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

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)   

  • The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, in Washington, DC. The meeting will be open for the public to attend in person or via webinar.  
  • UFLPA detention notifications in ACE cargo release available in certification environment 
    • The ACE Cargo Release Status Notification (V33) document regarding UFLPA can be found here 
  • CBP and HSI cautions on the real dangers of counterfeit and prohibited goods ahead of holidays 
    • The joint engagement with local media is designed to make the public aware of the real dangers of such products and how these products are part of a larger transnational criminal enterprise. 
  • $3.7 million fake Richard Mille watch seized by Cincinnati CBP 
  • Officers at the Buffalo Port of Entry, Peace Bridge warehouse, seized multiple designer items for bearing counterfeit trademarks. 

  Congress 

  • Congress steps into debate over jurisdiction of rail fees for ocean containers 
    • US shippers could be a step closer to receiving clarity over which government agency should have oversight of the storage fees railroads charge for ocean containers as Congress looks to settle whether policing international intermodal freight should fall to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) or the Surface Transportation Board (STB).  
    • Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., is working on draft legislation that would “compel” the FMC and STB to draft a memorandum of understanding over which agency has authority over international intermodal freight. 
  • The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), held a hearing looking at the dominance of Chinese companies in the cobalt mining industry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and how the exploitation of child and forced labor in this sector in the DRC impacts a global supply chain dependent on cobalt for a range of modern products.  

 U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) 

  • USITC voted to institute an investigation of certain products containing tirzepatide and products purporting to contain tirzepatide.  
    • The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Eli Lilly and Company on October 19, 2023, and supplemented on November 10, 2023. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain products containing tirzepatide and products purporting to contain tirzepatide by reason of the infringement of a trademark, the false designation of source, and false and misleading advertising. 

 U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)   

  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the substantial conclusion of negotiations of the Clean Economy Agreement and the Fair Economy Agreement of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), following the IPEF Ministerial meeting in San Francisco, California. 

 Bureau of Industry and Security 

  • BIS adds four to entity list related to circumvention of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, Russia. 

 U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  

  • OFAC announced a $968,618,825 settlement with Binance Holdings, Ltd. (“Binance”), a Cayman Islands company and the world’s largest virtual currency exchange.  
    • The settlement resolves Binance’s potential civil liability for 1,667,153 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs. 
  • OFAC issued four new Venezuela-related Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Designation updates: 

Food and Drug Administration 

  • Federal Judge enters consent decrees against Utah-based dietary supplement distributor and manufacturer of balance of nature products. 
  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona entered a consent decree of permanent injunction ordering Smart Women’s Choice, Inc., an Arizona-based company, to stop distributing drugs until the company complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). 
    • According to the complaint, which was filed with the consent decree by the U.S. Department of Justice, Smart Women’s Choice and Richard unlawfully distributed unapproved new drugs within the U.S. marketplace. 
  • FDA releases new tobacco compliance webinar. Topics discussed include: 
    • The FDA’s authority to regulate tobacco products 
    • Requirements for tobacco products 
    • Recent import alerts 

 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

  • EPA webinar outlines HFC message set 
    • The agency introduced the new PGA Message Set for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to the trade in a Nov. 14 webinar. The new message set will be implemented Jan. 1. 

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

  • Additional NOAA import restrictions delayed for two years 
    • The agency announced a two-year delay, until Dec. 31, 2025, in implementing the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
  • NOAA withdraws controversial SIMP expansion proposal  
    • NOAA  announced it’s withdrawing a proposed rule to expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP).  
    • The controversial proposal, published last Dec. 28, drew comments from a broad range of stakeholders who objected to the expanded role of a customs broker and limited the ability of nonresident importers to serve as Importer of Record. 

 International News 

  • Venezuela sanctions extension reduced by EU 
    • The Council of the European Union extended its sanctions on Venezuela for six months instead of the usual one year, indicating it was taking doing so ‘exceptionally’ in light of an agreement by the government of President Nicolás Maduro for elections next year. 

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