Industry News

Trade News Updates

By Margaret Lange

All of the China Section 301 Exclusion lists have now expired with limited product-specific extensions on each list, and most of those will also expire at the end of the year. There has also been continued trade activity including the renewal of CBTPA, a WTO decision for the EU that may result in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, and the trade is now seeing an increase in Withhold Release Orders (WRO) for forced labor findings.

October 2nd USTR Grants Section 301 Product Exclusion Extensions

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) granted extensions for 37 of the 209 Section 301 product exclusions that were set to expire on October 2, 2020. In one notice, the USTR extended only 9 of the 96 exclusions granted on October 2, 2019, under the $34 billion Section 301 action. In the second notice, the USTR granted extensions for only 28 of the 113 exclusions granted on October 2, 2019, under the $16 billion Section 301 action. The granted product exclusion extensions in both lists are effective October 2, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

M.E. Dey has compiled a list of the Section 301 Product Exclusions. To see the complete list and status of all exclusions, click here. To see all the USTR China Section 301 Tariff Actions, see the USTR website here.

CBP Virtual Trade Week

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided their first-ever Virtual Trade Week from September 8th through the 11th. The workshops covered five CBP Trade Priorities including U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Forced Labor, Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), E-Commerce and 21st Century Customs Framework (21CCF). Recordings of the virtual sessions are posted on CBP’s website here.

CBTPA Renewal

On October 10th, the President signed Bill H.R.991 extending the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBTPA) for ten years. The renewal applies to goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2030. Because CBTPA expired on September 30, 2020, the bill also allows for refund of duties for importers who paid duties during the program lapse between October 1, 2020, and October 14, 2020. CBP published guidance (CSMS#44437979) for filing retroactive duty refunds.

WTO Grants the EU Permission to Assess Duties on US Goods

On October 13th, the World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator issued a decision in the Boeing subsidy dispute allowing the EU to impose tariffs on $4 Billion in U.S. exports to the EU. Although the tariffs have not been announced yet, the preliminary list of products includes a wide range of U.S. made products.

The WTO also previously authorized the U.S. to take action against the EU related to the Airbus subsidy dispute. As a result, in October of 2019, the US Trade Representative (USTR) implemented Section 301 tariffs on EU imports.

According to an October 26th Reuters article, in a WTO speech by the U.S. delegation, the U.S. is in favor of a negotiated resolution with the EU over the long-running subsidy dispute.

CBP Issues First Forced Labor Finding Since 1996

In an October 20th news release, CBP announced the first forced labor finding since 1996. In the Finding, CBP determined that stevia extracts and derivatives are produced using convict, forced, or indentured labor by Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agriculture, Industry, and Trade Co., Ltd. (Baoanzhao) are being, or are likely to be, imported into the United States in violation of 19 U.S.C. 1307. The Finding instructs Port Directors to seize the merchandise in question and to commence forfeiture proceedings.

WRO – Palm Oil from Malaysia

On September 30, 2020, CBP announced a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for palm oil and palm oil products made in Malaysia by FGV Holdings Berhad and its subsidiaries, for information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labor. The WRO instructs CBP, at all U.S. Ports of Entry, to detain all palm oil and palm oil products arriving from Malaysia made by FGV.

CBP provides a list of all WROs by country on the CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings page. See our Whitepaper on WRO’s.

CBP Extends Travel Restrictions at Northern and Southern Borders

On October 22nd, CBP published notices in the Federal Register extending all non-essential travel restrictions on the northern and southern land borders through Nov. 21, 2020, due to the risk of continued transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus. The travel ban doesn’t apply to cargo and exempts crossing the border to work in the U.S.