Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CBP Opens Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center


U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new facility to help enhance information sharing across the nearly 60,000-person organization. The new Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center will serve as the “one-stop-shop” for operations coordination and information sharing across the operational entities within the agency, including Field Operations, Border Patrol and Air and Marine. A formal ribbon-cutting event with local officials was held to officially open this first-of-its-kind facility.

“CBP has evolved as an agency created in the wake of 9/11. The implementation of this coordination center enables CBP to transform into a more intelligence-driven organization and ensures the continuity and sustainability of national border security,” said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “This team, working with our state and local partners, will play a vital role in protecting our country and our way of life.”

One of Customs and Border Protection’s primary goals it to become a more intelligence-driven organization and the IOCC will help provide more real-time insight to local decision-makers and frontline officers and agents. The IOCC establishes a centralized location for CBP field leadership to plan and coordinate joint operations and share intelligence with CBP operational components and law enforcement and intelligence partners.

The IOCC also has the capability to serve as a principal or supplemental incident management center during natural disasters or other critical incidents in support of our Federal, State, local, and tribal partners.

New .co Top Level Domain to be Made Available

(David M. Silverman, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

The .co top level domain (TLD) is being opened to the general public, and one can envision a run on registrations similar to that experienced for .com. It is easy to see why the Colombia country code, formerly available in that country only, may become very popular in the U.S. and elsewhere. For one thing, .co is the standard abbreviation for "company." It is also a very common misspelling of .com. It has been estimated that gets 15,000 hits per day by mistake.

From April 26 until June 10, a window will open in which only registered trademark owners will be able to register their marks in the .co TLD. Beginning in July, however, .co will be opened to the general public. We suggest that any companies with registered marks protect those marks in the .co TLD in April, and those that do not should register their call signs, company names or nicknames as soon as possible in July. If someone else registers your call sign or company name in the .co TLD before you do, it could be very difficult and costly to recover it. Read more here.

Canadian Industry Wants India to Expedite Trade Agreement


The Canadian government is putting pressure on India to fast-track a bilateral trade deal at a time when both countries are negotiating a nuclear deal. A Canadian business delegation headed by two former ministers is in the country seeking support of the local business community for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with India.

The delegation is openly critical of the Indian government’s attitude towards the trade deal. John Manley, president and chief executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said they have received lukewarm response from India so far. “When we started talks with the Indian government about Cepa, we took the view that the benefits of free trade are so obvious that it is unnecessary to engage in a study. But [the] Indian government, on its part, wanted to have such a joint study,” he said. “We presented our papers towards completion of the study. We had set the target of May; it is almost April and there is no response.”

However, a commerce ministry official involved in the process said both the sides have exchanged chapters. He also said he was surprised at the impatience shown by the Canadian delegation.

Joseph Caron, Canada’s ambassador to India, said the impatience of the Canadian delegation is because it wants to maintain a positive momentum in the relationship between the two countries. “There is a very positive dynamics between the two countries at present. These things do not last forever,” he said. “We want to keep pushing this [CEPA] as much to the top of the agenda as we can.” Caron added that Canada wants the joint study report to be concluded at least prior to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Canada in June for a meeting of the Group of Twenty major economies (G-20). “Then we can get on the negotiating track,” he said.

Bilateral merchandise trade between India and Canada stood at $3.8 billion (around Rs17,100 crore) in 2008-09 and is growing at 17.7% every year. Read more here.

Factors to be Considered in Determining Civil Penalties for Consumer Product Safety Violations

(Levine & Slavit)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a final rule providing its interpretation of the factors it must consider in determining the amount of civil penalties for knowing violations of the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Flammable Fabrics Act.

These penalties increased substantially as of Aug. 14, 2009, to a maximum of $100,000 per violation (from $8,000) and $15 million (from $1.825 million) for a related series of violations. This final rule clarifies certain information and terms based on comments received concerning and further CPSC review of, the Commission’s Sept. 1, 2009, interim final rule. Read more here.

Obama to Lift Arms Trade Rule That Targeted Foreigners, Dual-Nationals

(Carl Meyer — Embassy Magazine)

The Obama administration is moving to scrap a controversial rule that forced Canadian companies working on or handling American weapons technology to identify employees born in or holding citizenship from designated countries.

The decision has been well-received by Canadian officials as well as companies based here, who have been trying to work around the strict regulations for years—reportedly with mixed success.

"They're going to move in the same direction that Canada's looking for, for dealing with dual nationals and working on security-cleared materials," said Chris Hilton, director of communications for Public Works and Government Services Canada minister Rona Ambrose. "This is a big step for us."

On March 11, US President Barack Obama announced he is moving forward with his plan to reform US export controls. Part of that reform is said to include revisions to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Read more here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hillary Clinton on Border Security with Canada

(U.S. Government – Department of State)

Excerpt from interview on CTV’s “Power Play with Tom Clark”

QUESTION: And if we can figure it out in the Arctic, can we expand that and talk about the continent? You know that for many years there was a discussion of perhaps customs union between Canada and the United States as a way of thinning the border, because all that’s happened is that the border, as you know, has gotten thicker and thicker. Can you foresee the day when you might – your country may look at the idea of a customs union as a way of perimeter security for North America, as opposed to fortress America?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re not looking at that right now. There are those who are writing about it and suggesting it. But I think your larger point is very important. This is the longest, most peaceful border in the world. We are each other’s biggest trading partner. We have an enormous investment in the economic well-being of the other on the side of the border. And my goal as Secretary of State is to begin to clear away any obstacle or misunderstanding.

Now, in an economic downturn such as the world has gone through over the past two years, people get a little bit nervous and become somewhat anxious about their own futures. But we’ve worked through some of the difficult issues already this past year. And I just want to keep teeing them up. Now, we’re not going to make agreements on everything right away, but we are such close allies, we are such good friends, your country has more American citizens living in it than in any other country other than our own. So there’s just so much that connects us, and I want to broaden and deepen our relationship to make sure that we always remain as strong and partnered as we can be in looking toward the future.

Read the complete transcript here.

BSI Makes the ‘GRADE’ with U.S. Customs and Border Protection

(PR Newswire)

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program has selected BSI to provide a single-source, web-based intelligence repository that will be readily accessible by the C-TPAT’s Supply Chain Security Specialists (SCSS). This purpose-built solution, termed Global Risk Analysis & Data Evaluation (GRADE), will assist the SCSS through a systematic approach of quantifying country risk factors necessary to help make informed decisions on where to conduct international C-TPAT validations.

BSI maintains one of the largest, continuously-updated, non-governmental proprietary databases that quantifies the risk of more than 870 terrorist groups and their threat to Western destined commerce. GRADE will provide the Supply Chain Security Specialists up-to-date country risk analysis data, risk of terrorism threats to Western interests, cargo disruption analysis in 200+ countries, country demographics, as well as extensive travel security data. Intelligence within GRADE will assist C-TPAT SCSS determine at risk locations and at risk supply chains in order to provide a risk-based approach to C-TPAT validation site selection. Read more here.

Bank of Canada Official Urges U.S. to Import Less, Export More

( – Courtney Tower)

The Bank of Canada Monday joined the ranks of those in America who call on the United States to export more and import less, although Canada depends overwhelmingly on sales south of the border. Senior Deputy Governor Paul Jenkins laid heavy importance for world recovery from recession on the United States, and China, reforming their policies and practices – one to reduce debt and the other to reduce savings. The alternative will be world economic growth "neither as strong, nor as sustained, as it could be," he told the Economic Club of Canada in a Toronto speech.

In the midst of powerful trends that are reshaping the world economy, as emerging nations move to total dominance in world output (up to about 55% of total output by 2020), Jenkins said, "Americans need to save more and rebuild household sector wealth." "In the future, more U.S. economic growth must come from net exports – a combination of higher exports and lower imports," he said. Read more here.

DOT Increases Hazmat Registration Fees

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a final rule that, effective April 29, will adjust the registration and fee assessment program for persons who transport or offer for transportation certain categories and quantities of hazardous materials. Under this rule, for registration years beginning in 2010-2011 the annual fee to be paid by those registrants not qualifying as a small business or not-for-profit organization will increase from $975 (plus a $25 administrative fee) to $2,975 (plus a $25 administrative fee). The fee for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations will remain $250 (plus a $25 administrative fee).

Webinar: DHS Procurement Opportunities – Thursday, April 1

(Homeland Security Today)

Date: Thursday April 1, 2010, 1:30-2:30 EST

Cost: US$59.99

Congress may be debating next year's spending bills, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet spent most of the money it received for this year. Congress appropriated $42.8 billion in discretionary funds for DHS in fiscal 2010.

DHS will spend most of that money in the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year, beginning April 1. DHS also has a good chunk of nearly $3 billion in Recovery Act funding that it still must spend by the end of this fiscal year.

Join Homeland Security Today in a webinar on April 1 to examine where contract opportunities lie for the rest of the fiscal year at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and others in the coming months.

• What are DHS’ major information technology investments for the rest of the year?

• What screening technologies will be introduced in US air, land and sea ports?

• How is DHS making purchases to support its efforts to fight illegal immigration and smuggling?

Please join us for a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute Q&A on spending priorities in the remaining fiscal 2010 DHS budget. For questions, please contact Sue Stott at To register online, click here,

U.S.-Bound Boxes Pile Up in Asia as Lines Avoid Adding Ships

(Business Week – Kyunghee Park and Wendy Leung, Bloomberg)

South Korea’s biggest port, overwhelmed with empty containers a year ago, is now dealing with shipping lines that have more cargo than they can carry. Surging shipments of furniture, electronics and clothes to the U.S. and Europe, coupled with capacity cuts by shipping lines, has caused as much as 15% of containers to be delayed in Busan this year, often by more than a week, according to Park Jong Ho, assistant general manager at Busan International Container Terminal Co. “With the economy recovering, we have been seeing a lot of containers that didn’t make it out on time because there wasn’t enough space on ships,” he said.

A capacity crunch on transpacific routes has disrupted deliveries of Asian and U.S. exports, prompting a probe by U.S. regulators. Container lines have cut trips and imposed higher rates on customers, or shippers, after slumping trade and an excess supply of vessels caused industry-wide losses of about $20 billion last year, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd.

“There is seething anger in the shipper community over the way rates have been raised,” said Bjorn Van Jensen, who manages more than 100,000 container shipments a year as logistics head at appliance-maker Electrolux AB. “Carriers see a tight supply situation and they are looking to get rates back up.” Read more here.

Memorandum D15-2-55: Certain Carbon Steel Plate and High Strength Low Alloy Steel Plate Originating in or Exported from Ukraine


This memorandum refers to the application of anti-dumping duty to importations of certain carbon steel plate and high strength low alloy steel plate originating in or exported from Ukraine.

Customs Notice 10-005 Processing of Form B2 Adjustment Requests


The purpose of this customs notice is to advise that effective April 1, 2010, the processing of B2 adjustment requests, with certain exceptions, will be centralized at two locations for all of Canada. As of that time, the Quebec and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) regions will be responsible for processing all B2 adjustment requests from across Canada, with certain exceptions as detailed here.

CFIA Easter Holiday Schedule


The Import Control Division will be closed for the Easter holiday from Thursday April 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm (ET) until Tuesday April 6, 2010 at 8:00 am. If you require assistance please contact the Import Service Centres located in Toronto (ON) or Montreal (QC).

EISC – Montreal: 1-877-493-0468, 514-493-2468, FAX 514-493-4103
NISC – Toronto: 1-800-835-4486, 905-795-7834, FAX 905-795-9658

Please note: Ottawa Meat Import Control Centre (1-877-682-5191) will be opened Friday 2 April 2010 and Monday 5 April 2010 from the hours of 8 AM to 6 PM.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Rules for “Made in Canada” and “Product of Canada” Claims

(Lexology – Stephen I. Selznick and Elizabeth Sinnott, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP)

In continuing efforts to ensure truth in advertising and to provide manufacturers, importers and retailers with timely compliance guidance, the Competition Bureau1 (the “Bureau”) has introduced new Enforcement Guidelines relating to “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” Claims (the “Guidelines”) applicable to non-food products. The Guidelines, which are effective July 1st, 2010, and supersede the former Guide to “Made in Canada” Claims (the “Former Guide”), describe the Bureau's approach to assessing claims under the false or misleading representation provisions of the Competition Act (Canada), the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (Canada) (with respect to non-food products only) and the Textile Labelling Act (Canada) (collectively, the “Acts”). The publication of the Guidelines in the Summer of 2009 with an effective date one year later, is a clear signal to industry that territorial source of origin claims should be revisited and re-examined with the Guidelines in mind well before the Summer of 2010 effective date, in order to avoid attracting scrutiny from the Bureau and in deflecting potential consumer complaints.

The Acts administered by the Bureau all prohibit the making of false or misleading representations.2 As such, when a business chooses to make a “Made in Canada” or “Product of Canada” claim, it should do so in accordance with the Guidelines. The Bureau relies on the Guidelines when determining whether it should investigate a consumer claim or whether it should undertake appropriate enforcement action for non-compliance.
As a significant change from the past, the Guidelines create a clear distinction between “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” claims.

In order to be properly identified as a “Product of Canada,” items will now have to meet two conditions. First, the last substantial transformation of the goods must have occurred in Canada.3 Second, at least 98% of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the goods must have been incurred in Canada. Read more here.

CBP: Updated ACE Reports Training Is Now Available for All ACE Portal Users


An updated version of “ACE Reports for the Trade Community” Web-based Training (WBT) is now available. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends that all new users and those who would like refresher training running standard and customized reports take the updated WBT.

Listed below are the topics included in the updated “ACE Reports for the Trade Community” WBT:

Module 1: Course Navigation: Learn how to navigate through this Web-based training course.

Module 2: ACE Reports: Learn how to run a standard report as well as how to manipulate, schedule and print or export the report. Users will also learn how to schedule an authorized data extract.

Module 3: Ad hoc Functionality: Learn how to run and save a modified report.

To take the WBT, visit the “Training and Reference Guides” section on the CBP modernization website. The URL for the ACE Web Based Training can be found here.

FDA Issues ‘Import Alert’ for Labeling Violations: Many Non-U.S. Firms Affected

(, LLC)

On March 09, 2010, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued Import Alert #99-20, “Detention Without Physical Examination of Imported Food Products Due to Nutritional Labeling Education Act (NLEA) Violations” (IA 99-20) FDA enforces all laws and regulations related to “Front of Package” labeling and Nutritional Facts Panels. This applies to both imported and domestic products. According to Benjamin L. England, of, LLC, despite NLEA being issued in 1994, “…the new Import Alert makes it clear FDA is substantially increasing its enforcement of food manufacturers and importers, under this statute. FDA will stop importers from selling products with illegal claims on their labels.”

Many manufacturers have already been placed on Import Alert #99-20, being charged with the simplest violation that the FDA can target; labeling violations. In order for a product or manufacturer to be placed on IA 99-20 – which automatically detains the product at the Customs Port of Entry even without physically examining the product – the product need only “appear” to violate NLEA. According to the alert, when FDA first discovers a product or manufacturer has violated NLEA, FDA may issue a Release “with comment” which instructs the importer that the violation must be remedied on future shipments. “In our experience,” stated Mr. England, “FDA often just refuses the product” resulting in expensive delays and shipping charges for the importer. IA 99-20 indicates that if the importer violates NLEA after the first offense, then FDA will place the importer on the import alert, which will cause the importer’s products to be Detained Without Physical Examination and ultimately refused entry into the United States.

Manufacturers under Import Alert #99-20 have been charged pursuant to Section 801(a)(3) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: “(the product) appears to be misbranded within the meaning of Section 403 in that the label or labeling fails to bear the required nutritional information,” “bears an unauthorized nutrient content/health claim,” and/or “fails to bear required information (e.g. juice percentage, names of each ingredient and names of color additives).” Read more here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bersin Takes Post Without Confirmation

(Tanya Sierra — Union Tribune)

Fed up with waiting, President Barack Obama announced yesterday he would bypass a vacationing Senate and name 15 people to key administration jobs — including Alan Bersin as head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Bersin, now the Southwest “border czar” at the Homeland Security Department, has held several high-profile positions in San Diego over the years. He was nominated for the customs post in September, but his confirmation languished in the Senate.

In wielding for the first time the blunt political tool known as recess appointments, Obama accused Republicans of holding up nominees for months solely to try to score a political advantage on him.

“I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government,” Obama said in a statement. Read more here.

Burney Promotes U.S.-Canada Border Commission

(Alison Crawford — CBC News)

While they've dubbed the event non-partisan, the [Liberal] party's goal in holding the conference is to harvest good ideas for future policy development. In that non-partisan spirit, one of today's speakers was former Canadian Ambassador to the United States Derek Burney. He headed Prime Minister Stephen Harper's transition team after the party's 2006 election win.

Among Burney's suggestions was that the Canadian government propose the establishment of a binational border commission, a body empowered to do the following: Streamline customs and entry provisions to eliminate protectionist measures, rationalize the hundreds if not thousands of needlessly different standards and regulations for items that flow across the border, harmonize immigration and refugee policies, establish a common tariff regime to reduce inefficient rule of origin provisions that are currently doing serious harm to Canada's livestock farmers and, finally, intensify the collaboration of our police to address the security, organized crime and illicit drug traffic issues that straddle the border.

Burney made sure to underline that this should be a binational effort, not trinational. The former ambassador says the problems the Americans are facing on its border with Mexico must not drive border policy with Canada. Read more here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

News from GHY International

An updated list of recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending March 26, 2010 is now available on our website here

Friday, March 26, 2010

FDA to Require Electronic Registration for Establishments and Listing for Medical Devices

(World Trade Interactive)

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to amend its regulations governing medical device establishment registration and medical device listing to reflect statutory changes in the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. The FDAAA requires domestic and foreign medical device establishments to submit their registration and device listing information by electronic means rather than on paper forms. Comments on this proposed rule should be submitted no later than June 24.

According to FDA, this rule proposes the following changes to the current registration and listing regulations.

Electronic Registration and Listing
Current regulations require owners and operators of device establishments to submit their registration and listing information to FDA using paper forms (forms FDA 2891, FDA 2891a and FDA 2892). This proposal would require such information to be provided electronically unless FDA grants a request for a waiver. Device establishment owners and operators have been using the FDA Unified Registration and Listing System to meet this requirement since the system became operational Oct. 1, 2007. FDA grants waivers only to those owners or operators for whom electronic registration and listing is not reasonable.

FDA believes that FURLS will ultimately make the process of submitting registration and listing information more efficient for industry and will provide faster access to this information for both FDA and industry. This, in turn, will help FDA accomplish a number of important statutory and regulatory objectives, including identifying establishments producing marketed medical devices, facilitating the recall of devices marketed by owners or operators of device establishments, administering FDA’s post-marketing surveillance programs for devices, identifying devices marketed in violation of the law, identifying and controlling devices imported or offered for import from foreign establishments, and scheduling and planning inspections of registered establishments.

Foreign Establishments
This proposal would reflect the Bioterrorism Act requirement that foreign establishments whose devices are imported or offered for import into the U.S. must identify all importers known to them and the name of each person who imports or offers to import their device into the U.S. The rule would also eliminate the registration and listing exemption for foreign establishments whose devices enter a foreign-trade zone and are re-exported from the FTZ without entering U.S. commerce.

Read the complete article here.

Companies, Trade Groups Warn of New Efforts to Eliminate First Sale Rule

(World Trade Interactive)

More than 100 companies and trade groups sent a letter to leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees March 24 urging them to ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not again attempt to eliminate the First Sale Rule. CBP withdrew an earlier proposal, which opponents claimed would have resulted in an 8%-15% increase in duty liability for all imports, in 2008 after an outpouring of opposition from the trade community. Congress then directed CBP to postpone any action on the First Sale Rule until at least Jan. 1, 2011.

The First Sale Rule was judicially established more than 20 years ago and is used by many U.S. importers to legally lower import duties. Simply stated, the FSR allows the entered value of a qualifying transaction to be based on the purchase price between the vendor and the factory rather than the importer and the vendor. The FSR may apply even if the vendor is related to the importer and/or the factory or there are multiple levels of vendors.

Expressing concern that CBP may once again contemplate the revocation of the FSR, the 75 companies and 36 associations that signed the March 24 letter highlighted a December 2009 International Trade Commission report documenting the “widespread use” of this methodology. Read more here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conservatives, Liberals, and the Colombian Free Trade Deal

(Maclean’s – John Geddes)

The government’s decision yesterday [March 24] to accept a Liberal amendment to its free trade agreement with Colombia is being touted by the main architect of the side deal as a case study in how a minority Parliament should work.

Liberal MP Scott Brison, his party’s international trade critic, proposed the amendment to that would see Colombia produce an annual report, with Canadian input, on how the free trade agreement affects human rights. Trade Minister Peter Van Loan accepted Brison’s proposal, and no wonder, since it guarantees that the Conservative minority in the House will now be backed by Liberal votes on this issue, enough to get legislation enacting the trade pact passed.

“The Prime Minister and the government have been receptive,” Brison said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It’s an example where minority parliaments can work productively. There’s a lot of dysfunctionality in this minority, but there are examples every now and then about how it can work.”

That’s an upbeat way of looking at the outcome, and generous toward the Tories for accepting a proposal from across the aisle. But the background to this highly unusual case of an opposition party shaping an international treaty – even negotiating with a foreign government – is interesting as more than a rare success story in bipartisan cooperation. Read more here.

Minister Van Loan Introduces Legislation for Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement

(Minister of International Trade)

Agreement will expand trade opportunities with Jordan

The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today followed through on a commitment made in the Speech from the Throne earlier this month by introducing legislation to implement the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and related agreements on labour cooperation and the environment.

“The Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, once implemented, will open doors to this growing economy and give Canadian businesses a real advantage in the broader Middle East and North African markets,” said Minister Van Loan.

Upon implementation, the free trade agreement will eliminate tariffs on over 99%, by value, of recent Canadian exports to Jordan, thereby directly benefiting Canadian exporters and workers. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Jordan totalled $82.5 million in 2009. Read more here.

Obama Backs DRIC, Says Ambassador

(Windsor Star – Chris Vander Doelen)

The Obama administration supports construction of the proposed DRIC bridge over the Detroit River but the border here will never again be as easy to cross as it once was, says the new U.S. ambassador to Canada. With the DRIC project now the only bridge-crossing application still standing for U.S. regulatory approval after the Ambassador Bridge’s disqualification, “my government supports the DRIC,” said David Jacobson. “We think it’s a good thing.

“We believe there is probably demand for both” crossings, Jacobson said in an interview Tuesday, prior to delivering the annual Herb Gray lecture at the University of Windsor. “But certainly there is enough for the DRIC.”

Jacobson, a lawyer and Democratic party organizer, was appointed the U.S.’s 22nd ambassador to Canada by President Barack Obama six months ago – a posting he describes as his “dream job.” Fixing the Windsor-Detroit border will be part of that job, but it “is going to take time,” Jacobson warned. “We’ll have to be patient.” Read more here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canada Isn’t Cleaning Up on Green Technology Exports

(Globe and Mail Online – Danielle Goldfarb, Conference Board of Canada)

The country’s weak climate-friendly trade performance stands in contrast with exploding global opportunities

Around the world, trade and investment in technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions – such as solar power, energy efficient appliances and hybrid cars – is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, Canadian businesses are largely failing to take advantage of these global opportunities.

Canada’s exports of “climate-friendly technologies” did not grow at all between 2002 and 2008, according to new Conference Board of Canada research. Worse, when we account for inflation, this country’s climate-friendly exports fell by 2% annually on average. In short, Canadian businesses have failed to seize new – or even maintain existing – opportunities to sell such technologies globally. Our businesses and individuals have also been relatively slow to import and adopt world-leading technologies from others.

Our weak climate-friendly trade performance stands in contrast with exploding global opportunities. While Canadian exports stagnated between 2002 and 2008, and imports grew only slowly, world trade in climate-friendly technologies grew by a massive 10% on average each year. Read more here.

Pending House Bill Would Require Foreign Manufacturers to Consent to Jurisdiction in U.S. Courts

(Lexology – Charles E. Joern, Holland & Knight LLP)

On February 24, 2010, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require foreign manufacturers of certain products imported into the United States to establish registered agents in this country who are authorized to accept service of process against such manufacturers. Of particular importance is the provision of the bill establishing that by registering an agent, the foreign manufacturer would thereby consent to personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in the state where the agent is located. This consent would be for the purposes of any civil or regulatory proceeding. […]

Under the legislation, the heads of the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency would be charged with requiring foreign manufacturers or producers to establish the registered agents in a state with a “substantial connection” to the importation, distribution or sale of their products. The bill does not define or provide guidance as to just what constitutes a substantial connection to a state where a product is imported, distributed or sold. Read more here.

SIMA Re-investigation Certain Steel Plate


The Canada Border Services Agency has initiated a re-investigation of the normal values and export prices of certain steel plate originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China (Plate III); Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania (Plate V); and Ukraine (Plate VI).

Should you have any questions regarding this re-investigation, please contact one of the officers listed below.

Matthew Lerette: 613-954-7398
Benjamin Walker: 613-952-8665

Facsimile: 613-948-4844

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CFIA: Western Import Service Centre Closure


Please be advised that the Western Import Service Centre (WISC) located in Vancouver (BC) will be closing as of 31 March 2010. All operations of the WISC will be performed at the National Import Service Centre (NISC) in Toronto, Ontario.

Contact information for the NISC:

CFIA/ACIA - National Import Service Central (NISC)
Fax: 1-905-795-9658

Mailing Address:
1050 Courtneypark Drive East, Room 154
Mississauga, Ontario
L5T 2R4

Final Rule on Jade Import Ban

(World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is adopting as a final rule, without change, interim amendments to its regulations that were made in January 2009 to implement the provisions of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 and presidential proclamation 8294 of September 26, 2008. These regulations prohibit the importation of Burmese covered articles (jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from Burma and articles of jewelry containing such gems) and set forth conditions for the importation of non-Burmese covered articles (jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from a country other than Burma and articles of jewelry containing such gems).

Read the source document here.

CSCSC Program Can Grant Thousands in New-Hire Wages

(Canadian Transportation & Logistics)

The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (CSCSC) is now accepting applications for the second year of its Career Focus Program, which gets underway April 1. Under the program, companies that hire a new employee in a supply chain role can receive up to $12,750 from the CSCSC to help pay his or her wages for a year. More information about supply chain roles can be found on pg. 2 of the CSCSC’s Supply Chain Sector Facts and Figures document.To be eligible, the employee must be a post-secondary graduate of a university, college, association or private-sector program, and be between the ages of 15 and 30.

To participate, companies first enroll in the program, then select a candidate, complete an application form and, if approved, submit proof of wages paid in each pay period. Approval of applications takes just one or two days, according to the CSCSC. Applications are assessed on a first-come, first-served basis.

To find out more, go here or contact Sheryl Keenan at 905-897-6700, 1-866-616-3468 or

Monday, March 22, 2010

CBSA Investigates the Dumping of Greenhouse Bell Peppers

(Canada NewsWire)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that it is initiating an investigation into the alleged injurious dumping of greenhouse bell peppers originating in or exported from the Netherlands.

The investigation follows a complaint filed by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) of Leamington, Ontario. The complainant alleges that the dumping of these goods is harming Canadian production by causing the following: lost sales, price erosion, price suppression, reduction in gross margins and reduced profitability.

A copy of the statement of reasons that provides more details about the investigation will be available on the CBSA’s Web site here within 15 days.

Revised: D9-1-13 White Phosphorous Matches


The following changes have been made to accurately reflect the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) role in administering the provisions of the Customs Tariff:

1. New terminology is used to reflect changes in organizational structure of the CBSA.

2. A legislative reference section has been updated to show the relevant sections of the Customs Tariff and Customs Act.

World Business Group ICC Revises Trade Rules

(Journal of Commerce Online – Peter T. Leach)

Revised rules to promote uniform practices in trade finance

The International Chamber of Commerce on Thursday unveiled an extensively revised version of the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees that it said will be instrumental in adopting uniform practices in trade finance. The revised rules, which were first adopted by ICC in 1992, reflect international practice in the use of demand guarantees and provide safeguards against abuse in the calling of such guarantees.

In 28 articles, the URDG set out the liabilities and responsibilities of the parties; the nature of a demand; the expiry circumstances; and the governing law jurisdiction for the guarantee or counter-guarantee. Read more here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

BTS Releases North American Surface Trade Numbers for 2009

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico decreased by 23.3% in 2009 compared to 2008, dropping to $637 billion. The 23.3% decline in trade was the largest year-to-year decline for the 15 years covered by these data. NAFTA went into effect in 1994.

BTS reported that the value of trade by surface transportation with Canada and Mexico decreased by 31.1% during the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. It decreased by 14.9% in the final six months of the year but increased by 10.5% in December compared to December 2008. U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totalled $386 billion in 2009, a decrease of 28.1% compared to 2008. In 2009, 86.6% of U.S. merchandise trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land.

FMC Probes Capacity Issues

(International Freighting Weekly – Damian Brett)

Reports of shortages of space and containers sparks federal investigation

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has launched an investigation into ocean capacity and container availability as the country looks to double its exports over the next five years. The FMC announced the probe after reports of a shortage of space on ships and container availability raised concerns over “both the cause of the constraints and whether those constraints could hinder the nascent economic recovery”.

“The commission has received a growing number of reports that importers and exporters have had difficulty obtaining vessel space and containers, particularly in the US-Asia trades,” it said. FMC commissioner Rebecca Dye will lead the investigation. […]

Dye will issue an interim report of findings and recommendations by 15 June and her findings and recommendations by 31 July. Read more here.

China-U.S. Protectionism Risks ‘Wounds,’ Schwab Says

(Business Week – Frederik Balfour, Bloomberg)

China and the U.S. may damage their own economies as a result of rising protectionism, said Susan Schwab, a former United States Trade Representative. “There has been a tangible uptick in the scope of tensions,” Schwab said during a speech to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. “Both China and the U.S. are at much greater risk of self-inflicted wounds than any damage of what the other country could do.”

Schwab said China’s censorship of Internet companies such as Google Inc. and its unwillingness to allow its currency to appreciate are causing unprecedented concern in the U.S. Schwab joined law firm Mayer Brown LLP in Washington as an adviser earlier this month. “Holding down the renminbi risks inflation in China and has caused a lot of trading partners to be very unhappy,” she said, using another term for the yuan. She called Washington’s buy-American polices “stupid and self-defeating.” Read more here.

Revised D-Memoranda: NAFTA Rules of Origin


Memorandum D11-5-1 NAFTA Rules of Origin

• The title of this memorandum has been changed from NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations to NAFTA Rules of Origin.

• This memorandum has been revised to reflect recent amendments to the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations as a result of the modifications to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System which came into force on January 1, 2007. These amendments make a number of changes to the numbering of headings, subheadings or tariff items. They are technical in nature and do not represent a change in policy.

• Also, this revised memorandum will provide a stable link to the official version of the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations. The NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations are no longer fully excerpted in this memorandum.

• These Regulations, amending the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations as a result of the modifications to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, came into force on September 1, 2009.

Memorandum D11-5-2 NAFTA – Specific Rules of Origin

• The title of this memorandum has been changed from NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations – Amendments to Schedule I – Specific Rules of Origin to NAFTA – Specific Rules of Origin.

• This memorandum has been revised to provide a stable link to the official version of the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations – Schedule I – Specific Rules of Origin. The NAFTA line-by-line rules are no longer fully excerpted in this memorandum.

• Amendments to the Schedule I – Specific Rules of Origin have been made to reflect modifications to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) which came into force on January 1, 2007, and a liberalization of the rules of origin by the three NAFTA Parties.

• Changes to the numbering of headings, subheadings or tariff items to reflect modifications to the HS are technical in nature and do not affect the origin of goods. The changes to reflect the liberalization of the rules of origin act to ease the origin requirements for herbs and spices, petroleum, leather, certain textiles and apparel, aluminium, diesel engines, gas turbines and parts, valves, electric transformers, primary cells and batteries, telephonics, televisions, locomotives and parts, medical appliances and parts, and other instruments.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Open Trade, Harper Urges as He Lays Out Five Goals for G20 Sherpas

(CBC – The Canadian Press)

The G20 nations must keep trade markets open, strengthen banking regulations and nurture a sustained and balanced recovery from the world economic crisis, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says. Those were the priorities Harper laid out for the “sherpas,” the senior bureaucrats who are holding two days of meetings in Ottawa to lay out the agenda for June’s economic summit in Toronto.

The prime minister told the negotiators recovery is by no means fully assured, and he said the G20 will be judged not just by its ability to respond to crisis, but also “its capacity to lead the world through recovery and beyond.”

Harper said it’s natural and expected for countries to defend their national interests, but he said those must be “enlightened” and take into account the overall, long-term needs of the global economy. Read more here.

U.S., India Ink Deal to Tap ‘Limitless’ Trade Potential

(Industry Week – Agence France-Presse)

The United States and India launched a new blitz to boost economic, trade and financial cooperation on March 17. They signed a framework for cooperation on trade and investment to build on trade growth, which has more than doubled in the last five years.

“There is almost limitless potential for growth in trade between our two countries, and that can contribute to economic recovery and job creation in the United States and continued economic growth in India,” said Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade official. “We can realize that potential by working together toward the goals set forth in the framework agreement,” by encourage technological innovation, increasing agriculture, services, and industrial goods and boosting investment flows, he said.

Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative, inked the trade and investment pact with Indian minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma.

The “numerous synergies linking the economies have not been tapped fully as yet, he said, adding that the pact could “create the right environment to ensure that the relationship brings maximum benefit to the maximum number of people.” Read more here.

Trans-Pacific Trade Talks Kick Off in Australia

(Bridges Weekly)

Negotiations toward a deal to open up trade among eight countries along the Pacific Rim got going in Melbourne, Australia on Monday. Expectations are high as some observers predict that the resulting deal, dubbed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, could be the foundation of a free trade area that eventually spans the entire Pacific region.

In the near term, however, delegates involved in this week’s TPP negotiations are hoping to build on the existing ‘P-4’ free trade deal, which governs economic relations among four countries in the region: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. This week, those countries are joined by Australia, Peru, the United States and Vietnam, all of which are hoping to sign on to an expanded trade pact. Other countries in the region, including China, Japan, South Korea, and some Southeast Asian nations, may also be looking to join the negotiation soon. Proponents say that a solid TPP deal could help the 21 country members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group achieve their goal of establishing a free trade zone across the entire region. Read more here.

FDA Affirmation of Compliance for Electronic Products


The FDA has created a new Affirmation of Compliance (AofC) code for use in identifying manufacturers of electronic product components that will be incorporated into finished products. Use of this code is important to expedite our automated database look-up for components transmitted to FDA using product codes for a finished product. Failure to transmit this code will result in entries being held for manual review.

AofC Code: CCM
AofC Description: EPRC Certifying Component Manufacturer

This affirmation and qualifier should be used to name the certifying component manufacturer (CCM) of the certified Electronic Product Radiation Control (EPRC) component incorporated in the finished product being imported. The name of the CCM manufacturer must be the one that appears in the referenced product (ACC) and/or annual report (ANC) affirmations. This affirmation is only used when the name of the manufacturer of the finished product is different that the name of the certifying component manufacturer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inconsistent Filing Penalties Can Leave U.S. Exporters Scratching Their Heads

(Lexology – Joan Koenig and Nicolas Guzman Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP)

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun enforcing the heightened civil penalties outlined in its January 2009 enforcement guidelines against parties who violate the export filing requirements of the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) of the Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (Census). As enforcement has ramped up, an apparent conflict has arisen between the final rule on the mandatory use of the Automated Export System (AES), published in June of 2008 by Census, and the Guidelines published in the Customs Bulletin for enforcement.

Specifically, CBP has begun imposing fines of up to $10,000 on shipments at the Southern Border when the required notification for those shipments is not given within the one-hour window required by the Census regulations, but the filing occurs same day. These heightened fines have been imposed on exporters because of a conflicting definition of “failure to file” between the Census regulations and the CBP Enforcement Guidelines. Read more here.

Next Phase of Lacey Act Declaration Enforcement Slated to Begin April 1

(World Trade Interactive)

The next phase of enforcement of the import declaration requirement under the Lacey Act is slated to begin April 1.

Under the amendments to the Lacey Act that included in the 2008 Farm Bill, imports of certain plants and plant products must be accompanied by an import declaration that contains, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, the value of the importation, the quantity of the plant and the name of the country from where the plant was harvested. For paper and paperboard products containing recycled content, the declaration also must include the average percent of recycled content without regard for species or country of harvest.

The import declaration requirement currently applies to items classified under HTSUS headings 4402 (wood charcoal); 4412 (plywood, veneered panels), except 4412.99.06 and 4412.99.57; 4414 (wooden frames); 4419 (tableware and kitchenware); and 4420 (wood marquetry, caskets, statuettes).

Beginning April 1, this requirement will be expanded to include items classified under the following HTSUS headings.

• 4421 (other articles of wood)
• 6602 (walking sticks, whips, crops)
• 8201 (hand tools)
• 9201 (pianos)
• 9202 (other stringed instruments)
• 9302 (revolvers and pistols)
• 9305.10.20 (parts and accessories for revolvers and pistols)
• 9401.69 (seats with wood frames)
• 9504.20 (articles and accessories for billiards)
• 9703 (sculptures)

USDA has previously stated that for any future enforcement phases it intends to provide at least six months’ notice to affected persons and industries to facilitate compliance. Last fall USDA indicated that the next phase would begin no earlier than Sept. 1.

Loonie Closer to U.S. Parity

(CBC News)

The Canadian dollar marched closer to parity with its U.S. counterpart Wednesday, supported by higher commodity prices and the prospect of continued low American interest rates. The loonie traded above 99 cents US during the morning, but slipped back to 98.97, up 0.35 of a cent on the day, by 10:30 ET.

Yesterday, the U.S. central bank said it will keep interest rates unchanged "for an extended period." That raised the prospect that Canadian interest rates will begin rising before those in the U.S., increasing the value to foreigners of Canadian dollar-denominated debt and the demand for Canadian currency.

"Yesterday's announcement puts the Bank of Canada in a tough position," Dan Sumner, an economist with Edmonton-based ATB Financial, said in a commentary. "The Canadian economy is performing better than the U.S., which means interest rates here will probably begin rising sooner. However, with the continued worries about the Canadian dollar and Canada's export industries still fragile, raising rates will be no easy task." Read more here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recovery Increasing Pace, Latest Data Shows

(Reuters – David Ljunggren)

Canada’s economic recovery is picking up pace with January manufacturing sales higher than expected and labor productivity rising for the first time in more than a year, official data showed on Tuesday.

Analysts enthused about the figures, saying it showed Canada was well over the worst of the recession. “We saw a pair of very encouraging reports spill out of Statistics Canada today, which together suggest that the recovery is deepening and taking on a healthier glow,” said Douglas Porter of BMO Capital Markets Economics.

The minority Conservative government has so far taken a more cautious line, stating repeatedly that the recovery is still fragile and the jobless rate is too high. Ottawa is also keeping a close eye on the strengthening Canadian dollar, which manufacturers say makes it harder for them to sell their goods.

Read more here. Summary manufacturing statistics, and links to the data files, are on the Statistics Canada website. Labour productivity summary statistics and links are here.

Many Canadian Firms Learning to Cope with Strong Dollar: Think Tank Report

(The Canadian Press – Julian Beltrame)

With the loonie once again nearing parity with the U.S. dollar, a new report on the currency is giving hope it may not be the menace to the economy many believe it to be. The Conference Board weighed in on the subject Monday with a surprising argument – a strong loonie and currency volatility are a net negative for the economy, but not a major impediment, particularly if firms take steps to adapt.

More surprisingly, the think tank said currency fluctuations impact the service sector more than the manufacturing, mining and oil and gas industries, because the latter have found ways to hedge against rapid changes.

The more global and integrated a company is, the more it can ride out the ups and downs of Canada’s relatively volatile currency, the Conference Board said.

“The manufacturing sector was largely able to shrug off the impact of currency volatility prior to the recession,” the report points out. “Most manufacturing industries managed well, as they are integrated into global supply chains, importing inputs into the production process, investing in imported machinery and equipment, and investing in plants abroad.” Read more here.

U.S. Forcing More Meat Inspections in Canada

(Vancouver Sun – Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is scrambling to maintain an increased presence at dozens of large meat-processing plants after auditors from the United States Department of Agriculture found inspections were too infrequent to meet U.S. food-safety standards, newly released internal records show.

News of ongoing resource problems at CFIA comes as public-health authorities are carrying out a high-profile listeriosis investigation involving tainted meat at a federally inspected Toronto processing plant operated by Siena Foods Ltd.

The ramped-up inspection cycle of at least one visit for every 12 hours of production was instituted last November so operators in Canada, including Siena Foods, could continue to export their products to the United States. These plants are also authorized to distribute their products across the country. Read more here.

Import Prices Show Modest Decrease Amid Steep Drop in Fuel Prices

(RTT News)

With fuel prices under pressure, the Labor Department released a report on Tuesday showing a modest decrease in import prices in the month of February. The report also showed a drop in export prices. The report showed that import prices fell by 0.3% in February after rising by 1.3% in January. The modest decrease was largely due to a 1.9% drop in fuel import prices, which pulled back after surging up by 4.9% in the previous month.

Excluding the drop in fuel prices, import prices actually edged up by 0.2% in February compared to a 0.4% increase in the previous month. On an annual basis, total imports prices were up 11.2% compared to the same month a year ago, while non-fuel import prices were up 2.0% year-over-year.

The Labor Department also said that export prices fell by 0.5% after increasing by 0.7% in January. A notable 3.8% drop in the prices of agricultural exports contributed to the decrease. Export prices edged down by a more modest 0.2% excluding the drop in prices of agricultural exports. This compares to a 0.7% increase in non-agricultural export prices in January. Compared to the same month a year ago, total export prices were up 3.1% and non-agricultural export prices were up 3.3%.

EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible to Public


For the first time, TSCA chemical inventory free of charge online

As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s strong commitment to increase information on chemicals, for the first time, EPA is providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website developed by the Obama Administration to provide public access to important government information. This action represents another step to increase the transparency of chemical information while continuing to push for legislative reform of the 30 year old TSCA law.

“Increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals is one of Administrator Jackson’s top priorities,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “The American people are entitled to easily accessible information on chemicals, and today’s action is part of a series of ongoing steps that EPA is taking to empower the public with this important information.”

Until now, the consolidated public portion of the TSCA Inventory has only been available by purchase from the National Technical Reports Library or other databases. By adding the consolidated TSCA Inventory to the Agency’s website and to Data.Gov, EPA is making this information readily available to the public at no cost.

Read more here. For information about EPA’s increasing transparency on chemical risk information click here and for access to the entire TSCA Inventory, please visit here.

Database Update: Profile of Canadian Exporters

(Statistics Canada)

Data from the Exporter Register Database are now available for 1993 to 2008. The database provides information on exporters by industry groupings, exporter size, province or territory of residence, country of destination and employment size.

For more information, to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, or to order custom tabulation requests, contact Marc Nadeau (613-951-9786) or Client Services (toll-free 1-800-294-5583;, International Trade Division.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Growing Transportation Demand Suggests Global Freight Recession Over: Analysts

(Winnipeg Free Press – Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press)

Growing demand for cargo transportation suggests the global freight recession may have ended, but industry observers remain concerned that a rising Canadian dollar may bring the progress to a screeching halt.

After bottoming out in the second quarter of last year, demand for rail, air and trucking transportation has materially strengthened over the last four weeks, a report from UBS analysts Rick Paterson and Fadi Chamoun says. “We’re no longer limping along from quarter to quarter,” they wrote.

But the head of the Canadian Trucking Alliance said the industry remains fragile even though the situation has improved since last fall. “There are optimistic signs and things appear to have turned the corner but I don’t think people are dancing in the streets just yet,” David Bradley said in an interview. He added that the fragile recovery could still be undermined by the Canadian dollar’s march towards parity. Read more here.

U.S. Legislative Update: Food Safety Could Move Soon as China, Preference Reform Loom

(World Trade Interactive)

Trade issues are expected to take a higher profile in Congress this year as the Obama administration makes trade policy a key part of its effort to add domestic jobs and encourage an economic recovery. Seeking to improve the balance of trade with China and to open foreign markets by implementing and negotiating free trade agreements are among the issues that have seen greater attention from both the administration and Congress. In the meantime, a food safety reform bill could pass Congress as early as this spring.

Food and Product Safety:

No major product safety legislation is expected this year given that both Congress and the administration are continuing to deal with implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed in 2008. However, efforts to revise the CPSIA in light of some of the difficulties identified to date are a possibility, as are measures to address emerging product safety concerns such as the replacement of lead with cadmium in children’s toys and products.

Instead, it is anticipated that lawmakers will focus their attention on finalizing a comprehensive bill to reform federal food safety efforts. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved its version of a food safety bill last November, following the House of Representatives’ approval in July of a somewhat different bill. HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said recently that he hopes to pass a food safety bill and send it to the White House by May.

President Obama has indicated that urging China to revalue its currency will be a part of his administration’s efforts to increase domestic employment. Congress has taken a leading role on this issue in the past; e.g., introducing legislation that would have imposed retaliatory tariffs on all imports from China unless the yuan was revalued. While that option appears to have fallen out of favor for the most part, members of both the House and Senate have been raising the currency issue and suggesting specific remedies more frequently. The issue could take on an even higher profile in April depending on whether the Treasury Department names China as a currency manipulator in its semiannual report on foreign exchange rate practices.

Read the complete summary of pending legislative changes at STR/WTI here.

FDA Targets Processing of Spices in Bid to Make Supply Safer

(The Washington Post – Lyndsey Layton)

The Food and Drug Administration is reexamining the safety of a culinary staple found in every restaurant, food manufacturing plant and home kitchen pantry: spices. In the middle of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness linked to black and red pepper – and after 16 U.S. recalls since 2001 of tainted spices – federal regulators met last week with the spice industry to figure out ways to make the supply safer.

Jeff Farrar, the FDA’s associate commissioner for food safety, said the government wants the spice industry to do more to prevent contamination. That would include using one of three methods to rid spices of bacteria: irradiation, steam heating or fumigation with ethylene oxide, a pesticide. The bottom line is, if there are readily available validated processes out there to reduce the risk of contamination, our expectation is that they will use them,” Farrar said. But the FDA cannot currently require it.

Legislation pending in Congress would require food companies to take steps, such as treating raw spices, to avoid contamination. The measure would also mandate that importers verify the safety of foreign suppliers and imported foods. The House overwhelmingly approved the bill last year, but it has stalled in the Senate. […]

In developing countries, many spices are harvested by farmers from small plots of land or grown wild and gathered from different areas, where pollution and water problems can create contamination hazards.

“You can import shoes, tables, lamps and chairs from anywhere in the world and you kind of know what you’re going to get,” said Paul Kurpe of Elite Spice Inc. in Jessup, Md. “But when you import food, you’re importing their habits, traditions and their standards of food safety.”

Some say the spate of recalls over the past decade does not necessarily mean the contamination problem is growing. “In the last 15 years, food safety is just at an increasingly higher level of awareness,” Harris said. “We’ve got increased testing, increased detection methods. I don’t think what we’re seeing is necessarily a true increase in prevalence. I think it’s an increase in our ability to detect.” Read more here.

ASEAN Single Window Could Be Realized in 2012

(Tempo Interactive – Iqbal Muhtarom)

The Indonesian National Single Window (NSW) technical team chief Susiwijono has said that the ASEAN Single Window could be realized at the end of 2012. “It already involves 10 ASEAN countries,” said Susiwijono at the Trade Department, last Friday.

According to him, currently a MoU has been formulated, which according to plan will be discussed in Kuching, Malaysia, from 23 to 30 March. “If everything is okay, all ASEAN countries’ Customs and Excise Directorates will sign the MoU,” he said.

Susiwijono revealed that the ASEAN Single Window trial has been applied in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam. “The system is underway, but it is still in a trial phase,” he said.

Technically, the ASEAN Single Window is completed. But now there are some technical obstacles related to legal matters. In the Kuching meeting, the legal matters will be discussed. A legal working group will be formed to complete the draft MoU. “The problems are not technical, they are legal, and multilateral business processes,” he said. As an example, there the matter of the status of data exchanged between countries, if it could be followed-up legally should there be a problem.

Memorandum D11-5-7: Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) Rules of Origin


1. The following provisions of Annex C to the version of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), signed on January 26, 2008, have the force of law in Canada: a. Articles 1 to 8; b. Article 9, paragraph 1; c. Articles 10 to 12; d. Article 14; and e. Appendix I.

2. These Regulations come into force on July 1, 2009, but if they are registered after that day, they come into force on the day they are registered.

Complete memorandum here.

Memorandum D11-5-8: Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) Rules of Origin


1. The following provisions of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Peru, signed on May 29, 2008, have the force of law in Canada: a. Articles 301 to 305; b. Article 306, paragraphs 1 and 2; c. Articles 307 to 315; d. Article 318; and e. Annex 301.

2. These Regulations come into force on the day on which section 36 of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, chapter 16 of the Statutes of Canada, 2009, comes into force.

Complete memorandum here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Canada Customs Delays Rollout of ACI e-Manifest System

(Today’s Trucking)

The requirement for carriers to submit manifest information electronically to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for shipments coming to Canada has been postponed.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) Highway eManifest was scheduled to begin in June 2010. But CBSA has indicated that a delay to implementation is necessary to ensure systems are adequately tested and prepared.

In recent meetings with the CBSA, the trucking group indicated support for a delay to the project as a more favorable option than rolling out an initiative that is not ready.

“CTA supports getting it right the first time with realistic deadlines,” says CTA CEO David Bradley. “Implementing a process without the systems, staff and infrastructure to support the program helps no one. By delaying the project, CBSA is doing the right thing,” added Bradley.

Feedback from carriers has ranged from policy concerns such as the inbond movement of goods, to end state design issues such as changes and amendments to manifest information post arrival, says CTA.

CBSA has indicated that the system will be available for testing by industry in June 2010, but the project launch will not be until September.

The delay to the highway manifest project affects other sectors of the trade community, including the importer, freight forwarder and rail pieces of the project. CBSA has not yet committed to a timeline for the implementation of these associated projects.

China Customs: Keep CNY Stable; Says US Export Plan A Threat


The Chinese customs administration warned Friday that the Obama Administration’s plans to double U.S. exports will threaten China’s global market share, while recommending that government maintain a stable yuan exchange rate.

The General Administration of Customs’ rare foray into the issue of rising global trade tensions marks the first time a Chinese government agency has expressed concerns over the White House’s export plan.

“The U.S. recently set a target to revitalize itself as a major exporter, doubling its exports in five years ... other major economies also intend to boost their domestic economies by expanding exports,” it said in a statement on its website.

“Our country faces tougher competition to maintain our world market share,” it warned.

“We will actively face international trade protectionism and we should maintain a stable yuan exchange rate,” the Chinese Customs Administration said in its statement.

“In the post-crisis period, the savings ratio of major developed countries will increase and consumer demand will decrease. In addition, increasingly sharp trade protectionism and disputes over the yuan exchange rate mean the time of our country’s fast export growth is over,” the agency said.

It predicted that China will find itself competing more vigorously against emerging markets in low-end goods but also with developed countries and their higher value-added exports. Read more here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

News from GHY International

An updated list of recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending March 12, 2010 is now available on our website here

Top 10 Logistics Challenges for 2010 (and Beyond)

(DC Velocity – Clifford F. Lynch)

Economists are in broad agreement that a recovery is under way, but that's not to say our troubles are over. In fact, it's likely the logistics/supply chain community will continue to experience difficulties throughout the year.

What are the biggest concerns? With apologies to David Letterman, I have developed a "Top 10" list of issues that bear watching in 2010. In no particular order, they are as follows:

1. The precarious health of the LTL industry. Weak volumes and cut-throat pricing have taken their toll on the LTL sector, which continues to struggle with inadequate earnings. YRC is the best-known example, but there are others as well. Con-way, for instance, lost $110 million in 2009. This will not change without a significant improvement in the economy.

2. The price of diesel fuel. After a temporary dip, fuel prices are once again on the rise. According to Department of Energy projections, the average retail price for diesel this year will be $3.00 per gallon. Although that's way down from a few years back, it's still high enough to be a major factor in the cost of moving goods. And we still have $80-a-barrel oil.

3. Rail regulation. A bill currently in Congress would eliminate antitrust law exemptions for railroads and change the way the industry is regulated. While captive shippers certainly deserve protections, I believe this bill, if passed, could be a dangerous first step toward more regulation.

Read the complete list here.

Trade Barriers May Be Easing

(World Bank)

Monitoring update on trade barriers during the crisis

Industry demands for import restrictions declined for the first time since the international economic crisis began in 2008, according to a new report from Chad P. Bown. New probes requested by domestic industries dropped 24% in the fourth quarter of 2009 from a year before, which could signal a turning point in protectionist sentiment. Still, 2009 finished on a sobering note, with 20% more requests for barriers than 2008. Those requests often led to new import restrictions, and 2009 saw 30% more new restrictions, mainly because of investigations begun earlier in the crisis. The trade barriers tracked in the study included policies that are considered potentially legal by the WTO, such as antidumping, safeguards, and anti-subsidy measures.

Link to the report here.

Information on Mutual Recognition of Supply Chain Security Programs

(World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently posted to its Web site information on mutual recognition of supply chain security programs with foreign countries. Highlights of this information include the following.

Mutual Recognition Explained: “The essential concept” of mutual recognition is that the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and the counterpart foreign program “are compatible in both theory and practice so that one program may recognize the validation findings of the other program.” Through mutual recognition, “international industry partnership programs are linked so that together they create a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade. It means end to end supply chain security based on program membership.”

Customs Compliance Not Included: Mutual recognition is only based on security and does not address customs compliance issues. As a result, mutual recognition does not exempt any partner, whether domestic or foreign, from complying with other CBP-mandated requirements (e.g., the importer security filing rule), nor does it replace any of CBP’s cargo enforcement strategies.

Before CBP engages a foreign customs administration toward mutual recognition, the foreign partner must have a full-fledged operational program in place (not a program in development or a pilot program) and that program must have a strong validation process and a strong security component built in. CBP also takes into account the risk associated with the supply lines originating in that country.

Read the complete article here.

U.S. Customs Faces 10+2 Confusion

(Journal of Commerce – Peter T. Leach)

Agency reaching out to importers to explain the rules

With the new Importer Security Filing rule still in its shakedown period, Customs and Border Protection is trying to help importers figure out the rule and its own responses to application of the rule, known as 10+2 because of the 10 security data elements the agency now requires from importers and two from carriers 24 hours before a U.S.-bound container is loaded aboard a ship.

Richard DiNucci, director of the Secure Freight Initiative, told the annual Northeast Trade and Transportation Conference here Thursday the weekly filings of the 10+2 data have increased by 25% since the start of the rule on Jan. 26.

“About 70% to 80% of importers are filing, and some ports are 95% to 100% compliant,” he said. He said CBP is continuing to reach out to importers to explain the rules. He said that CBP will send out warning letters “shortly” to importers that are not in compliance with the rule but “will not penalize importers who have failed.” Read more here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Obama Announces Plan to Boost Exports

(Video: Bloomberg • Story: MSNBC)

President Obama announced a series of proposals aimed doubling U.S. exports over the next five years, a goal he set in his State of the Union address.

America is already the world’s No. 1 exporter and the White House intends to stay in the lead, said a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the president’s National Export Initiative ahead of the speech.

The president believes that increasing exports, along with strengthening the country’s education system and promoting clean energy jobs, are key to making sure America can compete in the 21st century global economy. Nationwide unemployment remains high at 9.7 percent as the country struggles to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and Obama said doubling the nation’s exports will support two million jobs. […]

According to the official, most of the proposals that make up this export initiative can be done without legislation through the existing authority granted to agencies including the Commerce Department, the State Department, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank and the Small Business Administration. However, the proposal to increase funding for export promotion programs by $134 million is included in the budget for FY2011, which Congress must approve. Read more here.

Obama to Create Export Task Force to Push Trade (NYT)
Obama’s Speech on Export Policy (UPI)

U.S. Economy: Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Shrinks

(Business Week – Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg)

The trade deficit in the U.S. unexpectedly narrowed in January as imports fell for the first time in five months, indicating demand is cooling following the fastest pace of growth in six years. The gap shrank 6.6% to $37.3 billion from $39.9 billion in December as refineries imported the fewest barrels of crude oil in a decade, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Exports decreased for the first time in nine months, on fewer shipments of aircraft and autos.

“The somewhat disappointing trade data seem likely to prove a brief pause in a generally improving trend,” said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “Trade flows are notoriously volatile from month- to-month, but declines in both exports and imports are hardly signs of economic vitality.” Read more here.

Commodities Boost Canada’s Trade Surplus in January


Canada’s trade surplus grew more than expected in January to C$799 million ($776 million) as higher prices for commodities such as gold boosted exports, while imports fell, Statistics Canada said on Thursday. January’s surplus was the largest since March 2009, according to Statscan’s revised data which showed a C$75 million surplus in December instead of a C$246 million deficit. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast, on average, a surplus of C$100 million.

Exports climbed 0.5% in January to C$33.02 billion while imports fell 1.7% to C$32.22 billion.

The pace of growth in exports slowed, however. Export volumes fell 0.3% on slower sales of autos as well as machinery and equipment. But that was offset by a 0.8% jump in prices, led by industrial goods and materials which includes precious metals, aluminum and alloys.

Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed slightly to C$4.1 billion from C$4.2 billion in December due to lower auto sales.

Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website. Export and import price indexes are here.

Proposed HST Place of Supply Rules Are Game-Changers

(Lexology – Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, Lang Michener LLP)

On February 25, 2010 (88 days until harmonization implementation in Ontario and British Columbia), the Department of Finance released the proposed harmonized sales tax (HST) place of supply rules.

All GST/HST registrants are generally required to collect the provincial HST component (at the applicable rate) on supplies of property and/or services made in a participating province except where a supply is zero-rated or exempt.

The HST place of supply rules are important for businesses that operate in, or make supplies in, or to recipients located in, more than one Canadian province. The HST place of supply rules will be used by suppliers and recipients to determine whether a supply made in Canada is made in a participating province. Specific rules will apply depending on the nature of the supply. Read more here.

The Diversification Solution

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Good investment advice, but easy to ignore when the return on a certain asset is particularly good. Canadian international trade faces the same dilemma. We know that more diverse trade would be a good thing, but over the years, the yield on trade with the US has been too tempting. But do we ignore trade diversification at our own peril?

Canada’s trade is staggeringly skewed. In 2009, the U.S. accounted for 75% of merchandise exports. The next-largest destination, the UK, even after increasing its share significantly in 2009 accounted for just 3.4% of total exports. A handful of large industrialized countries account for 84% of exports, and the remainder is carved up into very small, widely-distributed segments. That sounds concentrated enough, but it is actually an improvement – just seven years ago, the U.S. accounted for 87% of merchandise exports, and the large countries, 93%. This does suggest that a certain amount of diversification is underway, a positive development – but is it enough?

Imagine a radically different trade profile – a scenario where the large industrialized markets accounted for just over half of the export pie, and where emerging markets took up the remaining space. Conservative assumptions based on recent export growth trends produce an eye-opening overall result. In place of the 6.5% average growth seen in the 2004-08 period, Canadian merchandise exports could easily have expanded by 10% annually. Calculated this way, diversification would have partially cushioned the recessionary blow that exports suffered last year.

Read more or watch the video here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Loonie at Par by Summer: Economists

(CBC News)

Interest rate increases will drive the Canadian dollar back up to parity with its U.S. counterpart by this summer, according to a growing chorus of economists.

The latest prediction of parity came Wednesday from CIBC World Markets. Its forecast is based on the expectation that the Bank of Canada will hike its key lending rate in July, at least six months ahead of the first hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. “Indeed, we’ve already seen the Canadian dollar gain several cents in recent weeks as the market began to firm up expectations” of a July rate hike in Canada, says CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

The loonie was quoted at 97.48 cents US in early Wednesday trading. It’s gained almost 3.5 cents against the greenback in the last two weeks.

CIBC’s currency outlook sees the loonie rising to $1.02 US by September before slipping back to 97 cents US by the end of the year.

While the Bank of Canada’s early rate hike is one of the main catalysts of the dollar’s rise, it isn’t the only one, CIBC says. The investment bank also lists rising demand for commodities as a reason. It sees the dollar benefiting from rising oil, mineral and fertilizer prices as Canadian producers “repatriate profits.” Read more here.

Canada-U.S. Border Crossing Faster Than Before 9/11: Ambassador

(Toronto Star – Susan Delacourt)

Security may be tighter, but getting across the Canada-U.S. border today is faster than it was before the terrorist strikes of 2001, U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson says.

Jacobson, in his first major public remarks on Canada-U.S. border concerns, told an Ottawa audience Tuesday that for all the worries about “thickening” of the border between the two countries, the reality is that things are getting better. “We’re already making progress. Border wait times today are, on the average, less than they were prior to Sept. 11,” Jacobson told a sold-out crowd of politicos, lobbyists and business people at the Chateau Laurier. “In fact, since 2007, average border wait times for passengers have been cut by almost a third and during that same period of time for goods, wait times have been cut in half.”

This progress has come despite concerns about all the extra security measures and passport requirements, Jacobson noted, as well as a perceived rise in U.S. protectionism since the economic crash of 2008. Some Canada-U.S. experts have suggested that wait times are down because overall trade traffic is also on the decline since the downturn. Read more here.

SIMA: Certain Oil Country Tubular Goods Originating in or Exported from the People’s Republic of China – Statement of Reasons


On February 22, 2010, pursuant to paragraph 41(1)(a) of the Special Import Measures Act, the President of the Canada Border Services Agency made final determinations of dumping and subsidizing respecting the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of oil country tubular goods, made of carbon or alloy steel, welded or seamless, heat-treated or not heat-treated, regardless of end finish, having an outside diameter from 2 3/8 inches to 13 3/8 inches (60.3 mm to 339.7 mm), meeting or supplied to meet American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5CT or equivalent standard, in all grades, excluding drill pipe and excluding seamless casing up to 11 ¾ inches (298.5 mm) in outside diameter, originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China.

A PDF version of the Statement of Reasons is available here.

Centralization of B2 Processing


Procedures for centralized B2 processing that take effect April 1, 2010 are summarized in this letter from the CBSA.

New CBSA Organizational Structure


CBSA President Stephen Rigby and CBSA Vice-President Cathy Munroe yesterday announced to the Border Commercial Consultative Committee details of the new management model and organizational structure that will be implemented on April 1, 2010.

It has been CBSA President Stephen Rigby’s plan to better align the Agency with its objectives and to establish clear lines of authority and a structure that would support a new service strategy with measurable performance standards.

While Stephen Rigby and Luc Portelance remain as the President and Executive Vice President, respectively, there is a significant change at the next level in the organizational structure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Companies Seek Ways Out of the Regulatory Compliance Money Pit

(Logistics Today)

Nearly half (45%) of supply chain professionals recently surveyed by global logistics firm BDP International and its Centrx consulting unit say they are supporting their internal regulatory compliance departments with external resources, especially those with under $1 billion in annual revenues and those doing business in emerging markets.

Growing global concern over environmental and safety issues is spinning a global web of trade and security programs that impact both importers and exporters, and both products and their movement. Compliance with new regulations such as the EU REACH and U.S. Importer’s Security Filing 10+2 programs can be complex and costly. To better understand how companies are dealing with these issues, BDP and Centrx surveyed 184 logistics executives from a range of industries. […]

When queried about where they expect to secure compliance support in the future, nearly 80% (77%) indicate in-house resources, but fully 65% note they will also work with freight forwarding/customs brokerage firms.

“Today more than ever it is critical for global traders to understand the vagaries of the regulatory landscape and the speed with which it is changing,” Ford notes. “Going forward, the challenge will be staying ahead of the regulatory curve with its growing trade, security and environmental rules.”

Read more here.

New Exemptions to APHIS Inspection Fees on Imports from Canada

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is adopting as a final rule, with changes, an August 2006 interim rule that removed the exemptions from inspection for imported fruits and vegetables grown in Canada and the exemptions from user fees for commercial vessels, trucks, railroad cars and aircraft, as well as international air passengers, entering the U.S. from Canada. As a result of that rule, all agricultural products imported from Canada are subject to inspection and all commercial conveyances arriving from Canada are subject to user fees.

New Exemptions:

This final rule establishes new user fee exemptions for the following.

• commercial railroad cars that are part of a train that originates and terminates in Canada and no passengers board or disembark and no cargo is loaded or unloaded while the train is in the U.S.

• vessels that travel to Canada only to refuel, upon their return to the U.S.

• barges (i.e., non-self-propelled vessels transporting cargo that is not contained in shipping containers) traveling solely between the U.S. and Canada that carry bulk cargo that originates only in the U.S. or Canada, do not carry any plants or plant products or animals or animal products, and do not carry soil or quarry products from areas in Canada listed as being infested with gypsy moth

Exemptions Denied:

APHIS is not providing a user fee exemption for members of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. “C-TPAT does not have an agricultural component that specifically addresses sanitary or phytosanitary risks,” APHIS states, and “C-TPAT members’ shipments are subject to agricultural inspection regardless of the reduced inspection benefits granted by membership in the program.”

APHIS has also declined to provide an exemption for trucks that originate and terminate in the U.S. and do not load or unload cargo in Canada or that originate and terminate in Canada and do not load or unload cargo in the U.S. Unlike railroad cars, APHIS states, trucks are not bound to a fixed track where stops and loading or unloading may only feasibly occur at designated stations.

Read more and view the source document here.