Biden Administration Announces Supply Chain Resiliency Plan

President Biden unveiled a comprehensive plan during the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience launch, incorporating recommendations from AAEI for enhanced data-sharing among shippers, carriers, ports, and government entities. AAEI has advocated for data sharing improvements for more than two years and submitted five pages of recommendations to the Department of Transportation in October 2021. Eugene Laney, AAEI’s President and CEO, anticipates that improved data sharing will foster business certainty, operational efficiency, and reduced costs for importers and consumers. 

AAEI’s Transpacific Committee has been leading AAEI’s work on supply chain resiliency and has submitted similar comments to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).

New SCRC Aims to Protect U.S. Supply Chains

At the inaugural meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience last week, President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced a new U.S. government entity: the Supply Chain Resiliency Center (SCRC). The SCRC is intended to protect U.S. supply chains from evolving threats by collaborating with the private sector. Led by Secretary Mayorkas, the SCRC aims to anticipate and prevent challenges to U.S. supply chains caused by conflicts, political instability, and climate change. For more details on the SCRC, read the White House news release.

U.S. Proposes 2-Year Extension of TRQs for EU Steel

U.S. trade negotiators working on the U.S.-EU steel and aluminum talks reportedly proposed this week to extend U.S. tariff-rate quotas on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union for another two years. U.S. Ambassador to the EU Mark Gitenstein says the extension will allow negotiators more time to agree on measures to address excess metal production capacity in non-market economies like China, and to promote low-carbon steel production. The TRQ allows up to 3.3 million metric tons of EU steel and 384,000 tons of aluminum into the U.S. tariff-free, reflecting past trade levels, with the tariffs applying for any further amounts.

Customs Broker Fees Go Up, Due in February

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced this week that the annual user fee for licensed customs brokers, which goes up from $163.71 to $174.80 next year, is due by Friday, February 9, 2024. CBP says the broker fee was adjusted for 2024 to comply with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows for an annual adjustment of “certain customs COBRA user fees and corresponding limitations to reflect certain increases in inflation.” Brokers now have the option to submit their fee payments electronically via CBP’s new eCBP portal. CBP says the eCBP portal is open starting today.
Read CBP’s announcement.

USTR Considers Tariff Hike on Chinese Medical Products

The Biden Administration is considering increasing tariffs on a range of Chinese-made medical devices and personal protective equipment starting January 1, 2024. Since the Trump Administration’s tariff exemptions in 2020, the Biden Administration renewed the tariff exclusions, while reducing the list of excluded products from 99 to 77. These exclusions were initially set to expire last September, when the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced a last-minute extension until the end of 2023, covering 352 other non-medical tariffs as well. Healthcare companies and hospitals have voiced concerns about potential tariff increases. For more background, read the USTR’s exemption extension from last September.

Canadian Finance Minister Proposes Digital Services Tax

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced a “ways and means motion” on Tuesday containing a series of legislative measures that she promised in her 2023 Fall Economic Statement. Alongside a proposed digital services tax (DST), the motion includes other measures including two clean investment tax credits and amendments to competition laws. The proposed DST is concerning to the U.S. government, as the tax would apply to any business with global revenues of at least C$1.1 billion and an annual Canadian digital services revenue more than C$20 million. Freeland has indicated the plan would be implemented on January 1, 2024, in the absence of a global deal. For more information, read the transcript of Freeland’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement.