Monday, July 19, 2021

Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 38-Spartanburg County, South Carolina; Application for Production Authority; Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc.; (Polyacrylonitrile-based Carbon Fiber); Invitation for Public Comment

On July 19, 2021, the Foreign Trade Zone Board published in the Federal Register (86 FR 38010) Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 38— Spartanburg County, South Carolina; Application for Production Authority; Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc.; (Polyacrylonitrile-based Carbon Fiber); Invitation for Public Comment

In response to a request from Hexcel Corporation, the FTZ Board is inviting public comment on the rebuttal submission of Teijin Carbon Fibers, Inc. (TCF) (dated July 1, 2021) pursuant to 15 CFR 400.32(c)(2). The rebuttal submission was presented in the context of the FTZ Board’s consideration of the pending application, as amended, requesting certain authority for TCF to produce polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fiber at its facility in Greenwood, South Carolina. In response to this invitation for public comment, parties may also address argument or evidence presented in the application and in other parties’ direct and rebuttal comment submissions in earlier comment periods in this proceeding.

This controversial FTZ application has been under consideration since 2019, as Agathon Associates previously reported.

Ambassador Katherine Tai Commends the Treasury Department and the State Bank of Vietnam for Reaching an Agreement Regarding Vietnam’s Currency Practices

On July 19, 2021, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement welcoming the Department of the Treasury and the State Bank of Vietnam’s (SBV) agreement to address U.S. concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices. As part of its ongoing modernization, the SBV will allow Vietnam’s currency to move in line with the development of Vietnam’s financial and foreign exchange market and with Vietnam’s economic fundamentals. This announcement is an outcome of the enhanced bilateral engagement between Treasury and the SBV under the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

As highlighted in the joint statement, Vietnam will continue to increase its exchange rate flexibility over time. The State Bank of Vietnam also committed to continue providing information to Treasury with full transparency so it can conduct thorough analysis and reporting on the SBV’s activities in the foreign exchange market.

In light of Treasury and the SBV having reached agreement to address the concerns regarding Vietnam’s currency policies, USTR, in coordination with Treasury, will monitor Vietnam’s implementation of its commitments and work with Vietnam to ensure that it addresses the acts, policies and practices related to the valuation of its currency that were found actionable in the Section 301 investigation.”

Friday, July 16, 2021

Athletic Shoe Contract Awarded

The Original Footwear LLC, Arecibo, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $13,248,894 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for men’s and women’s athletic shoes. This was a competitive acquisition with three responses received. This is a two-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a July 16, 2023, ordering period end date. Using military services are Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-21-D-1483).

Issuance of a Hong Kong Business Advisory

On July 16, 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 U.S. businesses about emerging risks to their operations and activities in Hong Kong. Many of these risks stem from the implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, also known as the National Security Law (NSL), and other recent legislative changes.

Developments over the last year in Hong Kong present clear operational, financial, legal, and reputational risks for multinational firms. This business advisory provides companies with information that can assist them in making informed business decisions and properly assessing risk.

The policies which the PRC government and the Government of Hong Kong have implemented undermine the legal and regulatory environment that is critical for individuals and businesses to operate freely and with legal certainty in Hong Kong.

Businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong. The National Security Law and actions taken by PRC and Hong Kong authorities may negatively affect their staff, finances, legal compliance, reputation, and operations.

The advisory highlights the following:

  • Businesses operating in Hong Kong, as well as individuals and businesses conducting business on their behalf, are subject to the laws of Hong Kong, including the National Security Law. Foreign nationals, including one U.S. citizen, have been arrested under the NSL.
  • Businesses face risks associated with electronic surveillance without warrants and the surrender of corporate and customer data to authorities.
  • Businesses that rely on a free and open press may face restricted access to information.
  • Individuals and entities should be aware of potential consequences of certain types of engagement with sanctioned individuals or entities.
  • Businesses operating in Hong Kong may face heightened risks and uncertainty related to PRC retaliation against companies that comply with sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries, including through enforcement of the PRC’s Countering Foreign Sanctions Law.

Businesses with potential exposure should be aware of the potential reputational, economic, and legal risks of maintaining a presence or staff in Hong Kong.

In order to mitigate reputational and other risks, businesses should apply industry due diligence policies and procedures to address applicable and identified risks.

Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

On July 14, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed, by voice vote, S.65 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, to ensure that goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China do not enter the United States market. The bill was ingtroduced by Senator Marco Rubio [Rep., Florida) 0n January 27, 2021, and had 54 cosponspors.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

CPSC Sues Amazon to Force Recall of Hazardous Products Sold on Amazon.com

On July 14, 2021, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against Amazon.com, the world’s largest retailer, to force Amazon to accept responsibility for recalling potentially hazardous products sold on Amazon.com.

The complaint charges that the specific products are defective and pose a risk of serious injury or death to consumers and that Amazon is legally responsible to recall them. The named products include 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alarm, numerous children’s sleepwear garments that are in violation of the flammable fabric safety standard risking burn injuries to children, and nearly 400,000 hair dryers sold without the required immersion protection devices that protect consumers against shock and electrocution.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board Meeting August 31, 2021

On July 15, 2021, Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board published in the Federal Register (86 FR 37285) Notice of open meeting.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board will hold an open meeting on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

Inspection of Yak and Other Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae Species

On July 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service published in the Federal Register (86 FR 37216) Inspection of Yak and Other Bovidae, Cervidae, and Camelidae Species.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending its regulations to define yak and include it among ‘‘exotic animals’’ eligible for voluntary inspection under 9 CFR part 352. This change is in response to a petition for rulemaking from a yak industry association, which FSIS granted in 2015. Additionally, FSIS is revising the definitions of antelope, bison, buffalo, catalo, deer, elk, reindeer, and water buffalo to make them more scientifically accurate. Moreover, FSIS is responding to 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.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

75 Trade Associations Send Letter to Ambassador Tai opposing Tariffs on Imports from Vietnam

In response to persistent reports that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) may soon issue a list of goods imported from Vietnam from which the Biden administration would propose to levy Section 301 tariffs pursuant to the Trump administration’s “currency manipulation” and “illegal timber” investigations, about 75 trade associations have sent a letter urging USTR not to do so for either investigation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

FTC Announces Agenda for July 21 Open Commission Meeting

On July 13, 2021, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan announced that an open meeting of the Commission will be held virtually on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The open meeting will begin at 12 p.m. ET and will be followed by a time for members of the public to address the Commission.

On the agenda is the Care Labeling Rule: In July 2011, the Commission initiated a regulatory review proceeding of the Care Labeling Rule. As part of the proceeding, the Commission has solicited public comments on multiple proposals to change the rule, including a proposal to repeal the Rule entirely. The Commission will vote on whether to rescind the proposal to repeal the Care Labeling Rule.

Read more HERE.

Navy Parka Contract Awarded

Valley Apparel LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee, has been awarded a $10,014,000 modification (P00006) exercising the second one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1172) with two one-year option periods for working parkas. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Tennessee, with a July 14, 2022, ordering period end date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Issuance of Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

On July 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to highlight the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang, given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China. This updates the original Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by U.S. government agencies on July 1, 2020.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (USMCA) Implementing Regulations Related to the Marking Rules, Tariff-Rate Quotas, and Other USMCA Provisions

On July 6, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (86 FR 35566) Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (USMCA) Implementing Regulations Related to the Marking Rules, Tariff-Ratehttps://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-07-06/pdf/2021-14264.pdf Quotas, and Other USMCA Provision.

Request for Comments on Operation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative

On July 8, 2021, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (86 FR 36176) Request for Comments on Operation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative.

The U.S. Trade Representative has to submit a report to Congress regarding the operation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) by December 31, 2021. The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) invites comments concerning the operation of the CBI, including the performance of each beneficiary country, to assist in preparing the report to Congress on the operation of the CBI program.

The TPSC must receive your written comments by August 30, 2021.

Together, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), as amended by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) (19 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) -- which created a special trade preference for apparel articles -- are commonly referred to as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, or CBI. Section 212(f)(1) of CBERA (19 U.S.C. 2702(f)(1)) requires the U.S. Trade Representative to report on the performance of each CBERA or CBTPA beneficiary country. Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago receive benefits under both CBERA and CBTPA.

Commerce Department Adds 34 Entities to the Entity List to Target Enablers of China’s Human Rights Abuses and Military Modernization, and Unauthorized Iranian and Russian Procurement

On July 9, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced the assition of 34 entities to the Entity List for their involvement in, or risk of becoming involved in, activities contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States. Of these 34 entities, 14 are based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and have enabled Beijing’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions of China (XUAR), where the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Commerce added another five entities directly supporting PRC’s military modernization programs related to lasers and C4ISR programs to the Entity List.

Read more HERE.

One Twenty Clothing Company Recalls “Sovereign Athletic” Children’s Robes Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard and Burn Hazard

Descption: This recall involves Sovereign Athletic-branded children’s robes in navy. The long-sleeved robes have two front pockets and two side seam belt loops with a matching belt. They are made of 100% polyester and were sold in sizes 4 through 16. “Sovereign Athletic,” the size of the garment, and “Made in China” are printed on the sewn-in neck label. The sewn-in label at the side seam has the fabric product unit number FPU#W19-FP17, the garment product unit number GPU#W19-GP15, and the production date Jul-19.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled garments and contact One Twenty Clothing Company US LLC for instructions on returning the garments with free shipping to receive a full refund.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold At: Children’s boutique stores nationwide and online at www.Candypinkgirls.com from December 2019 through May 2021 for about $50.

Manufacturer(s): Shanghai Unitex Apparel, of Shanghai, China

Importer(s): One Twenty Clothing Company US LLC, of Dallas, Texas

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 21-160

More information and photos HERE.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Apparel and Footwear Industry Leadership Calls for Peace Following Assassination in Haiti

On July 7, 2021, American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Steve Lamar expressed condolences to the people of Haiti following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and shooting of his wife Martine Moise:

“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, following the horrific assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and shooting of his wife Martine Moise. Haiti has long been a trusted trading and supply chain partner of the global apparel and footwear industry. We pray for peace and calm in the region and order as Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph represents the people of Haiti," says AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar. "Our association, and many of its member companies, have been proud to work on, support enactment of, and operate under trade partnership programs in the Caribbean Basin during the past quarter century. Haiti is the 14th largest supplier of U.S. apparel imports and a dependable partner that we will continue to support."

Since it was launched in 1983, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) – and amendments made to it through the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act – has provided an important trade policy basis to support U.S. investment in and exports to U.S. allies in the Caribbean Basin. Not only have these programs supported many U.S. textile, apparel, and footwear jobs, but they have also supported economic development in the region, advancing key U.S. foreign, security, and immigration policy goals.

United States and Taiwan Hold Dialogue on Trade and Investment Priorities

On June 29, 2021, the United States and Taiwan held the eleventh Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO). Assistant United States Trade Representative Terry McCartin and Jen-ni Yang, Deputy Trade Representative from Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations, co-led the discussions, which were held virtually and focused on enhancing the longstanding trade and investment relationship between the United States and Taiwan. Other U.S. participants and contributors included AIT and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Labor, State and Treasury.

The United States and Taiwan have a long-standing and vibrant trade relationship. Taiwan is the United States’ 9th largest goods trading partner, with two-way goods trade totaling $90.9 billion in 2020. Goods and services trade between the United States and Taiwan totaled $106 billion in 2020.

Read more HERE.

The United States Takes Further Actions against the Burmese Military Regime

On July 2, 2021, in response to the brutal campaign of violence perpetrated by the Burmese military regime and to continue imposing costs in connection with the military coup, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Assets Control designated 22 individuals connected to the regime, pursuant to Executive Order 14014 “Blocking Property With Respect to the Situation in Burma.” These include three additional State Administration Council (SAC) members and four military-appointed cabinet members, as well as 15 adult children or spouses of previously designated Burmese military officials whose financial networks have contributed to military officials’ ill-gotten gains.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce is adding Wanbao Mining, Ltd., two of its subsidiaries, and King Royal Technologies to its Entity List. These entities provide revenue and/or other support to the Burmese military, and Wanbao Mining and its subsidiaries have long been implicated in labor rights violations and human rights abuses, including at the Letpadaung copper mine. For more information about these actions, see Treasury’s press release and Commerce’s press.

Friday, July 2, 2021

NCTO Announces Winner of the 2021 Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship

On June 29, 2021, the National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) Fiber Council announces Rachel Crouse of Reidsville, NC as the recipient of the 2021 Paul T. O’Day Scholarship Award. She is the daughter of Sandra and Martin Crouse, who is employed by Unifi, Inc.r

Read more HERE.

Gavin recognizes AATCC’s 100th Anniversary with $100K Donation

Thanks to Devin Steele at www.etextilecommunications.com for reporting that on Charles E. Gavin III’s generous donation fully endowed two graduate fellowships as permanent sources of textile student support, an important step toward the goal of endowing all existing Foundation scholarships.

Read the full story at www.etextilecommunications.com/070121

eTC (eTextileCommunications.com) is dedicated to providing valuable, high-quality information that readers, advertisers and sponsors find beneficial, reliable and unique in the new media realm. They seek to provide insight into issues affecting the global textile industry; to offer a forum for discussion and feedback; and to create a community network of industry professionals. Agathon Associates highly recommends signing up for their weekly free e-newsletter, and consider advertising with them.

FTC to Conduct Routine Review of Wool, Textile, and Other Rules

On July 2, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (86 FR 35239 Regulatory Review Schedule.

As part of its ongoing, systematic review of all Federal Trade Commission rules and guides, the Commission announces a modified ten-year regulatory review schedule. No Commission determination on the need for, or the substance of, the rules and guides listed below should be inferred from this notification.

Of likely interest to readers of this blog are these rules scheduled for routine review in 2024:

  • Rules and Regulations under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939 and
  • Rules and Regulations under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.

See the Federal Register Notice at (86 FR 35239 for the entire list.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

AATCC Celebrating 100 Years!

Please save the date and plan on joining AATCC and the textile community in celebrating 100 years of AATCC during the Week of Celebration this November! This milestone anniversary week is a time to dream big, to create, connect, experience, and celebrate our achievements.

The AATCC Committee Meetings will be held November 15-16 and the 2021 Textile Discovery Summit on November 16-18, in Durham, N.C., at the Sheraton Imperial Hote.l. Those interested in staying after the Summit can visit the AATCC Technical Center for a tour on November 19. The AATCC Board of Directors meeting will take place November 19 as well.

FTC Issues Rule to Deter Rampant Made in USA Fraud

Made in USA labels will finally mean goods were made in America.

The Federal Trade Commission finalized a new rule that will crack down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims that their products are Made in the USA. Under the rule, marketers making unqualified Made in USA claims on labels should be able to prove that their products are “all or virtually all” made in the United States.

Commissioner Rohit Chopra was joined by Chair Lina Khan and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter in a statement, which noted the rule will especially benefit small businesses that rely on the Made in USA label, but lack the resource to defend themselves from imitators. The new rule codifies a broader range of remedies by the FTC, including the ability to seek redress, damages, penalties, and other relief from those who lie about a Made in USA label. It will enable the Commission for the first time to seek civil penalties of up to $43,280 per violation of the rule.

While stiff penalties are not appropriate in every instance, they send a strong signal to would-be violators that they abuse the Made in USA label at their peril.

“The final rule provides substantial benefits to the public by protecting businesses from losing sales to dishonest competitors and protecting purchasers seeking to purchase American-made goods,” said Commissioner Chopra. “More broadly, this long-overdue rule is an important reminder that the Commission must do more to use the authorities explicitly authorized by Congress to protect market participants from fraud and abuse.”

In 1994, after the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, Congress enacted legislation authorizing the FTC to seek penalties and other relief for Made in USA fraud, but only after the Commission issued a rule. However, there had long been a bipartisan consensus at the FTC that Made in USA fraud should not be penalized. The final Made in USA Labeling Rule changes course the Commission’s longtime approach.

The rule does not impose any new requirements on businesses. Instead, it codifies the FTC’s longstanding enforcement policy statement regarding U.S.-origin claims. By codifying this guidance into a formal rule, the Commission can increase deterrence of Made in USA fraud and seek restitution for victims.

Over the course of the rulemaking, the FTC heard from hundreds of ranchers and shrimpers concerned about Made in the USA labels that mislead consumers. The Commission is pleased that in conjunction with this announcement, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the USDA will complement the FTC’s efforts with its own initiative on labeling for products such as beef, and other agricultural products regulated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.  

The Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for this rule in June 2020. The Commission received more than 700 comments on the proposed rule, most of which either were supportive, or sought changes that were not legally permissible. The final rule adds a provision allowing marketers to seek exemptions if they have evidence showing their unqualified Made-in-USA claims are not deceptive. . 

The Made in USA Labeling Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register, incorporates guidance set forth in the Commission’s previous Decisions and Orders and its 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims.

Consistent with this guidance, the rule will prohibit marketers from including unqualified Made in USA claims on labels unless: 1) final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States; 2) all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States; and 3) all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States.

The rule applies only to labeling claims. The FTC will continue to bring enforcement action against marketers that make deceptive U.S.-origin claims falling outside the rule under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC is authorized to seek penalties for violations of the rule. It does not supersede, alter, or affect any other federal statute or regulation relating to country-of-origin labels.

Complying with the FTC rules can be complex and some manufacturers run afoul of the rules through ignorance, not the intent to deceive. I am pleased to announce that my business, Agathon Associates, offers a "Made in U.S.A. Certification" service. Manufacturers desiring to make a Made in U.S.A. claim can have me evaluate their manufacturing process and certify that under the FTC rules they can honestly say "Proudly Made in the U.S.A."

U.S. Releases Section 353 List of Corrupt and Undemocratic Actors for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

Report to Congress on

Foreign Persons who have Knowingly Engaged in Actions that Undermine Democratic Processes or Institutions, Significant Corruption, or Obstruction of Such Corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

Section 353(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 (Div. FF, P.L. 116-260)

Consistent with Section 353(b) of the United States – Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (Div. FF, P.L. 116-260), this report is being submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, House Committee on the Judiciary, and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Consistent with the requirements of Section 353(b), this report identifies the following persons in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: (1) foreign persons determined to have knowingly engaged in actions that undermine democratic processes or institutions; (2) foreign persons determined to have knowingly engaged in significant corruption; and (3) foreign persons determined to have knowingly engaged in obstruction of investigations into such acts of corruption, including the following: corruption related to government contracts; bribery and extortion; the facilitation or transfer of the proceeds of corruption, including through money laundering; and acts of violence, harassment, or intimidation directed at governmental and nongovernmental corruption investigators.

Consistent with the requirements of Section 353, foreign persons listed in this report are generally ineligible for visas and admission to the United States.  Foreign persons listed in this report shall have their visas revoked immediately and any other valid visa or entry documentation will be cancelled, absent an exception or national security interest waiver.1  Consistent with Section 353(g), this report will be published in the Federal Register.

The report includes individuals for whom the Department is aware of credible information or allegations of the conduct at issue, from media reporting and other sources.  The Department will continue to review the individuals listed in the report and consider all available tools to deter and disrupt corrupt, undemocratic activity in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  The Department also continues to actively review additional credible information and allegations concerning corruption and to utilize all applicable authorities, as appropriate, to ensure corrupt officials are denied safe haven in the United States.

El Salvador

Walter René Araujo Morales, former member and president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, undermined democratic processes or institutions by calling for insurrection against the Legislative Assembly and repeatedly threatening political candidates.

Pablo Salvador Anliker Infante, former Minister of Agriculture, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating public funds for his personal benefit.

Conan Tonathiu Castro Ramírez, current Legal Advisor to the President, undermined democratic processes or institutions by assisting in the inappropriate removal of five Supreme Court Magistrates and the Attorney General.

Óscar Rolando Castro, Minister of Labor, obstructed investigations into corruption and undermined democratic processes or institutions in efforts to damage his political opponents.

Osiris Luna Meza, Vice Minister of Security and Director of Prisons, has engaged in significant corruption related to government contracts and bribery during his term in office.

José Luis Merino, former Vice Minister for Foreign Investment and Development Financing, engaged in significant corruption during his term in office through bribery.  He also participated in a money laundering scheme.

Ezequiel Milla Guerra, former mayor of La Union, engaged in significant corruption by abusing his authority as mayor in the sale of Perico Island to agents of the People’s Republic of China in exchange for personal benefit.

José Aquiles Enrique Rais López engaged in significant corruption and undermined democratic processes or institutions by bribing public officials.

Martha Carolina Recinos de Bernal, current Chief of Cabinet, engaged in significant corruption by misusing public funds for personal benefit.  She also participated in a significant money laundering scheme.

Carlos Armando Reyes Ramos, current member of the Legislative Assembly, obstructed investigations into corruption by inappropriately influencing the Supreme Court Magistrate selection process.

Othon Sigfrido Reyes Morales, former legislator from the FMLN party of El Salvador, engaged in significant corruption during his term in office through fraud and misuse of public funds.

Rogelio Eduardo Rivas Polanco, former Minister of Security and Justice, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating public funds for personal benefit.

Adolfo Salume Artinano, engaged in significant corruption and undermined democratic processes and institutions by bribing a Supreme Court Magistrate to avoid paying a fine.

Luis Guillermo Wellman Carpio, current Magistrate of Supreme Electoral Tribunal, undermined democratic processes or institutions by causing serious and unnecessary delays in election preparations and results tabulation for his personal benefit and allowing Chinese malign influence during the Salvadoran elections.

Guatemala

Gustavo Adolfo Alejos Cambara, former Guatemalan Presidential Chief of Staff, engaged in significant corruption by facilitating payments to congressional representatives and judges on Guatemala’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) in order to inappropriately influence the judicial selection process for magistrates to the CSJ and Court of Appeals and secure his future release from prison and the dismissal of corruption charges.  He is designated under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program and Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, former first secretary of the Guatemalan Congress, has engaged in significant corruption.  While acting in his official capacity, Mr. Alejos was involved in corrupt acts to enrich himself, while also seriously harming U.S. businesses’ international economic activity.  He is designated under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program and Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Delia Bac Alvarado, former congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption through her misuse of public funds for personal benefit.  She is designated under Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Florencio Carrascoza Gamez, current mayor of Joyabaj, undermined democratic processes or institutions by intimidating and unjustly imprisoning political opponents.

Alvaro Colom Caballeros, former president, engaged in significant corruption when he participated in fraud and embezzlement involving a new bus system in Guatemala City known as Transurbano.

Manuel Duarte Barrera, currently on the Supreme Court, has undermined democratic processes or institutions by abusing his authority to inappropriately influence and manipulate the appointment of judges to high court positions.

Boris Roberto Espana Caceres, current congressional representative in the Guatemalan Congress, engaged in significant corruption when he participated in influence peddling and bribery.

Mario Amilcar Estrada Orellana, former congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption and was sentenced by U.S. courts for seeking millions from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel to finance political campaigns.

Raul Amilcar Falla Ovalle, a lawyer for the NGO Fundacion Contra el Terrorismo (Foundation Against Terrorism – FCT), attempted to delay or obstruct criminal proceedings against former military officials who had committed acts of violence, harassment, or intimidation against governmental and nongovernmental corruption investigators.

Moises Eduardo Galindo Ruiz, an attorney with the NGO FCT, attempted to delay or obstruct criminal proceedings against former military officials who had committed acts of violence, harassment, or intimidation against governmental and nongovernmental corruption investigators, as well as the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI).

Juan Carlos Godinez Rodriguez, lawyer and former member of a congressional commission in charge of selecting Supreme Court magistrates, undermined democratic processes or institutions by abusing his authority to inappropriately influence and manipulate the appointment of judges to high court positions.

Gustavo Adolfo Herrera Castillo, political operative and businessman, undermined democratic processes or institutions by abusing his authority to inappropriately influence and manipulate the appointment of judges to high court positions.

Ricardo Rafael Mendez Ruiz Valdez, the founder and legal representative of the NGO FCT, attempted to delay or obstruct criminal proceedings against former military officials who had committed acts of violence, harassment, or intimidation against governmental and nongovernmental corruption investigators.

Mynor Mauricio Moto Morataya, selected in January 2021 to fill a vacant seat on the country’s Constitutional Court, undermined processes or institutions and engaged in significant corruption when he obstructed justice and received bribes in return for a favorable legal decision.

Alejandro Jorge Sinbaldi Aparicio, former Minister of Communications, Infrastructure, and Housing, engaged in significant corruption when he participated in bribery and illegal electoral financing, and the laundering of the proceeds of corruption for personal gain.  He is designated under Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Guillermo Estuardo de Jesus Sosa Rodriguez, former Vice Minister of Communications, engaged in significant corruption when he participated in bribery schemes, including involvement in a criminal structure that pressured, collected, and deposited bribes from state contractors in exchange for personal benefits.

Blanca Aida Stalling Davila, former Supreme Court Justice, engaged in significant corruption by participating in bribery schemes and inappropriately influencing the judicial branch.  She is designated under Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Elder de Jesús Súchite Vargas, former Minister of Culture, engaged in significant corruption related to government contracts and influence peddling for personal gain.

Jorge Estuardo Vargas Morales, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption and undermined democratic processes or institutions when he engaged in bribery, coercion, and influence peddling.

Nester Mauricio Vasquez Pimentel, currently on the Supreme Court, has undermined democratic processes or institutions by abusing his authority to inappropriately influence and manipulate the appointment of judges to high court positions.

Honduras

Gustavo Alberto Perez, current congressional representative, has engaged in significant corruption.  He was indicted in the Arca Abierta MACCIH-investigated corruption case for embezzling $800,000 from various government agencies.

Marco Antonio Bogran Corrales, former director of INVEST-H, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating public funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo, former first lady, engaged in significant corruption through fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

Augusto Domingo Cruz Asensio, former member of congress, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating funds from the public Generacion employment program to personal accounts.

Jose Celin Discua Elvir, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption when he misappropriated funds from the Secretariat of Agriculture to political campaigns.

Rodolfo Irias Navas, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption when he misappropriated funds from the Secretariat of Agriculture to political campaigns.

Eleazar Alexander Juarez Sarabia, former member of congress, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating funds from a public pest control program in his home department of Valle to his personal accounts.

Jose Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, former president of Honduras, engaged in significant corruption while president when he accepted bribes from the narco-trafficking organization Los Cachiros in exchange for political favors.

Gladys Aurora Lopez, member of the Honduran National Congress Executive Board, engaged in significant corruption.  He was indicted in the Arca Abierta MACCIH-investigated corruption case for embezzling $800,000 from various government agencies.

Miguel Edgardo Martinez Pineda, current congressional representative engaged in significant corruption.  He was indicted in the Pandora MACCIH corruption case in June 2018 for misappropriating $12.5 million in public funds from the Secretariat of Agriculture to political campaigns for personal gain.

Sara Ismela Medina Galo, member of congress, obstructed investigations into corruption in her role as Secretary of Congress.

Oscar Najera, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption related to the Cachiros narcotrafficking organization.  He was designated under Section 7031(c) for involvement in significant corruption.

Hector Enrique Padilla Hernandez, former member of congress, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating funds from the publicly funded Limpieza de Solares y Calles development project in his home department of Choluteca to his personal accounts.

Milton Jesus Puerto Oseguera, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption.  He was indicted in the Arca Abierta MACCIH-investigated corruption case for embezzling $800,000 from various government agencies.

Audelia Rodriguez Rodrigo, current member of congress, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating funds from the publicly funded Limpieza de Solares y Calles development project to her personal accounts.

Dennys Antonio Sanchez Fernandez, current member of congress, engaged in significant corruption by misappropriating funds from a public pest control program in his home department of Santa Barbara to his personal accounts.

Elvin Ernesto Santos Ordonez, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption when he misappropriated funds from the Secretariat of Agriculture to political campaigns.

Juan Carlos Valenzuela Molina, current congressional representative.  He was indicted in the Arca Abierta MACCIH-investigated corruption case for embezzling $800,000 from various government agencies.

Elden Vasquez, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption through the misappropriation of $12.5 million from the Secretariat of Agriculture to political campaigns for his personal gain.  He was indicted in the Pandora MACCIH-investigated corruption case in June 2018.

Welsy Milena Vasquez Lopez, current congressional representative, engaged in significant corruption including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds for personal gain.  He was indicted in the Arca Abierta MACCIH-investigated corruption case for embezzling $800,000 from various government agencies.

Roman Villeda Aguilar, member of congress, obstructed investigations into corruption, which resulted in the dismissal of an embezzlement case against several congressman who were under investigation for redirecting money to a fake NGO.

Enhance Your Online Business -- Brought to You by OTEXA

The Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) at the International Trade Administration has announced the first of a two-part e-mail series on e-commerce. This series is intended to help U.S. businesses develop a digital strategy and discover resources to improve their e-commerce market intelligence. OTEXA is dedicated to increasing the international competitiveness of the U.S. textiles, apparel, footwear, and travel goods industries.

Contact an International Trade Specialist

Learn more about Digital Strategies.

Children’s Nightgowns Sold Exclusively on Amazon.com Recalled Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard and Burn Hazard; Manufactured by Auranso Official

Description: This recall involves seven styles of Auranso Official children’s nightgowns. The short or long-sleeved nightgowns were sold in sizes 2-3T, 3-4T, 5-6X, 6-7 Years, 7-8 Years and 9-10 Years. They have pink heart, white heart or striped strawberry prints on them and were sold in white and pink. The heart print nightgowns are made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, and the striped strawberry print nightgowns are made of 100% cotton. The size, fabric, and “Made in China” are printed on a sewn-in label.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled garments and contact Auranso Official for instructions on returning the garments with free shipping to receive a full refund.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold Exclusively At: Online at www.Amazon.com from January 2021 through June 2021 for between $11 and $19.

Manufacturer(s): Auranso Official, of Zhejiang, China

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 21-156

More information and photos HERE.

Children’s Robes Sold Exclusively on Amazon.com Recalled Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard and Burn Hazard; Manufactured by SIORO

Description: This recall involves SIORO-branded children’s 100% cotton robes. They were sold in sizes S, M, and L in the following eight colors: brown, dark gray, green, light blue, teal, navy, plum and white. The long-sleeved, hooded robes have two front pockets and two side seam belt loops with a matching belt. “Made in China” and “100% Cotton” are printed on a sewn-in label.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled garments and contact SIORO for instructions on returning the garments with free shipping to receive a full refund.

Sold Exclusively At: Online at www.Amazon.com from December 2020 through April 2021 for between $24 and $29.

Manufacturer(s): SIORO, of Wuhan, China

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 21-159

More information and photos HERE

Children’s Nightgowns Sold Exclusively on Amazon.com Recalled Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard and Burn Hazard; Manufactured by Booph

Description: This recall involves 10 styles of Booph’s 100% cotton children’s nightgowns. They were sold in sizes 2-3T, 3-4T, 5 Years, 6-7 Years, 7-8 Years, and 9-10 Years. The short or long-sleeved nightgowns have fruit prints and were sold in white, blue, purple and two shades of pink colors. The size, “100% Cotton, and “Made in China” are sewn on the inner label of the garment’s hem line.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled garments and contact Booph for instructions on returning the garments with free shipping to receive a full refund.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold Exclusively At: Online at www.Amazon.com from March 2021 through June 2021 for between $9 and $16.

Manufacturer(s): Booph, of Shenzhen, China

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 21-157

More information and photos HERE.

Monday, July 5, 2021, is Indepedence Day in the U.S.A.

This year Independence Day in the United States, the 4th of July, falls on a Sunday. National, state, and local government offices will close on Monday to give give government workers an additional day off. Many private businesses will close as well.

The Long Struggle for Independence 
by David Trumbull


The American Revolutionary War began April 19, 1775, a date celebrated as a public holiday—Patriots’ Day—in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Maine. The war became a fight for independence with the July 1776 adoption, by the Americans’ Continental Congress, of the Declaration of Independence.

As you celebrate American freedom this Independence Day remember that independence did not come easily. The war took seven years, with major battles as late as 1781. When, on July 18, 1776, two weeks after the signing, the Declaration of Independence finally completed the long trek on the roads of the day from Philadelphia for the first public reading in Boston, in was not at all inevitable that we Americans should win independence from Great Britain. No one had heard of such a thing as a colony throwing off its mother country. And the idea that untrained volunteer farmer/soldiers would defeat the best professional army and navy in the world was nearly inconceivable.

Coming to aid of the American cause were the Kingdom of France, the Dutch Republic, and the Kingdom of Spain. Provisional Articles of Peace were signed at Paris on November 30, 1782. The final Treaty was signed September 3, 1783. It was ratified by Congress on January 14, 1784, and by the King of Great Britain on April 9, 1784. Ratification documents were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784.

The American negotiators, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, secured, from one of the largest and most sophisticated world powers, a treaty which contained not only an unconditional acknowledgment of American independence, but also important provisions establishing the territory of the United States as stretching from Canada to Florida and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. American commercial interests were protected by a provision for Americans to continue to fish the waters of the Atlantic off Canada.

The Revolution began with noble sentiment—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. It ended with a legal agreement over boundaries and fishing rights. Such is the unchanging course of human events. Noble sentiments are good, even necessary, but they have to be backed up by practical texts. So, having ended the war with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the next big step for the young nation, in 1787, was to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty—by drafting and adopting our Constitution.