Senators Introduce Foreign Pollution Fee Act

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Foreign Pollution Fee Act last Thursday. The bill proposes a pollution fee on specified energy and industrial imports, including products like crude oil, iron/steel, natural gas, plastics, and minerals. The fee is to be calculated based on pollution intensity differences between imported goods and domestic production, and paid along with customs duties in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). For additional information, read the bill text and the news release announcing the bill’s introduction

BIS Reschedules Update Conference

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced new dates for the Update Conference on Export Controls and Policy. The conference, originally scheduled for November 28-30, 2023, will now take place on March 27-29, 2024, at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington, DC. The event will feature sessions on topics including semiconductors, regulatory updates, human rights due diligence, and international cooperation in export controls. For more details, visit BIS’s webpage.

CBP Announces 2024 Trade Symposium

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that it will hold its 2024 Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security (TFCS) Summit in Philadelphia, PA on March 26-28, 2024. The Summit is open for the public to attend in-person or virtually. The Summit will feature CBP personnel, members of the trade community, and members of other government agencies in panel discussions on CBP’s role in international trade initiatives and programs. Find more information at CBP’s webpage.

Lawmakers Recommend Reducing De Minimis Threshold

At a Q&A at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) this Monday, Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on China outlined the committee’s suggestions for enforcing the ban on imports produced with Uyghur forced labor. The committee recommended that the de minimis threshold of $800 be reduced and focused on “particular foreign adversaries including the PRC.” The committee also recommended that Congress dedicate more money to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for DHS to make a comprehensive entity list and do more investigations. Read the transcript of the Q/A.

FMC Chairman Highlights Plan to Reduce Port Congestion

FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei, at the Pacific Coast Council’s Western Cargo Conference (WESCCON), outlined the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC’s) efforts to eliminate the “perverse incentive” for ocean carriers and terminal operators to allow port congestion for profit. He said the FMC plans to “create sufficient deterrence” that they believe will prevent carriers and operators from gaining advantages over competitors through congestion. These efforts to enforce shipping laws are part of the FMC’s final rules on detention and demurrage, scheduled for review this fall. For background, review the FMC’s proposed rules on detention and demurrage from 2022.

APEP Members Call for Stronger Regional Integration

Members of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) issued a joint declaration last Friday, urging trade ministers to strengthen regional economic integration. The declaration calls for the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and urges the digitization of customs mechanisms throughout the region. APEP members also called for a gap analysis to identify regulatory actions needed for regional integration and the development of mechanisms to ensure wider trade benefits for SMEs. The initiative aims to create formal jobs, promote labor rights, environmental sustainability, and economic inclusion. Read the joint declaration.