June 2015

“Fast Track” Bill Signed Into Law: Next Up Trans-Pacific Partnership

On Monday, President Obama signed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) into law. TPA, also known as the “fast track” bill, was seen as a crucial component in solidifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Although the re-authorization of TPA grants the President greater authority in his ability to negotiate and secure a trade deal–thus speeding up the TPP negotiation process–the TPP still has some tough negotiations ahead. However, the new authority Congress granted the President will now give him the power needed to ultimately conclude negotiations on the TPP.

The TPP covers almost 40 percent of the goods and services produced in the world.  The United States ships more than $1.9 billion in goods to TPP countries every day. One of the main objectives of the TPP–according to USTR and the Obama administration–is to cut the “red-tape of trade,” by reducing costs and making CBP more efficient. Specifically, the TPP looks to create commitments that would ensure the quick release of goods through customs.

The TPP is not the only trade deal the Obama administration has in their sights. The U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, looks to tie up the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement, the Environmental Goods Agreement, and the 24-party Trade in International Services Agreement.

In 2014, there were over 23,000 intellectual property rights seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with the property seized having an estimated MSRP value of $1.2 billion. According […]

Doing Business in Cuba: What’s Next? Live Webinar – June 23

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 12:00 noon EST, join OWIT International for an insightful conversation about rapidly evolving business opportunities in Cuba. 
The Webinar will highlight particular areas of interest, including:


  • Learning what is legal for U.S. businesses as it relates to Cuba.
  • Learning what travel to Cuba is authorized.
  • Learning about IDT Telecom’s direct interconnect with Cuban Telecom (ETECSA), and future opportunities for growth in telecom and financial services



I have the pleasure of presenting with Julie Manevitz the Director of Operations for  Global Top Up at IDT Telecom. 

OWIT Members benefit from a reduced registration fee of $25, while the fee for future members is $40. REGISTER TODAY!

By |2022-07-07T10:42:42-04:00June 19, 2015|Cuba, Export, Import, OWIT-South Florida|1 Comment

Food Importers – FDA Issues New Guidance Aimed at Expediting Your Importations

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years and was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. FSMA requires FDA to establish a voluntary, fee-based program, named the “Voluntary Qualified Importer Program” (VQIP) which promises expedited review and importation of foods from importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.

On June 4th, 2015 the FDA published a draft version of “Guidance for Industry: FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)”.  According to FDA’s website, VQIP will also benefit consumers by enabling the FDA to focus its resources on high risk foods, further protecting consumers from the potential health hazards associated with those foods. In order for a food importer to be eligible for the VQIP program, the importer should:

  1. Have at least a 3 year history of importing foods
  2. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number
  3. Use a paperless filer/broker who received a passing rating during their last FDA evaluation
  4. Import food that is not subject to an import alert or Class 1 recall
  5. Not be, nor any non-applicant entity associated with the VQIP food be, subject to an FDA administrative or judicial action, have a history of significant non-compliance with food safety, or have one or more […]


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