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Shipment Manifested as Whey Protein Results in Seizure of $15K Worth Cocaine and Additional Narcotics - U.S. Customs & Border Protection
CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Champlain cargo facility discovered multiple narcotics to include cocaine hidden in a shipment.
On March 5, CBP officers working in the cargo facility encountered a shipment manifested as “whey protein supplement”. An X-ray exam of the shipment revealed anomalies inside the whey protein container. CBP officers then conducted a thorough examination of the container and discovered three vacuum sealed packages secreted inside. The packages were then field tested by CBP officers, and the narcotics tested positive for the properties of cocaine, ketamine, and ecstasy. The narcotics had a total weight of more than 600 grams with an estimated street value of over $15,000.
“Our CBP officers’ knowledge of concealment methods, along with their use of available assets and technology played a key role in the discovery of these narcotics,” said Champlain Acting Port Director Todd Bulson. “Our officers are committed to keeping our country and our communities safe from these dangerous drugs.”
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Federal Register Notices:
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Utility Scale Wind Towers from the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2022-2023
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Network Equipment Supporting NETCONF; Institution of Investigation
• Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Stainless Steel Bar from India: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2022-2023
• Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate Products from the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results and Rescission in Part of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2022-2023
• Wood Mouldings and Millwork Products from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2022
• Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review and Rescission of Review, in Part; 2022
• Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from India: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission; 2022-2023
• Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2022
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Pea Protein from China; Scheduling of the Final Phase of Countervailing Duty and Antidumping Duty Investigations
• Certain Outdoor and Semi-Outdoor Electronic Displays, Products Containing Same, and Components Thereof; Notice of a Commission Determination Not to Review a Final Initial Determination Finding No Violation of Section 337; Termination of the Investigation
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Circular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes from Thailand: Preliminary Results and Rescission, in Part, of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2022-2023
• Clad Steel Plate from Japan: Final Results of the Expedited Fifth Sunset Review of Antidumping Duty Order
• Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe from Ukraine: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2021-2022
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Mattresses from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burma, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kosovo, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and Taiwan; Scheduling of the Final Phase of Countervailing Duty and Antidumping Duty Investigations
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Oil Vaporizing Devices, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same; Notice of Institution of Investigation
• Rice: Global Competitiveness and Impacts on Trade and the U.S. Industry
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bars from Belarus, the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine: Final Results of the Expedited Fourth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Orders
• Silicomanganese From the People's Republic of China and Ukraine: Final Results of the Expedited Fifth Sunset Reviews of the Antidumping Duty Orders
• Stainless Steel Flanges from India: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2021
• Antidumping Duty Order on Hydrofluorocarbon Blends from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Circumvention with Respect to R-410B From the Republic of Turkey
• Utility Scale Wind Towers from the Republic of Korea: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2021-2022
• Sales at Less Than Fair Value; Determinations, Investigations, etc.: Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Ecuador and Indonesia: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Disposable Vaporizer Devices and Components and Packaging Thereof; Notice of a Commission Determination Not to Review Initial Determination Amending the Complaint and Notice of Investigation to Correct Respondent Name
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Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 - Food & Drug Administration
Beginning July 1st, 2024, FDA will commence enforcement of requirements related to Cosmetic products facility registration and product listings as mandated by the Modernization of Cosmetic regulation act of 2022. Details regarding these requirements as they affect importers and manufacturers are discussed in the link below. Importers should begin preparing now to ensure all manufacturers include in this requirement are FDA registered in compliance with this act.
Click on link.
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Deal on EU Ban on Products Made with Forced Labour - European Parliament
Early Tuesday, negotiators from Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on new rules that ban products made with forced labour from the EU market.
The new regulation would create a framework for enforcing this ban, including through investigations, new IT solutions and cooperation with other authorities and countries.
Investigations: According to the agreed text, national authorities or, if third countries are involved, the EU Commission, will investigate suspected use of forced labour in companies’ supply chains. If the investigation concludes that forced labor has been used, the authorities can demand that relevant goods be withdrawn from the EU market and online marketplaces and confiscated at the borders. The goods would then have to be donated, recycled or destroyed. Goods of strategic or critical importance for the Union may be withheld until the company eliminates forced labour from its supply chains.
Firms that do not comply can be fined. However, if they eliminate forced labour from their supply chains, banned products can be allowed back on the market.
High-risk goods and areas: At Parliament’s insistence, the Commission will draw up a list of specific economic sectors in specific geographical areas where state-imposed forced labour exists. This will then become a criterion to assess the need to open an investigation.
The Commission can also identify products or product groups for which importers and exporters will have to submit extra details to EU customs, such as information on the manufacturer and suppliers of these products.
Digital tools and cooperation, including with third countries: A new Forced Labour Single Portal would be set up to help enforce the new rules. It includes guidelines, information on bans, database of risk areas and sectors, as well as publicly available evidence and a whistleblower portal. A Union Network Against Forced Labour Products would help to improve cooperation between authorities.
The rules also foresee cooperation with third countries, for example in the context of existing dialogues or implementation of trade agreements. This may include information exchange on risk areas or products and sharing best practices, in particular with countries with similar legislation in place. Commission acting as a lead competent authority may also carry out checks and inspections in third countries, if the relevant company and the government of the third country agree to it.
Quote: Co-rapporteur Samira Rafaela (Renew, NL) said: “This law is ground breaking in the field of human rights. It will prevent forced labour products from entering our market. And it has several references to remediation. It is a step forward in achieving fair trade and cleaning up supply chains, while prioritising human rights. To combat forced and state-imposed labour, we must work with like-minded partners and become a strong ally in the global fight against forced labour.”
Co-rapporteur Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques (S&D, PT) said: “Forced labour has been a reality for too long, and it remains a reality for too many. There were an estimated 27,6 million people affected by it in 2021, mostly in the private sector, but also victims of so-called state-sponsored forced labour. The deal we reached today will assure the EU has an instrument to ban products made with forced labour from the Union market as well as to tackle various forms of forced labour, including when it is imposed by a state.”
Next steps: The European Parliament and Council will now both have to give their final green light to the provisional agreement. The regulation will then be published in the Official Journal and enter into force the following day. EU countries will thereafter have 3 years to start applying the new rules.
Background: The forced labour regulation focuses on products and will not place additional due diligence requirements on companies that do not use forced labour in their supply chains. Nevertheless, it is often associated with the directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence that was provisionally agreed between Parliament and Council, but that has so far not been given a final OK from the Council.
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USTR Seeks Public Comment on Promoting Supply Chain Resilience - U.S. Trade Representative
WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today published a notice in the Federal Register seeking input to inform the development of trade and investment policy initiatives that promote supply chain resilience.

In outlining a new trade policy vision promoting resilience, the notice explains that resilient supply chains provide a range of sourcing options; adapt, rebound, and recover with agility following shocks; uphold labor rights and environmental protections; and strengthen the U.S. manufacturing base and workforce. To help achieve these objectives, the notice seeks information on developing sector-specific policy tools, strengthening domestic manufacturing and services, collaborating with like-minded trading partners and allies, and measuring resilience, among other topics.

“As President Biden emphasized during a recent meeting of the White House Competition Council, the pandemic disrupted supply chains, which drove up costs on everyday goods for hardworking Americans. This is why a centerpiece of our work at USTR is developing innovative trade tools and strategies for connecting trade and other economic policy measures to advance supply chain resilience, while also reevaluating earlier policy approaches that prioritized efficiency to the exclusion of resilience,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “This request for public input will enable us to draw upon the perspectives and experiences of stakeholders and partners that we need in order to foster a more granular understanding of supply chain challenges across a range of sectors and identify potential policy solutions.”

Written comments responding to the notice are due by April 22.
USTR will hold a public hearing beginning May 2, and requests to testify at the hearing are due by April 12. The information collected through written comments and at the hearing will support USTR’s work within the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience.

The Federal Register notice, which includes additional information and guidance, is available here.

Information about the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience is available here.
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DOE Finalizes Efficiency Standards for Residential Clothes Washers and Clothes Dryers to Save Americans Billions on Household Energy and Water Bills - Department of Energy
Finalized Residential Clothes Washer and Clothes Dryer Standards with Strong Industry and Stakeholder Support, Bolstering Biden-Harris Administration Efforts to Strengthen Outdated Efficiency Standards to Save Americans ~$1 trillion Over 30 Years
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced two Congressionally-mandated energy-efficiency actions that will save American households $2.2 billion per year on their utility bills, while significantly cutting energy waste and harmful carbon pollution. The final standards for residential clothes washers and dryers reflect a joint recommendation from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, Consumer Federation of America, and energy efficiency advocates. Over 30 years, these updated standards are expected to save Americans up to $39 billion on their energy and water bills, while also reducing nearly 71 million metric tons of dangerous carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to the combined annual emissions of nearly 9 million homes.
“For decades, DOE’s appliance standards actions for clothes washers and dryers have provided loads of savings for American families while also de-creasing harmful carbon emissions,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With strong support from industry leaders and consumer advocates, DOE will continue to roll out innovative appliance solutions throughout 2024 to lower costs for the American people—continuing the cycle of household savings that are the backbone of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.”
DOE continues to carry out Congressional direction for energy savings that maintain reliability and performance across household appliances and commercial and industrial equipment. Today’s actions are part of a suite of energy efficiency standards advanced by the Biden-Harris Administration this term that DOE projects will together provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years and save the average family at least $100 a year through lower utility bills. DOE also estimates that these standards, once finalized, will cumulatively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons or more—an amount roughly equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars, 22 coal-fired power plants, or 10.5 million homes over 30 years. These actions reinforce the trajectory of consumer savings that form a key pillar of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and underscore the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis while lowering costs for American families and businesses.
In September 2023, a broad coalition of appliance manufacturers and advocates for consumer protection, water and energy efficiency, and climate action announced their support for updating several home appliance standards, following on DOE proposals. In 2024, the Administration will continue making rapid progress on finalizing cost-saving standards informed by stakeholder input.
Residential Clothes Washers: The efficiency standards being adopted today for residential clothes washers align with recommendations from a diverse set of stakeholders, including manufacturers, the manufacturing trade association, energy, environmental, and consumer advocacy groups, states, and utilities. Compliance will be required from March 1, 2028. The energy savings over 30 years of shipments is 0.7 quadrillion British thermal units, which represents a savings of 3% relative to the energy use of products currently on the market. DOE estimates that the standards would save consumers nearly $18 billion over 30 years of shipments and result in cumulative emission reductions of nearly 14.0 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 1.8 million homes.
Residential Clothes Dryers: The efficiency standards being adopted today for residential clothes dryers also align with stakeholder recommendations. Compliance will be required from March 1, 2028. The energy savings over 30 years of shipments is 2.7 quadrillion British thermal units, which represents a savings of 11% relative to the energy use of products currently on the market. DOE estimates that the standards would save consumers over $21 billion over 30 years of shipments and result in cumulative emission reductions of nearly 57 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 7.2 million homes.
Lowering Energy Costs for American Families and Businesses: For more information on cost-savings resources, consumers can utilize DOE’s Energy Savings Hub—an easy-to-use online resource consumers can use to access the cost-saving benefits of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The website outlines clean energy tax credits and forthcoming rebates, helping people take control of their energy costs and have cleaner and more efficient options as a consumer—whether they’re looking to purchase an electric vehicle, update an appliance, or make their home safer and more comfortable. To learn how you can drastically cut your energy bills and keep money in your pocket, visit www.energy.gov/save.
DOE’s Building Technologies Office implements minimum energy conservation standards for more than 60 categories of appliances and equipment. To learn more, visit the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program homepage.
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USTR Releases President Biden’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report - U.S. Trade Representative
The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released President Biden’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report to Congress, which details USTR’s work to advance President Biden’s trade agenda. The President’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda stands up for workers’ rights and sustainable trade practices, supports U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishers, and food manufacturers, bolsters supply chain resilience, addresses unfair policies and practices, and advances inclusive, durable trade policy through expanded engagement.

“Trade is an integral part of our Administration’s vision to fundamentally shift our economic policies to focus on strengthening our middle class and working communities,” Ambassador Katherine Tai said. “The 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report include key accomplishments and priorities to realize this vision. We are creating new and innovative trade arrangements with our allies and partners, enforcing existing ones, and bringing more diverse voices to the table—to drive inclusive economic growth for more people across our society.”
USTR is implementing the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic vision by negotiating historic trade arrangements with our allies and partners:
• U.S.-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative: In June 2023, the United States and Taiwan, under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), signed the first agreement under the Initiative, which includes high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes in a number of areas. The United States and Taiwan, under the auspices of AIT and TECRO, will continue negotiating a second agreement covering other economically significant areas.

• U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership: Since launching negotiations in July 2022, the United States and Kenya are continuing discussions on high-standard commitments in a wide range of areas with a view to increasing investment; promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth; benefiting workers, consumers, and businesses (including micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); and supporting African regional economic integration.

• The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity: The United States and our IPEF partners have made considerable and substantial progress on several chapters of the Trade Pillar. USTR is fully committed to continuing this work to advance our shared vision for a high-standard agreement under the Trade Pillar.

• Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity: The United States is working with other founding members to enhance economic cooperation in our hemisphere and drive inclusive, people-centered economic growth. Building on the Leaders’ Summit of the Americas Partnership in November 2023, USTR is working closely with our partners to establish a Council on Trade and Competitiveness, which will meet regularly to implement the guidance with respect to trade matters in the East Room Declaration of the Leaders of the Americas Partnership.
Under Ambassador Tai’s leadership, USTR is delivering important wins for domestic agricultural stakeholders, including farmers, producers, and processors, as U.S. agricultural exports totaled $181 billion in 2023.
Through the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), USTR is empowering workers and defending the interests of U.S. energy and agricultural producers. This includes using the USMCA’s Rapid Response Mechanism to bring tangible benefits to workers, including higher wages, safer working conditions, and reinstatement and backpay to those who were terminated for participating in union activity.
In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of creating economic prosperity for all, USTR is taking unprecedented steps to promote equitable, inclusive, and durable trade policy. This includes hosting first-ever minister-level dialogues with labor and Indigenous leaders during the U.S. host year for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
At the World Trade Organization (WTO), building on the progress made at the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference, Ambassador Tai is working with other WTO Members to reform the organization to restore transparency, rebuild its ability to address emerging challenges, and make the dispute settlement system more effective.
USTR will continue to deliver for U.S. workers and businesses, and for a global trading system that is more resilient, sustainable and equitable.
Background:
The 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program are submitted to the Congress pursuant to Section 163 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
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California Man Arrested for Smuggling Potent Greenhouse Gases into the United States - Environmental Protection Agency
Case is first-ever U.S. prosecution with charges related to 2020 AIM Act
WASHINGTON – Today, March 4, 2024, Michael Hart of San Diego was arrested and charged with smuggling greenhouse gases into the United States from Mexico and then selling them for profit, in violation of regulations intended to curb the use of greenhouse gases and slow climate change.
This is the first prosecution in the United States to include charges related to the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM Act). The AIM Act prohibits the importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), commonly used as refrigerants, without allowances issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The illegal smuggling of hydrofluorocarbons, a highly potent greenhouse gas, undermines international efforts to combat climate change under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol,” said David M. Uhlmann, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Anyone who seeks to profit from illegal actions that worsen climate change must be held accountable. This arrest highlights the significance of EPA’s climate enforcement initiative and our efforts to prevent refrigerants that are climate super pollutants from illegally entering the United States.”
“It is illegal to import certain refrigerants into the United States because of their documented and significantly greater contribution to climate change,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to enforcing the AIM Act and other laws that seek to prevent environmental harm.”
“This office is at the forefront of environmental prosecutions, and today is a significant milestone for our country,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “This is the first time the Department of Justice is prosecuting someone for illegally importing greenhouse gases, and it will not be the last. We are using every means possible to protect our planet from the harm caused by toxic pollutants, including bringing criminal charges.”
According to the EPA, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that cause climate change and are used in applications such as refrigeration, air-conditioning, building foam insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. The global warming potential of an HFC can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. The use of HFCs has been rapidly increasing worldwide due to the global phaseout of ozone-depleting substances and increased demand for refrigeration and air conditioning. The 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international agreement to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs by 80-85 percent by 2047.
The indictment alleges that Hart purchased refrigerants in Mexico and smuggled them into the United States in his vehicle, concealed under a tarp and tools. According to the indictment, Hart posted the refrigerants for sale on Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace, and other sites, and sold them for a profit. In addition to greenhouse gases, the indictment alleges Hart imported HCFC-22, an ozone-depleting substance regulated under the Clean Air Act.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) is a treaty adopted in 1987 and ratified by virtually every country. The Montreal Protocol required the gradual phase out of ozone-depleting substances, with different timetables for developed countries like the United States and developing countries like Mexico. In the United States, the Montreal Protocol is being implemented under the Clean Air Act: Stratospheric Ozone Protection, which identifies HCFC-22 as a regulated ozone-depleting substance. Before 2020, EPA regulations that governed ozone-depleting substances made it illegal for anyone to import a regulated ozone-depleting substance in an amount exceeding that individual’s consumption allowance, subject to certain exceptions. Consumption allowances for HCFC-22 were eliminated on Jan. 1, 2020, and it became illegal to import HCFC-22 for any purpose other than for use in a process resulting in their transformation or their destruction.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is designed to phase down the production and consumption of greenhouse gases such as HFCs, which are commonly used alternatives to ozone-depleting substances that are already controlled under the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act. The AIM Act authorized the EPA to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs in a stepwise manner by 85% by 2036. As part of the AIM Act, Congress added an additional list of regulated substances, which include HFC-32, HFC-125, HFC-134a, and HFC-143a. Refrigerants marketed as HFC- or R-404A, -407A, -407C and -410A contain these regulated substances. The listed HFCs are some of the most commonly used HFCs and all are saturated, meaning they have only a single bond between their atoms and therefore have longer atmospheric lifetimes than other substitutes such as hydrofluoroolefins. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, EPA regulations prohibit any person from importing bulk regulated HFCs, except by expending, at the time of import, a consumption or application-specific allowance issued by the EPA. No person may sell or distribute, or offer for sale or distribution, any regulated HFC that was imported illegally.
Information on EPA’s enforcement efforts to address climate change and the 2023 EPA Climate Enforcement and Compliance Strategy memorandum are available on the agency’s Addressing Climate Change in Enforcement and Compliance Assurance web page.
 
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