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New Section 301 Duties Proposed for Certain French Products - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has determined that the Digital Services Tax that will be imposed by France is unreasonable or discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.  As a result, the Section 301 committee will hold hearings to determine which products from France may be subject to additional duties of up to 100% of the dutiable value to compensate for this action by France.  The 63 tariff subheadings that have been identified as candidates for this assessment cover a variety of products that include yogurt, butter, various chesses, sparkling wine, cosmetics, handbags, and tableware.  A full list of the products and the HTSUS codes that have been selected for potential retaliation is available from our office.

The following schedule applies:

December 30, 2019: Due date for request to appear at the public hearing and summary of testimony

January 6, 2020: Due date for written comments

January 7, 2020: Public hearings will be commenced

January 14, 2020: Due date for post hearing rebuttal comments

Please contact our office if you should have any questions with respect to this matter. 

OTEXA:  Announcements

12/05/2019 – October 2019 Textile and Apparel Import Report


U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping of Imports of Carbon and Alloy Steel Threaded Rod from Taiwan - U.S. Department of Commerce

Today (12/4/19), the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an affirmative final determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of carbon and alloy steel threaded rod from Taiwan, finding that exporters from this country have dumped carbon and alloy steel threaded rod in the United States at a margin of 32.26 percent.

As a result of today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable final weighted-average dumping rate.

In 2018, imports of carbon and alloy steel threaded rod from Taiwan were valued at an estimated $156 million.

The petitioner is Vulcan Threaded Products, Inc. (Pelham, AL).

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 187 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 188 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 500 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently scheduled to make its final injury determination on or about January 17, 2019. If the ITC reaches an affirmative final injury determination, Commerce will issue an AD order. If the ITC reaches 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 rules 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.


Federal Register Notices:

CBP Officers Seize Children’s Toys Found to Contain Lead - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 190 toy finger puppets after it was determined that they contained excessive amounts of lead.  
Yesterday, CBP officers at the Port of Champlain seized 190 toy finger puppets after coordination with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Officers had targeted the shipment of toys that originated in Ottawa, Ontario and was destined to a distribution center for future consumer purchasing. After examining the products, the shipment was detained and a sample was sent to the CPSC for further lead contamination tests. Subsequently, the shipment was seized and sent for destruction due to the lead-positive lab results within the finger puppets.       
“Our CBP officers are our first line of defense and this seizure of lead contaminated toys proves their commitment to ensure the safety of American consumers,” stated Area Port Director Steve Bronson. “We have a great partnership with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and together we were able to keep these contaminated toys out of the hands of our children.” 

CBP and Privacy Groups Discuss Biometric Entry-Exit Mandate - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Agency reaffirms commitment to protecting traveler privacy

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection met yesterday with leading privacy experts to discuss CBP’s implementation of the Congressional biometric entry-exit mandate.

The meeting was the third in an ongoing series of discussions about measures that CBP is taking to protect traveler privacy during the biometric facial comparison process at U.S. ports of entry.

“CBP is committed to keeping the public informed about our use of facial comparison technology,” said John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Field Operations. “We are implementing a biometric entry-exit system that protects the privacy of all travelers while making travel more secure and convenient.”

CBP’s discussions with Congress, privacy groups and industry stakeholders have already yielded important results for the biometric facial comparison process. Among other measures, CBP has:

  • Reduced the maximum retention period for new photos of U.S. citizens from 14 days to 12 hours;
  • Established stringent business requirements that ensure that airlines and other partners do not retain traveler photos for their own business purposes;
  • Worked with business partners to provide travelers with sufficient privacy notice by enhancing signage and announcements at departure gates; and
  • Published 10 Privacy Impact Assessments to inform the public of how the agency will collect, use and store personally identifiable information as part of the new biometric process.

CBP is using biometric facial comparison technology to facilitate the entry and exit of international travelers while meeting the Congressional mandate to implement a biometric entry-exit system. By incorporating the technology into the existing travel process, CBP is able to enhance security, facilitate lawful travel and protect traveler privacy.

U.S. citizens may opt out of the biometric facial comparison process by notifying a CBP officer or airline representative. Individuals who opt out simply present their passport for visual inspection, as is standard practice at ports of entry today. 

To date, CBP and its partners have introduced biometric facial comparison technology at more than 20 U.S. air, sea and land ports of entry. The technology has enabled CBP to interdict more than 200 individuals who illegally attempted to enter the United States by using the genuine travel documents of persons whom they resemble. 

CBP is required by law to implement a system to biometrically record foreign nationals’ entry to and departure from the United States. The 9/11 Commission determined that implementing such a system is “an essential investment in our national security.” 



Russian National Charged with Decade-Long Series of Hacking and Bank Fraud Offenses Resulting in Tens of Millions in Losses and Second Russian National Charged with Involvement in Deployment of “Bugat” Malware - U.S. Department of Justice

Reward of up to $5 Million Offered for Information Leading to Arrest or Conviction

The United States of America, through its Departments of Justice and State, and the United Kingdom, through its National Crime Agency (NCA), today announced the unsealing of criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Lincoln, Nebraska, against Maksim V. Yakubets, aka online moniker, “aqua,” 32, of Moscow, Russia, related to two separate international computer hacking and bank fraud schemes spanning from May 2009 to the present.  A second individual, Igor Turashev, 38, from Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, was also indicted in Pittsburgh for his role related to the “Bugat” malware conspiracy. The State Department, in partnership with the FBI, announced today a reward of up to $5 million under the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Yakubets.  This represents the largest such reward offer for a cyber criminal to date.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Kelly for the District of Nebraska, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary James A. Walsh of the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and Director Rob Jones of the Cyber Crime Unit  at the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) made the announcement.

“Maksim Yakubets allegedly has engaged in a decade-long cybercrime spree that deployed two of the most damaging pieces of financial malware ever used and resulted in tens of millions of dollars of losses to victims worldwide,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “These two cases demonstrate our commitment to unmasking the perpetrators behind the world’s most egregious cyberattacks.  The assistance of our international partners, in particular the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom, was crucial to our efforts to identify Yakubets and his co-conspirators.”

“For over a decade, Maksim Yakubets and Igor Turashev led one of the most sophisticated transnational cybercrime syndicates in the world,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. “Deploying ‘Bugat’ malware, also known as ‘Cridex’ and ‘Dridex,’ these cybercriminals targeted individuals and companies in western Pennsylvania and across the globe in one of the most widespread malware campaigns we have ever encountered.  International cybercriminals who target Pennsylvania citizens and companies are no different than any other criminal: they will be investigated, prosecuted and held accountable for their actions.” 

“The Zeus scheme was one of the most outrageous cybercrimes in history,” said U.S. Attorney Kelly.  “Our identification of Yakubets as the actor who used the moniker ‘aqua’ in that scheme, as alleged in the complaint unsealed today, is a prime example of how we will pursue cyber criminals to the ends of justice no matter how long it takes, by tracking their activity both online and off and working with our international partners to expose their crimes.”

“Today’s announcement involved a long running investigation of a sophisticated organized cybercrime syndicate,” said FBI Deputy Director Bowdich. “The charges highlight the persistence of the FBI and our partners to vigorously pursue those who desire to profit from innocent people through deception and theft. By calling out those who threaten American businesses and citizens, we expose criminals who hide behind devices and launch attacks that threaten our public safety and economic stability. The actions highlighted today, which represent a continuing trend of cyber-criminal activity emanating from Russian actors, were particularly damaging as they targeted U.S. entities across all sectors and walks of life. The FBI, with the assistance of private industry and our international and U.S. government partners, is sending a strong message that we will work together to investigate and hold all criminals accountable. Our memory is long and we will hold them accountable under the law, no matter where they attempt to hide.”

“Combatting cybercrime remains a top national security priority for to the United States,” said INL Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Walsh. “The announcements today represent a coordinated interagency effort to bring Maksim Yakubets to justice and to address cybercrime globally.”

“This is a landmark for the NCA, FBI and U.S. authorities and a day of reckoning for those who commit cybercrime,” said NCA Director Jones. “Following years of online pursuit, I am pleased to see the real world identity of Yakubets and his associate Turashev revealed.  Yakubets and his associates have allegedly been responsible for losses and attempted losses totalling hundreds of millions of dollars. This is not a victimless crime, those losses were once people’s life savings, now emptied from their bank accounts.  Today the process of bringing Yakubets and his criminal associates to justice begins.  This is not the end of our investigation, and we will continue to work closely with international partners to present a united front against criminality that threatens our prosperity and security.”

Read entire article here
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