FMC Allows Ocean Carriers to Increase Rates

January 10, 2024 – The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has allowed ocean carriers to increase rates on containers rerouted around Africa’s southern cape due to concerns over Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea routes. To justify the longer transit, the FMC granted several companies special permission to impose new container charges to recoup costs, bypassing the usual 30-day notice requirement. The FMC’s decision has caused some rates to double, with no clear timeline for reduction. The FMC warned ocean carriers that such rate increases or surcharges “must meet strict legal requirements.” Read the FMC’s news release.

China Sanctions U.S. Defense Firms

January 10, 2024 – China is sanctioning five U.S. defense companies over recent arms sales to Taiwan. The State Department approved the sale of $300 million worth of tactical information equipment to Taiwan last month. The companies China named include BAE Systems Land and Armaments, Alliant Techsystems Operations, AeroVironment, Viasat and Data Link Solutions. The sanctions involve freezing company assets and banning engagement with the companies. Read more from Reuters.

Switzerland Eliminates Tariffs on Industrial Product Imports

January 10, 2024 – Switzerland is canceling import duties on industrial products, as of January 1, to lower costs for manufacturers and consumers. The affected products range from capital goods, raw materials, semi-finished products and machinery, as well as consumer products. Swiss lawmakers originally made the decision to lift the duties in October 2021. Read more from Reuters.

DHS Plans June Release for Rail Manifest Rule

January 10, 2024 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is developing a proposal that might make electronic export manifests mandatory for all cargo leaving the U.S. by rail, as per their fall 2023 regulatory agenda. This proposed rule would necessitate filers to specify eligible information transmitters, set timeframes for data submission before train departure, and require an initial filing 24 hours beforehand, with remaining data sent at least two hours pre-departure. Following a push from the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), DHS aims to unveil the rail manifest rule in June. Read the proposed rule.

Report Urges On-Chip Governance for Semiconductor Exports

January 10, 2024 – In a report released this week, researchers from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the Institute for AI Policy and Strategy urged the U.S. to mandate compliance features in export-controlled semiconductors. The researchers propose incorporating “on-chip governance mechanisms” built directly into semiconductors. These devices would only allow the chip to be used in ways that comply with U.S. export controls. For details, read the report.

FDA Authorizes Florida's Drug Importation Program

January 10, 2024 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a program last week that will allow states to facilitate the importation of drugs from Canada. The FDA says a new program at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration is the first step under section 804 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) that supports drug importation from Canada. Section 804 Importation Program (SIP) Proposals require FDA evaluation, and Florida’s proposal is the first. Read the FDA’s authorization letter.