US Suspends Trade of Plants and Wildlife with Mexico

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a notice this week suspending trade of plants and animals with Mexico over the country’s failure to protect a species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The international organization says Mexico hasn’t done enough to protect vaquita porpoises. FWS says, “Effective immediately, all shipments containing CITES specimens traded for commercial purposes under an import permit, export permit, or re-export certificate issued by Mexico for the species, are subject to enforcement action.” Read the FWS notice.

APHIS Schedules Next Phase of Lacey Act Implementation

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing the schedule of the next phase of Lacey Act declaration implementation. It will expand to include a wide variety of materials and plant products, such as furniture, cork, and some essential oils that have not yet required a declaration.

APHIS says “Phase VII” will require Lacey Act declarations for all remaining plant product Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes that are not 100-percent composite materials. APHIS says importers of such products should prepare now by “becoming familiar with their supply chain and reviewing what information is necessary to file a declaration.” Read the APHIS announcement.

Lawmakers Challenge USTR on Biden Trade Policy

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai appeared on Capitol Hill for two Congressional hearings last week, defending the Biden Administration’s approach to trade negotiations. Ambassador Tai said the U.S. needs new enforcement trade tools and updates to its existing tools. She noted how the Biden Administration is using the enforcement mechanisms in USMCA to hold Mexico and Canada accountable for trade violations, protecting American workers. 

This week, USTR announced that the U.S. and Japan signed a trade deal on electric vehicle battery minerals that is central to strengthening supply chains and granting Japanese automakers wider access to new tax credits. Read the USTR announcement.