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06

Steel Wire Garment Hangers From China; Institution of a Five-Year Review
Federal Register  / https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/09/03/2013-21305/steel-wire-garment-hangers-from-china-institution-of-a-five-year-review?utm_content=header&utm_medium=slideshow&utm_source=homepage

A Notice by the International Trade Commission on 09/03/2013

Action:  Notice

Summary
The Commission hereby gives notice that it has instituted a review pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1675(c)) (the Act) to determine whether revocation of the antidumping duty order on steel wire garment hangers from China would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act, interested parties are requested to respond to this notice by submitting the information specified below to the Commission;1 to be assured of consideration, the deadline for responses is October 3, 2013. Comments on the adequacy of responses may be filed with the Commission by November 18, 2013. For further information concerning the conduct of this review and rules of general application, consult the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, part 201, subparts A through E (19 CFR part 201), and part 207, subparts A, D, E, and F (19 CFR part 207).

1No response to this request for information is required if a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) number is not displayed; the OMB number is 3117-0016/USITC No. 13-5-295, expiration date June 30, 2014. Public reporting burden for the request is estimated to average 15 hours per response. Please send comments regarding the accuracy of this burden estimate to the Office of Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436.


CBP Officers Seize $1 Million Worth of Methamphetamine at California Entry
 U.S. Customs & Border Protection / http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/local/09032013_3.xml

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico, Calif. East port of entry Thursday arrested a Mexicali woman after discovering approximately $1 million worth of methamphetamine concealed throughout her vehicle.

The incident occurred August 29 at about 4:30 p.m., when officers utilizing the port’s imaging system detected anomalies in the rear doors of a 2005 Nissan X-Trail SUV, driven by a 40-year-old female.

A CBP canine team received an alert from their detector dog; officers discovered 46 wrapped packages of methamphetamine hidden in the rear doors, dashboard, and spare tire of the vehicle. The narcotics weighed almost 59 pounds.

The driver, a Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Imperial County Jail where she awaits arraignment.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the woman to initiate removal from the U.S. at the conclusion of her criminal proceedings.

CBP seized both the vehicle and narcotics.


Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Household Food Security in the United States
United States Department of Agriculture  / http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2013/09/0169.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the release of the USDA Economic Research Service analysis Household Food Security in the United States in 2012:

"Food insecurity remains a very real challenge for millions of Americans. Today's report underscores the importance of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that have helped keep food insecurity from rising, even during the economic recession. As the recovery continues and families turn to USDA nutrition programs for help to put good food on the table, this is not the time for cuts to the SNAP program that would disqualify millions of Americans and threaten a rise in food insecurity. For our part, USDA will continue to deliver a strong nutrition program with an error rate that is at a historic low." 


U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces $474 Million for 52 TIGER 2013 Projects in 37 States
U.S. Department of Transportation / http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-transportation-secretary-foxx-announces-474-million-52-tiger-2013-projects-37

Projects Support President Obama’s Calls to Create Ladders of Opportunity, ‘Fix it First’ and Contribute to Economic Growth

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that 52 transportation projects in 37 states will receive a total of approximately $474 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program. Among these, 25 projects funded at $123.4 million will be designated for projects in rural areas of the country.

“These transformational TIGER projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.   “Together, they support President Obama’s call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.”

The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.  These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.

TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2013.  Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled more than $9 billion, far exceeding the $474 million set aside for the program.  In all, the Department received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The projects funded through this round of TIGER illustrate the President’s goals of creating “Ladders of Opportunity,” the need for a “Fix it First” approach to infrastructure, and contributing to America’s economic growth.  The following are examples of how TIGER supports these goals:

Ladders of Opportunity:  A good example of a project connecting people to jobs and economic opportunities is the Atlanta Beltline Corridor, a 33-mile system of trails, transit and parks circling downtown Atlanta and connecting more than 45 communities throughout the city and region.  A total of $18 million in TIGER funds will be used to build two miles of the trail.  This project will provide connections for residents in primarily low-income and minority communities to bus routes, rail stations, schools, parks, and other recreational activities.

Fix it First:  The $10 million investment to reconstruct the Tacoma, Wash., rail trestle is a good example of a project that will repair existing infrastructure. Replacing the 100-year old single-track wooden trestle and bridge with a modern twin-track structure will double capacity and improve reliability and travel time for Sounder and Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service.  This “fix it first” project also adds freight capacity on the Tacoma Rail line, contributing to economic growth and supporting Pierce County, the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma.

Economic Growth:  An example of a project that will help jumpstart local and national economic growth is the $10 million investment in the Houston, Texas, Bayport Wharf extension project.  The investment will allow the terminal to double its cargo capacity by 2033, supporting international trade with more than 1,000 ports in 203 countries.  The project will increase the port’s ability to take advantage of the ships expected after the Panama Canal expansion and supporting President Obama’s goal of doubling exports.   The project also will increase the productivity of the terminal by reducing truck waiting and idling times.

On March 26, 2013, the President signed the FY 2013 Appropriations Act, which after sequestration provided approximately $474 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments.  Like the first four rounds, TIGER 2013 grants are for capital investments in infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis based on the published selection criteria.  This is the fifth round of TIGER funding.

Under all five rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided more than $3.6 billion to 270 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program outweighed available funds, and during all five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 5,200 applications requesting more than $114.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants:  www.dot.gov/tiger/


FTC Updates Telemarketer Fees for the Do Not Call Registry as of October 1, 2013
 Federal Trade Commission / http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/09/dnc.shtm

The Federal Trade Commission has announced updated fees starting on October 1, 2013, for telemarketers accessing phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.  

All telemarketers calling consumers in the United States are required to download the numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to ensure they do not call those who have registered their phone numbers.  The first five area codes are free, and organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call rules, such as some charitable organizations, may obtain the entire list for free.  Telemarketers must subscribe each year for access to the Registry numbers.

The access fees for the Registry are being increased as required by the Do‑Not‑Call Registry Fee Extension Act of 2007.  Under the Act’s provisions, in fiscal year 2014 (from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014), telemarketers will pay $59, an increase of $1, for access to Registry phone numbers in a single area code, up to a maximum charge of $16,228 for all area codes nationwide, an increase from the previous maximum of $15,962.  Telemarketers will pay $1 more per area code for numbers they subscribe to receive during the second half of the 12‑month subscription period, for a total of $30 per area code.

For consumers who want to add their phone number to the Registry, registration is free and does not expire.

The Commission vote authorizing publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the new fees was 4-0.  (FTC File No. P034305; the staff contact is Ami Dziekan, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202‑326‑2648)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  


DOT Fines United for Failing to Make Timely Refunds; Airline Also Filed Inaccurate and Late Reports
U.S. Department of Transportation / http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/dot-fines-united-failing-make-timely-refunds-airline-also-filed-inaccurate-and-late

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined United Airlines $350,000 for failing to make prompt refunds to consumers.  The Department also cited the airline for filing inaccurate reports of its mishandled baggage and oversales, and failing to file timely reports of incidents involving animals in flight.  DOT did not assess a fine for these violations because United disclosed the reporting errors to DOT and took corrective action.

“When passengers are owed a refund, they have the right to expect the airline to act promptly and give them their money back,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “We also expect airlines to file accurate and timely consumer reports so that passengers will have the information they need when choosing an airline.”

Airlines are required to process refund requests within seven days of receipt of a complete request when the ticket is purchased by credit card. Refunds must be made within 20 days for tickets purchased by cash or check.  United’s customer service commitment, posted on its website, pledged to comply with these standards.  However, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office, during an on-site inspection at the airline’s headquarters, found that between March and May of 2012, United failed to process over 9,000 refund requests in a timely manner.

In addition, United underreported the number of mishandled baggage reports it received from passengers between January and October 2011 and the number of passengers it bumped, both voluntarily and involuntarily, for each quarter of 2011 from flights on which it sold more tickets than the number of available seats.  The underreporting made United’s ranking in these categories seem better than it actually was.  Also, during 2012 and 2013, United failed to file timely reports for a few incidents involving the death, injury or loss of animals on its flights.


Treasury Issues Proposed Rules for Information Reporting by Employers and Insurers Under the Affordable Care Act
U.S. Department of the Treasury / http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2157.aspx

Requests Public Comments on Additional Ways to Simplify and Streamline Reporting

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations to implement the information reporting requirements for insurers and certain employers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The regulatory proposals reflect an ongoing dialogue with representatives of employers, insurers, other reporting entities, and individual taxpayers.  

“Today’s proposed rules enable us to continue engaging on how best to implement the ACA reporting requirements in a more streamlined and focused manner,” said Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur.  “We will continue to consider ways, consistent with the law, to simplify the new information reporting process and bring about a smooth implementation of those new rules.  Doing so will help ensure that the ACA effectively and efficiently delivers its historic tax benefits that promote health security for all Americans.”

Background
The ACA provides for information reporting (under Internal Revenue Code section 6055) by insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide health coverage.  It also provides for information reporting (under Code section 6056) by employers that are large enough to be subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions regarding the health coverage they offer their full-time employees. These proposed regulations reflect comments received and an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, including plan sponsors, many of whom already offer their full-time workforce coverage far exceeding the minimum employer shared responsibility requirements. Nearly 95 percent of employers with more than 50 full-time employees already offer coverage to their employees.

The proposed rules issued today describe a variety of options to potentially reduce or streamline information reporting, such as:

  • Replacing section 6056 employee statements with Form W-2 reporting on offers of employer-sponsored coverage to employees, spouses, and dependents.
     
  • Eliminating the need to determine whether particular employees are full-time if adequate coverage is offered to all potentially full-time employees.
  • Allowing employers to report the specific cost to an employee of purchasing employer-sponsored coverage only if the cost is above a specified dollar amount.  
  • Allowing self-insured group health plans to avoid furnishing employee statements under both section 6055 and section 6056 by furnishing a single substitute statement.
     
  • Limited reporting for certain self-insured employers offering no-cost coverage to employees and their families.
  • Permitting health insurance issuers to forgo reporting under section 6055 on individual coverage offered through a Marketplace because that information will be provided by the Marketplace.
     
  • Permitting health insurance issuers, employers, and other reporting entities under section 6055 to forgo reporting the specific dates of coverage (instead reporting only the months of coverage), the amount of any cost-sharing reductions, or the portion of the premium paid by an employer.

 The statute calls for employers, insurers, and other reporting entities to report, among other things:

  • For section 6055:

o   Information about the entity providing coverage, including contact information.

o   A list of individuals with identifying information and the months they were covered.

  • For section 6056:

o   Information about the applicable large employer offering coverage (including contact information for the employer and the number of full-time employees).

o   A list of full-time employees and information about the coverage offered to each, by month, including the cost of self-only coverage.

Stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the section 6055 and 6056 proposed rules through early November. The public comments will be taken into account in developing final reporting rules.

Once the final rules have been published, reporting entities will be encouraged to voluntarily implement information reporting in 2014 (when reporting will be optional), in preparation for the full application of the reporting provisions in 2015.  Real-world testing of reporting systems in 2014 will contribute to a smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.

The proposed rules can be viewed on the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection
 
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