Commerce May be Required to Revoke all CVD Orders and Terminate all CVD Proceedings Involving Non-Market Economy Countries
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP / www.gdlsk.com
"On December 19,2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the Department of Commerce lacks the legal authority to impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on subsidized imports from countries with non-market economies, such as China and Vietnam. Absent legislative or judicial action, the court's ruling will take effect shortly after February 2, 2012. Should this occur, it would have substantial adverse economic implications for our country."
USTR letter to Congress --
The Honorable Max Baucus Chainnan Committee on Finance United States Senate Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
On December 19, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the Department of Commerce (Commerce) lacks the legal authority to impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on subsidized imports from countries with non-market economies, such as China and Vietnam. Absent legislative or judicial action, the court's ruling will take effect shortly after February 2, 2012. Should this occur, it would have substantial adverse economic implications for our country.
Accordingly, the Administration stands ready to work with Congress to enact legislation clarifying that the CVD law can be applied to subsidized goods from non-market economies, that CVD proceedings Commerce has already initiated on products from non-market economies are to continue, and that CVD determininations Commerce has made with respect to such products are to remain in effect.
This matter is of the utmost urgency. Absent legislation, should the decision of the court become final, Commerce will be required to revoke all CVD orders and terminate all CVD proceedings involving non-market economy countries, including 24 existing CVD orders on imports from China and Vietnam, as well as five pending investigations and two recently filed petitions. This would seriously undermine the ability of the United States to remedy the harmful effects of unfairly subsidized imports, and would impair Commerce's ability to ensure that our nation's manufacturers and workers have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with our trading partners.
The CVD proceedings placed at risk by the court's decision cover a wide range of products in which U.S. manufacturing is most competitive, including steel, aluminum, paper, chemicals, tires, and other products. The annual value of the subsidized imports covered by these CVD proceedings is $4.7 billion. The U.S. petitioning industries that are competing against these subsidized imports include small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations; family-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies. These petitioning industries - representing more than 80 companies - are spread across 38 states and employ directly tens of thousands of manufacturing workers.
The Administration is fully committed to enforcing our trade laws and to addressing unfair trade practices in accordance with our statutes, regulations, and international obligations. As our staff discussed with your staff soon after the court's ruling, we are currently reviewing all options, including a request for a rehearing by the full appellate court, as we believe the court's decision misreads the CVD statute, precedent, and Congressional intent and historic bipartisan support of strong CVD laws. Notwithstanding the strength of our legal position, prompt legislative action is necessary to clarify the law and avoid harm from injurious, subsidized goods. We stand ready to work with the Congress to enact specific legislation that would remedy the court's flawed ruling.
Intellectual Property Rights
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of our business es, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers. The trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises. CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program. CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.
Visit Customs' website at: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/priority_trade/ipr/
CBP Officers Large Heroin Seizure at El Paso Port
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
El Paso, TX – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry made a sizeable heroin seizure on Tuesday. They discovered 5.3 pounds of the drug concealed within a vehicle that entered the port from Mexico.
This is a huge seizure,” said Hector Mancha, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. “During the last fiscal year area CBP seized seven pounds of heroin so stopping more than five pounds in a single bust is significant.”
The seizure was made after a 1993 Ford F-250 pickup truck arrived at the Paso Del Norte crossing shortly before noon Tuesday. A CBP officer at the primary inspection booth initiated an inspection and questioned two female occupants of the truck. The CBP officer noticed that both females, a mother and daughter, were nervous during the primary inspection.
The CBP officer selected the vehicle for a secondary exam. During the secondary inspection a CBP drug sniffing dog alerted to the undercarriage of the truck. CBP officers continued their examination and located two heroin-filled bundles contained within the transmission transfer case. The drugs weighed 5.3 pounds.
“Smugglers went to great lengths to conceal this contraband to avoid detection,” said Mancha. “CBP officers worked long and hard to identify and locate the hidden compartment within the transmission transfer case of this vehicle. Smugglers work hard to hide their drugs but CBP officers work harder to find them.”
CBP officers arrested one of the occupants, 36-year-old Candida Carolina Ortiz of Hemet, California. She was turned over to ICE/HSI special agents to face federal charges to include possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and importation of a controlled substance. Her 20-year-old daughter was interviewed and released.
“CBP officers will encounter any and all types of people attempting to smuggle drugs,” said Mancha. “We have seen teens, senior citizens, and multi-generational family units all involved in drug smuggling.”
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
Detroit CBP Officers Arrest Wayward Bicyclist at Cargo Facility
U.S. citizen wanted for parole violation
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
Detroit – On January 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBPO) arrested Stephon Herbert Jones, 44, a United States citizen at the Fort Street Cargo Facility for an outstanding warrant for parole violation. Officers processing commercial trucks noticed a strange sight as a figure, later determined to be Jones, headed down a closed primary lane on a bicycle.
Jones wa s stopped and asked for identification. Jones replied that he did not have ID and was lost, unsure how he ended up at the border. Jones was escorted into the secondary building and fingerprinted to determine his identity and citizenship. The result of the fingerprint check confirmed his identity and citizenship and in addition, turned up an outstanding warrant for a parole violation from the Michigan Department of Corrections. Jones was arrested and turned over to Detroit Police.
“The Ambassador Bridge generally prohibits bicycle traffic so it was rather strange to see someone on a bike in the middle of winter and at the cargo crossing.” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection area port director Roderick Blanchard. “I commend the efforts of the CBP Officers for keeping a sharp eye out and maintaining their vigilance"
Secretary Napolitano Unveils National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security / www.dhs.gov
DAVOS, Switzerland—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today unveiled the Obama administrations National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to facilitating legitimate trade and travel, while preventing terrorists from exploiting supply chains, protecting transportation systems from attacks and disruptions, and increasing the resilience of global supply chains.
We must continue to strengthen global supply chains to ensure that they operate effectively in time of crisis; recover quickly from disruptions; and facilitate international trade and travel, said Secretary Napolitano. As a part of this effort, we look forward to working closely with our international partners in the public and private sector to build a more resilient global supply chain.
The National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security outlines clear goals to promote the efficient and secure movement of goods and foster a resilient supply chain system. It also provides guidance for the U.S. government and crucial domestic, international, public and private stakeholders who share a common interest in the security and resiliency of the global supply chain.
The international community made significant progress on this front through Project Global Shieldnow Program Global Shieldlaunched by DHS with the World Customs Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and Interpol. Program Global Shield is an initiative to protect the supply chain by preventing the theft or illegal diversion of precursor chemicals that can be used to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Since November 2010, 89 participating nations and international organizations have been sharing information about the export of 14 precursor chemicals used in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). As of January 2012, Program Global Shield has accounted for seizures of chemical precursors totaling over 62 metric tons and 31 arrests related to the illicit diversion of these chemicals.
DHS works with leaders from global shipping companies and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on developing preventative measures, including terrorism awareness training for employees and vetting personnel with access to cargo. Fulfilling a requirement of the 9/11 Act, 100 percent of high risk cargo on international flights bound for the United States is screened.
In addition, through the Container Security Initiativecurrently operational in over 50 foreign seaports in Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and throughout AsiaU.S. Customs and Border Protection helps our partner countries identify and screen U.S.-bound maritime containers before they reach the U.S..
Following the release of the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security, DHS and the Department of State will lead a six month engagement period with the international community and industry stakeholders to solicit feedback and specific recommendations on how to implement the Strategy in a cost effective and collaborative manner. Within 12 months of the release of the Strategy, a consolidated report on the status of implementation efforts will be developed.
FTC Seeks Public Input in Review of Wool Products Labeling Rules
Federal Trade Commission / www.ftc.gov
As part of the Federal Trade Commission's systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on the continuing need for, as well as the benefits, costs, and impact of, the Wool Products Labeling Rules.
The Wool Products Labeling Rules require labels on wool products disclosing the manufacturer's or marketer's name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and information about the fiber content. The FTC first issued the Rules under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939, known as the Wool Act. The agency completed its last review of the Rules in 1998 and modified the Rules in 1998 and 2000. In 2006, the Wool Act was amended by the Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act, which sets the maximum average fiber diameter for certain wool products.
FTC is also seeking comment on how it should modify the Wool Rules to implement the Conforming Act. In addition, the FTC seeks comment on the costs and benefits of the Rules, and on whether it should clarify or modify certain Rule provisions and/or its business and consumer education materials.
The Commission vote approving the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 4-0. It is available on the FTC's website and as a link to this press release and will be published in the Federal Register soon. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice. Comments must be received by March 26, 2012. All comments received will be posted at www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. ( FTC File No. P124201; the staff contact is Robert M. Frisby, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2098)
For more information, read Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts and Cachet of Cashmere: Complying with the Wool Products Labeling Act.
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. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.