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US-EU Trade Update:  US and EU Agree to Reduce Tariffs on Certain Products and the EU Asks the US to Withdraw Tariffs in Connection with the Large Civil Aircraft Dispute - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

On August 21, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Joint Statement with the European Union Trade Commission to announce the first tariff reductions between the US and EU in over 20 years. The tariff reductions will be retroactive to August 1, 2020.  The US will reduce tariff rates by 50% on EU products including certain prepared meals, certain crystal glassware, surface preparations, propellant powders, cigarette lighters and lighter parts, with an average annual trade value of $160 million. In exchange, the EU will eliminate tariffs on imports of U.S. live and frozen lobster products, with a trade value of approximately $111 million in 2017.

Following this announcement, on August 25, 2020 the EU asked the USTR to withdraw the retaliatory Section 301 tariffs imposed in October 2019 on $7.5 billion in imports from the EU in connection with the Large Civil Aircraft dispute. The EU cited the current economic environment and the rescission of subsidies provided to Airbus, as well as Airbus’ amendment of interest rates and risk assessments in its investment contracts with France and Spain to satisfy WTO requirements. Nonetheless, on the same day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued CSMS Guidance with instructions regarding the changes to the list of products subject to the Section 301 tariffs that were announced on August 18, 2020 and are effective September 1, 2020.

Please contact our office with any questions or for additional information. We are available to discuss opportunities to obtain refunds on the EU products subject to the tariff cuts and mitigate the effects of the Sec. 301 tariffs.


OTEXA:  Announcements - ITA:  Office of Textile & Apparel

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a new investigation on COVID-19 related industry sectors and particular products. The investigation, COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges, was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on September 11, 2020. The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record no later than 5:15 p.m. on October 2, 2020.


In the News 

WASHINGTON – Consistent with the priority of the Trump Administration to address unfair currency practices, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided to the Commerce Department an assessment of currency undervaluation for a pending countervailing duty proceeding.  This assessment is available on the Commerce Department’s public record of the proceeding. 

As part of the Commerce Department’s review of countervailing duty claims based on allegations of currency undervaluation, Treasury provides its assessment as to the relevant currency’s valuation, using a framework that facilitates rigorous evaluation of currency valuation and the impact of specific government policies.


USITC to Investigate Industry and Supply Chain Conditions Affecting COVID-19 Industry Sectors and Products - U.S. International Trade Commission

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a new investigation on COVID-19 related industry sectors and particular products. The investigation, COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges, was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in a letter received on August 13, 2020.

As requested, the USITC, an independent nonpartisan factfinding federal agency, will provide the following:

  • a brief overview of key U.S. industry sectors producing COVID-related goods, including, but not limited to, medical devices; personal protective equipment; and medicines (pharmaceuticals). The overviews will include, to the extent practicable, information on U.S. production, employment, and trade.
     
  • case studies on key products within each relevant industry sector, including N95 respirators, ventilators, vaccines, and COVID-19 test kits. The case studies will focus on products for which there were reported shortages in the first half of 2020, including those affected by supply chain fragility, blockages, or barriers, and will include information on:
     
    • the U.S. industry, market, and trade, including, to the extent available:
    • the product, including key components and the production process;
    • the size and characteristics of the U.S. market;
    • the U.S. manufacturing industry, including key producers of finished goods and intermediate inputs, the extent of U.S. production, and employment; and
    • U.S. imports of finished goods and inputs, including leading source countries and supplying firms; and
       
  • supply chain challenges and constraints, including, but not limited to:
    • factors affecting domestic production, including, to the extent practicable, regulatory requirements that may impact entry into the market; and
    • foreign trade barriers and restrictions and other factors that may affect U.S. imports of finished goods or inputs needed for domestic production.

The USITC expects to deliver its report to the Committees by December 15, 2020.

The USITC is seeking input for the investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the USITC is requested to provide information and advice. The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on September 23, 2020. See below for important information regarding the format and location of the hearing.

Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on September 11, 2020, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. See below for important information regarding filing a request to appear at a USITC hearing.

The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission and should be submitted no later than 5:15 p.m. on October 2, 2020. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. See below for important information regarding the filing of written submissions for USITC investigations.

IMPORTANT:

  1. All filings, including requests to appear at the hearing and written submissions, must be made through the Commission’s Electronic Document Information System (EDIS, https://edis.usitc.gov). No in-person paper-based filings or paper copies of any electronic filings will be accepted until further notice. Persons with questions regarding electronic filing should contact the Office of the Secretary, Docket Services Division (EDIS3Help@usitc.gov), or consult with Commission’s Handbook on Filing Procedures.
  2. Information concerning the format of the hearing and certain other hearing details will be announced on the Commission’s website at
    (https://www.usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/what_we_are_working_on.htm). Scroll down to the entry for this investigation and click on the link to “hearing instructions.” Interested parties should check the USITC website periodically for updates.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC’s notice of investigation, dated August 21, 2020, which can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or commissionhearings@usitc.gov.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.


Over 1,000 Pounds of Marijuana Seized at Fort Street Cargo Facility Manifested as Steel Wire - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

DETROIT - On August 23, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Officers at the Fort Street Cargo Facility encountered a commercial truck operated by a Canadian citizen. The driver presented a manifest for steel wire destined to a distribution center in Chicago.  Upon examination of the truck, CBP officers discovered over 1,031 pounds of marijuana concealed in five wooden crates.

Upon entry, CBP officers became suspicious and referred the shipment for additional inspection. Officers opened the first of the five wooden crates and discovered it to be loaded with vacuum sealed packages each containing marijuana.

“The Port of Detroit is proud to have prevented the exploitation of our borders and the introduction of illicit drugs into our communities”, said Detroit Port Director Devin Chamberlain. “I am equally proud of our CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists who remain vigilant in their efforts to protect the American people every day.”

The Detroit Field Office, which covers all ports of entry throughout Michigan, continues to see an increase in narcotics seized at our ports of entry. Since March, CBP Field Operations has seized over 5,500 pounds of marijuana at ports of entry across the state. CBP encourages anyone with information about suspicious border activity to contact us at 1-800-BE-ALERT or (800) 232-5378.


62 Counterfeit Championship Rings Intercepted by CBP in Chicago - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CHICAGO – With sporting events returning to the main stage and football season right around the corner, criminals are appealing to their fan base sending shipments of counterfeit memorabilia hoping to cash at the expense of collectors and fans.

On August 2, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized a shiRingspment from Shanghai, China that contained 62 counterfeit championship rings. The shipment was destined for a store in Aurora.

The parcel was held for inspection related to the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. When the officers opened the package they found 62 counterfeit pro sports championship rings inside. The intercepted rings were sent to an import specialist for evaluation. The specialist noticed the rings appeared new, were of poor quality, had poor and improper packaging, a low declared value, were inaccurately declared/invoiced, co-mingled brands, and lacked or had improper security features. The specialist deemed them counterfeit. Had the rings been real, the MSRP would have been $93,600.

“Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the nation who may be duped into paying high prices for garbage,” said Shane Campbell, Port Director-Chicago. “I’m extremely proud of these officers determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”

The parcel contained fake Superbowl rings for the Washington Redskins (31), Denver Broncos (4), and St. Louis Rams (2). Other championship rings were for: the Chicago Cubs (4), Pittsburgh Pirates (3), Miami Marlins (2) Los Angeles Angels (2), Philadelphia Flyers (1), Golden State Warriors (2), Boston Celtics (3), Cleveland Cavaliers (2), and Chicago Bulls (2). Additionally, there were Kevin Garnett championship rings (3) and a Tim Duncan championship ring.  

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.

If you are aware of, or suspect, a company or individual of infringing upon a trademark or copyright, please report the suspected violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
 
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