Monday, May 31, 2010
Rep. Bill Owens introduced May 26 the Customs De Minimis Adjustment Act of 2010 (H.R. 5375), which would increase from $200 to $1,000 the value of goods that can be brought into the U.S. duty-free and without customs entry procedures. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., is leading a coalition working to secure congressional approval of the House bill and a similar measure already introduced in the Senate.
A press release from Owens’ office states that this increase in the so-called de minimis level, the first in 17 years, would encourage domestic economic development as well as more trade by small and medium-sized business owners. “With the increasing use of Internet shopping, a higher de minimis level will facilitate the development of small online retailers and allow more people to benefit from the efficiencies of modern commerce,” explained Michael Mullen, executive director of the Express Association of America. Airforwarders Association Executive Director Brandon Fried said the bill will also have a positive impact on homeland security by expediting the clearance and processing of low-value shipments and thus allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to focus more of its efforts on risk-based security targets.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is inviting comments by June 14 on the possible modification or removal of import duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
In March 2008 an arbitral tribunal determined that Canada had breached certain obligations under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement, and in February 2009 the tribunal issued a remedy award requiring Canada to collect an additional 10% export charge on softwood lumber shipments from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan until a total of C$68 million was collected. Canada did not comply, however, and USTR responded by imposing 10% duties on imports of softwood lumber products subject to the SLA from the affected provinces. These duties are to remain in place until the U.S. collects $54.8 million, the U.S. dollar equivalent of C$68 million at the time.
According to USTR, the government of Canada is now taking steps toward adopting legislation requiring the collection of an additional 10% charge on subject exports. If the proposed bill becomes law (which could happen as soon as mid-June) and USTR finds that it satisfactorily grants the rights of the U.S. under the SLA, the import charges may be modified or terminated. USTR is therefore seeking public comments on the possibility of such action.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday called for greater North American integration to compete with other trading blocs, at a time when Mexico-Canada bilateral relations are at a low point.
“Integration is key to restoring strong sustained growth in North America,” Calderon said in a speech to Canada’s parliament. “Mexico is a country in transformation,” he said. “That makes us a more valuable neighbor and a strategic partner for the future of North America’s prosperity.”
“Therein lies the importance of Canada and Mexico working together. We need more integration, not isolation, nor protectionism.”
Calderon’s trip comes on the heels of a visit to Washington last week where he and US President Barack Obama grappled with contentious border and immigration issues, along with the problem of drug wars in Mexico and the market for Mexican drugs in the United States. Read more here.
• Opportunity to request administrative review of AD duty orders and suspension agreements with June anniversary dates. Requests are due by June 30.
• Summaries of current antidumping and countervailing actions taken by the International Trade Administration or the International Trade Commission including Phosphate Salts, Coated Paper, Carboxymethylcellulose, Steel Products, Polyester Fiber, and Frozen Fish Fillets.
Read more here along with links to ITA/ITC source documents.
By a document posted May 14, 2010, the Health Products & Food Branch Inspectorate have set out guiding principles of Health Canada’s decision making framework for identifying, assessing and managing health risks to identify the issues of counterfeit health products. In the background of this document it is set out that, while these issues of counterfeit health products is infrequent, the document is intended to focus on potential vulnerabilities into the regulated supply chain which includes manufacturing, packaging, labelling, wholesaling, importation, distribution and sale of health products.
Counterfeit health products are described as follows:
“A counterfeit health product is one that is represented as, and likely to be mistaken for, an authentic product. Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products, and could relate to a product’s identity or source, could include products with the corrected ingredients/components, with the wrong ingredient/components, without active ingredients, with insufficient active ingredients or with misleading packaging or labelling.”
Read more here. Additional information is available from Health Canada here.
IN THE MATTER OF a preliminary injury inquiry, pursuant to subsection 34(2) of the Special Import Measures Act, respecting:
Greenhouse Bell Peppers Originating In or Exported From The Netherlands
Preliminary Determination Of Injury
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal, under the provisions of subsection 34(2) of the Special Import Measures Act, has conducted a preliminary injury inquiry into whether the evidence discloses a reasonable indication that the dumping of greenhouse bell peppers originating in or exported from the Netherlands has caused injury or retardation or is threatening to cause injury.
This preliminary injury inquiry is pursuant to the notification, on March 22, 2010, that the President of the Canada Border Services Agency had initiated an investigation into the alleged injurious dumping of the above-mentioned goods.
Pursuant to subsection 37.1(1) of the Special Import Measures Act, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal hereby determines that there is evidence that discloses a reasonable indication that the dumping of the above-mentioned goods has caused injury.
This Determination is available on the CITT website here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced its intent to distribute assessed antidumping and countervailing duties available for distribution in fiscal year 2010 pursuant to the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, or Byrd Amendment. CBP has issued a notice listing the individual AD/CV duty orders and findings for which funds may become available for distribution, together with the affected domestic producers associated with each order or finding that are potentially eligible to receive a distribution. This notice also provides instructions for such producers to file written certifications claiming a distribution, which must be done by Aug. 2.
Although the CDSOA was repealed in 2006, the effect of the repeal will be delayed for several years. First, CBP will continue to distribute AD and CV duty revenues assessed on entries filed before Oct. 1, 2007. Second, because the AD/CV duty on an entry is not available for distribution until the entry is liquidated pursuant to the direction of the Department of Commerce, the distribution process will continue until all entries made before Oct. 1, 2007, are liquidated and the AD/CV duties are collected. While the distribution process will thus be continued for an undetermined period, the amount of money available for distribution can be expected to diminish over time. Read more here.
Since the controversial Argentine Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno announced in an April 23 letter that he will examine overseas purchases to consider the competitiveness of the national market, products worth millions of dollars have been delayed at Argentina’s borders and ports.
Cargoes of cheeses from France, beer from Holland, pasta from Italy, canned pineapple from Indonesia, bell peppers from Peru, and candies from Brazil are among products being delayed, according to the Chamber of Importers, which represents about 300 companies, including local units of Chile’s SACI Falabella and France’s Carrefour SA.
Argentine import restrictions and an exchange rate policy that favored local industry enabled Argentina to build up a record trade surplus of 17 billion USD in 2009 on an overall trade of approximately 100 billion US dollars.
However reprisals could hurt Argentina’s 56 billion of annual exports, mostly food products, equivalent to 17% of GDP. Brazil and the European Union with 45% of Argentina’s exports have warned that such kind of limits are in violation of international treaties and liable to reprisals. Read more here.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Not so long ago, Asia was the clear destination of choice for companies looking to set up offshore manufacturing operations. Now that’s starting to change. In recent months, a number of U.S.-based companies in the consumer electronics, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industries have quietly closed up shop overseas and relocated their operations to a country much closer to home: Mexico.
“In the past year to 18 months – partly as a result of the economic crisis – we have seen more companies making the decision to outsource their logistics or manufacturing operations to Mexico,” says Larry Malanga, president of the third-party logistics service provider Mexflex Logistics, S.A. de C.V.
Although wages and currency fluctuations play a role, it’s clear that the desire to cut freight costs and transit times weighs heavily in these decisions. “From the cost of fuel and resources, you minimize a great deal with being in Mexico,” says Larry Monaghan, who’s the department head for logistics at LG Electronics, which makes products like cell phones and plasma TVs in Mexico for U.S. consumption.
Mexico may have the edge over Asia when it comes to freight costs and delivery times, but it’s not without its logistics challenges… Read more here.
The recession may be receding into the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t mean the freight community’s worries are behind it. In fact, for at least one segment of the business, the worst may be yet to come. Just as the freight recovery gets under way, the nation’s truckers find themselves facing a host of new challenges that could put a serious crimp in their operations. And that’s a concern not just for the folks who run trucking companies, but for the folks who use their services as well.
The source of their worries? A legislative climate that carriers say is downright hostile to truckers. “There is a certain amount of anti-truck rhetoric in Washington today,” YRC Worldwide COO Michael Smid said at the NASSTRAC conference in April. The result has been a flurry of regulations and proposals aimed at making trucking operations safer, greener, and more labor friendly. Trouble is, the regulations would do more than just make truckers greener, safer, etc.; they would also drive up their costs – and by extension, the rates shippers pay. “There are at least five issues at play,” Mike Regan, president and CEO of the consultancy TranzAct Technologies, warned at the NASSTRAC conference. “If they swing the wrong way, your rates will go up.”
And these rate increases could be substantial. According to some of the conference speakers, any one of these initiatives alone could result in a rate hike of 2% to 4%. If they were all to hit at once in a so-called “perfect storm” scenario, freight rates could shoot up as much as 15 to 20%. Read more Read more here.
At an ABA Export Controls and Sanctions Committee Brown Bag lunch on May 6, 2010, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Department of Commerce, Kevin Wolf introduced the subject of export control reform and Director of the Information Technology Controls Division, BIS, Randy Pratt outlined three significant changes to US export control regulations coming soon. We describe below the encryption regulation changes that will be coming soon: Read more here.
The University of Maryland and Waters Corporation have partnered to open a facility in Maryland to train foreign food manufacturers and scientists in methods of analysis to help them meet US food safety standards.
The International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) will be run by the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), a new collaboration between the University of Maryland and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The IFSTL is expected to open next year.
Imports account for about 15% of the total US food supply, including 60% of fresh fruit and vegetables and 80% of seafood. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are about 189,000 registered foreign sites where food is made for sale in the United States, but the FDA only inspects a tiny fraction of them – just 153 in 2008. Read more here.
The volume of cargo carried by Canadian railways increased in March, as both commodity loadings in Canada and traffic received from the United States rose. Total freight traffic originating in Canada and received from the United States increased to 25.5 million metric tonnes in March, up 16.1% from March 2009.
Compared with March 2009, freight loaded in Canada rose 14.0% to 23.0 million metric tonnes in March. The Canadian railway industry’s core transportation systems, non-intermodal and intermodal, both contributed to the rise in cargo loaded.
Non-intermodal freight loadings, which are typically carried in bulk or loaded in box cars, rose 14.3% to 20.7 million metric tonnes. The commodity groups with the largest increases in tonnage were potash, coal, iron and steel (primary or semi-finished) and other metallic ores and concentrates. Read more here.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is holding another webinar to help the trade community understand how to comply with the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier requirements, commonly known as “10+2,” that went into effect January 26, 2010. CBP be hosting the webinar on Thursday May 27, 2010 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM (EDT), specifically focusing on the needs of small to medium-sized companies importing into the United States.
The one-hour webinar is primarily geared towards small and medium-sized importers who have limited familiarity with the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements.
The program will consist of a high-level overview of the “10+2” requirements, an update on the statistics and current trends, critical information on enforcement; and will conclude with a question and answer session. To register click here.
The Bank of Canada should raise interest rates “without delay” and continue to gradually hike throughout this year and next, the OECD said Wednesday.
The recommendation comes just six days before central bank officials announce a decision on whether to boost its key lending rate from a record low.
Strategists had thought, until lately, a June 1st rate hike was a done deal after a string of stronger-than-expected Canadian economic reports. That certainty has ebbed, though, as European debt problems shake global confidence. The OECD, for its part, thinks the central bank should act swiftly to raise rates. Read more here.
Petitioners say they have enough signatures in 83 of 85 ridings to force Campbell to back down
British Columbia’s map is increasingly painted in “No HST” colours, but Premier Gordon Campbell vowed Tuesday to press ahead with the tax change despite the political price he is paying.
“I think there's probably only one thing in the province less popular than the HST and that's potentially me at this particular moment,” Mr. Campbell said.
Earlier in the day, organizers of a petition to repeal the new tax under B.C.’s citizen-driven initiative process announced they have already gathered enough signatures in 83 of the province’s 85 ridings to meet the requirements to force Mr. Campbell’s government into retreat. Read more here.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke talked with Bloomberg’s Susan Li about China’s currency policy and trade relationship with the U.S.
Locke arrived in Hong Kong on May 16 for a 10-day trade mission to China and Indonesia aimed at promoting U.S. exports of clean energy, energy efficiency and electric power products.
Government expects 100% shipment screening in five years
Canada will phase in 100% screening of air cargo under a new program that will include some US$90 million of funding to improve security for shipping at the country’s airports.
Canadian Transport Minister John Baird said the program would also include training for companies on how to watch for security lapses in the supply chain, X-ray scanning and the addition of bomb-sniffing dogs. “We must remember that terrorism is not just something that happens somewhere else to someone else," Baird said in announcing the program at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Read more here.
Japan, at the meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods on 21 May 2010, expressed concern over what it said were local-content requirements in a renewable-energy programme in Canada’s province of Ontario. It asked Canada to explain the consistency of the requirements with various WTO agreements, including the GATT 1994 provision on equal treatment for imports, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures. The European Union and the United States expressed interest on this matter.
Canada said that its trade officials are reviewing the programme, and that Japan's questions had been forwarded to Ontario.
On another matter, Chinese Taipei expressed concern that Canada imposes higher tariffs on products from Chinese Taipei as compared to products from developing economies with higher levels of per capita GDP. It urged Canada to provide non-discriminatory tariff treatment to products from Chinese Taipei as Canada had done with other members that are at comparable levels of development.
Canada said that it already maintains very low tariffs, and that recently, it had eliminated tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery. It added that these measures have benefited its trading partners, including Chinese Taipei.
The Goods Council approved requests by the European Union to extend deadlines on its tariff negotiations with other members on its enlargements in 2004 and in 2007 respectively. It also approved a request by Argentina to extend its waiver related to the introduction of the Harmonized System 1996 changes, and forwarded the decision to the General Council for adoption.
As the economy slowly inches its way back to something resembling a recovery, the logistics industry is seeing a recovery of its own, one that will see manufacturers take a modest hit to the wallets as rates for motor carriers, railroads and intermodal transportation increase over the next six months.
According to FreightPulse 18, a semi-annual survey of preferred transportation modes conducted by equity research firm Morgan Stanley with Logistics Today, it’s expected that those shippers using rail carriers to move their freight will see a 2.5% hike in their rates through the end of 2010. Even so, rail carriers will see a 2.6% increase in the amount of goods shipped this year. Rail is generally the least expensive mode of domestic transportation, and volume growth is expected to be comparable to the 2003/2004 rebound. […]
• Rail rate increase 2.5%, volume increase 2.6%
• Intermodal rate increase 0.9%, volume increase 2.1%
• Truckload rate increase 0.6%, volume increase 2.7%
• Regional LTL rate increase 0.7%, volume increase 2.1%
• National LTL rate increase 0.7%, volume increase 1.5%
Read more here.
Source: Freight Pulse 18, conducted by Morgan Stanley with Logistics Today. Forecasts reflect expectations for freight rate and volume increases in the second half of 2010.
A Tennessee appellate court recently held that a carrier had no duty to count the goods delivered to it by a broker’s customer, even when the goods were delivered to the carrier unsealed. As a result of this ruling, brokers must take care to ensure that goods are properly counted, when loaded and unloaded, or risk liability exposure when disputes arise as to delivery quantities. […]
As always, but more so now after Mark VII, it is critical to have complete, accurate and legible bills of lading. To avoid the trap posed by Mark VII, brokers should consider implementing policies and using contracts that require more complete bills of lading consistent with those of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), coupled with provisions that shift legal responsibility to the extent bills of lading prove to be incomplete, inaccurate or illegible. Additionally, brokers should evaluate whether their contracts adequately address the duty on the part of carriers to ensure the actual quantity of a load matches the quantity set forth on a bill of lading. Read more here.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Clients are reminded that as per U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) all plant material quantities be reported on the Lacey Act declaration should now be using standardized metric units (such as kg, m, m2, m3).
The values are to reflect the actual plant content in the product and not necessarily the product as a whole.
APHIS is no longer accepting other counts of items (e.g., PCS - pieces, No - number, boxes, etc) as valid units of measure.
APHIS notes that counts of items do not adequately address the “quantity of the plant material” required by the Act.(3372.f.1.A.ii) Counts do not allow for differences in size or weight between items, nor do they accurately reflect the actual plant content in a shipment.
The Global Export Forecast identifies the major forces acting on the world economy and their implications for Canadian exporters. It describes which foreign markets will offer the best opportunities for Canadian exporters for the coming year, and analyzes the sales outlook by sector. It also discusses the major risks faced by exporters.
Global Export Forecast available here and an the Executive Summary available here.
Leaders of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee were upbeat Thursday afternoon about redirecting Customs and Border Protection’s focus to facilitating trade and collecting revenue after a hearing in which government officials and members of the trade community presented a range of ideas to match the movement of commerce to security needs.
Acting Subcommittee Chairman John D. Tanner, D-Tenn., and ranking member Kevn Brady, R-Texas, told trade witnesses the hearing was a good first step toward a Customs reauthorization bill that they expect to introduce before the end of the year.
Tanner and Brady said Customs’ efforts in supply chain security since the September 2001 terrorist attacks had moved resources away from the agency’s revenue functions that are part of Ways and Means oversight activities.
Tanner laid out particular areas that he plans the reauthorization bill to address. They included Customs’ failure to consult with the committee before taking significant policy steps. In the past two years Customs has proposed changes in the “first sale” rule for valuation, and country of origin labeling, only to backpedal when Congress objected.
The future of the Automated Commercial Environment and the International Trade Data System, Customs organization, trade facilitation and security, and new ways that Customs can regulate trade without impairing the flow of goods. Read more here.
Capacity squeeze and cargo backlogs at Chinese ports will force early surcharge
Carriers are poised to bring forward peak season surcharges on the transpacific trade as cargo piles up at ports across China due to a lack of containership capacity.
Paul Tsui, Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (HAFFA), said most sailings to the U.S. were hugely overbooked, resulting in the constant rollover of consignments. […]
Lines have been squeezing capacity on the transpacific trades in the lead-up to the annual contracting season, which is now almost complete. Read more here.
As part of a push for more government transparency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)… released a draft report detailing 21 steps it could take to share more information, such as providing fuller explanations of its decisions and posting more inspection reports.
Most of the proposals in the 65-page report apply to drugs and devices that the FDA regulates, but some measures address food safety issues such as import evaluations, facility inspections, and product recalls.
The proposals reflect President Barack Obama's goal of creating more openness in government and are part of a transparency initiative launched by Dr Margaret Hamburg when she stepped into her new role as FDA commissioner in June 2009.
The Competition Bureau… further clarified its enforcement approach to “Made in Canada” and “Product of Canada” claims.
In December 2009, the Bureau released its revised Enforcement Guidelines for "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" Claims. The Guidelines describe the Bureau’s approach to assessing "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" claims for non-food products under the false or misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Textile Labelling Act. The Guidelines take effect on July 1, 2010.
As is always the case, businesses should note that a mere deviation from any enforcement Guidelines does not necessarily mean that the Bureau will launch an investigation or take enforcement action. All relevant factors will be examined, on a case-by-case basis, in order to determine whether potential issues are raised under the laws in question. Should a potential issue be identified, the Bureau has a variety of tools at its disposal to achieve compliance with those laws, ranging from education and awareness to enforcement action, where appropriate. […]
In order to ensure an effective and fair industry transition, and consistent with past practice when introducing new enforcement guidelines, for the six-month period following the July 1, 2010 implementation date, the Bureau confirms that it will only consider enforcement action in circumstances of bad faith. Specifically, in that transitional period, the Bureau confirms that, in the absence of bad faith, the Bureau will limit its response in cases of apparent non-compliance to education and warning letters consistent with the options outlined in the Bureau’s Conformity Continuum.
Canada's annual rate of inflation rose to 1.8% in April, up from 1.4% in March, Statistics Canada said Friday.
For a sixth consecutive month, gasoline prices put the strongest upward pressure on the consumer price index. In April, prices at the gas pumps were 16.3% higher than they were in April 2009. That follows a 17.2% rise in the 12 months to March, Statistics Canada said.
Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website here.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Canada's composite leading indicator rose by 0.9% in April from March, recording its 11th straight gain on a strong housing sector and rising stock markets, Statistics Canada said on Thursday. The increase was greater than the 0.8% gain predicted by market operators. Read more here. Summary statistics and a link to the data file are on the Statistics Canada website.
Related: U.S. Leading Indicators Dropped in April for First Month in More Than a Year
The Lacey Act amendments of 2008 require the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to collect information on the importation of plant material using a Plant and Plant Product Declaration (form PPQ-505). This information must include the quantity and unit of measure of the imported plant material.
In an effort to create a uniform dataset, APHIS is requiring that plant material quantities be reported on the declaration using standardized metric units (kilograms, meters, square meters, etc.). These values should reflect the actual plant content in the product and not necessarily the product as a whole. While this requirement took effect May 1, APHIS is allowing a two-month grace period (ending July 1) to allow industry to make the needed changes to declaration procedures.
As a result of this change, APHIS will no longer accept counts of items (pieces, boxes, etc.) as valid units of measure on the declaration. APHIS states that item counts do not allow for differences in size or weight between items and do not accurately reflect the actual plant content in a shipment.
Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, speaks about the importance of a positive relationship with the U.S. He emphasized that Canada is fighting protectionism and opening doors to international markets.
Related: Van Loan Says Canada-Europe Trade Accord May Come Ahead of Plan
EDC has a new practical, hands-on guide designed to help Canadian companies learn about doing business in the five countries in the Andean Region – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Register to download your copy from EDC here.
Foreign exporters and U.S. importers should take note of a recent antidumping decision that represents a significant change in the U.S. Government’s antidumping duty calculations. The decision, which involved imports of certain retail carrier plastic bags from Taiwan, expands the use of a controversial practice known as “zeroing” through the use of a “targeted dumping” analysis. Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Taiwan: Final Determination of Sales at Less than Fair Value, 75 Fed. Reg. 14569 (Mar. 26, 2010) (“Taiwan Bags”). Read the discussion here.
Beijing’s policies in favor of local innovation and technology could give domestic firms a “leg up” over foreign rivals in clean energy market.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on May 17 he was “very concerned” about Chinese policies that could limit foreign firms’ access to the country’s ballooning clean energy market. Kicking off his first trade mission to China, Locke said Beijing’s policies in favor of local innovation and technology could give domestic firms a “leg up” over foreign rivals and pledged to raise the issue with Chinese officials.
“We’re very concerned about that,” Locke said. He also said that the policy was “made without any input from affected businesses and really not subject to any public comment.”
The issue comes ahead of key Sino-U.S. talks scheduled for next week in Beijing, to be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Locke and other key officials. Read more here.
The [U.S.] International Trade Commission has launched two new investigations that will (a) assess the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment to imports of certain environmental goods and (b) examine international trade in such products and the competitive conditions facing U.S. environmental goods industries.
With respect to the first investigation, the ITC will update previously provided advice on the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment to imports of certain environmental goods on U.S. imports, industries in the U.S. producing like or directly competitive articles and U.S. consumers. The ITC’s confidential report will be submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative by Oct. 18. The ITC will not hold a public hearing in connection with this investigation but welcomes written submissions for the record no later than July 7. Read more here.
It’s another step forward in Canada’s case against American Country-Of-Origin Labelling legislation.
The World Trade Organization has appointed three members to a panel to review whether the U.S. labelling requirements violate international trade rules. Both Canada and Mexico say the laws restrict market access and act as a technical barrier to trade. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz welcomed the creation of the dispute panel. He says Canada has a strong case.
“We know we have the data on our side to prove there’s been economic harm,” Ritz says. “We’re disappointed that the Americans continue moving ahead with this as opposed to taking a good, educated look.” Read more here.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD) for highway is now available on the eManifest section of the CBSA’s Web site here.
The eManifest section of the CBSA’s Web site has a new structure and includes new information on implementation, time frames for submitting advance information, client support / contact information as well as an eManifest Portal fact sheet.
Food processors in one region of Canada are to receive almost C$1m to help access new markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The Canadian Government announced C$961,000 (€753,000) will be made available to processors from western Canada to help increase the availability of their value-added food product exports in Asia-Pacific markets.
Saskatchewan Food Processors Association, Inc. (SFPA), as the lead organization in partnership with associations in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, and with Food Beverage Canada, will direct the trade missions to and from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Up to 900 food processing companies could be set to benefit from the scheme. The government forecasts the marketing initiative to return approximately C$13.5 million in sales and foreign direct investment from Asia-Pacific countries to Western Canada over the next four years.
Related: Western Economic Diversification press release and contact information available here.
Trade in natural resources (e.g. energy, minerals, plants, animals and forestry) is an important and growing share of world trade; in value terms its share increased by 20% annually in the past ten years. Although the overheated situation on raw materials market of 2008 has disappeared, pressures will mount as economic activity starts up again, but also as a result of an expected 20% increase in the world population by 2025.
Although access to raw materials is crucial for the sound functioning of the world economy, the number of restrictions imposed on the export of natural resources has increased significantly over the past few years. An OECD Workshop on Raw Materials in October 2009 demonstrated that these restrictions distort the global market and have a negative impact on both developed and developing countries. The WTO is well placed to endorse a global response to this issue. It should promote free trade in natural resources by removing existing distortions and developing and administering rules and disciplines in support of open markets.
For industrial consumers, access to raw materials under non-discriminatory and market-based conditions is crucial for their competitiveness. Increasingly however, countries are pursuing strategic policies to secure access to raw material deposits worldwide, while at the same time restricting access to their domestic raw material markets at the expense of raw materials importers. This is for instance the case for highly specialised metals and minerals, such as rare earths, lithium and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium). These materials are needed for the development of technologically sophisticated products, which are critical for low-carbon/‘green’ technologies. Read more here.
It remains to be seen just how long Alan Bersin will be serving in the Obama administration as head of Customs and Border Protection. Given a recess appointment by President Barack Obama, Bersin must receive Senate confirmation before the end of 2011, or else step down. His efforts to win over key senators did not go well in May during a hearing to vet Bersin’s qualifications and background.
Bersin apparently did not complete employment-verification forms for his 10 domestic workers—forms that tell the government whether someone is hiring illegal immigrants. The man chosen to be in charge of protecting the nation’s borders said he was unaware that he was required to fill out such paperwork during the 17 years he had hired the servants.
Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) said he found it “incredible” that Bersin didn’t know of the requirement. “That just doesn’t pass the credibility test,” said Baucus.
Bersin’s neglect to file the paperwork was also surprising in light of the fact that he held the post of “border czar” during President Bill Clinton second term. His second chance to serve in this role broke a pattern of accepting government appointments to posts for which he had little prior experience. Read more here.
Transport Minister – who supports public option – says close proximity to Ambassador Bridge puts both private spans at risk of terrorist attack
In the battle of the bridge, federal Transport Minister John Baird is playing the terrorism card.
Plans by Michigan billionaire Manuel (Matty) Moroun to build a new span next to his Ambassador Bridge would make the continent’s busiest commercial crossing a juicy target for terrorists who could block billions of dollars in Canada-U.S. trade for months, Mr. Baird says.
Mr. Moroun, 82, wants to build a new Detroit-Windsor span only 30 metres west of the Ambassador Bridge, but Ottawa is supporting a rival proposal for a new government-backed crossing three kilometres down the Detroit River.
Mr. Baird said if Mr. Moroun succeeds in adding a new span so close to his privately owned Ambassador Bridge, police will face a major security threat. “If those bridges ever went down, the Ontario and Michigan economies within a matter of days would be on their knees,” the minister said in an interview Monday. Read more here.
Related information from Transport Canada:
• Minister Issues Statement Regarding a New Windsor-Detroit Crossing
• Fact Sheet – Detroit River International Crossing
The U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday that it has made affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations on imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand (PC Strand) from China.
The department said in a statement that in the AD case, it “determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold PC Strand in the United States at 42.97-193.55 percent.”
In the CVD case, the department determined that Chinese producers/exporters of PC Strand have received net countervailable subsidies ranging from 8.85-45.85 percent.
As a result of this preliminary determination, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a cash deposit or bond based on these preliminary rates. Read more here.
A senior US business leader has renewed calls for improvements at US customs to cut waiting times for arriving visitors to no more than 30 minutes.
Tom Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said it was essential to “reduce the hassle factor” at welcoming points and said more improvements needed to be made.
Speaking at the International Pow Wow trade show in Orlando, Donohue admitted that the trauma of 9/11 had “left us less than hospitable to our foreign visitors” but insisted “we are working to fix it.” Read more here.
Monday, May 17, 2010
A real sense of confidence has returned to small and midsized industrial manufacturers, in terms of higher expectations for revenue, customer demand and hiring, according to a recent survey of the top economic concerns of midsized industrial manufacturers for 2010.
Prime Advantage, a buying consortium for the midsized industrial sector, said that the findings of its fifth Prime Advantage Group Outlook (GO) Survey reveal that 45% of respondents indicated that they expected revenue for the first half of 2010 to increase more than it did in 2009.
This builds on the optimism demonstrated in the last GO Survey study that was published in September 2009, which saw 37% of respondents predicting that revenues would increase for the remainder of 2009, as compared to the second half of 2008. Read more here.
Miscalculating the value of textiles and other imports is a growing problem at the nation’s ports and one that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is increasingly addressing, said Janet Labuda, CBP’s director of textile enforcement and operations division.
Labuda – who oversees the textile and apparel industry, including the enforcement of quota, illegal textiles transshipments, trade agreements for textiles, and operational policy development and implementation – spoke to apparel-industry executives May 11 during a seminar hosted by the California Fashion Association at the law offices of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles. […]
Labuda said Customs and Border Protection is in the early stages of a “Special Enforcement Initiative” to investigate more than 180 textile importers involved with approximately 400 instances of possible gross undervaluation of apparel and textile goods being imported from China. The initiative, which began in February 2009 and is targeting 60 textile importers at a time, has turned up several instances of undervaluations and illegal activities, Labuda said. Read more here.
Foreign companies doing business in China are increasingly feeling as if the deck is stacked against them. China has filed more than a dozen trade cases to limit imports, imposed a series of “buy Chinese” measures and limited exports of some minerals to force multinationals to move factories to China.
Foreign executives in China find themselves increasingly at odds with Chinese officials over these measures, which Westerners view as protectionist and intended to give an edge to Chinese companies. Surveys by Western chambers of commerce of executives show growing disenchantment in the last year and a sense that doing business in China, never easy, is growing harder.
Arriving in Hong Kong on Sunday evening at the start of a nine-day trade mission to China, including stops in Shanghai and Beijing, the American commerce secretary, Gary Locke, said that his agenda for discussions with Chinese officials included Western companies’ difficulties in the Chinese market. “There are some policies of the Chinese government that many countries have raised concerns about, including the United States,” Mr. Locke said at a press conference at Hong Kong International Airport. Read more here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection would like to remind all travelers wishing to import live bedding plants and nursery stock from Canada that certain certificates are required to accompany purchased plants and nursery stock.
Travelers are reminded to purchase live bedding plants from certified greenhouses in Canada that have authority to issue a CFIA 4702. The CFIA 4702 is a yellow sticker that is attached to an invoice with all the plants purchased from the certified greenhouses. The CFIA yellow sticker only applies to plants meeting U.S. entry requirements. Nursery stock (potted trees and shrubs) and homegrown plants will require a Canadian phytosanitary certificate for entry into the United States. Failure to have the correct certification when crossing the border into the United States will result in the abandonment and destruction of the plants.
For more detailed information on the importation of live plants please download the Canadian Border Agricultural Clearance Manual from the APHIS/USDA website.
When Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon visits the White House on May 19, I hope President Obama takes time to mend the deteriorating U.S.-Mexico relationship, which recently soured over a trucking dispute.
Last year, the Obama Administration responded to union requests that reversed several years of policy and blocked Mexican long-haul trucks from crossing the U.S. border. The Administration’s ruse of truck safety flew in the face of a total lack of evidence and years of peaceful trade. Mexico responded quickly...exercising legal rights under longstanding agreements by slapping high tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of American products. These tariffs hurt many American producers, including farmers and manufacturers.
Reopening the U.S. border to Mexican long-haul trucks would lift the excessive tariffs placed on U.S. products. Such action would contribute greatly toward achieving President Obama’s pledge to double exports in the next five years. It would also help save and create some 25,000 U.S. jobs affected by the trading relationship… Read more here.
Note: Mr. Shapiro is President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association
In a May 13 confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Customs Commissioner Alan Bersin said he will work to further facilitate legitimate international trade and improve consultations with public and private stakeholders. Bersin was recess appointed by President Obama in March, meaning that unless he is confirmed by the Senate he will be required to step down as commissioner at the end of 2011.
Bersin said he supports U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s post-9/11 missions of guarding U.S. borders against “dangerous people and dangerous things” while making it easier for legitimate trade and travel to enter and exit the country. While he called homeland security CBP’s “first responsibility,” he also recognized trade community concerns that CBP has not given sufficient priority to its trade facilitation mission. In response, he expressed his intent to “focus on expediting secure trade and travel so that commerce flows faster, the cost of doing business diminishes, our country remains competitive in an era of economic globalization, and our economic recovery is sustainable over the long run.”
Bersin also discussed longstanding concerns regarding “the cumulative cost of government decisions on the trade community, and the lack of consultation and transparency in [CBP’s] decision making process.” Having asked the trade community to “assume its fair share of the burden” by exercising reasonable care, providing more transaction-related information and investing in the resources necessary to keep up with current requirements, he said, CBP in turn should “strive continually to provide an environment built upon predictability, transparency, and uniformity in the importing process.” In addition, the agency needs to “weigh the cumulative costs of our decisions on business and, when possible, provide for simplified commercial processing.”
Read more here.
Appeal No. 2009-1267, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
Although the petition for by the appellant for a panel rehearing was denied, the dissenting opinion by Circuit Judge Pauline Newman is worth noting:
I respectfully dissent from the denial of Chrysler's petition for rehearing en banc. I write separately because of the importance of the issue in this era of electronic record-keeping, for the court holds that a government agency, Customs, can simply deny the correctness of its official electronic records, many years after the records were made and the underlying paper documents discarded, and then place the burden on the affected public to create fresh independent proof of the record or lose all benefit of the record. The government's refusal to rely, or permit the taxpayer to rely, on official government records, has profound consequences in today's electronic culture.
In this case, both the government and the taxpayer had routinely discarded the original hard copy documents that had been filed with the government before July 1, 1990, and from which the permanent electronic records had been made. Having destroyed the original documents and retained only the electronic records, the government has refused to refund the $782,407.45 that the electronic records show as export tax received from Chrysler before July 1, 1990. My colleagues have endorsed that position.
This ruling is of far-reaching import with respect to the status and presumed correctness of government electronic records.
Read more here.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
A Vancouver bomb threat on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong caused Canadian officials to send fighter jets to escort the plane to the airport Saturday.
Following a bomb threat on a Cathay Pacific flight en route to Vancouver from Hong Kong, Canadian officials sent fighter jets to escort the plane to the airport. Once grounded at the Vancouver International Airport police conducted a thorough search of the plane and its luggage, but found no trace of explosives.
The Vancouver bomb threat comes as yet another scare in a series of foiled or failed terror attacks.
Following the attempted Times Square bombing and the failed Christmas day bombing on a Detroit-bound flight, it remains uncertain if this latest attempt will result in increased security measures.
The plane landed safely on Saturday with 283 passengers and 14 crew members in good condition. Once on the ground, the passengers spent 2 hours in customs before leaving without their baggage.
Cathay Pacific has termed the bomb scare a "hoax," but officials are still looking into the matter. Read more here.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Canadian businesses engaged in international trade always have been less diligent on compliance with import and export controls imposed by the Export and Import Permits and Controlled Goods Acts and similar legislation, than on other regulation. Often compliance did not occur until due diligence requirements on financings or at the sale of the business focussed attention on required inquiry and compliance “with all applicable laws”.
Since a significant and essential aspect of Canadian import and export controls covers the re-export from Canada of goods of U.S. origin, Canadian business should take note that increased surveillance and compliance as well as controls generally, have received much recent attention in the U.S. […]
Export and import controls compliance programs have been developed by many U.S. companies. What the U.S. enforcement agencies recommend for such programs should be of particular interest to Canadians faced with (remedial) compliance since Canadian authorities are fully familiar with U.S. requirements. Also, the creation or improvement of such programs often has been required by Canadian authorities when approached to rule on possible contraventions, particularly when requests are made for expedited consideration in view of an impending “closing”.
Read more here. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce published “How to Develop An Effective Export Management And Compliance Program And Manual“. The U.S. Department of State similarly has published guidelines for compliance programs in this area. Although no one “template” will suffice for all companies, the Canadianized version of the U.S. government’s guidelines provides an effective starting point from which to develop a compliance program acceptable to Canadian regulators. The original article with footnotes, and the template for a Canadian compliance program can be downloaded here.
• Procedures & Documentary Process for the Import of Pet Food, Pet Treats, Compound Pet Chews Containing Bovinae Ingredients from USA to Canada
• Procedures & Documentary Process to Apply for Import Permit and Renewal/Amendments for the Import of Pet Food, Pet Treats, Compound Pet Chews Containing Non-Bovinae Ingredients from USA to Canada
• Template: Importer Statement of Compliance
Members and associates of the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) reported 3,873 cargo crimes in Europe, the Middle East & Africa (EMEA) in 2009, costing manufacturers and logistics service providers’ losses of €120 million.
In terms of categories, there were increases in incidents of theft from facility and hijacking, but fewer incidents of theft from vehicle, theft of vehicle, robbery, theft and fraud.
Commodities such as tobacco products, non-electronic, sports goods and ‘supplies’ all saw a higher level of losses in 2009 compared with 2008, but there was an encouraging downward trend in other areas, including metal, laptops/PDAs, mobile phones, pharmaceutical and medical products and computer software. Read more here.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, and Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Henríquez, today [May 14] signed the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement and parallel agreements on labour cooperation and the environment. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, witnessed the signing ceremony.
“Panama is a dynamic, innovative economy,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government’s aggressive free trade agenda is opening new markets within the Americas, creating opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers and, as we recover from the global economic downturn, securing future prosperity for Canadians and our trading partners.”
“Today’s historic signing marks a new era in relations with a key partner and much-valued friend in the Americas,” said the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas). “Our government is working with like-minded countries such as Panama to secure a brighter, more prosperous future for our hemisphere.”
The Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement will lower tariffs on goods and remove other trade barriers to benefit a broad range of sectors, creating new opportunities for the Canadian construction, manufacturing and agriculture industries.
The Free Trade Agreement will also expand market access for Canadian service providers in areas such as information and communication technology, and engineering, environmental, energy and financial services. Investment provisions in the Free Trade Agreement provide greater protection for Canadian investments in Panama and will ensure greater transparency and security for Canadian investors. In addition, the Agreement will secure access to the government procurement market, including for the $5.4-billion expansion of the Panama Canal and other infrastructure projects.
Read the complete press release here.
Executives from both sides of border visit Capitol Hill to promote agreement
Cross-border trade with Canada isn’t just about sales and profit, it’s about millions of jobs, U.S. and Canadian business executives told members of Congress this week. U.S. trade with Canada supports 8 million jobs in the United States alone, the executives said, a number that resonates on Capitol Hill when U.S. unemployment is stuck near 10%. […]
“We need to increase awareness of how matters now before Congress can affect jobs in the U.S.,” Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer said May 12. “We are the most reliable supplier of energy to the U.S., the biggest supplier of oil to the U.S., and we’re the biggest customer you’ve got,” Doer said.
A study released by the Canadian government found that the number of U.S. jobs supported by trade with Canada increased from 5.2 million in 2001 to 8 million. Total cross-border trade has been increasing at an annual rate of 7.8%, the study said. Read more here.
The Competition Bureau has released Enforcement Guidelines relating to when “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” claims may be made in association with non-food products sold to Canadian consumers (“Guidelines”). Food products that are associated with “Made in Canada” and “Product of Canada” claims are subject to different guidelines created by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Although the Guidelines are not legislation, they do describe the general approach of the Bureau to assessing “Made in Canada” and “Product of Canada” claims under the false and misleading representations provisions of various Acts, including the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.
The Guidelines come into effect on July 1, 2010. After this date, all non-food products that are associated with a “Made in Canada” or “Product of Canada” claim, including inventory that is already on-shelf, must meet the conditions set out in the Guidelines. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to consider options such as over-stickering to make product packaging compliant post July 1, 2010. Read more here.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Nearly two dozen trade groups from the U.S., Europe and Canada have called on China to eliminate a controversial policy governing the participation of foreign suppliers in Chinese government procurement. This policy will reportedly be one of the top issues raised by U.S. officials at the May 24-25 meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.
In 2006, China’s State Council adopted a plan that incorporated into China’s national industrial policy the concept of developing indigenous innovation products and giving them preferential treatment in the government procurement process. Later that year several Chinese agencies released a document detailing the requirements a product must meet to be accredited as an indigenous innovation and receive procurement preferences. Some of these requirements, as well as several follow-on actions, raised concerns that foreign companies would be excluded from China’s government procurement market with respect to products such as computer and application hardware, telecommunication hardware, modern office equipment, software, new-energy equipment and highly efficient energy-reducing products. Read more here.
A coalition of more than 100 companies and business and trade groups sent a letter recently to President Obama asking him to help resolve a long-running dispute with Mexico over the cross-border trucking provisions of NAFTA. The letter claimed that the $2.4 billion worth of retaliatory sanctions Mexico imposed against U.S. exports in 2009 in response to Congress’ termination of a pilot trucking program have cost the U.S. about 25,000 jobs. In addition, the letter said, many affected companies will not be able to endure the tariffs much longer, meaning that “more jobs will soon be lost.”
The coalition noted that a May 19 visit to the White House by Mexican President Felipe Calderon “will be an opportune time to finalize a resolution” to the trucking dispute. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood held out hope that progress could be made at that meeting when he told a Senate committee last week that the administration is “very close” to announcing a plan that will apparently include restarting the pilot program. LaHood made a similar claim earlier this year. Read more here.
United States Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced new draft climate legislation on Wednesday, ten months after the House of Representatives passed its own bill to cut US emissions of greenhouse gases.
Senators Kerry, a Democrat, and Lieberman, an Independent, are the chief sponsors of the nearly 1,000-page piece of legislation, which aims to bolster the U.S. contribution to addressing climate change while spurring economic growth and creating jobs at home. The bill is in line with the United States’ official international position to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide to 17% of 2005 levels by 2020. Read more here. An official 21-page summary of the bill is available here: here.
U.S., Canada should follow ‘single market’ strategy in trade, says Healey
The United States and Canada need to emulate businesses pursuing a “single market” strategy for trade and security, a top Procter & Gamble executive says.
Friction over security and trade policy threatens the economic recovery and the competitiveness of both nations, said Melanie Healey, group president for North America at Procter & Gamble.
“Heightened security has led to a thickening border” since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Healey said Wednesday at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
“With 40,000 truckloads of P&G goods crossing the border every year, we’re concerned about this,” she said. Two- to four-hour backups at the border cost P&G roughly 80,000 to 160,000 hours each year, Healey said. That equals about nine to 18 years of delay. Read more here.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is making changes to the government’s product safety bill after chastising Liberal senators for fiddling with the legislation last year.
The change of heart comes after a bruising few months late last year, when Liberal senators, who enjoyed a plurality in the upper chamber, amended the bill after it passed the House of Commons unanimously. Had the Senate not approved the handful of amendments in December, the bill would have become law before the new year. Instead, the amended bill was sent back to the House of Commons, where it died when Parliament was prorogued.
Aglukkaq has yet to reintroduce the bill because the government itself is quietly reworking the legislation, even though the original bill received the enthusiastic support from all three opposition parties in the House of Commons. Read more here.
Three western premiers are leaving for Asia on Thursday, with an eye to promoting investment in their provinces from China and Japan and touting the region as Canada’s “economic powerhouse.”
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Alberta’s Ed Stelmach and British Columbia’s Gordon Campbell are making the trek as part of their recently signed New West Partnership agreement, which commits them to work together promoting trade and reducing trade barriers.
Wall said the three provinces may establish a trade office in China.
“There’s a cost issue, to be sure, if we were to do this,” said Wall. “There’s also a branding issue.
“Because it’s one thing for the Saskatchewan brand to be known in a market that big and that far away. It’s a little bit better to leverage the western Canadian brand or the Canadian brand, and so if we were to do something like that – that would be the rationale – yes, cost and also the branding issue of the ‘Canadian brand.’”
“The recent economic downturn has proven that we are stronger if we work together,” said Campbell. Read more here.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
First year-to-year increase since July 2008 marks recovery
The Transportation Department’s Freight Transportation Index, which measures month-to-month changes in ton-miles shipped, rose 0.9% in March from February for the third consecutive monthly gain.
The March Freight TSI rose 2.6% from March 2009, the first year-to-year increase in the freight index since July 2008.
The freight index rose 1.6% in the first quarter, marking only the sixth quarterly increase in the past 20 quarters but the second in the last three quarters. Read more here.
Canada’s trade surplus narrowed to $254 million in March as imports outpaced exports. A month earlier, the surplus was $1.2 billion, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. Falling demand for energy products pushed exports down 0.7%, while increased demand for precious metals pushed imports two per cent higher.
The drop in exports halted six months of gains. They were worth $33.5 billion in March, down from $33.8 billion in February. Energy products made up most of the decline, with prices dropping by 6.9%. Excluding energy, exports increased 1.3%.
Imports grew from $32.6 billion in February to $33.3 billion in March, the highest point since December 2008 and the fourth gain in five months.
Exports and imports to the United States both fell in March, by 2.5 and 0.6%, respectively. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $3.8 billion in March from $4.3 billion in February, the data agency said.
Exports to countries other than the United States grew 4.2%, while imports were 6.5% higher. Trade with Europe was the main story there, as imports from the EU were up a substantial 19%. Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened to $3.6 billion in March from $3.2 billion in February.
Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the at Statistics Canada website. Export and import price indexes are available here.
Related: Imports and Exports Rise but Trade Deficit Widens (NYT)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
A number of trade-related measures are currently working their way through the legislative process. A bill to overhaul the U.S. food safety system could come up for a vote in the Senate by the end of this month. Standing in the way is a financial reform bill that includes a provision that could increase enforcement efforts against violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And supporters of legislation addressing the value of China’s currency are looking to add it to another bill moving through Congress, possibly a jobs bill lawmakers could take up later this summer.
Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Harry Reid and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, continue to say they are working to have the Senate approve a food safety reform bill by the end of May.
Supporters of legislative action against China’s alleged manipulation of the value of its currency say they remain intent on sending a measure to the president this year and that they are searching for an appropriate legislative vehicle. According to Inside US Trade, one such measure could be an upcoming bill to increase domestic employment. Other options are being discussed as well.
There continues to be little movement on the pending FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama, and there appear to be few prospects for action in the near future. Inside US Trade cited informed sources as saying that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin told Colombian Trade Minister Luis Plata recently that over the last four years Colombia has made “no progress” in improving its labor rights situation, the key issue that has held up consideration of the Colombia FTA in Congress. The White House, meanwhile, has still given Colombia no indication of the benchmarks it should meet to help move the FTA forward.
There have been sporadic reports that Congress could take up the Panama FTA after the elections in November. According to CongressDaily, Panamanian ambassador to the U.S. Jaime Aleman said recently that his country is working to address U.S. lawmakers’ outstanding concerns so that a vote could take place at that time. “We have made substantial movement on the labor front,” the article quoted Aleman as saying, “and we have implemented or are in the process of implementing all of the changes” needed to remove Panama from a list of tax havens maintained by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Read the complete article at WTA here.
Monday, May 10, 2010
The way Mark Loney sees it, there can’t be many food products more patriotic than a jam marketed under the brand name CANADA’S.
CANADA’S Pure Saskatoon Jam is crammed with juicy Saskatoon berries, processed and packaged by a Saskatchewan company, then sold through Loney’s Cloverleaf Grocery in northwestern Ontario.
Yet when federal rules on food-labelling were updated in late 2008, “we had to take ‘Product of Canada’ off all our stuff,” he says. The reason: small amounts of sugar and citric acid in the jam weren’t produced in Canada.
Loney’s experience isn’t unusual. Food producers of all sizes have felt the pinch of federal regulations that say a food can only be labelled “Product of Canada” if its contents are 98% Canadian-sourced and processed here. Read more…
Outstanding economic growth in Ontario and British Columbia – the provinces that will be hit with a controversial new tax regime this summer – will lead a nationwide recovery from last year’s downturn, the Conference Board of Canada has predicted in a report. Ontario and B.C. will see their economies grow by 3.8% over last year, despite the planned introduction of the harmonized sales tax on July 1 expected to raise consumer prices in both provinces, the private-sector economic forecaster said in its Provincial Outlook report published Monday.
“There are clear signs of economic recovery from coast to coast,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, associate director of provincial forecasting at the Conference Board. “The improved domestic economies of Ontario and B.C., along with increased demand from the United States, will support a strong rebound in both provinces.”
Overall, the Canadian economy’s gross domestic product is expected to be up 3.2% compared with last year, which began with one of the deepest recessions in decades following the financial crisis that erupted in the final months of 2008.
“Considering the epic collapse of the global economy in 2008 and 2009, Canada’s situation today is remarkably good,” the board said in its provincial outlook. The Conference Board expects growth to be even stronger in 2011, advancing to 3.3%, as increasing private capital investment and improving trade performance offset subsiding federal and provincial government spending. Read more here.
Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency is proposing to make changes (Amendment 12) to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations (the Regulations) with respect to line-voltage thermostats that are imported or shipped interprovincially for the purpose of sale or lease in Canada. A bulletin describing the proposed changes can be downloaded here.
The proposed changes to the Regulations will be presented during a webinar to be hosted for stakeholders on June 14, 2010. Webinar details will be sent to those stakeholders who will have expressed an interest in participating. Please send your comments and/or interest in attending the webinar to: email@example.com
The USA-based Air Cargo Security Alliance (ACSA), comprising 300 indirect air carriers, direct shippers and customs brokers, has petitioned Janet Napolitano, head of the US Department of Homeland Security, to implement a federal cargo screening program paid for by a US$0.05 cent per pound fee on all shipments.
According to Michael Whately of ACSA, the TSA's Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) as it stands will "force most small to mid-size forwarders and indirect air carriers (IAC) to face insurmountable costs and logistical hurdles before they even enter the marketplace. This will result in reduced competition and just-in-time shipping options for businesses will be severely limited. For many, the 100% screening mandate without a federal screening program operating at all American airports makes economic viability impossible."
The trade association now wants the TSA to establish and operate federal cargo screening centres at major U.S. airports and pay for it through a uniform fee.
With the deadline for 100% screening 95 days away, ACSA says "only a fraction of the more than 4,000 registered IAC and shippers have joined the CCSP to date".
The Lacey Act Amendments of 2008 require APHIS to collect information on the importation of plant material, using a Plant and Plant Product Declaration (known as the PPQ505). The quantity and unit of measure of the imported plant material must be declared. In an effort to create a uniform dataset, APHIS will no longer accept counts of items (PCS - pieces, No - number, Boxes, etc) as valid units of measure. Counts of items do not adequately address the “quantity of the plant material” required by the Act.(3372.f.1.A.ii) Counts do not allow for differences in size or weight between items, nor do they accurately reflect the actual plant content in a shipment.
Beginning May 1, 2010, APHIS is requiring that plant material quantities be reported on the declaration using standardized metric units (kg, m, m2, m3). The values should reflect the actual plant content in the product and not necessarily the product as a whole. For an example click here.
FIATA has been informed by its member AAACI that the Argentinean Authorities have announced the enforcement of the new regulation AFIP 2744/09 for all Import Cargo to Argentina effective 17 May, 2010 for the C.U.I.T. number resp. on 1 July, 2010 for the Customs Code number. A detailed explanatory document from FIATA is available here.
The purpose of this customs notice is to advise that effective April 1, 2011, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will no longer accept generic itinerant carrier codes for any mode of transportation. With the implementation of eManifest (advance commercial information) in the highway mode in September 2010, the CBSA will begin phasing in new policies and procedures. Carrier codes will become a regulatory requirement for all carriers, thereby harmonizing carrier identification with the eManifest initiative.
The generic itinerant highway carrier code “77YY” will no longer be accepted for commercial cross-border activity. A unique carrier code, assigned by the CBSA, will become a part of the setup process for eManifest. To allow carriers and drivers currently using code “77YY” to obtain a carrier code, a transition period will begin on May 1, 2010, until the final elimination of code “77YY” on March 31, 2011. For further information on applying for a carrier code please access this link.
Please direct any questions regarding this notice to: Manager, Registration Unit, CBSA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 1(866) 749-6623
1. This notice announces the elimination of the maximum rates of customs duty on certain woollen fabrics in the Customs Tariff as of March 5, 2010.
2. Article 769 of Bill C-9, amends the Customs Tariff and states:Section XI in the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Act is amended by deleting Supplementary Note 1 and renumbering Supplementary Note 2 as Supplementary Note 1.
3. Supplementary Note 1 dealt with the maximum rate of customs duty under the Most-Favoured Nation Tariff and eligible Commonwealth countries on woollen fabrics of tariff item Nos. 5111.11.90, 5111.20.91, 5111.30.18, 5111.30.91, 5111.90.91, 5112.11.90, 5112.19.94, 5112.20.91. 5112.30.91, 5112.90.91 and 5803.00.29.
4. Bill C-9 is an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures.
5. Inquiries and comments about this notice should be directed to:
Primary Products Industries Sector Unit, Tariff Division
Post-Border Programs Directorate, Programs Branch
Canada Border Services Agency
Telephone: 613-948-1282 Fax: 613-952-3971
FDA has added 9 new product codes at the request of their Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). If you are transmitting entry information for the product(s) described below, please begin using these new codes immediately.
Class B – Cigarettes
98B- -06 Cigarettes, Light, Mild, or Low, Unflavored
98B- -07 Cigarettes, Light, Mild, or Low, Flavored (Menthol)
98B- -08 Cigarettes, Light, Mild, or Low
Class C - Smokeless Tobacco
98C- -08 Chewing Tobacco, Light, Mild, or Low, Loose Leaf
98C- -09 Chewing Tobacco, Light, Mild, or Low, Plug
98C- -10 Chewing Tobacco, Light, Mild, or Low, Twist
98C- -11 Snuff, Light, Mild, or Low, Dry
98C- -12 Snuff, Light, Mild, or Low, Moist
98C- -13 Snus, Light, Mild, or Low
Please begin using these new codes immediately where appropriate to identify the product being submitted for entry, using currently existing conventions for building a product code for CTP regulated products.
Operation Network Raider, a domestic and international enforcement initiative targeting the illegal distribution of counterfeit network hardware manufactured in China, has resulted in 30 felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware and labels with an estimated retail value of more than $143 million.
The results of the operation were announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Alan Bersin, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and Assistant FBI Cyber Division Director Gordon Snow.
In addition to the convictions and seizures, CBP reports a 75 percent decrease in seizures of counterfeit network hardware at U.S. borders from 2008 to 2009. Nine individuals are currently facing trial and another eight defendants are awaiting sentencing. Read more here.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
(I.E.Canada & the Canadian Trucking Alliance)
Ottawa – May 25
London – May 27
Saskatoon – June 14
Calgary – June 15
In June 2010, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will begin testing with highway carriers in preparation for accepting electronic manifests containing cargo and conveyance data in September 2010 (pursuant to revised schedule announced by CBSA on March 11, 2010). Unprecedented cooperation amongst all parties in the supply chain will be critical to ensuring that the right information gets to the right place at the right time to avoid delays crossing the border.
I.E.Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and provincial trucking associations are partnering in this series of hands on workshops. Led by Oryst Dydynsky of The Descartes Systems Group Inc., an industry leader and Co-Chair of I.E.Canada’s Customs and Legislation Committee, and Jason Proceviat of CBSA, each workshop will include an overview of the eManifest highway initiative and the new requirements, as well as an interactive walk-through exercise to highlight the process changes that will be required of carriers, freight forwarders, importers and their brokers.
Attendees will learn:
• step by step how the new process will work;
• changes carriers, freight forwarders, importers and brokers will need to make in order to prepare;
• CBSA’s expectations of each trade partner and how to ensure you will be ready to comply;
• available options for submitting information to CBSA; and
• CBSA’s client service strategy and plans for EDI transmission and Web Portal.
More information, and registration form can be found here.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Canada is optimistic that it can sign a free trade agreement with the European Union before the end-2011 target, International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said Thursday.
The two sides have concluded three rounds of negotiations, with a fourth planned for July and a fifth in October. This will be followed by a “stock-taking exercise,” and then a political and drafting phase that had been expected to take a year, Van Loan said.
“That has been moving ahead of schedule,” he told reporters on a conference call from Spain at the conclusion of a five-day trip to Europe. “So, we’re optimistic we will be able to complete it before the end of 2011,” he said.
Van Loan said both sides “appear to have a very strong commitment, very strong interest in an agreement, and one that aims high.” He said he doesn’t foresee negotiations extending beyond the fifth round. He said the two sides have set aside “sticky” matters for discussion later, and the fourth and fifth rounds of negotiations will wrestle with the “really difficult issues.” Read more here.