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21

Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen on United States Maritime Alliance and International Longshoremen’s Association Labor Negotiations

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service / http://www.fmcs.gov/internet/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=39&itemID=23830

WASHINGTON, D.C. — "I am pleased to announce that at the close of today’s productive negotiation session, in which progress was made on several important subjects, the parties have agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement due to expire on September 30, 2012 for a ninety (90) day period, i.e. through December 29, 2012. In taking this significant step, the parties emphasized that they are doing so “for the good of the country” to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce.

"This extension will provide the parties an opportunity to focus on the outstanding core issues in a deliberate manner apart from the pressure of an immediate deadline. The negotiations on the Master Agreement will be conducted during the same time frame as negotiations for local agreements. The negotiations will continue under the auspices of the FMCS. Due to the sensitive nature of these high profile negotiations, we will have no further comment on the schedule for the negotiations, their location, or the substance of what takes place during those negotiations."


 

Possible Port Congestion Surcharges Industry Advisory

The Federal Martime Commission / www.fmc.gov

September 18, 2012

The Federal Maritime Commission has received numerous informal inquiries in relation to certain congestion surcharges that recently have been announced in tariff rules required to be published under the Shipping Act of 1984, as revised by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (1998) and the Commission’s regulations at 46 CFR Part 520. This Industry Advisory is issued in order to respond to those inquiries.

Unless done pursuant to a waiver or exemption, any tariff rule (including surcharges) of a common carrier that results in an increased cost to a shipper may not be effective earlier than 30 days after publication. 46 U.S.C. § 40501(e); 46 CFR § 520.8.

A common carrier tariff rule that purports to have effect only at the time the cargo is unloaded does not alter the requirement of the Shipping Act and the Commission’s regulations that rules applicable to any given shipment shall be those in effect on the date the cargo is received by the common carrier or its agent. 46 CFR § 520.7. Cargo received by the carrier prior to publication or effectiveness of a new tariff surcharge would not be subject to such charge.

If you have questions or concerns about a tariff publication, please contact: Gary Kardian, Director, Office of Service Contracts and Tariffs, Bureau of Trade Analysis, (202) 523-5856, gkardian@fmc.gov. For questions about the Shipping Act or the Federal Maritime Commission’s regulations, please contact: the Office of the General Counsel, (202) 523-5740, generalcounsel@fmc.gov


USITC Makes Determination in Five-Year (Sunset) Review Concerning Polyester Staple Fiber from China

U.S. International Trade Commission / www.usitc.gov

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that revoking the existing antidumping duty order on polyester staple fiber from China would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.

As a result of the Commission's affirmative determination, the existing order on imports of this product from China will remain in place.

Chairman Irving A. Williamson and Commissioners Daniel R. Pearson, Shara L. Aranoff, Dean A. Pinkert, and David S. Johanson voted in the affirmative. Commissioner Meredith Broadbent did not participate in this review.

Today's action comes under the five-year (sunset) review process required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. See the attached page for background on this five-year (sunset) review.

The Commission's public report Polyester Staple Fiber from China (Inv. No. 731-TA-1104 (Review), USITC Publication 4351, September 2012) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the review.

Copies may be requested after October 19, 2012, by emailing pubrequest@usitc.gov, calling 202-205-2000, or writing to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be made by fax at 202-205-2104.

_______________________

BACKGROUND

The Uruguay Round Agreements Act requires the Department of Commerce to revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless the Department of Commerce and the USITC determine that revoking the order or terminating the suspension agreement would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (USITC) within a reasonably foreseeable time.

The Commission's institution notice in five-year reviews requests that interested parties file responses with the Commission concerning the likely effects of revoking the order under review as well as other information. Generally within 95 days from institution, the Commission will determine whether the responses it has received reflect an adequate or inadequate level of interest in a full review. If responses to the USITC's notice of institution are adequate, or if other circumstances warrant a full review, the Commission conducts a full review, which includes a public hearing and issuance of questionnaires.

The Commission generally does not hold a hearing or conduct further investigative activities in expedited reviews. Commissioners base their injury determination in expedited reviews on the facts available, including the Commission's prior injury and review determinations, responses received to its notice of institution, data collected by staff in connection with the review, and information provided by the Department of Commerce.

The five-year (sunset) review concerning Polyester Staple Fiber from China was instituted on May 1, 2012.

On August 6, 2012, the Commission voted to conduct an expedited review. All six Commissioners concluded that the domestic group response for this review was adequate and the respondent group response was inadequate and voted for an expedited review.

A record of the Commission's vote to conduct an expedited review is available from the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be made by telephone by calling 202-205-1802.

 


 

United States Contributes Funds to Support Developing Countries’ Participation In WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations

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

Washington, DC – U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that the United States will contribute $150,000 for technical assistance to support developing countries’ participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation negotiations. Specifically, the funds are being provided in response to some developing countries’ request to update the assessment of their technical assistance and implementation needs with respect to various trade facilitation and customs reforms that are currently being negotiated. Needs assessments were conducted in the area of trade facilitation in 2007-2010, and in response to the request of some Members, the WTO will be updating those assessments to reflect changes since the initial assessments.

“This contribution reflects our commitment to the Trade Facilitation negotiations and our support for developing countries’ participation in those negotiations” Ambassador Kirk said. “The elimination of unnecessary red tape and modernization of customs procedures that will result from trade facilitation improvements has the potential to deliver significant development gains, and we remain committed to working with our developing country partners to make these gains achievable.”

The U.S. contribution, which was approved by Congress, will be part of a technical assistance fund that will be used to help developing nations identify the reforms they would need to make under a trade facilitation agreement and the technical assistance needed to implement those reforms. The United States was one of the WTO Members that assisted in the initial needs assessments in 2007-2010.

Background

The United States’ contribution to support the WTO Trade Facilitation needs assessment was appropriated by Congress as part of the funds it provides to the U.S. Department State for voluntary contributions to international organizations. It is just one part of much broader U.S. assistance efforts. Overall U.S. support for trade capacity building (or “aid for trade”) since the Doha Round began in 2001, has now surpassed $13 billion. In the area of trade facilitation, the United States has provided over $2.6 billion in technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries and least-developed countries.

The WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations seek to clarify and improve certain provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT) with a view to further expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. The initial trade facilitation needs assessment project was conducted between September 2007 and December 2010 and oversaw the implementation of 94 national self-assessments in 60 developing countries and 34 least-developed countries. These assessments analyzed whether Members were in compliance with numerous proposed trade facilitation measures and tried to identify the reasons for non-compliance, the actions needed to implement the measures, and the technical assistance and capacity building needs and priorities. The WTO is in the process of designing a program to update thes e nee ds assessments, for those Members that request such updates, to reflect changes since the initial needs assessments were conducted.

 


 

Air Cargo Advance Screening Pilot

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

The Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)for Air Cargo Screening Pilot (ACAS) are posted to the CBP website.

For information regarding ACAS participation and to view the Frequently Asked Questions, go to www.cbp.gov select Trade, Cargo Security, Cargo Control or copy the URL:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/cargo_security/cargo_control/acasp_faq.xml


 

Philadelphia CBP Claims First-in-Nation Moth Discovery

Second Moth a First-in-Port Discovery

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

Philadelphia – The U.S. Department of Agriculture national entomologist confirmed on Wednesday that a moth that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered recently on a military cargo plane marked the first time that moth has been reported in the United States. The national entomologist also confirmed Thursday that a second moth discovered on that same airplane was a first reported discovery in the Philadelphia region.

CBP discovered the moths on a military plane that landed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Aug. 26 from Germany. The local USDA entomologist identified the insects as Theretra alecto Linneaus (Sphingidae), also known as the Levant Hawk Moth, and the first U.S. discovery of that species of moth, and Leucania loreyi (Duponchel) (Noctuidae), also known as the Cosmopolitan Moth.

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists take their job of front line protectors of America’s agriculture industries very seriously,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Each CBP insect pest interception emphasizes the importance of their efforts. A First in Nation insect pest discovery is worth noting as both a significant accom plishment and as a warning to a new potential agriculture threat.”

The Levant Hawk Moth is native to Southeastern Europe and Middle Eastern countries. It is a pest of ornamental vines such as grapes and peas, and has the potential to cause considerable damage.

The Cosmopolitan moth is native to Africa, Australia and Middle Eastern countries. It is a pest of plants in the grass family and can cause significant economic damage to cereal crops including corn, sorghum, sug arcane, rice and wheat.

The military flight arrived from Germany. Before Germany, the airplane made stops in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

CBP agriculture specialists submitted the moth specimens to USDA pest identifiers Aug. 27 and learned Aug. 29 their identities and significance.

CBP fumigated the aircraft with pesticide, and once the aircraft was free of live insects, allowed the U.S. Air Force to unload the cargo.

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.

For more on the USDA APHIS program, please visit APHIS. ( USDA APHIS )

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 470 insect pests.

 


 

Haier America Trading Agrees to $850,000 Civil Penalty for Failure to Report Defective Blenders

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commmission / http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12280.html?tab=news

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Haier America Trading LLC, of New York, N.Y., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $850,000. The settlement agreement (pdf) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (4-0).

The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that Haier America failed to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, a defect involving its blenders that resulted in ne arly 60 incidents and an injury to a consumer’s hand. The nut on the blender that holds the blade assembly can dislodge during use, allowing the blade assembly pieces to break apart, and/or crack the blender’s glass jar, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

Haier America sold the blenders through retail stores between October 2006 and October 2009. The company became aware of the incidents and injury between January 2007 and September 20 09, yet did not file a full report to the Commission until October 2009.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.

CPSC and Haier America announced a recall of nearly 54,000 blenders in December 2009.

In agreeing to the settlement, Haier America denies CPSC staff allegations of the defect and that it violated the law.

 
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