Foremost, our hearts are with those affected by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. This sobering event serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility inherent in our robust trade and transportation systems. In these trying times, we are deeply grateful for the unsung heroes who tirelessly work behind the scenes, ensuring the continuity of global trade. 

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP released the February 2024 monthly operational update. Highlights: 
    • Processed more than 2.6 million entry summaries 
    • Identified $6.5 billion to be collected  
    • Stopped 540 shipments for further examination based on suspected use of forced labor 
    • Issued 6,622 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States  
  • CBP announced a partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the focus of the Global Business Identifier (GBI) Test. 
    • The expanded test will explore how identifiers could be leveraged to enable coordination and harmonized decision making across the U.S. government. 
  • Officers in Cincinnati recently seized a shipment containing 90 fake Kansas championship rings bearing the registered trademarks of the National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association and Major League Baseball. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price would have been $2.71 million had the rings been genuine. 
  • Officers at the Rochester Port of Entry seized a variety of designer items for bearing counterfeit trademarks. Had these items been genuine, the total Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) value would have been approximately $105,202 dollars. 
  • Due to increased trade participation in the ACE Electronic Export Manifest (EEM) pilot, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it is extending the use of the Document Image System (DIS) as an acceptable method to submit the form 1302A Cargo Declaration from April 1 to Oct. 1, 2024. 
  • ICYMI: CBP released a fact sheet on continuing education for licensed customs brokers. 
  • CBP released the second quarter absolute quota for steel mill articles of Argentina, Brazil and South Korea. 
  • CBP released the second quarter absolute quota for aluminum of Argentina. 
  • CBP updated the Document Image System (DIS) implementation guide. The update allows CBP to communicate additional statuses when a document is reviewed in DIS.  
  • CBP deployed an update to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Collections REV – 603 Trade Refund Report in ACE Reports. Brokers/Filers now have visibility into their importer’s refunds through the Broker’s ACE Portal Account. 
  • CBP published an updated version of the External Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Entry Summary Business Rules and Process Document. 

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) 

  • The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two individuals and three entities as key financial facilitators involved in funding for Hamas. The entities and individuals partnered on multiple fundraising efforts to support Hamas. 

United States Trade Representative (USTR) 

  • USTR announced that Brendan Lynch will serve as the Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia. 
  • USTR restores market access to Colombia for U.S. poultry producers. 
    • The Colombian government had stopped issuing import permits for U.S. poultry on August 7, 2023. 

World Trade Organization (WTO) 

  • China has initiated dispute consultations with the United States regarding tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act to promote the production of electric vehicles and renewable energy. 
  • China claims that the US credits at issue hinge on using domestic over imported goods, or discriminate against goods of Chinese origin,  

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

  • The FDA launched the Searchable Tobacco Products Database, a new user-friendly list of tobacco products that may be legally marketed in the United States.  
    • The database (www.fda.gov/searchtobacco) is designed to serve the public—especially retailers—by providing this key information in a single location, with easy-to-use search capabilities.  
  • The FDA issued a warning to consumers to avoid certain over-the-counter (OTC) topical pain relief products due to potential for dangerous health effects. The Agency issued warning letters to six companies for marketing these products in violation of federal law. 
    • Some of these products are labeled to contain ingredients, such as lidocaine, at concentrations that are higher than what is permitted for over-the-counter, topical pain relief products.  
  • FDA issues import alert for food products with chemical contaminants including PFAS. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

  • APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and CBP expanded the Risk-Based Sampling at Ports of Entry (RBS POE) program for fresh banana and plantain shipments starting the week of March 25, 2024.   
    • The goals of RBS POE are to reduce inspections on entities importing commodities compliant with current pest and disease regulations and provide incentives for producers to increase the quality of their goods. 

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

  • The FTC and Canadian law enforcement agencies cooperate on public outreach to combat cross-border fraud. 
  • FTC releases report on grocery supply chain disruptions. 

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) 

  • The Commission released a proposal to amend its Rules of Practice and Procedure concerning rules of general application, safeguards, antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, and section 337 adjudication and enforcement. 
    • The amendments are necessary to make certain technical corrections, to clarify certain provisions, to harmonize different parts of the Commission’s rules, and to address concerns that have arisen in Commission practice.   

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) 

  • The FMC released its February 2024 activity report. Highlights: 
    • Published final rule on detention and demurrage billing practices 
    • Updates to controlled carrier list 
    • Hearing on the Red Sea 

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) 

  • At the 2024 Update Conference on Export Controls and Policy, BIS announced four new export enforcement efforts: 
    • New freight forwarder guidance and best practices 
    • Published a new version of “Don’t Let This Happen to You” 
    • Modified the boycott reporting form to now require the identity of the requesting party 
    • Additional steps to help combat the shipment of Western components to Russia 
  • BIS issued a final rule, effective March 15, which expanded the controls for exports and reexports to Nicaragua of all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). 
  • New BIS License Types C67 (NAC) (Notification required) and C68 (NAC) (NO notification required) – for exports authorized under License Exception Notified Advanced Computing (NAC). 

Department of Justice (DoJ) 

  • A Latvian broker was arrested for allegedly smuggling advanced U.S. aircraft technology to Russia. 
  • Swiss commodities trading company pleads guilty to foreign bribery scheme. 

Congress 

  • Senator Steve Daines of Montana introduced the Moving Americans Privacy Act. 
    • The bill revises requirements regarding the public disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the manifest of vessels or aircraft entering a U.S. port or place. Specifically, the bill directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove such information, including Social Security numbers and passport numbers, from a manifest signed and transmitted to CBP before it is accessible by the public. 
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act (H.R. 1836) 
    • The bill prohibits U.S. ports from using Chinese state-sponsored LOGINK software, allows the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to investigate foreign shipping exchanges like the Shanghai Shipping Exchange to preempt improper business practices, and authorizes the FMC to streamline data standards for maritime freight logistics. 

Industry News 

  • 24 government agencies from around the world issued a joint statement on increasing tech capacity to keep pace with increasing digitization of the economy. 
    • U.S. signatories included the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. 
  • A Florida salvage firm that helped contain the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is heading to Baltimore to kickstart the cleanup effort involving the damaged container ship and the destroyed Key Bridge as officials scramble to reopen the city’s port. 
  • The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation released its 2023 annual report. 
  • Supply Trace – the open access supply chain platform – is now live. Supply Trace is a collaboration between Northeast University and Sheffield Hallam University and aims to expose potential risks in global supply chains. 
  • The Supplier Compliance Auditing Network (SCAN) signed a formal partnership agreement with CBP. SCAN is an industry trade association that aims to achieve global compliance standards that standardize the format and content of supply chain security audits. 
  • An article published in the Wall Street Journal highlights how cyber gangs are intercepting U.S. freight containers and holding them for ransom. 

Local News 

  • Save the Dates for the 9th Annual Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo (FITCE)! October 23 & 24, 2024 FITCEXPO.com. 

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