Japan passes law to ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

As reported by the Kyodo News – the Japanese government enacted a law to ratify the TPP free trade deal. As you are aware, Japan and 10 other nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) continued negotiations with the free trade deal after the United States withdrew. The TPP deal requires at least 6 member countries to ratify the pact before it takes effect.

More TPP updates as they become available. If you have any trade or customs questions, please feel free to contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

China imposes new tariffs on imports from the United States.

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In response to the U.S. Section 232 tariff measures imposed on steel and aluminum products, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced their intention to impose tariffs on certain products from imported from the United States.

According to an English press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce (full text here), China intends to impose tariffs on 128 products that cover a wide range of items, from food and alcohol to oil and gas pipes.

The tariffs vary from 15% to 25% and a notice of tariffs is available here online for public comment.

A quick look at the list shows these items are subject to the increased tariffs: citrus fruits,
watermelons, dried apples, steel drilled oil and gas drilling pipes with an outside diameter less than 168 mm, cold rolled alloy steel seamless circular cross-section tubes
other fresh or cold pork, frozen pork liver, aluminum scrap, modified ethanol, and American ginseng.

For more information or if you would like to know whether your exported product will be subject to these new duties, contact experienced and bi-lingual English/Chinese Mandarin speaking attorney David Hsu now at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

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As of 2/24/2018 – ACE will be the only authorized electronic data interchange system for processing drawback filings.

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According to a notice posted on the Federal Register, starting February 24, 2018, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will be the sole electronic data interchange (EDI) system authorized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for processing electronic drawback filings under NAFTA and non-TFTEA drawback.

After February 24, 2018, Automated Commercial System (ACS) will no longer be a CBP-authorized EDI for drawback filings.

The full notice can be found here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/18/2018-00803/automated-commercial-environment-ace-becoming-the-sole-cbp-authorized-electronic-data-interchange

If you have any questions regarding drawback or this Federal Register notice, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

APHIS Recognizes Mexico as Free of Classical Swine Fever.

pig-alp-rona-furna-sow-63285.jpegClassical swine fever (CSF or sometimes referred to as hog cholera/swine fever/European swine fever) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. CSF used to be widespread but many countries had eradicated the disease until it was reintroduced in 1997-199 (CSF was eradicated in the US in the 1970’s). A 1997 outbreak of CSF in the Netherlands involved more than 400 herds and cost $2.3 billion dollars to eradicate with some 12 million pigs killed.

While eradicated in North America, the US is also not immune to the risk as CSF is still endemic in South and Central America. Because of this, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) previously classified imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products from Mexico as risky following a 2015 site review.

However, at the request of Mexico’s government, the USDA APHIS has now determined that the risk of CSF through Mexican imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products is very low. As such, these items can now be saefly imported into the US as long as the imports follow APHIS’ import regulations.

Importations of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products must (1) be accompanied by a certificate issued by a Mexican government veterinary officer, (2) must come from swine raised and slaughtered in regions APHIS considers CSF free.

If your company would like more information regarding importation of swine and swine products or other general USDA APHIS concerns, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

January 11, 2018 – Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews.

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As posted in the Federal Register here, the U.S. Department of Commerce is initiating administrative reviews on multiple antidumping and countervailing duty orders:

Antidumping Duty Proceedings:
India: Welded Stainless Pressure Pipe A-533-876
Indonesia: Monosodium Glutamate A-560-826
Mexico: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipes and Tubes A-201-805
Mexico: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar A-201-844
Republic of Korea: Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-580-809
Taiwan: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-583-814
The People’s Republic of China: Diamond Sawblades and Parts Thereof A-570-900
The People’s Republic of China: Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products A-570-865
The People’s Republic of China: Fresh Garlic A-570-831
The People’s Republic of China: Monosodium Glutamate A-570-992
The People’s Republic of China: Polyethlene Terephthalate (Pet) Film A-570-924
The People’s Republic of China: Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube A-570-964
United Arab Emirates: Polyethylene Terephthalate (Pet) Film A-520-803

Countervailing Duty Proceedings
India: Welded Stainless Pressure Pipe C-533-868
The People’s Republic of China: Certain Passenger Vehicle and Light Truck Tires 7 C-570-017
The People’s Republic of China: Chlorinated Isocyanurates C-570-991 1/1/16-12/31/16
Turkey: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar C-489-819

If you have any questions about administrative reviews or general antidumping and countervailing duty questions, feel free to call us at anytime: 832.896.6288 or contact us by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Preliminary Antidumping Duties On Chinese Solar Cells.

pexels-photo-371900.jpegYesterday I posted about countervailing duties on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells; today’s solar panel post is about the preliminary results of the antidumping review and preliminary duties on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People’s Republic of China.

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) conducted an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells), from the People’s Republic of China (China) and looked at imports from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016 (Period of Review, POR).

The scope of the antidumping review covered “crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials. Merchandise covered by this order is classifiable under subheadings 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030, and 8501.31.8000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).”

Commerce typically covers multiple mandatory respondents. However, in the instant review, the administrative review covered only mandatory respondent, Trina Solar (Hefei) Science and Technology Co., Ltd (Trina). Commerce treated the various Trina entities: Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science and Technology Co., Ltd./Yancheng Trina Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd./Changzhou Trina Solar Yabang Energy Co., Ltd./Turpan Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Hubei Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., as one single entity.

As a result of their review, Commerce preliminary found that Trina sold subject merchandise in the United States at prices below normal value during the Period of Review and is therefore subject to a duty of 61.61%.

All other exporters of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells will be subject to the China-wide entity rate of 238.95%.

As the findings are preliminary, interested parties still have 30 days from January 9th, 2018 to submit case briefs.

The entity wide rate of 238.95% for imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China highlight why it is important for all manufacturers, producers, exporters, importers or other interested parties to enter an appearance with Commerce and request a review, file a separate rate application or certification, scope requests, or other actions to protect their interests.

The full notice from the Federal Register can be found here.

If you are a producer, importer, exporter of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and have any questions about how these preliminary ADD/CVD orders effect your company and business, call David Hsu’s office at 713.932.1540, mobile phone at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

January 2018 may see potential tariffs on all solar panel imports to the US.

Solar Panels

President Trump campaigned with a tough on trade message and it appears January 2018 may be the first of many actions taken by the current administration.

The potential tariffs involve the importation of solar panels from around the world. Currenly, manufacturers in China account for almost two-thirds of all solar panel production worldwide and in the last 10 years, China’s manufacturers have lowered the global prices of solar panels by 90 percent. While Chinese manufacturers argue the lower solar panel prices benefit the environment, American producers successfully argued for the US to impose tariffs for Chinese solar panels “dumped” into the United States.

These tariffs have resulted in Chinese manufacturers shifting the manufacturing of solar panels to Southeast Asia to avoid paying anti-dumping duties to the US. In response, American producers have now asked the Department of Commerce to implement tariffs on all solar panel imports to the US regardless of country of origin. With a fast approaching deadline of January 26th, we will see whether the Trump administration upholds their tough on trade message.

CBP fines wholesaler (and not importer) $1 million under the False Claims for failing to act in response to indications of fraudulent resulting in underpayment of customs duties.

Garments

On October 3, 2017, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced a settlement of civil fraud claims brought under the False Claims Act against a garment wholesaler in Pennsylvania for ignorning repeated warning signs that its importer business partner was engaged in a scheme to underpay customs duties on imported garments from China sold to the wholesaler.

From the press release (full text here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/acting-manhattan-us-attorney-announces-settlement-civil-fraud-claims-against-garment)

U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As this settlement makes evident, companies purchasing imported goods cannot turn a blind eye to fraud committed by their business partners. We will be vigilant in holding accountable all parties who engage in or contribute to fraudulent conduct.”

According to the press release, the wholesaler should have known that discounts of 75% or more for imported garments by the importer were highly suggestive of fraud. In addition to paying $1 million in damages, the wholesaler was also required to implement a written compliance policy to educate employees and identify red flags in fraud in import transactions.

This case is just the latest example of a US company being fined by Customs in this kind of transaction. Any US buyer in this situation should consult with experienced Customs attorneys to vet their transactions and evaluate their own compliance programs.

Potential Expansion of ADD/CVD Orders for Seamless Pipe from China to Include Pipe Rack Modules.

Seamless Pipe

On April 6, 2017, the ITA posted a scope ruling request filed by United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (“USW”) attempting to extend the existing ADD & CVD cases against seamless pipe from China to include pipe rack modules. The 2016 Westlake scope ruling extended existing ADD & CVD cases against various types of pipe from China to include pipe spools, and the new request cites to Westlake extensively. If this case is successful, CBP will most likely apply it to more than just modules fabricated seamless pipe from China but to any pipe subject to an ADD or CVD case.

Givens & Johnston is currently pursuing multiple scope rulings clarifying Westlake pipe spool rulings and can provide immediate consultations about how importers and producers might respond.

Now is the time to get involved! Importers and producers can more easily impact or derail the scope rulings before a bad ruling is issued.

Please call David Hsu (713.932.1540) if you have any questions or would like more information.