Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:              

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • The CBP Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) reappointed 14 members for the 17th term. 
  • The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Charleston, SC.  
  • CBP is accepting applications to operate a Centralized Examination Station (CES) in the Area Port of Port Huron, Michigan. 
    • The initial phase of the process will consist of a 60-day application period, or “open season.” CBP said applications to operate the CES must be received by April 12. 
  • CBP’s Office of Trade has released its updated Guide for the Public: How CBP Sets Bond Amounts to reflect the agency’s current policies and procedures.  
  • Reminder: CBP has advised, effective Feb. 1, the Revenue Division will only accept the current version of CBP Form 5106. 

 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

  • The FTC is hosting a number of virtual and in-person events for National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2024 next week. NCPW is a time when the FTC, national and local organizations, and individuals from across the country get together to discuss information and advice on scams, identity theft, and other consumer protection issues. 

 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

  • FDA files complaints seeking maximum fines against 20 more retailers for selling unauthorized Elf Bar E-Cigarettes. 
  • FDA announced that grease-proofing materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are no longer being sold for use in food packaging in the U.S. 
  • FDA issued guidance for industry that describes how firms can voluntarily engage with the FDA before marketing food from genome-edited plants. 

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) 

  • OFAC extends deadline for arrival of Russian-derived seafood from third countries. 
  • OFAC’s final rule making it easier for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to export certain humanitarian commodities and activities to North Korea went into effect. The rule amends the regulations to modify a general license and add three new general licenses. 

 Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) 

  • FMC published a final rule on detention and demurrage billing practices. The rule establishes new requirements for how common carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) must bill for demurrage and detention charges, providing clarity on who can be billed, within what timeframe, and the process for disputing bills. 
  • Hede (HONGKONG) International Shipping Limited was classified by the FMC as a controlled carrier of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and added to the agency’s Controlled Carrier List. 
  • Nearly 120 national and state-level trade organizations, urged President Biden in a letter on Feb. 16 to renominate Carl Bentzel to a second term as Commissioner on the FMC.  

Department of Commerce 

  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will lead members of the President’s Export Council (PEC) to Bangkok, Thailand from March 13 to March 14, 2024, to identify opportunities for the United States and Thailand to strengthen economic relationships across a number of critical issues, including manufacturing, supply chain resiliency, artificial intelligence, and clean technology. 
  • The Office of Trade Agreements Policy & Negotiations (TAPN) of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has developed a Country of Smelt Dashboard showing where primary aluminum used in the manufacture of imported aluminum products was smelted. 

 Consumer Product Safety Commission 

  • Over 100,000 bottles of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash recalled due to risk of poisoning. 

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) 

  • BIS adds 93 entities to entity list for supporting Russia war effort, updates high priority items list, and releases business advisory with interagency partners. 
  • BIS added a Chinese electronics company and a Canada-headquartered technology software company to the Entity List for trying to illegally acquire U.S. items or for being involved in other activities that are “contrary” to U.S. national security and foreign policy.  

United States Trade Representative (USTR) 

  • USTR releases annual report on China’s WTO compliance 
    • The report details the breadth and scale of China’s non-market policies and practices and the serious harm that they cause to workers, businesses, and industries in the United States and around the world. 

 U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) 

  • USITC voted to institute an investigation of certain network equipment supporting NETCONF. The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Optimum Communications Services, Inc., of Jersey City, NJ alleging patent infringement.  

 Department of Justice (DoJ) 

  • Florida conspirators sentenced to nearly five years in prison each for evading over $42 million in duties when illegally importing and selling plywood. 
  • Russian citizen pleads guilty to charges of illegally procuring military grade micro-displays for Russian end-users.
    • The defendant used shell companies to operate an illicit procurement network that fraudulently obtained from U.S. distributors large quantities of dual-use, military grade microelectronics on behalf of Russia-based end users. 
  • Florida man pleads guilty to conspiracy to smuggle turtles to Germany and Hong Kong and falsely labeling the turtles on related paperwork. 

Government Accountability Office (GAO) 

  • The GAO in response to a request from Senate leadership has agreed to begin a review of U.S. air cargo facilities and landside operations. GAO is seeking information on: 
    • Recent and future trends in the U.S. air cargo industry. 
    • Factors affecting capacity and efficiency at air cargo facilities. 
    • Ability of existing air cargo facilities and landside operations to meet current and anticipated demands. 

 Congress 

  • The House and Senate both passed a stopgap bill to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of the week. The stopgap measure will extend funding on a short-term basis and set up two deadlines on March 8 and March 22.
  • 22 House Representatives wrote a letter to the USDA and USTR expressing concern that a lack of a strategy to open markets through free trade agreements is leading to a trade deficit in agriculture. 

 Industry News 

  • Colgate-Palmolive faces a “greenwashing” lawsuit over toothpaste tube recycling claims. The lawsuit alleges the recycling claim misleads consumers by representing its plastic toothpaste tubes are recyclable even though most U.S. recycling facilities do not accept them. 
  • The U.S. Supreme Court said it won’t review whether whistleblower Brutus Trading should’ve been granted a hearing by a lower court in its case accusing U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank of violating sanctions against Iran. 

Want more customs and international trade news? Sign up for our weekly snapshot!