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18

C-TPAT Conference Draws Record Numbers

At 11 Years, Still Going Strong

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/highlights/ctpat_record_numbers.xml< /span>

 It was a sight to behold. More than 1,200 members of the trade community gathered in National Harbor, Md., this week for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, C-TPAT, conference on Jan. 8-10. The event, “Unified Global Security: The Challenge Ahead,” hosted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, drew participants representing all aspects of the supply chain including manufacturers, importers, transportation carriers, retailers, brokers and freight forwarders.

“I’ve been in government now going on 38 years and I’ve been through a lot of programs in my career. If a program lasts more than a year or two, it’s pretty successful. But to have a program that started in November 2001 that is still going strong and has the energy level to attract 1,200 people at a conference, you know you have a winner,” said Thomas Winkowski, CBP’s acting chief operating officer, who welcomed a packed audience Wednesday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. “But with winners,” said Winkowski, “you have challenges--what are the next steps? How do we make it better? How do we become more creative?  How do we take the principles of C-TPAT and continue to apply them globally?” 

C-TPAT, a voluntary trusted trader program that has been emulated worldwide, was launched shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the days following the tragedy, security at the U.S. borders was so tight, the economic repercussions were devastating. As a result, CBP’s legacy agency, the U.S. Customs Service, began meeting with some of the major U.S. importers to find a way to maintain a high level of security while facilitating the flow of goods across America’s borders. It became apparent that the only way to do this was by engaging U.S. businesses to look at security within their individual supply chains and ensure that appropriate security measures to guard against terrorists were being used. A joint effort with seven original charter member companies was formed.

Today, the program has nearly 10,500 members. “More than 55 percent of the goods entering the United States are C-TPAT certified and validated imports,” said Winkowski. “That’s a big accomplishment, but we have to continue to drive that number up to our goal of 100 percent.”

The conference agenda included speakers from CBP’s senior leadership. Acting Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations Kevin McAleenan discussed the future of the C-TPAT program from an operational perspective. “Our shared and continuing challenge is brought about by some good news and some difficult news that we’re seeing in Washington,” said McAleenan. “On the good news front, the international trade volume continues to grow. We’re seeing a very robust recovery in terms of cross-border international trade for imports and exports. While we’re still finalizing our fiscal year 2012 stats, I can tell you that we’re going to be at a record for maritime container traffic—over 12 million containers for the first time. We’re g oing to be at a record for rail—right at the 3 million mark. We’re re-approaching our record in the truck environment—close to 11 million in truck containers crossing the border. And in the air environment, we’re exceeding previous records in reaching close to 100 million total air cargo shipments.”

McAleenan noted that further growth was predicted for fiscal year 2013. “From our perspective, we see that growth occurring and we need to continue to secure and facilitate it,” he said. “We know that we have a critical role at the ports of entry to make sure that nothing dangerous comes in. But at the same time, we don’t want to slow anything down because we cannot be a choke point to prevent further growth in that recovery.”

However, McAleenan explained, “we still have some milestones to reach. We know pretty clearly that our resources are going to be constrained into the future,” he said. “To me, that really highlights the importance of a program like this. It’s critical to our security, critical to the flow of trade, and critical to meeting these challenges of increased traffic and constrained resources.”

One of the underlying goals of the conference was to update the trade community on the program’s newest developments. “We haven’t had a conference in about a year, “said Dan Baldwin, CBP’s executive director of cargo and conveyance security who oversaw the team that organized the event. “We need to get the private sector up to speed as to where we are and introduce the agency’s new concepts.”

Baldwin explained that the conference title, “Unified Global Security,” highlights the central theme of these concepts. “We’re trying to be much more holistic in our approach for supply chain security. It’s about unifying and mutually recognizing various programs and initiatives that all have a nexus to C-TPAT,” he said. These include programs with other government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard as well as international mutual recognition agreements with foreign governments. To date, CBP has signed seven mutual recognition agreements with New Zealand, Canada, Jordan, Japan, Korea, the European Union and, most recently, Taiwan.

The signing of joint work plans with Israel and, later this month, with Mexico were also announced at the conference. The work plans are initial steps toward mutual recognition agreements with these nations. “We’re trying to unify all of these approaches to partnership so that we are much more transparent,” said Baldwin. “Reduced transaction costs for the trade community will be another result.”

McAleenan announced the selection of a new C-TPAT program director. Lauren Kaufer, the former acting director of CBP’s personnel security division in the Office of Internal Affairs, will now head the program. Kaufer, a former civil litigation attorney, is a graduate of CBP’s Leadership Institute. “As part of the leadership program, she stood out as a future star,” said McAleenan.

The conference also featured a number of other highly recognized speakers in the transborder security and supply chain fields. Richard Reed, the deputy assistant to the president for Homeland Security, was the keynote speaker. Reed discussed what the administration has done to improve the security of the global supply chain system in the U.S. Other speakers included Barry Brandman, the president of Danbee Investigations, and Dan Purtell, senior vice president of supply chain solutions for BSI Professional Services. Both discussed best practices and emerging risk models for supply chain security.

This year’s conference was the first to allow non-C-TPAT members to attend. “The conference has traditionally been for C-TPAT members only,” said Baldwin. “But we also wanted to recognize that this is an opportunity to educate potential partners who need more detail on what C-TPAT has to offer. It allows them to speak with members about the value of participating in the program.”

One of the new benefits for qualifying C-TPAT partners is participation in CBP’s new Centers of Excellence and Expertise. The new industry-specific centers will manage entries of participating importers and help facilitate the importation of legitimate goods. “Our initial partners that we’ve been working with in the existing centers are C-TPAT members exclusively,” McAleenan told audience members. “And those companies are helping drive and shape what these Centers of Excellence and Expertise will become.”

The three-day conference included a number of workshops. For many attendees, the breakout sessions provided the most practical information. "It reinforces what I know,” said Mary Ann Comstock, the northern border compliance manager at UPS Supply Chain Solutions. “The workshops also give me new ideas of how to do things differently and better.”

Others who attended this year’s event came for different reasons. “I actually haven’t been to one of these conferences for about three years,” said Lori Goldberg, the senior director of global trade management for the Americas for Avery Dennison, a manufacturer of industrial products. “But since there have been so many changes in the C-TPAT program and a lot of mutual recognition treaties have been signed, I decided to come this year for an update.”

For Tim Perry, the director of trade and regulatory affairs for APL Limited, one of the world’s largest ocean carrier firms, the C-TPAT conferences are a must. “I’ve been coming to these conferences ever since they’ve been having them,” said Perry. “The first was in 2002 under Commissioner Bonner.” Perry sees the exchange of ideas between the government and the private sector as critical. “We think we know government and the government thinks they know the private sector, but there’s always this divide” he said. “So it’s very interesting to see the customs’ point of view and it’s important for customs to know how we do our business.”

The conferences also give new C-TPAT partners a chance to learn about the program. “It gives the trade a lot of opportunities to ask questions,” said Tracey Fusco, the regional compliance manager at Transocean, a worldwide drilling company for oil and gas that just joined C-TPAT. “We want to protect our supply chain the best that we can.”


Analysis: U.S. Ports' Drive to Control Costs Leads to Labor Strife

Reuters - U.S. Edition

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-usa-ports-labor-idUSBRE90G06W20130117


Fiscal Year 2012 AD/CVD Enforcement Results

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/priority_trade/add_cvd/adcvd_outreach/fy12_adcvd_eresults.xml

Antidumping/Countervailing duty (AD/CVD) enforcement is a priority trade issue for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP stepped up its agency-wide efforts in Fiscal Year 2012 to enforce AD/CVD laws in coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In FY 2012:

  • CBP and HSI seized 57 shipments with a domestic value of $13,681,270.
  • CBP levied over 50 monetary penalties for $24,256,361 on importers for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence for AD/CVD violations under 19 USC 1592.
  • CBP completed over 50 audits of importers of AD/CVD commodities and identified AD/CVD discrepancies with a value of approximately $41 million, and so far collected over $13 million.
  • CBP in partnership with U.S. industry expanded the Trade Intelligence program and received 149 allegations of AD/CVD evasion and noncompliance.
  • CBP conducted several Special Operations including Operation Piping Hot in August 2012 targeting illegal importations of steel pipe and tubing.

CBP employs multiple methods at the port and national level to target AD/CVD evasion. These include import trade trend and valuation analysis, the use of targeted reviews and audits to address high-risk cases, lab testing, and special operations.

CBP takes all indications or allegations of evasion very seriously and, in coordination with HSI, employs all available methods in accordance with the law to address these matters. These allegations were primarily provided to CBP through CBP’s e-Allegations online trade violations reporting system. ( e-Allegations ) CBP confirmed and took action on 15 of the alleged AD/CVD violations received during FY 2012, and found no violation or insufficient information for 11 further allegations. Work continues on verifying the other AD/CVD allegations received during FY 2012.

CBP is committed to ensuring that AD/CVD laws are enforced and that those who try to evade those laws are identified and penalized to the fullest extent of the law.


Marine Terminal Operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Launch Initiative to Speed Cargo Moves by Reducing Trouble Tickets

PierPass Inc. / http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm334156.htm

LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013 – PierPass Inc. today announced an initiative to reduce the number of transaction problems experienced when trucks pick up or deliver containers at the marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These problems – exceptions from normal processes that result in the issuance of “trouble tickets” — lead to substantial delays in container movement through the terminals.

About 5% of all transactions at terminals in the United States result in trouble tickets, which on average add about an hour to the “turn time,” the amount of time a truck spends at a terminal, according to a 2011 report by the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP). The report found that “exceptions from normal processes [are] a major source of delay and cost. The long ‘tails’ on the turn time data, in particular, suggest that around 5% of the cases consume much more than the ‘normal’ time and expense.” Most trouble tickets can be prevented through better communications before a truck arrives at the terminal gates, the NCFRP report said.

PierPass has surveyed terminal operators at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports to determine the most common causes of trouble tickets, and found that the situation at the two adjacent ports matches what NCFRP found nationally. While trouble tickets are caused by a range of issues, they usually are tied to inaccurate or incomplete information about an import container delivery or an e xport booking problem. When issued a trouble ticket, the driver typically has to go to a “trouble window” or office to get the issue resolved. This results in delays for customers and truckers and higher costs for terminal operators.

“Trucking companies can avoid most trouble tickets and reduce turn times by checking with the terminals’ web-based systems before coming to the terminal gates,” said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass. “These systems let dispatchers confirm the availability of import containers or the validity of export booking numbers before prematurely sending a truck to the terminal.”

PierPass is distributing a fact sheet to trucking companies with tips on trouble-ticket prevention. PierPass today also released a video in which stakeholders representing terminal operators, trucking companies and the ports discuss approaches to reducing trouble tickets.

The NCFRP report found that better procedures by trucking companies can reduce trouble tickets. It noted that less experienced drivers and trucking companies that don’t regularly serve the ports generate exceptions and receive trouble tickets much more frequently than regular port visitors. Drivers making an average of at least one call per day had only a 3.0% trouble ticket rate, vs . 7.8% for those making less than one call per week, the report found.

At the APL Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles, the largest group of trouble tickets (34%) in July and August 2012 were issued when truckers arrived to pick up containers that were on hold. Containers can be put on hold for a variety of reasons including U.S. Customs release, agricultural inspection, and unpaid steamship charges or Traffic Mitigation Fees.

The second-largest group (20%) was due to the container number not matching the number on the Bill of Lading, which can also be checked online before delivering a container. In total, about 5% of all gate transactions – 2,500 in all – ended up at the trouble window. APL says 65% of all trouble tickets during that period could have been resolved before the truck came to the terminal .

In 2011, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, terminals and trucking community published the first comprehensive turn time study at the ports using GPS technology. It found that the median turn time inside the terminals during the period studied was 31 minutes per visit, and that 88% of trucks took less than 2 hours per visit. The study also found:

  • The median time trucks spent in queue waiting to get into the gates was 20 minutes and the terminal time 31 minutes, for a total visit time of 51 minutes.
  • Some have implied that it is typical to wait three hours to get into a terminal. But the study showed that only 9% of queue waits were more than an hour.
  • Only 3% of visits took three hours or more, including queue time and terminal time.

PierPass and its member terminal operators continue to offer night gate operations to address container demand and traffic mitigation. Terminals are currently offering 55 OffPeak gates across 13 terminals, in addition to 65 daytime gates, for a total of 120 gates per week for cargo pickup and delivery.< /span>


FTC Warns Small Businesses: Don’t Open Email Falsely Claiming to be From FTC

U.S. Federal Trade Commission / http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/emailscam.shtm

The Federal Trade Commission is warning small businesses that an email with a subject line “NOTIFICATION OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT” is not from the FTC.  The email falsely states that a complaint has been filed with the agency against their company.  The FTC advises recipients not to click on any of the links or attachments with the email.  Clicking on the links may install a virus or other spyware on the computer.

The FTC’s advice:  Delete the email. For more information on malicious software (malware), visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov/malware


FDA Approves New Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Made Using Novel Technology

U.S. Food & Drug Administration / http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm335891.htm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has approved Flublok, the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology. Flublok is approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in people 18 through 49 years of age.

Unlike current flu vaccines, Flublok does not use the influenza virus or eggs in its production. Flublok’s novel manufacturing technology allows for production of large quantities of the influenza virus protein, hemagglutinin (HA) – the active ingredient in all inactivated influenza vaccines that is essential for entry of the virus into cells in the body. The majority of antibodies that prevent influenza virus infection are directed against HA. While the technology is new to flu vaccine production, it is used to make vaccines that have been approved by the FDA to prevent other infectious diseases.

“This approval represents a technological advance in the manufacturing of an influenza vaccine,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The new technology offers the potential for faster start-up of the vaccine manufacturing process in the event of a pandemic, because it is not dependent on an egg supply or on availability of the influenza virus.”

Each year, the FDA, World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts collaborate on the review of influenza disease surveillance and laboratory data collected from around the world in an effort to identify strains that may cause the most illness in the upcoming season. Based on that information and on the recommendations of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the FDA selects the different influenza strains each year that manufacturers should include in their vaccines for the U.S. population for the upcoming influenza season. The closer the match between the circulating strains causing disease and the strains in the vaccine, the better the protection against influenza.

Flublok contains three, full-length, recombinant HA proteins to help protect against two influenza virus A strains, H1N1 and H3N2, and one influenza virus B strain.

As it does with all influenza vaccines, the FDA will evaluate Flublok annually prior to use by the public each flu season. The recombinant HA proteins produced in the baculovirus expression system and included in Flublok will be assessed by the FDA.

The effectiveness of Flublok was evaluated in a study conducted at various sites in the United States that compared the use of Flublok in about 2,300 people to a placebo that was given to a control group of similar size. Flublok was about 44.6 percent effective against all circulating influenza strains, not just the strains that matched the strains included in the vaccine.

Flublok’s safety evaluation was conducted in a study of about 2,500 people who were vaccinated with Flublok. The most commonly reported adverse events included pain at the site of injection, headache, fatigue and muscle aches, events also typical for conventional egg-based, inactivated influenza vaccines.

Flublok has a shelf life of 16 weeks from the date of manufacture. Health care providers should check the expiration date before administering Flublok.

Flublok is manufactured by Protein Sciences Corp, of Meriden, Conn.


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

U.S. International Trade Commission / http://usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2013/er0116ll1.htm

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 Vietnam that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are subsidized and 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 antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from Vietnam.

The Commerce Department previously made affirmative critical circumstances determinations with regard to imports of this product from Vietnam. Therefore, the Commissioners who made affirmative injury determinations today are required to determine whether these imports are likely to undermine seriously the remedial effect of the orders Commerce will issue. All six Commissioners made negative determinations with regard to critical circumstances in these investigations. As a result, the orders concerning these imports will not apply to goods that entered the United States from Vietnam prior to the dates of the Department of Commerce's affirmative preliminary determinations.

The Commission's public report Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Vietnam (Investigation Nos. 701-TA-487 and 731-TA-1198 (Final), USITC Publication 4371, January 2013) will contain the views of the Commissioners and information developed during the investigations. 

____________________________________________________________________

UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
Office of Industries
Washington, DC 20436

FACTUAL HIGHLIGHTS
Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Vietnam
Investigation Nos. 701-TA-487 and 731-TA-1198 (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 textiles.

Status of Proceedings:
1. Type of investigations: Final antidumping and countervailing duty.
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. Investigations instituted by USITC:  December 29, 2011.
4. USITC hearing: October 24, 2012.
5. USITC vote: January 16, 2013.
6. USITC notification of Department of Commerce: January 28, 2013.

U.S. Industry:
1. Number of U.S. producers in 2011:  6.
2. Location of producers' plants:  Alabama, California, Indiana, Nebraska, Puerto Rico, and
       Texas.
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: $2.5 million from Taiwan and $36.2 million from
       Vietnam.
2. From other countries during 2011:  $43.5 million.
3. Leading sources during 2011: Vietnam, Mexico, and China (in terms of total value).

(1) Withheld to avoid disclosure of business proprietary information.

 
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