Biden Extends U.S.-EU Steel & Aluminum Trade Deal

January 3, 2024 – President Biden announced last month that he is extending the U.S. side of a steel and aluminum trade peace deal with the EU. In a pair of presidential proclamations, President Biden extended steel and aluminum tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) that the administration negotiated with the EU in 2021. These proclamations continue the TRQs at the same level for 2024 and 2025 and extend the previously granted tariff exclusions on some steel products not produced domestically. Read the steel proclamation here and the aluminum proclamation here.

USTR Extends Section 301 Tariff Exclusions

January 3, 2024 – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has extended reinstated and COVID-related exclusions from Section 301 tariffs through the end of May 2024. They had been scheduled to expire on December 31, 2023. The USTR is conducting its 4-year review of the Section 301 tariffs on certain imported goods from China and says the extension will “enable the orderly review of the exclusions consistent with statutory factors and objectives.” See the USTR notice for more information.

China Sanctions Kharon and U.S. Researchers

January 3, 2024 – China sanctioned a U.S. compliance risk advisory firm last month. The sanctions were placed against Kharon, a Kharon researcher, and a researcher at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission as a response to U.S. sanctions announced on Human Rights Day. A Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said the U.S. is vilifying China and aims to take measures against Kharon, which she said “has long collected Xinjiang-related sensitive information and provided so-called evidence for America’s illegal sanctions related to Xinjiang.” Kharon says it plans to continue providing research and data analytics to its clients, and that China’s sanctions are “largely symbolic.” Read the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s press conference transcript here.

CBP Proposes New Rule on De Minimis

January 3, 2024 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing a new rule on processing de minimis shipments. The proposal would “create a new process for entering low-value shipments, allowing CBP to target high-risk shipments more effectively, including those containing synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This document also proposes to revise the current process for entering low-value shipments to require additional data elements that would assist CBP in verifying eligibility for duty- and tax-free entry of low-value shipments and bona-fide gifts.” The current import value for duty-free entry is capped at $800. The proposed rule was included in the Treasury Department’s Fall 2023 regulatory agenda. For more information, please click here.

New FMC Rules Shine Light on Carrier Charges

January 3, 2024 – The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a final rule this week intended to add transparency to Carrier Automated Tariffs that shippers pay for their imports and exports. The changes include clarifying the ability for non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to raise certain charges passed through by other entities without notice. The final rule also would prohibit carriers from charging a fee to access their tariff systems. The new regulations take effect on Thursday, February 1, 2024. For more information, please click here.

CBP Ruling Clarifies "Customs Business"

January 3, 2024 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a recent ruling that clarifies the meaning of “customs business” for brokers. CBP says brokers are not permitted to use an unlicensed company to key in data on entry filings. Only licensed brokers may do so, because “preparation of documents or forms in any format and the electronic transmission of documents, invoices, bills, or parts thereof intended to be filed with” CBP is considered customs business. Heizwerthy Customs and Freight Solutions had asked CBP for the clarification following the implementation of Modernized Customs Broker Regulations in December 2022. For details on the ruling, please click here.

BIS Export Enforcement Releases 2023 Year in Review

January 3, 2024 – The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Enforcement team released its 2023 Year in Review this week. The report highlights the increasing significance of export controls in safeguarding advanced technologies critical to national security, especially due to the rise of technologies like AI and quantum computing. The team collaborated with law enforcement agencies, imposing significant penalties and pursuing enforcement actions against entities involved in illegal exports, including cases related to China, Russia, and Iran. The report emphasizes strengthened enforcement policies and partnerships with the interagency, academia, industry, and foreign governments, along with an expanded Entity List and antiboycott enforcement efforts. Read the 2023 Year in Review here.

ITC Releases 2024 Harmonized Tariff Schedule

January 3, 2024 – The International Trade Commission (ITC) posted the 2024 Basic Edition of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The new HTS includes Mauritania’s regained AGOA benefits, and the removal of benefits for the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda. The new HTS also includes 10-digit-level changes for fruits and vegetables, chemicals, medicaments, and recycled aluminum. Changes took effect on January 1, 2024.