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19

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Possible Retaliatory Duties on Products from the European Union - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

The USTR has published a preliminary list of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) codes on which the USTR may impose future Section 301 duties in connection with products imported from the European Union. The list includes products in the aerospace sector as well as a wide range of consumer goods, including food and beverage products, handbags, textiles and apparel, and other items.

The proposed Section 301 tariffs on EU products reflect the United States’ response to subsidies granted by the EU and certain Member States to the EU large civil aircraft domestic industry.[1] The matter currently is under review by a WTO Arbitrator, who will determine the level of countermeasures to be authorized as a result of the EU’s WTO-inconsistent measures. The WTO Arbitrator’s determinations will be set forth in a report, which the USTR expects will be issued in the summer of 2019.

Information Important for Importers

The USTR has released a preliminary list of EU products that may be subject to Section 301 duties. Notably, the EU Proposed 301 List includes two sections.

Section 1 applies to a brief list of HTS codes and products (in the aerospace sector) of France, Germany, Spain or the United Kingdom only.

Section 2 applies to a lengthier list of HTS codes and products from any one of the twenty-eight (28) EU Member States. Section 2 covers a wide range of consumer goods, including food and beverage products, handbags, textiles and apparel, and other items.

The amount of additional duties has not yet been decided by the USTR, which merely proposed that “appropriate action would include the imposition of additional ad valorem duties of up to 100 percent on products of the EU or certain member States, to be drawn from the preliminary list of HTS numbers . . . .”

The complete EU Proposed List can be found here.

Key Dates, Timeline & Possible Points of Action

The USTR is seeking public comments and will hold a public hearing in connection with the proposed determinations. The relevant dates are as follows:

May 6, 2019 – Due date for submission of requests to appear at the public hearing and summary of testimony
May 15, 2019 – Public hearing convened by the Section 301 Committee
May 28, 2019 – Due date for submission of written comments, including post-hearing rebuttal comments

The final list of EU products that may be subject to Section 301 duties will take into account the WTO Arbitrator’s report on the appropriate level of countermeasures to be authorized. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer advised, “The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures.”[2] The USTR anticipates that the WTO Arbitrator will issue its report in the summer of 2019.

We are available to discuss options for responding to these developments, such as comment submissions to the USTR, classification reviews, valuation strategies, etc.

Should you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Section 301 Proposed List of EU Products

ANNEX

Section 1 – The products that are enumerated and described in Section 1 of this Annex are being considered for additional import duties if they are the product of any of the following four member States of the European Union: France, Germany, Spain or the United Kingdom.

Note: In general, products that are described in the 10-digit statistical reporting numbers of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) that are listed in Section 1 of this Annex are covered by the proposed action. For purposes of statistical reporting numbers 8802.11.0030, 8802.11.0045, 8802.12.0040, 8802.40.0040, 8802.40.0060, and 8802.40.0070, the product descriptions that are contained in Section 1 of this Annex are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended to delimit in any way the scope of the proposed action. However, for purposes of statistical reporting numbers 8803.20.0030, 8803.30.0030 and 8803.90.9030, the product descriptions define and limit the scope of the proposed action. Any questions regarding the scope of a particular HTS statistical reporting number should be referred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the product descriptions, the abbreviation “nesoi” means “not elsewhere specified or included”.

Section 2 – The products that are enumerated and described in Section 2 of this Annex are being considered for additional import duties if they are the product of any of the twenty-eight member States of the European Union.
 
Note: All products that are classified in the 8-digit subheadings of the HTS that are listed in Section 2 of this Annex are covered by the proposed action. The product descriptions that are contained in Section 2 of this Annex are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended to delimit in any way the scope of the proposed action. Any questions regarding the scope of a particular HTS subheading should be referred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the product descriptions, the abbreviation “nesoi” means “not elsewhere specified or included”.

See complete Lists


U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Affirmative Preliminary Antidumping Duty Determination on Steel Wheels 12 to 16.5 Inches in Diameter from China  - U.S. Department of Commerce

Today (4/16/19), the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of steel wheels 12 to 16.5 inches in diameter from China, finding that exporters from China have been dumping certain steel wheels in the United States at margins ranging from 38.27 to 44.35 percent.

As a result of today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of certain steel wheels from China based on these preliminary rates.

In 2017, imports of certain steel wheels from China were valued at an estimated $87.2 million.

The petitioner is Dexstar Wheel, a division of Americana Development, Inc.

The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump Administration. Since the beginning of the current Administration, Commerce has initiated 157 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – this is a 283 percent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.

Antidumping and countervailing duty laws provide American businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of the unfair pricing of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 473 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Commerce is scheduled to announce the final determination on or about July 2, 2019.

If Commerce’s final determination is affirmative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will be scheduled to make its final injury determination on or about August 15, 2019. If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination of dumping and the ITC makes an affirmative final injury determination, Commerce will issue an AD order. If Commerce makes a negative final determination of dumping or the ITC makes a negative final determination of injury, the investigation will be terminated and no order will be issued.

Click HERE for a fact sheet on today’s decision.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties. Companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments, such as grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks, or production inputs, are subject to countervailing duties aimed at directly countering those subsidies.


CBP Officers Seize Counterfeit Products at International Falls Port of Entry -  Customs & Border Protection

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers working at the International Falls Port of Entry targeted multiple rail containers destined to arrive in Ranier, Minnesota. CBP officers inspected the rail containers and discovered merchandise in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations.

The containers held 50 amplifiers, 662 cartons of earbuds and cables, and 57 cartons of sandwich boards and touch lamina.  All three containers were found to contain counterfeit merchandise protected by copyright laws.  As a result, CBP seized those items in March. The counterfeit merchandise has an aggregate manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $715,868.

“CBP is focused on identifying and intercepting counterfeit merchandise and products. The enforcement of trade laws at U.S. ports of entry remains a high priority for us,” said Anthony Jackson, International Falls Port Director. “Counterfeiting adversely affects the ability of lawful copyright holders to profit from their original ideas. Counterfeiting also harms consumers because manufacturers of forged products have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products.”

Stopping the flow of illicit goods is a priority trade issue for CBP. The importation of counterfeit merchandise can damage the U.S. economy and threaten the health and safety of the American people. For more information on CBP’s IPR priority trade issue visit: CBP Trade and IPR.

With the growth of foreign trade, unscrupulous companies have profited billions of dollars from the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods. To combat the illicit trade of merchandise violating laws relating to IPR, trademark and copyright holders may register with CBP through an online system. Such registration assists CBP officers and import specialists in identifying merchandise that violate U.S. law.

CBP’s IPR enforcement strategy is multi-layered and includes seizing illegal merchandise at our borders, pushing the border “outward” through audits of suspect importers, cooperating with our international trading partners, and collaborating with industry and governmental agencies to enhance these efforts.


Marketer of Water Filtration Systems to Pay $110,000 Civil Penalty for Deceptive Made-in-USA Advertisements in Violation of 2017 Order - Federal Trade Commission

A Georgia-based distributor of water filtration systems has agreed to pay a $110,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated a 2017 Federal Trade Commission administrative order by making false claims that wholly imported Chinese water filtration systems were made in the United States.

As part of the settlement, the defendants have admitted that in March 2018, iSpring Water Systems, LLC, along with company owner and officer Zhuangyong Chen and company vice president Pearl Cai, began making false claims that the water filtration systems it sells are “designed and crafted in USA,” among other claims.

“People should be able to trust a company’s claim that its products are made in the United States,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This company is paying the price of abusing that trust and violating an FTC order.” 

The FTC’s 2017 complaint against iSpring alleged that the company deceived consumers with false, misleading, or unsupported claims that its water filtration systems and parts are “Built in USA,” “Built in USA Legendary brand of water filter,” and “Proudly Built in the USA.” In fact, according to the complaint, iSpring’s products either are wholly imported or are made using a significant amount of inputs from overseas.

In addition to the civil penalty, the proposed order contains an admission of liability and requires the defendants to notify affected consumers about the case.

The FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims provides further guidance on the Made in USA standard.

The Commission vote to refer the complaint to the Department of Justice and to approve the proposed stipulated order was 5-0. Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson issued a joint statement. The DOJ filed the documents on behalf of the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on April 10, 2019.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.


USITC:  Announcements

·        Commission Adequacy Determinations -- Raw Flexible Magnets from China and Germany [4/12/2019]

·        Commission Adequacy Determination -- Steel Nails from China [4/12/2019]

·        Commission Adequacy Determination -- Non-Malleable Cast Iron Pipe Fittings from China [4/12/2019]

·        Commission Adequacy Determinations -- Sodium Nitrite from China and Germany [4/12/2019]


FDA Statement from Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas on New Steps to Protect Consumers from the Unlawful Ingredients in Dietary Supplements - Food & Drug Administration

Taking a dietary supplement – like vitamins, minerals, or herbs – has become a daily routine for many Americans. The $40 billion a year supplement industry reaches 170 million Americans, offering between 50,000 and 80,000 different products that claim to help maintain or improve health. For many, dietary supplements are a key part of their efforts to make healthy choices. To be able to make those choices with respect to dietary supplements, consumers need to have access to safe, well-manufactured, and appropriately labeled products.

While many dietary supplements meet the FDA’s standards, there are some companies who knowingly distribute and sell dangerous or otherwise illegal products that put consumers at risk. As the agency entrusted with the oversight of dietary supplements, we will not stand by and allow these companies to compromise the health of the very people who are seeking out supplements to aid in their well-being.

Earlier this year, we announced new efforts to strengthen the regulation of dietary supplements by modernizing our regulatory framework to meet the demands of this growing industry. Today, as part of those efforts, we are announcing an important new step and a new action to better protect consumers from potentially unlawful dietary supplements.

 
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