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

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP issued cybersecurity incident procedures guidelines for brokers. 
    • The guidance explains the process and roles and responsibilities of CBP and the brokerage community on how to facilitate the importation, entry, and entry summary process, in the event of a cybersecurity incident affecting a broker.  
  • CBP easter egg advisory: CBP reminds the traveling public that cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 12 per passenger. 
    • Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in order to prevent further spread of Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells.  
  • CBP seized 280 toddler travel beds and baby playpens for Consumer Product Safety Act violations.  The China-based shipment was appraised at a domestic value of about $11,000.  
  • CBP extended import restrictions on certain archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological material from Honduras.  
  • CBP released a final rule shifting the responsibility for administering refunds, reduced tax rates, and tax credits on imported alcohol from CBP to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  
  • CBP announced that the Ontario International Airport (ONT) located in Ontario, California, will be transitioning to a designated Landing Rights Airport in September 2024. 
    • The transition will allow the construction of a new Express Carrier Consignment Hub, promoting a significant increase in international cargo processing.   

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) 

  • OFAC announced a settlement with a Switzerland-based global private banking  group. The group agreed to pay $3,740,442 to settle its potential liability for processing 873 securities transactions in violation of the Cuban Asset Control Regulations, the Kingpin Act, and Executive Order 14024.  

 United States Trade Representative (USTR) 

  • The United Steelworkers union filed a petition with USTR asking for a trade investigation into alleged Chinese unfair economic practices in the shipbuilding and maritime logistics sectors.  
  • USTR provided notice of the allocation of additional Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 in-quota quantities of the World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for imported raw cane sugar. 
  • USTR and Commerce announced the public release of the texts of the proposed Fair Economy Agreement (Pillar IV) and broader procedural provisions of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). 

 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

  • FTC and Justice Department to host third annual spring enforcers summit on April 8. 

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) 

  • USITC voted to institute an investigation of certain liquid coolers for electronic components in computers, components thereof, devices for controlling same, and products containing same.  

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) 

  • BIS announced that it has expanded its export and reexport controls by imposing end-user controls on items subject to the EAR to persons identified on OFAC’s SDN List under 11 sanctions programs. 
    • Export and reexport licenses to these SDNs will be subject to a “presumption of denial” review policy. 
    • This final BIS rule took effect on March 21, 2024. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

  • Full implementation of the USDA National Organics Program (NOP) began on March 19. Organic shipments departing to the U.S. on that date must be associated with an NOP Import Certificate generated in the USDA Organic Integrity Database by a USDA-accredited Certifier. 

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 

  • Recalls: 
    • Starbucks metallic mugs 
    • Fischer Price little people figures 
    • Culture Kings sneaker displays 

 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

  • The EPA announced a final rule that will prohibit imports (and other uses) of chrysotile asbestos. 

Department of Justice (DoJ) 

  • A porcelain importer and its President plead guilty to a conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States – avoiding over $1M in duties and tariffs.  

Congress 

  • Chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to ask that they coordinate to address forced labor in China’s seafood industry. 
    • The letter asks the Secretaries to take six specific actions to stop seafood imports from China linked to forced labor immediately. 
  • Lawmakers to vote on spending deal that would avoid government shutdown ahead of the Saturday deadline. 
  • A bipartisan group of House and Senate members introduced the Stop Mexico’s Steel Surge Act. The bill would reinstate Section 232 tariffs on steel imports from Mexico at 25% for at least a year. 

Administration 

  • The Biden-Harris Administration announced preliminary terms to provide $8.5 billion in direct funding to support multiple semiconductor projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon.  

Industry News 

  • A proposed false advertising class action case against Sephora over its “Clean at Sephora” badge has been dismissed by a New York district court judge. 
    • The judge stated that the plaintiff failed to plausibly allege the claims and that Sephora never stated that products were free of all synthetic or harmful ingredients, but rather was clear that its designation was explicitly described as containing products formulated without specific ingredients. 

International Updates 

  • European Union countries have agreed to a law requiring companies to ensure their supply chains do not use forced labor. 
  • Brazil launched a steel antidumping investigation. According to the complaint made by a large Brazilian steel producer, between July 2022 and June 2023 imports of steel sheets from China rose almost 85 per cent. 
  • According to a statement made this week by Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have signed a deal to launch negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. 

Want more customs and international trade news? Sign up for our weekly snapshot!