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Generalized System of Preferences: Import Statistics Relating to Competitive Need Limitations

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative /

Generalized System of Preferences: Import Statistics Relating to Competitive Need Limitations

US – Panama TPA Implementing Instructions

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

The U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (“the Act,” Pub. L. No. 112-43, 125 Stat. 497) was signed into law on October 21, 2011. The Act allowed for the Agreement to take effect on or after January 1, 2012, with the actual implementation date to be determined by the President. Sections 201 and 203 of the Act authorize the President to proclaim the tariff modifications and provide the rules of origin for preferential tariff treatment with respect to goods provided for in the Agreement. The text of the Agreement is posted on the U.S. Trade Representative’s website at the following URL: ( Final Text )

The President issued Proclamation 8894 implementing the U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (PATPA) on October 29, 2012, for goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after October 31, 2012. The Proclamation incorporated, by reference, Publication 4349 of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC). Annex I of Publication 4349 amends the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) by adding a new General Note 35 (GN 35) containing specific information regarding the PATPA and a new Subchapter XXI to Chapter 99 to provide for temporary tariff rate quotas (TRQs) implemented by the PATPA. In addition, new provisions have been added to Subchapter XXII to Chapter 98. Annex II of Publication 4349 amends the HTSUS to p rovide for immediate and staged tariff reductions. It has been posted to the USITC website at the following URL: ( Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule )

The Agreement provides for the immediate or staged elimination of duties and barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services originating in the United States and/or Panama.

This memorandum provides guidance with respect to preferential tariff claims under the PATPA.

Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), is being amended to implement the Agreement and the Act.

Originating Good
An originating good is one that meets the general and/or product specific rules of origin set forth in GN 35 and all other requirements of the agreement.

Rules of Origin
Section 203 of the PATPA Implementation Act specifies the rules of origin used to determine if a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment or “originates” under the Agreement. The HTSUS has been amended to include GN 35, both the general and specific rules of origin, definitions, and other related provisions.

In general terms, under the PATPA a good is originating when:

a) The good is wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of the Parties (Panama, the United States or both);

b) The good is produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties and

(i) each of the non-originating materials used in the production of the good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification specified in GN 35(o); or
(ii) the good otherwise satisfies any applicable regional value content (RVC) requirements specified in GN 35(b); and
(iii) satisfies all other applicable requirements of this note and of applicable regulations; or

c) the good is produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties exclusively from originating materials.

Transit and Transshipment
Goods that undergo further production outside the territory of Panama or the United States, other than unloading, reloading or other processes to preserve the condition of the good or to transport the good to the territory of Panama or the United States, or goods that do not stay under customs control in the territory of a non-Party, will not be considered originating. [GN 35(c)(iii)]

Panamanian Free Zone Monitoring Program
Panama shall maintain its existing program of monitoring the importation, exportation, processing, and manipulation of goods in Panamanian free zones. If the U.S. has a reasonable suspicion that a good for which an importer in the U.S. has made a claim for preferential tariff treatment under another free trade agreement to which the U.S. is a party has undergone further processing or operations in a Panamanian free zone, other than unloading, reloading, or any other operation necessary to preserve the good in good condition or transport it to the territory of the U.S., then the U.S. may request in writing that Panama: make available all records identified in the written request that relate to whether the good or an identical good, as defined in Article 4.23 (Definitions), was imported into, exported from, or processed or manipulated in a free zone; or conduct a visit to a free zone to verify whether such a good was imported into, exported from, or processed or manipulated in the free zone. (Agreement Article 5.11)

Regional Value Content (RVC) Calculation Methods
For most goods that are subject to an RVC requirement, the Agreement provides for two calculation methods: (1) the build-up method based on the value of originating materials; and (2) the build-down method, based on the value of non-originating materials. [GN 35(g)] For certain automotive goods, the net cost method, based on the production costs, may be used. [GN 35(h)]

De Minimis
The PATPA has a 10 percent de minimis provision for most goods [GN 35(e)], with separate provisions for textiles in GN 35(d)(ii) and non-textiles in GN 35(e)(ii). Under the non-textile de minimis rule, a good containing a non-originating material that does not undergo the tariff classification change specified in GN 35(o) may still originate if the value of all such non-originating materials does not exceed 10 percent of the adjusted value of the good. When performing an RVC computation, the value of de minimis materials is included in the total value of the non-originating materials.

Interpretation of Rules of Origin
General Note 35(n), Interpretation of Rules of Origin, addresses the following:

1. References to weights for goods of chapters 1 – 24 are dry weights.

2. Any change in tariff classification requirement applies only to non-originating materials.

3. Agricultural goods of chapters 6-14 grown with a party shall be treated as originating even if grown from seed, bulb, rootstock, cuttings, grafts, shoots, buds or other live parts of plants imported from a non-party.

4. Goods of chapters 27 – 40 can originate by undergoing a “chemical reaction” within a territory of a Party, with exceptions.

5. Goods of chapters 28 – 40 can originate by undergoing certain purification operations within a territory of a Party, with exceptions.

6. Goods of chapters 30, 31 or 33 through 40 can originate by undergoing certain blending or dispersing operations within a territory of a Party, with exceptions.

7. Goods of chapters 28 – 38 can originate if they become “standards materials” within a territory of a Party.

8. Goods of chapters 28 – 39 can originate if they are the result of the isolation or separation of isomers from mixtures within a territory of a Party.

9. Goods of chapters 28 – 38 that undergo a classification change as a result of the separation of a material from a man-made mixture shall not originate unless the isolated material underwent a chemical reaction within a territory of a Party.

PATPA Eligibility for Textiles and Apparel
Textiles and apparel products may qualify as originating under PATPA if they meet the requirements as specified in the Agreement. The duty rates for these goods will be identified in the “special” column.

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Make Sure All Your Friends and Neighbors Contact FEMA for Assistance

Federal Emergency Management Agency /

WINDSOR, Conn. – FEMA grants are helping thousands of Connecticut families recover from Hurricane Sandy, but you might have neighbors, friends or family members who have not registered for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Common misconceptions about registration may have discouraged them from registering.

 “The important thing to tell all your friends and neighbors throughout the community is to register,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albert Lewis. “That one step may unlock grants, low-interest loans, disaster unemployment assistance, and other state or federal aid. And registering is as easy as using a computer or smartphone, or calling a phone number, whether accessing us through an 800 numb er, through TTY, or our accessible website.”

Your neighbors might say they have not registered with FEMA because they have insurance.

Explain they may be eligible for help with uninsured or underinsured losses, and sometimes damage is found insurance won’t cover but federal disaster assistance may.  But your neighbor must register with FEMA to get the help.

If your friend is still waiting for a visit from an insurance adjuster or for an insurance settlement, tell them to go ahead and register with FEMA before the registration deadline because the settlement might come after the deadline has passed.

Friends or neighbors should go ahead with necessary repairs to make their house livable and be sure to keep papers and receipts for all work.

Some friends, neighbors or family members believe they make too much money to apply for assistance.

Most federal and state disaster assistance programs are available to individuals of all income levels. The types of help provided depend on each applicant's unique circumstances and unmet needs. The aid is to help individuals and communities come back as quickly as possible from a disaster.

Sometimes folks think they do not have enough damage to their homes to apply for assistance.

The damage caused by storms and the costs associated with repairs or rebuilding may not be apparent for some time. By registering with FEMA now, you may be eligible for assistance if you find damage later.

Assure friends, neighbors or family members that FEMA disaster assistance will not interfere with federal assistance they are already receiving.

Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, medical waiver programs, welfare assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other state programs), food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security Disability Insurance.

People with storm losses should register with FEMA online at, with a smartphone or device at Applicants can also register by phone by calling FEMA at: 800-621-3362. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585.< /span>

Survivors who have questions about their registration may call the FEMA helpline at the numbers listed above or go to a Disaster Recovery Center for assistance.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

CBP Leads National Operation Targeting Illicit Pharmaceuticals

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Washington — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), through its Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) is leading the Strategic Threats Operation, a national operation to target, interdict and investigate the importation of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise illegal pharmaceuticals that pose health and safety risks to American consumers.

“CBP is on the forefront in the battle against these illegal imports,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “The creation of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise allows us to utilize the knowledge of our specialists to target, identify, and interdict counterfeit imports, while assisting in the facilitation of legitimate shipments.”

Because the importation of substandard, tainted or counterfeit pharmaceutical products violates U.S. laws and regulations and threatens both public safety and the economic well-being of the United States, the Strategic Threats Operation mandates the direction of enforcement efforts against counterfeit and substandard goods.

CBP’s Pharmaceutical, Health and Chemical Center of Excellence and Expertise in New York City has coordinated seizures in several cities for the operation. CEEs bring all of CBP's trade expertise to bear on a single industry in a strategic location. They are staffed with numerous trade positions using account management principles that are able to authoritatively facilitate trade issues. The CEEs also serve as resources to the broader trade community and to CBP’s U.S. government partners.


  • In Los Angeles, CBP coordinated with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents to locate and seize 4,920 suspected counterfeit Viagra tablets; 2,821 suspected counterfeit Cialis tablets; 1,171 suspected counterfeit Levitra tablets; 88 counterfeit Viagra labels for pill bottles; various counterfeit packaging materials relating to Viagra, Cialis and Levitra; various computers and smartp hones and $41,080 in U.S. currency. The suspected counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized have an approximate Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $222,800.
  • In another major seizure in Chicago, CBP handed over packages of Cialis to HSI for a controlled delivery. During the course of the investigation other assorted counterfeit medications including injectable steroids, counterfeit Cialis, counterfeit Viagra, hundreds of syringes, numerous unknown prescription medications, and a small amount of U.S. currency were seized. The subject in that ca se will be charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts.
  • The Centers of Excellence and Expertise are coordinated from strategic industry locations, but are national programs manned by CBP personnel across the country. The Centers represent CBP’s expanded focus on “Trade in the 21st Century,” transforming customs procedures to align with modern business. By having the Centers focus on industry-specific issues, CBP is able to provide tailor ed support to unique trading environments.

White House Signed Legislation:  FDA User Fee Corrections Act of 2012

The White House / www.whitehouse,gov

FDA User Fee Corrections Act of 2012

Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Taiwan Injure U.S. Industry, Says USITC

U.S. International Trade Commission /

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of steel wire garment hangers from Taiwan that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value.

All six Commissioners voted in the affirmative.

As a result of the USITC's affirmative determination, Commerce will issue an antidumping duty order on imports of this product from Taiwan.

The Commission's public report Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Taiwan (Investigation No. 731-TA-1197 (Final), USITC Publication 4363, November 2012) will contain the views of the Commissioners and information developed during the investigation.

Copies may be obtained after December 21, 2012, by emailing.


 Office of Industries
 Washington, DC 20436


Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Taiwan
 Investigation No. 731-TA-1197 (Final)

Product Description: Steel wire garment hangers are garment hangers fabricated from carbon steel wire, whether or not galvanized or painted, whether or not coated with latex or epoxy or similar gripping materials, and/or whether or not fashioned with paper covers or capes (with or without printing) and/or nonslip features such as saddles or tubes. Steel wire garment hangers in this instance specifically exclude wooden, plastic, and other garment hangers that are not made of steel wire; steel wire garment hangers with swivel hooks; steel wire garment hangers with clips permanently affixed; and chrome-plated steel wire garment hangers with a diameter of 3.4mm or greater. Steel wire garment hangers are principally used by the drycleaning, industrial laundry and uniform rental industries for draping clothes and t extiles.

Status of Proceedings:
1. Type of investigation: Final antidumping.
2. Petitioners:  M&B Metal Products Company, Inc., Leeds, AL; Innovative Fabrication LLC /
       Indy Hanger, Indianapolis, IN; and US Hanger Company, LLC, Gardena, CA.
3. Investigation instituted by USITC:  December 29, 2011.
4. USITC hearing: October 24, 2012.
5. USITC vote: November 15, 2012.
6. USITC notification of Department of Commerce: November 29, 2012.

U.S. Industry:
1. Number of U.S. producers in 2011:  6.
2. Location of producers' plants:  Alabama, California, Indiana, Nebraska, Puerto Rico, and
3. Employment of production and related workers in 2011: (1)       
4. U.S. producers' U.S. shipments in 2011:  (1)
5. Apparent U.S. consumption in 2011:  (1)
6. Ratio of subject imports to apparent U.S. consumption in 2011: (1)

U.S. Imports in 2011:
1. From the subject countries during 2011:  $38.7 million.
2. From other countries during 2011:  $43.5 million.
3. Leading sources during 2011: Vietnam, Mexico, and China (in terms of total value).

CBP Officers Seize Drugs Found in Cucumber Cargo

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Nogales, Ariz. — More than 1,800 pounds of marijuana, worth nearly $777,000, was discovered Saturday morning hidden in a shipment of cucumbers.

Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Mariposa Cargo Facility referred a 26-year-old male Mexican national for an inspection of his tractor-trailer when he attempted to enter the United States. During an X-ray of the tractor trailer, officers noticed an anomaly in the shipment of cucumbers, which led to the discovery of 224 bundles of marijuana co-mingled with the produce. The drugs and tractor-trailer were processed for seizure. The driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homelan d Security Investigations.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Customs and Border Protection tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

Counterfeit Designer Accessories Seized by CBP

U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officers and Import Specialists Seized Counterfeit Bags, Belts & Wallets

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Port of Newark/New York – When you buy that designer handbag you want to be confident that it is the actual designer handbag. This is one of the reasons why U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeks to prevent the entry of counterfeit merchandise into the United States.

On October 11th, CBP officers at the Port of New York/New Jersey selected for inspection a shipment of imported merchandise declared on entry documents as “plastics.”

Upon examination, CBP officers and import specialists determined that the imported merchandise was actually 537 cartons of handbags, belts, and wallets bearing counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Michael Kors trademarks in violation of 19 U.S.C. §1526.

“These interceptions are indicative of the exceptional skill level and superior commodity expertise of our CBP officers and import specialists at the Port of New York/New Jersey,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York. Preventing the entry of counterfeit items is crucial to protecting consumers as well as the economy of the United States.”

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the bags, belts, and wallets, if genuine, was estimated to be more than $20,000,000.00.    

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