Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:
- Nike has ended 2021 as the most valuable apparel firm globally. According to data presented by FinancePR.com, the American outfit achieved a $30.44 billion valuation in 2021, placing it at the helm of the top ten garment firms worldwide.
- On November 30, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati seized a shipment containing counterfeit designer jewelry and scarves. The fakes, which came from China, would have been worth a total of $3.09 million had they been genuine.
- On December 6, 2021, a garment importer based in downtown Los Angeles was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for scheming to undervalue imported garments and avoid paying duties to the United States, and failing to report income on tax returns and large cash transactions to the federal government.
- On December 13, 2021, Chris Magnus was sworn in as Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection following his Senate confirmation last week. Magnus becomes the fifth confirmed CBP Commissioner since the law enforcement agency’s creation under DHS in 2003.
- CBP has reorganized all Informed Compliance Publications (ICPs) on CBP.gov under each applicable Center of Excellence and Expertise.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection is modernizing the ACE Secure Data Portal over multiple phases in 2022. The modernization effort will entail the transition of existing functionality to an upgraded platform, offering easier use and better performance.
- On December 27, 2021, CBP issued guidance on the Department of Commerce’s December 9, 2021 interim final rule revoking 30 previously granted Section 232 General Approved Exclusions.
U.S. Census Bureau
- On January 5, 2022 Robert Santos was sworn as the U.S. Census Bureau’s 26th director, becoming the first Latino person to serve in the role. This appointment follows the U.S. Senate confirmation Nov. 4, 2021, with Santos’ term set to last for five years.
- On December 2, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it will deny requests for extensions of time for liquidation based on pending litigation before the U.S. Court of International Trade concerning challenges to additional customs duties imposed under Section 301 on goods imported from China.
- On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act banning imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which has sparked debate over how the law will be enforced and its potential ramifications.
- On December 20, 2021, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 10 Chinese citizens pursuant to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act of 2020 sanctioning individuals that materially contribute to China’s failure to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy.
- On January 7, 2022, China fell short on trade commitments to step up purchases of U.S. goods and services creating a dilemma for the Biden administration as it could potentially reinstate certain tariffs or ignore the shortfall.
Department of Commerce
- On December 9, 2021, the Department of Commerce issued an interim final rule amending its regulations pertaining to the procedures and rules related to Article 1904 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with appropriate references to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
- Comments are due January 10, 2022
- The FDA is seeking early feedback on a plan to assist stakeholders, including industry, health care professionals, and patients, with a smooth transition away from the temporary emergency measures of the pandemic to the eventual resumption of normal operation.
- Comments are due March 23, 2022
- Elizabeth Miller, assistant commissioner for medical products and tobacco operations in FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, announced at a recent FDLI enforcement conference that the FDA will resume unannounced and hybrid inspections of foreign facilities in 2022.
- On January 1, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) for FY 2023. Participants in the fee-based program receive expedited review of animal and human foods entering the United States.
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- On January 12, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared they are revoking the standard of identity for French dressing, reacting to a citizen petition from the Association for Dressings and Sauces that shared information documenting that the standard is outdated. The agency is now finalizing the proposed rule issued in December 2020 based on the conclusion that revoking the standard will allow for greater innovation and flexibility of products on the market.
- The final rule is effective February 14, 2022
- On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation modifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to reflect international agreements.
- On December 27, 2021, CBP issued guidance regarding the U.S. Trade Representative’s conforming amendment to a previously granted and extended Section 301 product exclusion, replacing HTSUS number 3401.30.5000 with HTSUS number 3401.11.5000 effective November 30, 2020
- On January 7, 2022, Port Everglades announced the arrival of the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC Rachele which brought a record 4,849 containers into port.
- On December 15, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order imposing sanctions on foreign persons involved in the global illicit drug trade.
- On December 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned eight Chinese technology firms for being part of the Chinese Military-Industrial Complex.
- On January 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated five North Korean individuals responsible for procuring goods for North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile-related programs. These actions are intended to target and prevent the advancement of North Korea’s WMD and ballistic missile programs and ongoing efforts to cease illegal procurement of weapons overseas.
- On January 11, 2021 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a settlement with Sojitz Limited (“Sojitz HK”), a Hong Kong, China-based company that engages in offshore trading and cross-border trade financing. Sojitz HK agreed to remit $5,228,298 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).
- On December 21, 2021, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual congressional report assessing Russia’s adherence to its World Trade Organization commitments such as non-discriminatory practices, more open trade, and fair competition. The report notes that in the past years Russia had further extended its control over the Russian economy and tightened restrictions on trade.
- On January 4, 2022, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the United States has prevailed in the first dispute settlement panel proceeding ever brought under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The panel ruled that Canada is breaching its USMCA commitments by reserving most of the in-quota quantity in its dairy tariff-rate quotas for the exclusive use of Canadian processors.
- On January 10, 2022 United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the government of India has agreed to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products into India.
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