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USTR Seeking Comments on the Extension of Certain Additional Expiring China 301 List 3 Exclusions - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) has issued a notice requesting comments on whether certain additional China 301 tariff exclusions, scheduled to expire on August 7, 2020, should be extended. It has previously solicited comments with respect to the exclusions described in the 11 List 3 product exclusion notices issued as of March 26, 2020 (details at: https://www.gdlsk.com/ustr-seeking-comments-on-the-extension-of-certain-expiring-china-301-list-3-exclusions/).

In its current notice, it is now soliciting comments on whether to extend, for a period of up to 12 months, certain exclusions granted under the final three China 301 List 3 product exclusion notices.  Links to each of the three product exclusion notices at issue can be found below:

Exclusions Granted April 24, 2020

Exclusions Granted May 8, 2020

Exclusions Granted May 21, 2020

The USTR will evaluate the potential extensions on a case-by-case basis. The focus will be on whether the particular product remains available only from China.  Factors to be considered include:

Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.

Any changes in the global supply chain with respect to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments.

The efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken to source the product from the United States or third countries.

Whether the imposition of additional duties on the products covered by the exclusion will result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests.

Any comments must be submitted in a specified format on the UTRS’s 301 web portal and address particular data points solicited by the portal.  A separate comment must be submitted for each exclusion.

The docket for the above actions will remain open from June 8, 2020, to July 7, 2020.

Should you have any questions or would like assistance in preparing comments in support of extensions for the above China 301 exclusions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


Federal Register Notices:

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of quartz surface products from India and Turkey that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.

Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative.

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from India and Turkey.

The Commission also made negative findings concerning critical circumstances with regard to imports of this product from India and Turkey.  As a result, imports of quartz surface products from India and Turkey will not be subject to retroactive countervailing duties.

The Commission’s public report Quartz Surface Products from India and Turkey (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-624-625 and 731-TA-1450-1451 (Final), USITC Publication 5061, June 2020) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigations.

The report will be available by July 1, 2020; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at: http://pubapps.usitc.gov/applications/publogs/qry_publication_loglist.asp.


USITC Votes to Continue Investigations Concerning Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates - United States International Trade Commission

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured  by reason of imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Turkey. 

Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative. 

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue with its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning imports of this product from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about July 10, 2020, and its antidumping duty determinations due on or about September 23, 2020. 

The Commission’s public report Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-646 and 731-TA-1502-1516 (Preliminary), USITC Publication 5062, June 2020) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigations.

The report will be available after June 29, 2020; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at:  https://www.usitc.gov/commission_publications_library.

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UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20436
FACTUAL HIGHLIGHTS
Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand (PC strand) from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia,South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates
Investigation Nos. 701-TA-646 and 731-TA-1502-1516 (Preliminary)

Product Description:  The merchandise covered by these investigations is prestressed concrete steel wire strand (PC strand), produced from wire of non-stainless, non-galvanized steel, which is suitable for use in prestressed concrete (both pre-tensioned and post-tensioned) applications. The product definition encompasses covered and uncovered strand and all types, grades, and diameters of PC strand. PC strand is normally sold in the United States in sizes ranging from 0.25 inches to 0.70 inches in diameter.

Status of Proceedings:

  1. Type of investigation:  Preliminary phase antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations.
  2. Petitioners:  Insteel Wire Products, Mount Airy, NC; Sumiden Wire Products Corporation, Dickson, TN; and Wire Mesh Corporation, Houston, TX.
  3. USITC Institution Date:  Thursday, April 16, 2020.
  4. USITC Conference Date:  Thursday, May 7, 2020.
  5. USITC Vote Date:  Friday, May 29, 2020.
  6. USITC Notification to Commerce Date:  Monday, June 1, 2020.

U.S. Industry in 2019:

  1. Number of U.S. producers:  5.
  2. Location of producers’ plants:  Arkansas, California, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
  3. Production and related workers:  378.
  4. U.S. producers’ U.S. shipments:  $321.4 million.
  5. Apparent U.S. consumption:  $450.3 million.
  6. Ratio of subject imports to apparent U.S. consumption:  25.3 percent.

U.S. Imports in 2019:

  1. Subject imports:  $114.1 million.
  2. Nonsubject imports:  $14.8 million.
  3. Leading import sources:  Malaysia, Spain, Turkey, Tunisia, and Italy.
    CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on Gold Imports from the Democratic Republic of the Congo - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection modified a withhold release order (WRO) today (5/28/20) such that gold imported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Chambers Federation will be admissible at all U.S. ports of entry effective May 28, 2020. CBP previously prevented these gold imports from entering the United States while evaluating whether the DRC mined them using forced labor.

CBP modified the WRO based on a rigorous evaluation of the Chambers Federation’s due diligence program and work with various government and non-governmental organizations. These actions produced evidence that sufficiently supports the Chambers Federation’s claim that the artisanal and small-scale mines in the DRC from which the Chambers Federation imports gold do not use forced labor.

“As part of its trade enforcement responsibilities, CBP will continue to vigilantly monitor U.S.-bound supply chains for products made with forced labor,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “CBP has actively communicated with the trade community so they are aware of the risks and consequences if forced labor is found at any point in their supply chains.”

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor.

CBP is committed to identifying and preventing products made by forced labor from entering the United States to maintain a level playing field for U.S. domestic industry. CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources including the public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.  


OTEXA: Announcements - OTEXA

05/23/2020 – Turkey Hikes Taxes on More Imports from the United States: Turkey announced that it has temporarily increased import taxes for a new set of products, including a 5-10 percent additional tax on many cotton and manmade fiber yarns and thread. According to the Official Gazette, the extra tax will be applied until the end of September, after which they will be replaced by a new set of additional taxes starting from October 1. See Decision 2565 published here. In April, Turkey announced that effective April 21 through September 30, additional taxes of 35-50 percent would be applied on imports of most footwear, 35 percent on most apparel and travel goods, 20-25 percent on many yarns and fabrics, and 25 percent on most carpets and home textiles. See Decision 2429 published at here.


USTR Initiates Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes - Department of Commerce

Washington, DC - The United States Trade Representative announced today that his office is beginning investigations into digital services taxes that have been adopted or are being considered by a number of our trading partners. The investigations will be conducted under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act. This provision gives the USTR broad authority to investigate and respond to a foreign country's action which may be unfair or discriminatory and negatively affect U.S. Commerce. A Federal Register notice is being issued today providing details of the investigations as well as information on how members of the public can provide their views through written submissions.

"President Trump is concerned that many of our trading partners are adopting tax schemes designed to unfairly target our companies," said USTR Robert Lighthizer. "We are prepared to take all appropriate action to defend our businesses and workers against any such discrimination."


70 Counterfeit Championship Rings Seized by CBP Officers - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Louisville intercepted 170 counterfeit championship rings arriving from China and destined for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

On May 20, CBP officers seized a shipment of counterfeit championship rings from depicting the unauthorized use of copyrighted professional sports teams’ logos from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. If the rings were real, the appraised total MSRP of the shipment was $43,450.

“CBP officers in Louisville are committed to protecting the American consumer, the economy, and the facilitation legitimate business,” Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer Brian Lick states, “when sports fans chose to spend their hard-earned money to show support for their favorite team they deserve to know they are receiving a genuine article.”

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement is a Priority Trade Issue. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of American people. In partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP seized 27,599 shipments with IPR violations in fiscal year 2019. If the seized products were genuine, the total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the items would have been valued at over $1.5 billion.

Over the past five years, e-commerce has grown exponentially as consumers are increasingly completing purchases online. These purchases are typically shipped through international mail and express courier services. In FY2019, over 90 percent of IPR seizures were found in express and international mail shipments.

If you have information concerning counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an anonymous report through e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.


CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on Imports of Tobacco from Malawi - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) modified a withhold release order (WRO) today such that tobacco imported from Malawi by Alliance One International, LLC will be admissible at all U.S. ports of entry effective June 3, 2020. CBP previously prevented these tobacco imports from entering the United States based on reasonable suspicion that they were produced using forced labor.

CBP modified the WRO based on a rigorous evaluation of Alliance One International’s social compliance program and efforts to identify and minimize the risks of forced labor from its supply chain. These actions produced evidence that sufficiently supports Alliance One International’s claim that the tobacco produced and harvested from their farms does not use forced labor. The WRO continues to apply to imports of tobacco from Malawi by any company that has not demonstrated to CBP that there is no forced labor in its supply chain.

“CBP recognizes the impact that withhold release orders have on importers and exporters, therefore we diligently work to carefully and thoroughly review petitions and admissibility requests,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “If companies demonstrate that there is no forced labor in their supply chain, we will modify the withhold release order to exclude them.”

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor.

CBP is committed to identifying and preventing products made by forced labor from entering the United States to maintain a level playing field for U.S. domestic industry. CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources including the public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
 
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