Despite the optimism and time pressure going into the latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, no agreement was reached by the conclusion of the talks last week in Maui. With Trade Promotion Authority fresh in hand, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman was optimistic and hopeful that the negotiations on TPP could be wrapped up in one more round of discussions. Because TPP will reduce duty rates and merchandise processing fees (MPF) on products from some of this country’s largest trading partners, the TPP is likely to have a significant impact on the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone Program if passed.
On July 20th BIS eliminated references in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Changes resulting from the removal of the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation include permitting the reexport to Cuba of foreign-made products with up to 25% U.S.-origin content, (up from the previous level of 10%), and also generally allowing the export of replacement parts for items legally exported to Cuba. Consistent with the comprehensive embargo on trade with Cuba, however, a license will still be required to export or reexport to Cuba any item subject to EAR unless a license exception is available.
This month U.S. Customs and Border Protection concluded a week-long joint “table top exercise” on handling import safety issues with Canada in Ottawa. The joint Table Top Exercise (TTX) included officials from U.S. Customs, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Health Canada. The exercise focused on critical incidents involving imported products that were found to be dangerous, hazardous and volatile, and helped both countries understand how the other would respond in a border incident.
The 180-day ‘grace’ period for applying for specific authorization for previously generally authorized activities, and reporting ongoing activities related to the transfer of nuclear technology to foreign countries or nationals under the new §810 regulations, ends very soon on August 24th. If your company participates in the nuclear industry, it is important that you review your compliance plan against the new regulations in order to make adjustments if necessary prior to that date. In particular there are clarified reporting requirements even if your organization transfers technology under a General Authorization provision.
On July 24th the Department of Commerce announced a plea of guilty to conspiracy to evade export licensing requirements in connection with an attempt to smuggle a machine with possible military applications to Iran. Hetran, Inc., an engineering and manufacturing corporation in Orwigsburg, PA, and its President, Helmut Oertmann, were charged with participating in the conspiracy. Hetran manufactured a large horizontal lathe used in the production of high grade steel for the manufacture of aircraft parts. Hetran shipped the lathe to Dubai, fraudulently listing an affiliate there as the end-user. Special Agents of the Department of Commerce seized the horizontal lathe upon its arrival in Dubai. Oertmann and Hetran were sentenced to 12 months’ probation and ordered as part of a settlement with BIS to pay a penalty of $837,500 with $337,500 of that amount paid out-of-pocket and the remainder conditionally suspended.
Haier America Trading, LLC applied for subzone status in FTZ 262 for its facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi (more)
Sasol Chemicals (USA), LLC applied for subzone status in FTZ 87 for 3 sites at its facilities in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (more)
Mercedes Benz USA, LLC received authorization of production activity for accessorizing motor vehicles within FTZ 50 in Long Beach, CA (more)
Syncreon Logistics (USA), LLC received authorization of production activity for kitting GoPro cameras and accessories within FTZ 202 in LA (more)
FTZ 147 applied to expand its Alternative Site Framework Service Area to 5 additional counties in central Pennsylvania (more)
Isola USA Corporation received authorization of production activity for prepreg and copper clad laminate within FTZ 127 in West Columbia, South Carolina (more)
The Cookson Company, Inc. submitted a notification of proposed production activity in Site 11 of FTZ 277 for producing rolling steel doors in Goodyear, Arizona (more)
Givaudan Fragrances Corporation received authorization of production activity for fragrance compounds within FTZ 44 in Mount Olive, New Jersey(more)
FTZ 42’s application to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework was approved in accordance with the application (more)
FTZ 33 applied to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework with a Service Area of 11 counties in western Pennsylvania (more)
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. received authorization of production activity for kitting mobile phones and tablet computers within Site 9 of FTZ 168 in Coppell, Texas (more)
FTZ 258 applied to reorganize under the Alternative Site Framework with a Service Area of a portion of Bowie County in northeast Texas (more)