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

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  • CBP announced that it is changing its processes concerning the publication of the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit for CBP seizures and administrative forfeitures.
  • CBP Releases April 2023 Monthly Operational Update
  • CBP published a new Forced Labor Supporting Documents Submissions Guide
  • CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order in Response to Smart Glove’s Successful Actions to Address Forced Labor Supply Chain Issues – Smart Glove’s remediation efforts included repayment of recruitment fees, improvements to living conditions, and implementation of new worker-centered policies and procedures.
  • CBP Provides ACE Portal Modernization – CBP will deploy remaining functionality for ACE Portal Modernization – Phase 3 on May 21. However, prior to deployment, the Trade Transformation Office (TTO) held a demonstration via Microsoft Teams for trade users on Thursday, May 18.
  • Did you know CBP provides weekly foreign-currency-exchange-rates?
  • The Congressional Budget Office released a cost estimate for the CTPAT Pilot Program Act of 2023.
  • CBP issued the notice of determination as to evasion for EAPA consolidated case 7724 filed by the Paper Receipts Converting Association, against U.S. importer, WHP Associates LLC (WHP) for evasion of the applicable AD/CVD orders.
  • CBP Delays Updated OHBOL Release – CBP said the updated Ocean House Bill of Lading (OHBOL) Release, as well as the OHBOL Release Container Freight Station User Interface (CFS UI), in ACE has been delayed and a new date will be published when confirmed. CBP said in a message to the trade that it “continues to work closely with the Trade Support Network OHBOL Working Group, and a new date will be determined following further evaluation.” A follow-up CSMS will be issued once a new date is established, the agency added. CBP had intended to implement the updated OHBOL release in ACE on June 4. OHBOL will implement functionality within ACE to release ocean cargo at the lowest shipment level. This enhancement includes electronic data interchange (EDI) impacts. CBP FAQs regarding the OHBOL Release are also available here.

Commerce Department

  • Preliminary determination of circumvention – antidumping duty order on Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe from the Republic of Korea (Korea).
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) participated in the third negotiating round for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in Singapore from May 8-15, 2023.

Trade Industry & Education

  • Sheffield Hallam University released Brief 3 on products made with forced labor in the Uyghur Region
  • Russian customs data shows that millions of dollars of aircraft parts made by Boeing, Airbus and others were sent to Russia last year.
  • S. Legislation
    • President Biden vetoed a resolution that would have restored tariffs on solar panels imported from certain Southeast Asian countries, saying that the resolution would undermine his administration’s efforts to create a strong domestic solar supply chain.

 United States Trade Representative (USTR)

  • USTR Provides Transition Period for COVID Exclusions Ending May 15 – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that Section 301 COVID exclusions covering 81 medical care products are scheduled to expire May 15 and will provide a 16-day transition period, ending May 31, for those exclusions. USTR will also extend 77 of these COVID-related medical care products through Sept. 30. More details about the transition period and specific medical care products are available here.
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) posted on its website a notice concerning the Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.

 Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)

  • BIS issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) suspending the export privileges of Florida company MIC P&I, LLC, Russian airline Smartavia, freight forwarder Intermodal Maldives, and Oleg Patsulya and Vasilii Besedin, two Russian nationals residing in Florida, for diverting civilian aircraft parts to Russia.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

  • OFAC announced a $3,334,286 settlement with Murad, LLC (“Murad”), and a $175,000 settlement with a natural U.S. person (“U.S. Person-1”). Murad agreed to settle its potential civil liability for one apparent violation of OFAC sanctions on Iran arising from an apparent conspiracy to export goods from the United States to Iran between 2009 and 2018.
  • Treasury Sanctions Russian Ransomware Actor Complicit in Attacks on Police and U.S. Critical Infrastructure
  • OFAC is amending the South Sudan Sanctions Regulations and reissuing them in their entirety. This regulatory amendment is currently available for public inspection with the Federal Register and will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on May 18, 2023.
  • With Over 300 Sanctions, U.S. Targets Russia’s Circumvention and Evasion, Military-Industrial Supply Chains, and Future Energy Revenues – OFAC announced that the United States, in coordination with the G7 and other international partners, is strengthening the unprecedented global sanctions and other restrictive economic measures to further degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine.

 U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)

  • The Justice Department announced the seizure of 13 domains used by Specially Designated Nationals (SNDs), Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), and their members associated with Lebanese Hezbollah.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

  • Chairman Daniel B. Maffei announced that John G. Crews, II has been hired as the Director, Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance (BEIC) and appointed to be a member of the Senior Executive Service. Mr. Crews is the first person to serve as BEIC Director.
  • Several FMC Applications are Currently Experiencing Issues
  • The National Shipper Advisory Committee held a meeting on May 11 and considered two proposals: 1) Comment to NPRM demurrage and detention billing practices; 2) Consistency and alignment of data related to opacity within the supply chain – proposal to require consistent data points, processes and practices between Ocean Carriers, and Marine Terminal Operators (MTOs).
  • More than $1 million in disputed charges have now been waived or refunded through the Charge Compliant process established by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA) and administered by the Federal Maritime Commission. The milestone of $1,045,953 in waived or refunded fees was reached on May 1st.

Court of International Trade

  • HMTX Industries LLC, and Jasco Products Company appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in their case against USTR on the Section 301 Appeal to the CAFC. The lead Plaintiff, HMTX/Jasco, filed two Notices of Appeal with the Court of International (CIT) for the lead case, and one for the more general “In Re Section 301 case,” contesting the imposition of a third and fourth round of tariffs by the Office of the USTR which the CIT sustained. These appeals will bring the issue to the Appeals Court for all of the cases filed and suspended under the lead case. The opening brief will need to be filed by July 15, 2023, then the U.S. will file it’s response (in approximately 40 days), after which the appellants may file a reply. Once briefing is complete, a date will be set for oral argument. Support briefs are anticipated by some of the largest importers or importer associations.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • The FDA published a Small Entity Compliance Guidefor the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Food Traceability Rule. The compliance guide describes the requirements of the Food Traceability regulation to assist small entities, including farms and small businesses, in complying with the applicable recordkeeping requirements.

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