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Possible Additional Retaliatory Tariffs on Products from the European Union in Connection with the U.S. Enforcement of WTO Rights in Large Civil Aircraft Dispute - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) is considering a modification to the list of products from the European Union (“EU”) and United Kingdom (“UK”) subject to Section 301 tariffs and an increase of the additional duties up to 100%. The tariffs were initially imposed on October 18, 2019 in response to a World Trade Organization (“WTO”) ruling that the U.S. may levy up to $7.5 billion annually in countermeasures for EU subsidies provided to aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Currently, additional 25% Section 301 tariffs apply to a wide assortment of goods including: apparel, tools, wines, liquors, foodstuffs, etc. and 15% on new aircraft from certain EU countries and the UK.

In connection with its review, the USTR is currently accepting comments regarding the inclusion of products in the three Annex categories below until July 26, 2020. The comments must address whether additional duties would be appropriate to enforce U.S. WTO rights or cause disproportional economic harm to U.S. interests. The Annex categories are organized by product description and applicable country, thus the product lists included in the Federal Register Notice must be carefully reviewed to determine which products and countries may be subject to the additional duties.

·                  Annex 1: Products currently subject to additional duties.

·                  Annex 2: Products previously under consideration but not currently subject to additional duties.

·                  Annex 3: A new list of products considered for additional duties.

We are available to discuss options to respond to and mitigate the effects of these developments, including submission of comments to the USTR, classification reviews, valuation strategies, etc.

Should you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Angela M. Santos or our office.

Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties on Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe from the Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and UkraineGrunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

I.  Type of Action: Antidumping Duty (“AD”): Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and Ukraine; Countervailing Duty (“CVD”): Russia, the Republic of Korea

II.  Product:  The merchandise covered by the scope of these investigations is seamless carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipes and redraw hollows, less than or equal to 16 inches (406.4 mm) in outside diameter, regardless of wall-thickness, manufacturing process (e.g., hotfinished or cold-drawn), end finish (e.g., plain end, beveled end, upset end, threaded, or threaded and coupled), or surface finish (e.g., bare, lacquered or coated).  Redraw hollows are any unfinished carbon or alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe or “hollow profiles” suitable for cold finishing operations, such as cold drawing, to meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) or American Petroleum Institute (“API”) specifications referenced below, or comparable specifications.  Specifically included within the scope are seamless carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) standard, line, and pressure pipes produced to the ASTM A-53, ASTM A-106, ASTM A-333, ASTM A-334, ASTM A-589, ASTM A-795, ASTM A- 1024, and the API 5L specifications, or comparable specifications, and meeting the physical parameters described above, regardless of application, with the exception of the exclusions discussed below.

Specifically excluded from the scope of the investigations are: (1) all pipes meeting aerospace, hydraulic, and bearing tubing specifications; (2) all pipes meeting the chemical requirements of ASTM A-335, whether finished or unfinished; and (3) unattached couplings.  Also excluded from the scope of the investigation are all mechanical, boiler, condenser and heat exchange tubing, except when such products conform to the dimensional requirements, i.e., outside diameter and wall thickness, of ASTM A-53, ASTM A-106 or API 5L specifications.

III.  HTS classifications:

Subject seamless standard, line, and pressure pipe are normally entered under HTSUS 7304.19.1020, 7304.19.1030, 7304.19.1045, 7304.19.1060, 7304.19.5020, 7304.19.5050, 7304.31.6050, 7304.39.0016, 7304.39.0020, 7304.39.0024, 7304.39.0028, 7304.39.0032, 7304.39.0036, 7304.39.0040, 7304.39.0044, 7304.39.0048, 7304.39.0052, 7304.39.0056, 7304.39.0062, 7304.39.0068, 7304.39.0072, 7304.51.5005, 7304.51.5060, 7304.59.6000, 7304.59.8010, 7304.59.8015, 7304.59.8020, 7304.59.8025, 7304.59.8030, 7304.59.8035, 7304.59.8040, 7304.59.8045, 7304.59.8050, 7304.59.8055, 7304.59.8060, 7304.59.8065, 7304.59.8070.

IV.  Date of Filing: July 8, 2020

V.  Petitioners: Vallourec Star, LP

VI.  Foreign Producers/Exporters: Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VII.  US Importers named: Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VIII.  Alleged Dumping Margins (No CVD Margins Listed): Czech Republic: 48.18% to 49.42%

Korea: 119.07% to 132.16%
Russia: 30.31% to 246.31%
Ukraine: 40.28% to 40.44%

IX.  Comments:

A. Projected date of ITC Preliminary Conference: July 29, 2020.

B. The earliest theoretical date for retroactive suspension of liquidation for the AD is September 16, 2020; CVD is July 28, 2020.  Please contact our office for a complete projected schedule for the AD/CVD investigations.

C.  Volume and Value of Imports: Please contact our office for a summary of the data filed with the petition.

D.  List of Alleged Subsidy Programs: Please contact our office for a list of alleged subsidy programs.

If you have questions regarding how this investigation may impact future imports of scope merchandise or whether a particular product is within the scope of the investigation, please contact one of our attorneys.

TMF at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Increase 4.2% on August 1 - PierPass

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 30, 2020 —The West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) today announced that on August 1, 2020, the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will increase by 4.2 percent. The adjustment matches the combined 4.2 percent increase in longshore wage and assessment rates that take effect in early July.

Beginning August 1, the TMF will be $33.47 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or $66.94 for all other sizes of container. The TMF is charged on non-exempt containers. Containers exempt from the TMF include empty containers; import cargo or export cargo that transits the Alameda Corridor in a container and is subject to a fee imposed by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority; and transshipment cargo. Empty chassis and bobtail trucks are also exempt.

The OffPeak program provides regularly scheduled night or Saturday shifts to handle trucks delivering and picking up containers at the 12 container terminals in the two adjacent ports. PierPass launched the OffPeak program in 2005 to reduce severe cargo-related congestion and air pollution on local streets and highways around the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Nearly half of all port truck trips now take place during the off-peak shifts. The container terminal operators mitigate truck traffic at their gates with appointment systems that spread truck trips out over the hours of operation.

The TMF helps offset the cost of operating extended gate hours. Labor costs are the largest single component of extended gate costs.

Read further

Federal Register Notices:

LOUISVILLE, Ky — Counterfeit products continue to arrive at the Express Consignment Operations mailing facility in Louisville, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are ready to seize them. On June 30, officers in Louisville intercepted two packages that contained 648 counterfeit belts.

A shipper in Hong Kong sent two packages to a residence in New York. When the packages arrived, CBP officers noticed the shipment was coming from a known counterfeit shipper. When officers opened the first shipment, six boxes were inside containing a total of 432 Gucci belts. The second package from Hong Kong contained 72 more Gucci belts and 144 Salvatore Ferragamo belts. If these belts were real, the total MSRP for these belts would have been $350,496.

“Consumers need to ensure the items they purchase are legitimate products,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville. “When consumers purchase these items they are funding criminal activites. Our CBP officers continue to seize items that infringe on U.S. intellectual property laws, protecting bussinesses, jobs and consumers.”

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2019.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in FY 2018. However, the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.

E- Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In FY 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments.

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.

Commissioner Sola Reports on Meeting with ILWU Leadership in Fact Finding 30 to Discuss Impacts of COVID-19 on Longshore Workforce - Federal Maritime Commission

July 2, 2020 - Earlier this week I had an excellent discussion with the senior leadership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) concerning the impact of the current pandemic on the financial wellbeing of their members.

International President William Adams, Vice-President Robert “Bobby” Olvera, Jr., and Committeemen Frank Ponce de Leon and Cameron Williams all participated, and we spoke on a variety of topics.

One theme that resonated throughout our conversation was the significantly negative impact this current pandemic has had on the financial welfare of ILWU members and the ports at which they ply their trades. Our discussion concluded with these leaders requesting that I travel to the ports in Alaska and Washington state to meet with their members and assess the situation firsthand. I assured them that I would make it a top priority to do so.

As my Fact Finding 30 investigation continues to study the effect of the standing “No Sail Order” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is often easy to focus on the fiscal wellbeing of the cruise lines and the desire of the sailing public to be made whole when embarkations are cancelled. What we must not forget are the thousands of American laborers whose livelihood is directly related to the maritime industry; labor that is not only directly employed by the lines, but the many stevedores, tenders, and other port workers who are essential to the cruise ships’ ability to operate. In many ports, it is the cruise industry that comprises the bulk of the business and their failure to sail has a direct bearing on the income and benefits of folks who call those harbor communities home. While this is especially true with many of the small ports in the Pacific Northwest, there are similarly situated ports in my home state of Florida as well as other coastal states. The men and women who perform these sometimes difficult and thankless jobs are our friends and neighbors and our brothers and sisters, and we should never lose sight of the current difficulties they face or the contributions they make to our continued prosperity.

I have always been impressed with the people who make our sea ports run, and I will do what I can to draw attention to the difficulties this pandemic has wrought and, where possible, offer solutions to not only provide short-term relief during this current crisis but to also prepare us for the next challenge.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services: Special Announcements - USFWS

Rewards Program:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to pay rewards for information or assistance that leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of seized property. Payment of rewards is the discretion of the Service and is linked to specific federal wildlife laws. The amount of any reward we may pay is commensurate with the information or assistance received. Please discuss the possibility of receiving a reward with the Service personnel receiving your information or assistance.
To Report a Wildlife Crime:
Call: 1- 844-397-8477

SEC Charges Alexion Pharmaceuticals With FCPA Violations - Securities & Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Boston-based pharmaceutical company Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay more than $21 million to resolve charges that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the SEC’s order, two Alexion subsidiaries made payments to foreign government officials to secure favorable treatment for Alexion’s primary drug, Soliris. The order finds that, from 2010 to 2015, Alexion Turkey paid Turkish government officials to improperly influence them to approve patient prescriptions and provide other favorable regulatory treatment for Soliris. The order similarly finds that from 2011 to 2015, Alexion Russia made improper payments to Russian government health care officials to favorably influence the regulatory treatment of and the budget allocated to Soliris as well as to increase the number of approved Soliris prescriptions. Alexion Russia and Alexion Turkey maintained false books and records of these improper payments, which Alexion’s internal accounting controls were not sufficient to detect or prevent. Further, the order finds that Alexion’s subsidiaries in Brazil and Colombia failed to maintain accurate books and records, including by creating or directing third parties to create inaccurate financial records concerning payments to patient advocacy organizations. 

“Alexion’s internal accounting controls failed to detect and prevent payments to foreign government officials by its subsidiaries,” said Melissa Hodgman, an Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Companies in frequent contact with foreign officials need to ensure that their internal controls appropriately address such risks.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Alexion agreed to cease and desist from committing violations of the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the FCPA and pay $14,210,194 in disgorgement, $3,766,337 in prejudgment interest, and a $3.5 million penalty.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Christina McGill and Brittany Hamelers. The investigation was supervised by Timothy England and Melissa Hodgman.

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