Lawmakers Urge DHS to Strengthen Forced Labor Enforcement in Seafood Supply Chains

Bipartisan lawmakers Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR) sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday expressing their concerns about forced labor and human rights abuses in China’s seafood industry. The letter was prompted by research from The Outlaw Ocean Project, which alleges human rights violations on China’s illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing fleets. The letter follows a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on Tuesday, during which witnesses called for coordinated efforts to improve transparency in the seafood supply chain. Read the full letter and witness testimonies.

Congressional Hearing Highlights De Minimis in UFLPA Enforcement

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability held a hearing last week on “Exploitation and Enforcement: Evaluating the Department of Homeland Security’s Efforts to Counter Uyghur Forced Labor.” The hearing focused on concerns regarding the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

Subcommittee members expressed worries about the efficiency of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF). Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) emphasized the sluggish additions to the entity list, noting the contrast between $153.2 billion in imports in 2022 and $39 million detained under UFLPA. For details, read the witness testimony here, here and here.

US Extends Suspension of EU Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The United States will not reimpose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union on January 1, 2024, even if negotiators cannot come to an agreement in time.

U.S. officials reportedly assured EU officials last Friday that despite the expiration of the current suspension agreement, which replaces Trump-era tariffs on EU steel and aluminum with tariff rate quotas (TRQs), the suspension will remain in place to allow negotiators more time.

In addition to working on a new agreement on green steel and aluminum, trade negotiators are also trying to reach a deal on critical minerals. Read the joint statement from last week’s U.S.-EU Summit in Washington, D.C.

AAEI and CBP Hold First Centers Circle Event

AAEI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held the first Centers Circle event this week at the Base Metals Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Chicago.  

The event brought together more than forty executives whose companies import aluminum to meet with CBP leadership from various departments within the CEE, including Center Director Africa Bell. Attendees exchanged information and discussed issues that the aluminum industry is facing. Topics ranged from anti-dumping and countervailing duties to forced labor, including various technical issues. 

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