Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:
- On January 20, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia seized two shipments of dangerous controlled substances – a date-rape precursor and an LSD-like hallucinogenic – on January 20 that arrived in express delivery parcels from overseas.
- On January 24, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection today released operational statistics for December 2021 in which it collected more than $9 billion in estimated duties and saw a dramatic increase in the confiscation of fake products.
- On January 21, 2022, US Rep. Earl Blumenauer introduced The Import Security and Fairness Act (HR 6412) in the US House of Representatives. The bill would enforce stricter limits on who can ship low-value goods into the US without paying import duties, effectively slowing e-commerce growth, particularly in the growing market for China-direct goods. It would also prevent some overseas exporters from using the “de minimis” exclusion, which exempts them from paying duties or other customs fees on shipments into the US that are valued at $800 or less.
- On January 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, on behalf of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), put out a notice seeking comments from the public on methods to prevent the importation of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured with forced labor in the People’s Republic of China into the United States. After receiving the comments, FLETF will conduct a public hearing and develop a strategy for supporting enforcement of section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
- On January 21, 2022, China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) provided the FDA with usernames and passwords for firms that have been entered by GACC into China’s Single Window system, also known as the China Import Food Enterprise Registration (CIFER) system. FDA has no established procedures to securely and accurately distribute this information currently and is discussing with U.S. government partners the best approach to ensure China continues to allow imports from these firms.
- On January 20, 2022, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Venezuela-related General License 51 which authorizes certain transactions related to the “Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. 2020 8.5 percent bond on or after January 20, 2023.” OFAC also amended and reissued the Transnational Criminal Organizations Sanctions Regulations and will take effect once published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2022. OFAC also amended the definition of “applicable schedule amount” from appendix A to 31 CFR part 501 and will take effect on January 21, 2022
- On January 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Hizballah-affiliated financial facilitator Adam Ayad as well as members of an international network of facilitators and companies connected to him and to Adel Diab, a fellow Hizballah financier designated by OFAC on January 18, 2022. The United States designated Hizballah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on October 31, 2001.
- On January 26, 2022, CBP issued guidance on new Section 301 modifications made to certain Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classifications within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).
- On January 27, 2022, the U.S. International Trade Commission implemented certain changes to statistical reporting categories in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. As a result, the Office of the United States Trade Representative is making three conforming amendments to product exclusion extensions in the investigation under Section 301.
- On January 24, 2022, OFAC amended Ukraine-related General License No. 13Q, “Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in GAZ Group,” and Ukraine-related General License 15K, “Authorizing Certain Activities Involving GAZ Group.” These licenses were previously extended on December 23, 2020 for a period of 1 year which are now being extended for a shorter period of 90 days.
- On January 26, 2022, President Biden said he would consider personal sanctions on Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine. His comments came as other Western leaders repeated warnings that Russia would pay a heavy price for invasion.
- U.S. trade with Caribbean Preference Program countries sees a decline amid the pandemic as the International Trade Commission in its report on the impact of the Caribbean Basin Economy Recovery Act found that in 2019 and 2020, the overall effect of this trade preference program on the U.S. economy continued to be negligible and the effect on beneficiary countries continued to be small but positive.
- On January 25, 2022, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the Office of the United States Trade Representative will develop its first-ever focused trade strategy to combat forced labor.
- On January 26, 2022, The United States Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, State, the Treasury, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Burma business advisory to inform the public of the heightened reputational, financial, and legal risks associated with doing business in Burma, specifically with the military junta.
- On January 27, 2022, Ambassador Katherine Tai met with South Korea’s Minister for Trade Yeo Han-koo to discuss the ongoing cooperation between the two countries on the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), and the need to address global supply chain issues.
If you have questions about these updates, contact our Customs and International trade law attorneys at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 305-456-3830.
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