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23
Jobs On The Way: U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Enters Into Force

Office of the United States Trade Representative / www.ustr.gov

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today applauded the entry into force on March 15, 2012, of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. At President Obama’s direction, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative worked with Congress, stakeholders, and the Korean government to address outstanding issues with the agreement and win its overwhelming bipartisan approval in Congress last fall. Today, thousands of tariffs on U.S. exports to Korea will be eliminated, non-tariff barriers to U.S. goods and services will come down, and new protections will come into place for U.S. exporters, investors, and intellectual property rights holders.

“Starting today, Korea’s doors are wide open for Made-In-America exports that will support well-paying jobs here at home. From manufactured goods to telecommunications services to agricultural products, more Americans can get back to work making merchandise, providing services, and growing crops for export to Korea,” said Ambassador Kirk. ”The U.S.-Korea agreement is a landmark deal with an important ally. It was on the leading edge of President Obama’s drive to craft trade policy that addresses the real barriers that our exporters and workers face, and we are pleased that it will start generating benefits today in both the United States and Korea.”

In December 2010, President Obama announced the successful resolution of outstanding issues with the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, setting the stage for Congressional approval of an agreement estimated to support 70,000 American jobs from increased goods exports alone, with additional jobs potential from the further opening of Korea’s large services market to American firms and the elimination of non-tariff measures. Congress approved the pact in October 2011, with the largest-ever recorded vote of support in the U.S. Senate for a pending trade agreement.

The U.S.-Korea trade agreement is an integral part of the President’s efforts to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets, and supports the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling of U.S. exports in 5 years. For more on this agreement and its benefits for U.S. businesses and workers, visit http://www.ustr.gov/uskoreaFTA

 

How the Free Trade Agreement Affects the United States

On March 15, 2012, the United States-Korea trade agreement enters into force. This agreement is the United States' most commercially significant free trade agreement in almost 20 years. In December 2010, President Obama announced the successful resolution of outstanding issues with the agreement. With entry into force, it will support at least 70,000 additional American jobs from increased goods exports alone, with even more jobs potential from the further opening of Korea’s large services market to American firms, and other measures. The entry into force provides significant benefits to U. S. suppliers of a variety of industrial and agricultural goods and services:

Improved Market Access to Korea’s $1 Trillion Economy

The agreement is an integral part of the President’s efforts to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets, and supports the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling of U.S. exports in 5 years. It promotes the further growth of the U.S. and Korean economies and enhances the competitiveness of U.S. businesses in the world’s 12th largest economy.

New Opportunities for U.S. Exports of Industrial Products

Almost 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial products to Korea are now duty-free, including: aerospace equipment, agricultural equipment, auto parts, building products, chemicals, consumer goods, electrical equipment, environmental goods, all footwear and travel goods, paper products, scientific equipment and shipping and transportation equipment. Remaining tariffs have also been reduced and will be eliminated over time.

New Opportunities for U.S. Exports of Agricultural Products

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea are now duty-free, including: wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, whey for feed use, hides and skins, cotton, cherries, pistachios, almonds, orange juice, grape juice and wine. Remaining tariffs have also been reduced and will be eliminated over time.

New Opportunities for Services in Korea’s $580 Billion Services Market

The U.S.-Korea agreement provides meaningful market access commitments that extend across virtually all major sectors in Korea’s large services market, such as greater and more secure access for international delivery services, telecommunications services, and the opening up of the Korean market for foreign legal consulting services, among many others.

In the area of financial services, it increases access to the Korean market and ensures greater transparency and fair treatment for U.S. suppliers of financial services.

New Commitments to Address Non-Tariff Barriers to U.S. Exports

The agreement addresses non-tariff barriers in a wide range of sectors and includes strong provisions to prevent motor vehicle safety and environmental regulations from acting as disguised barriers to trade, , to enhance regulatory transparency, and to increase market access with provisions on standard-setting, technology neutrality, and customs administration.

Greater Protections for Intellectual Property Rights

The agreement strengthens protections for intellectual property rights benefiting American creators and innovators, including protection for copyrighted works in a digital economy, anti-circumvention provisions to prohibit tampering with technologies, and tough penalties for piracy and counterfeiting.

Strong Enforcement Provisions

The agreement’s strong enforcement provisions enable the United States to hold Korea to its obligations under the pact. These provisions include expedited dispute settlement procedures for vehicle-related matters and the ability – unprecedented in previous U.S. trade agreements – to “snap back” U.S. tariffs on passenger cars to their pre-agreement levels if Korea violates, nullifies, or impairs its commitments under the agreement in a way that materially affects the sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use of U.S. vehicles in Korea.

Resources and Tools to Assist American Businesses

The U.S. government has a number of resources that can be accessed through our website – www.ustr.gov – to help American business learn about the benefits of the agreement. For example, the USTR website can connect you to a tool that helps U.S. exporters determine whether their products benefit from a tariff reduction under the agreement, numbers to call with specific questions on utilizing the agreement, and links to summaries of benefits for each industrial sector. In addition, both the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture have tools on their websites to help exporters take advantage of this important agreement.

 


 

Generalized System of Preference (GSP) Retroactive Update

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

The purpose of this memo is to notify the Trade of the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) retroactive process update.

On October 21, 2011, the President signed H.R. 2832, which extended the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program through July 31, 2013. The GSP program lapsed on December 31, 2010, and was retroactively renewed, allowing for a refund of all duties paid on GSP-eligible merchandise that was entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption during the period from January 1, 2011 through November 5, 2011.

CBP has completed the automated GSP refund process, and ports of entry are currently working the written requests for refunds, as well as those entry summaries which failed the automated refund process. Please note that CBP has made every effort to identify the universe of entries for which the Special Program Indicator (SPI) “A” was transmitted. However, importers should review their records to identify those entries for which a refund is due and has not been received. Importers who have not received their anticipated refund(s) by March 30, 2012, should notify the port of entry in writing. The notification should include the entry number(s) and line number(s) eligible for GSP, as well as the expected duty refund amount. A post-entry amendment or protest is not required.

For entry summaries on which the SPI A was not transmitted, the importer must request the refund in writing. The request must contain sufficient information to enable CBP to locate the entry, or to reconstruct the entry if it cannot be located. A post-entry amendment or protest is not required.

Refund requests must be received by CBP no later than April 18, 2012. Please note: There is no additional protest period following the date of liquidation.

For questions regarding the status of a refund, please contact the port of entry where the request was filed. Port contact information is available at the following link: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/. If you have questions regarding this message, please contact Laurie Dempsey, Chief, Entry Summary, and Drawback Branch, Office of International Trade at laurie.dempsey@dhs.gov.

 


 

CBP Has Multiple Khapra Beetles Intercepts in New York and New Jersey

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Newark, N.J. – U. S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists serving the greater New York & New Jersey area intercepted the Khapra Beetle six times during a one-month period.

During the month of February, CBP agriculture specialists from John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and the Port of New York/New Jersey had six Khapra Beetle intercepts combined.

“CBP agriculture specialists continually demonstrate their vigilance in intercepting these extremely destructive pests that could wreak significant damage to our agricultural and economic interests,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations, New York Field Office.

These pests were found by CBP in both the air and sea cargo environment. Once the specimen is identified as the Khapra Beetle, CBP issues an Emergency Action Notification to the importer.

The Khapra Beetle is an extremely serious pest to grain and other stored products. This pest may also show up in a variety of locations that are not obvious food sources such as burlap bags, corrugated boxes (where they feed on the glue) and animal hides. Native to India, the Khapra Beetle has spread to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, pockets of Europe and Eastern Asia. It has been designated as one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide.

 


 

CBP at JFK Seize Over 26 Pounds of Cocaine Over the Weekend

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Jamaica, N.Y. — In two separate incidents over the February 11th weekend, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at New York’s JFK Airport arrested individuals for allegedly smuggling cocaine.

On Saturday, February 11, Jose Rodriguez of Brooklyn, N.Y., was returning to the U.S. from Santiago, Dominican Republic. Rodriguez, 24, presented himself and his checked bags for inspection. Upon further examination, officers discovered a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine. Rodriguez was arrested and a total of 14.8 pounds of cocaine was seized.

On Sunday, February 12, Samuel Prashad of Jamaica, N.Y., arrived off of a flight from Georgetown, Guyana. During an inspection of his checked luggage, CBP officers discovered a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine. Prashad was placed under arrest and 11.8 pounds of cocaine was seized.

The total weight of the seized narcotics was 26.6 pounds and had an approximate street value of over $850,000.

“CBP Officers demonstrate their dedication to our mission and agency core values of vigilance, integrity and service in an exemplary manner,” said Robert E. Perez, Director of New York Field Operations.

Both men were turned over to agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. They now face federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

 


 

USDA Warns of Fraudulent Letters

U.S. Department of Agriculture / www.usda.gov

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012--USDA officials learned late Friday afternoon, March 16th, 2012, that fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA's logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as "Frank Rutenberg" using a title of "Senior Procurement Officer". Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.

If you suspect you have received such a letter or have questions please contact USDA at:

procurement.policy@dm.usda.gov or call 202-720-9448.

Visit the FTC's Identity Theft site to learn what to do if your identity is stolen:

www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/

 


 

CBP Bags Counterfeit Purses in Seattle

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Seattle—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and import specialists seized a shipment of 25,822 purses on March 13, arriving in an ocean container from China. More than 8,500 of the purses were seized in violation of various counterfeit trademarks including: Louis Vuitton, North Face, Gucci, Fendi, Burberry and Coach.

The combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the handbags, had the trademarks been genuine, is more than $8.4 million.

“Counterfeit products look very similar to brand name products at first glance, but these products are typically of a much poorer quality than the real thing,” said Mark Wilkerson, CBP area port director in Seattle. “CBP officers and import specialists are highly trained and dedicated to the identification, detection and interception of products violating intellectual property rights laws and regulations.”

The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a significant threat to America’s innovation based economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security, critical infrastructure, and the health and safety of our consumers. CBP has designated intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade issue, devoting significant resources and personnel from throughout the agency to interdict shipments of fake goods, and prevent damage to the U.S. economy and harm to consumers and national security.

Nationwide the number of intellectual property rights seizures increased by 24 percent to 27,792 in fiscal year 2011 from 19,959 in fiscal year 2010. China continues to be the number one source country for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for 62 percent or $124.7 million of the total domestic value of seizures.

 


 

Hearing Aids and Cell Phones

U.S. Food & Drug Administration / www.usda.gov

Before you buy a cell phone, you should try different brands and models to see which phone works best for you.

People who wear hearing aids or have implanted hearing devices may experience some difficulties when trying to use cell phones. Some cell phones can cause radiofrequency interference with hearing aids, so the user hears high-pitched whistling sounds, buzzes, or static.

Fortunately, the compatibility of cell phones and hearing aids is improving. Some phones have lower radiofrequency emissions or use different technologies that can reduce the unwanted effects on hearing aids. The FCC now requires cell phone manufacturers to test and rate their wireless handsets’ hearing aid compatibility using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.19 standard. These ratings give an indication of the likelihood a cell phone may interfere with hearing aids; the higher the rating, the less likely the cell phone-hearing aid combination will experience undesired interference. Hearing aid users should read and understand these ratings when choosing a cell phone.

 

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