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

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP held a Virtual Career Expo on Jan. 24. The expo highlighted law enforcement and mission support opportunities throughout CBP.  
  • CBP is modifying the timing of the automatic release messages for non-express air cargo filed as an Entry Type 86; effective January 27.  
    • The update will help ensure that CBP has sufficient time to review entries and notify filers of holds. 
  • CBP announced an updated “ACE Tips for Filing EPA Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)” is now available and provides clarification for an HFC filing. 
  • EAPA case update: CBP has determined there is substantial evidence that importer Suzhou Quality Import and Export Co. entered covered merchandise for consumption into the customs territory of the United States through evasion. Specifically, Suzhou Quality imported into the United States Chinese-origin aluminum extrusions but not did not enter these extrusions as subject to the AD/CVD orders.  

Department of Commerce 

  • New AD and CVD petition filed on paper plates from China, Vietnam and Thailand 
    • The petition claims the paper plates were sold at less than fair value, and that certain paper plates from China and Vietnam benefit from countervailable subsidies. Petitioners claim that these imports have caused material injury and threaten additional material injury to the domestic industry producing paper plates. 
  • Commerce initiated its less-than-fair-value and countervailing duty investigations on “Certain Glass Wine Bottles from Chile, the People’s Republic of China (China), and Mexico.”   
  • Commerce released its list of top stories in 2023, among them: 
    • U.S.-India semiconductor supply chain and innovation partnership 
    • Implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act 
    • Economic Census underway 

United States Trade Representative (USTR) 

  • President Biden nominates Nelson Cunningham for Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. 
  • As a result of certain changes to statistical reporting categories in the HTSUS made by USITC, USTR is making a conforming amendment to one previously reinstated exclusion associated with the Section 301 investigation of China Acts, Policies and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. 

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) 

  • BIS issued a memo to enforcement employees regarding enhancements to their voluntary self-disclosure (VSD) policy for violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  
    • The memo announces VSD policy changes regarding the manner of submission and the content contained in the submission. BIS is “strongly encouraging” the submission of VSDs via email, explaining that VSDs received by email can be processed and tracked more efficiently and effectively.  
    • The memo also states that VSDs for violations without aggravating factors may be submitted with an “abbreviated narrative account.” 
  • BIS is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the use of mature-node semiconductor devices in the supply chains that support—directly or indirectly—U.S. national security and critical infrastructure. 
  • Reward up to $15 million for information on Hossein Hatefi Ardakani or information leading to the disruption of financial mechanisms of the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 
    • Hossein Hatefi Ardakani is Iranian businessman who has helped acquire and supply sophisticated technology that has supported IRGC weapons production and sales.  
  • Elizabeth “Liz” Cannon will serve as the first Executive Director of the Office of Information and Communications Technology and Services (OICTS). 
  • BIS strengthened its existing controls under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) against Russia and Belarus in response to the Russian Federation’s (Russia’s) ongoing aggression against Ukraine.  
    • The action expands the scope of the EAR’s Russian and Belarusian Industry Sector Sanctions by adding 94 6-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes to the list of items requiring a license for export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) to Russia or Belarus.  

Department of Justice 

  • Virginia man convicted of exporting heavy equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions laws. 
  • Businessman arrested for scheme to illegally export semiconductors and other controlled technology to Russia. 

Food and Drug Administration 

  • The FDA has created new Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) product codes. The product codes are available immediately. 
    • 37J[][]25/Basil Sauce (with other ingredients) 
    • 52B[][]14/Banana Palm Leaves (Food Related) 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 

  • DHS executed a search warrant at the Ohio-based U.S. subsidiary of Qingdao Sunsong, a Chinese automobile parts manufacturer that a congressional committee has accused of trade fraud. 

Federal Trade Commission 

  • FTC finalizes order requiring Old Southern Brass to stop false Made in USA and Veteran Affiliation claims. 
    • The final order requires the company to pay $150,000 to the FTC, stop making false claims, and comply with specific requirements relating to future country-of-origin claims.  

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

  • OFAC designated Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and its CEO for providing assistance to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. 

International News 

  • The European Parliament approved text for a new directive that will ban the use of misleading environmental (green) claims. 
    • These new rules ban unsubstantiated generic claims such as “environmentally friendly,” “green” and “eco-friendly.”  

Industry News 

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) published an interim report on an “Exploratory Study on the Possible Strategic Review of the Harmonized System (HS).” 
    • The report identifies a number of  issues with the current system including the usability of notes, ambiguity in the proper classification of some materials, and consistency of application. 

Local News 

  • Broward County Commission has approved the appointment of Glenn A. Wiltshire as Acting Director of Broward County’s Port Everglades Department. Wiltshire, the current Deputy Port Director, will take the helm when CEO and Port Director Jonathan Daniels departs on February 3 for his new role as Executive Director of Maryland Port Administration and the Port of Baltimore.

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