New Bill Targets Imports Tied to Illegal Deforestation

December 13, 2023 – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act yesterday, which is intended to stop imports of products created through illegal deforestation. The lawmakers, including Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), proposed legislation would be enforced at the time of entry declaration. If passed, the law would go into effect one year after its passage. Read the bill text here.

Legislation Would Allow Refunds for Section 232 Tariffs

December 13, 2023 – Lawmakers introduced a Senate bill last week that would allow importers previously charged Section 232 tariffs on steel or aluminum products to be reimbursed, even if the deadline for liquidation or reliquidation has passed. The group, which includes Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), introduced a bill that would cover exclusions from 2020 and 2021, with a 180-day window from the bill’s enactment for importers to request refunds. CBP would issue refunds without interest if the application contains sufficient data for identification and verification. Read the bill text here.

CBP Announces Portal to Address Forced Labor Claims

December 13, 2023 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in a document released this week that it plans to create a “centralized website portal” for importers to submit requests for exception, applicability, and admissibility reviews under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, and Withhold Release Orders (WROs). CBP says it will deploy the portal by mid-2024. The portal is also said to handle forced labor allegations from the public and requests for the modification of WROs and forced labor findings. Read the announcement in the December 2023 Government Issue Paper here.

CBP Ruling Allows Importers to Use Discounted Prices

December 13, 2023 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently ruled that an importer can use a discounted price for transaction value, if the discount was agreed to before the good was imported. The importer filed a protest in December of 2022 concerning the importation of LEDs. Based on the documents provided, CBP found that the unnamed electronic components distributor provided sufficient evidence that the discounted price it claimed was the correct and agreed upon price. Read the CBP ruling here.

Lawmakers Mull Revoking China's PNTR Status

December 13, 2023 – The House Select Committee on China is reportedly considering a proposal to repeal China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status with the U.S., which has been in place since 2000 when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). If lawmakers follow through on the proposal, the impacts would include higher tariff rates on imports from China and added stress on U.S. supply chains. AAEI’s Trade Policy Committee is forming a China Working Group to discuss action on revoking PNTR status, among other issues. For more information on the issue, see AAEI’s one-page summary.

USDA Anticipates Record Farm Trade Deficit

December 13, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in its November 2023 Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade last Thursday an anticipated record-breaking farm trade deficit of $30.5 billion for the 2024 fiscal year. This marks a significant increase from prior years, contrasting with the usual surplus averaging $12.5 billion annually over the last decade. For more information, read the USDA’s November 2023 Outlook.

APHIS Phase VII Pushed to 2024

December 13, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement of specifics for APHIS Phase VII of Lacey Act enforcement has been delayed until early 2024 due to federal budget complications. Erin Otto of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) stated in a webinar last month that she hopes the Federal Register notice is published n January or February of 2024. Lacey Act phase VII will cover all non-composite plant products that are currently unaffected by Lacey Act requirements. For background, read USDA’s March news release announcing Phase VII of the Lacey Act Enforcement Schedule.

COAC Reports Released Ahead of Next Week's Meeting

December 13, 2023 – The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold a public meeting next week, and it is providing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with reports from COAC’s subcommittees in advance. The reports include Export Modernization Recommendations (December 2023 Report)Export Modernization Truck Focus Group Background Information (December 2023 Report)In-Bond Recommendations (December 2023 Report)In Bond Background Information (December 2023 Report) and Rapid Response Subcommittee Recommendations (December 2023 Report). For more information on COAC’s final meeting of the year, please click here.

WTO Releases Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action

December 13, 2023 – The World Trade Organization (WTO) released its Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action on Saturday with trade policy recommendations for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The publication includes 10 policy areas with examples of government measures to transition to a low-carbon economy, increase the flow of climate-friendly goods and services, and decarbonize supply chains. The WTO released this publication as part of its annual report, at the climate conference COP28 in Dubai. Read the publication here.