTR will conduct the investigation under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act. As part of its investigation on currency undervaluation, USTR will consult with the Department of the Treasury as to issues of currency valuation and exchange rate policy.
It was an investigation of this type that resulted in the Section 301 tariffs on China.
We don't know how this investigation will conclude or whether it will result in tariffs on articles of Vietnam origin.
We also do not know the timing of any action. In the case of the China
Notice of commencement of investigation August 18, 2017
Report of results March 22, 2018
Notice of proposed action (imposition of tariffs) April 6, 2018
Notice of final determination of which articles will have 301 tariffs June, 20, 2018
Date of imposition of first round of 301 tariffs July 6, 2018
Thursday, October 1, 2020
On September 30, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that officers assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) cargo operations in coordination with import specialists from the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM) and the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles (AFT) Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers) seized 7,170 counterfeit high-fashion products arriving via express air cargo from China.
The seized items included 2,175 counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals, 475 Chanel counterfeit sandals; 450 Dior counterfeit sandals; 400 Fendi counterfeit sandals; 375 Versace counterfeit sandals; 325 Gucci counterfeit sandals; 572 Dior counterfeit cross body handbags; 625 Louis Vuitton counterfeit clutches; 357 Gucci purses; 346 Gucci wallets and 1,100 Louis Vuitton scarves. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,899,905.00.
Read more HERE.
On October 1, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 62006) [Docket Number USTR–2020–0035] 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy: Comment Request.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests comments that identify online and physical markets to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (Notorious Markets List). The Notorious Markets List identifies examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy or trademark counterfeiting. The issue focus for the 2020 Notorious Markets List will examine the use of e-commerce platforms and other third-party intermediaries to facilitate the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the United States.
DATES: November 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET: Deadline for submission of written comments. November 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET: Deadline for submission of rebuttal comments and other information USTR should consider during the review.