US - State proposes ITAR amendments to: harmonize destination control statement; revise U.S. Government agency requirements; procedures for obtaining State authorization to export EAR items

On May 22, 2015, the Department of State proposed amendments [Public Notice 9139] the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to: clarify regulations pertaining to the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR); revise the licensing exemption for exports made to or on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government; revise the destination control statement in ITAR §123.9 to harmonize the language with the EAR; and make several minor edits for clarity. The proposed revisions contained in the rule are part of the Department of State’s retrospective plan under E.O. 13563.

The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.

US - BIS proposes amendments to harmonize destination control statements

On May 22, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule [Docket No. 150107020-5160-01] that would revise the destination control statement in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to harmonize the statement required for the export of items subject to the EAR with the destination control statement in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The proposed rule is published in conjunction with the publication of a Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls proposed rule [see above] revising the destination control statement in the ITAR. Both proposed rules being published today by the Departments of Commerce and State are part of the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative. This proposed rule is also part of Commerce’s retrospective regulatory review plan under Executive Order (E.O.) 13563.

The Bureau of Industry and Security will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.

US - BIS seeks input on additional improvements and harmonization of export clearance provisions

On May 22, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking [Docket No. 150220163-5163-01] requesting comments for how the export clearance requirements under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) can be improved, including how the EAR export clearance provisions can be better harmonized with the export clearance requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This ANPR is part of Commerce’s retrospective regulatory review and ongoing harmonization efforts being undertaken by Commerce and State as part of Export Control Reform (ECR) implementation. This ANPR is also part of Commerce’s retrospective regulatory review plan under Executive Order (E.O.) 13563.

BIS will accept comments on this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking until July 6, 2015.

US - BIS revises and clarifies licensing policy for the Crimea region of Ukraine

On May 22, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket No. 150302205-5205-01] that amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to facilitate Internet-based communications with persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine. The final rule allows exports or reexports without a license to the Crimea region of Ukraine of software that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, provided that such software is designated EAR99, or is classified as mass market software under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5D992.c of the EAR, and provided further that such software is widely available to the public at no cost to the user. The final rule is being published simultaneously with the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issuance of General License No. 9, which authorizes the export or reexport from the United States or by U.S. persons to the Crimea region of Ukraine of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet. This action is consistent with the U.S. Government’s policy to promote personal communications between the people in Crimea and the outside world.

Lastly, the final rule makes clarifications to the EAR with respect to the addition of the Crimea region of Ukraine provisions in a final rule published on January, 29, 2015, to the EAR. These clarifications are in response to requests that BIS received for guidance on applying these provisions.



US - BIS updates legal authorities
On May 22, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket No. 150511438-5438-01] that updates the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) legal authority paragraphs in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to cite a Presidential notice extending an emergency declared pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This is a procedural rule that only updates authority paragraphs of the EAR. It does not alter any right, obligation or prohibition that applies to any person under the EAR.
President extends national emergency with respect to stabilization of Iraq
On May 21, 2015, the Federal Register published the President’s Notice of May 19, 2015 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Stabilization of Iraq which extends for an additional year the national emergency originally declared in Executive Order (E.O.) 13303 on May 22, 2003. The obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared in E.O. 13303, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in E.O. 13315 of August 28, 2003, E.O. 13350 of July 29, 2004, E.O. 13364 of November 29, 2004, E.O. 13438 of July 17, 2007, and E.O. 13668 of May 27, 2014, are being continued for an additional year.
US - BIS annual defense offset reports due by June 15
On May 21, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. 150428403–5403–01] that reminds the public that U.S. firms are required to report annually to the Department of Commerce (Commerce) information on contracts for the sale of defense articles or defense services to foreign countries or foreign firms that are subject to offsets agreements exceeding $5,000,000 in value. U.S. firms are also required to report annually to Commerce information on offsets transactions completed in performance of existing offsets commitments for which offsets credit of $250,000 or more has been claimed from the foreign representative. This year, such reports must include relevant information from calendar year 2014 and must be submitted to Commerce no later than June 15, 2015.
US - BIS adopts final rule implementing 2014 Wassenaar agreements and amendments

On May 21, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket No. 150304217-5217-01] amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Commerce Control List (CCL) to implement changes made to the Wassenaar Arrangement’s List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (Wassenaar List) maintained and agreed to by governments participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (Wassenaar Arrangement, or WA) at the December 2014 WA Plenary Meeting (the Plenary) which was held in Vienna on 2 to 3 December 2014.

Wassenaar Participating States agreed to new export controls in a number of areas, including spacecraft equipment (Category 9) and technology for fly-by-wire/flight-by- light systems (Category 7), while texts for the control of machine tools (Category 2) and optical equipment for military utility and fiber laser components (Category 6) were substantially revised. In addition, significant reviews of several categories resulted in the deletion of obsolete controls relating to vessels (Category 8) and in refined controls on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - UAVs (Category 9), specifically taking note of the substantial progress of technology in that area. Wassenaar Participating States modified controls in a number of other areas, such as equipment for production of electronic devices (Category 3), certain telecommunications equipment where encryption and other “information security” functionality is limited to operations, administration, or maintenance (OAM) tasks (Category 5P2), and general purpose computers or servers where standard “information security” functionality is provided by embedded mass market microprocessors (CPUs) or operating systems (also Category 5P2).

This rule amends the CCL by implementing the changes agreed to by the WA at the Plenary by revising 42 Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs), adding one ECCN and removing one ECCN, as well as amending the General Technology Note, WA reporting requirements, adding seven (7) definitions and revising six (6) definitions in the EAR.

This rule also revises 3 ECCNs to add License Exception CIV eligibility for Anisotropic plasma dry etching equipment and related software and technology for the development and production of this equipment, as a result of BIS’ foreign availability assessment.

Country Group A column 1, the Coordinating Committee (CoCom) member countries, is replaced with the successor national security export regime the Wassenaar Arrangement Participating States. In addition, the second national security column and the second regional stability column of the Commerce Country Chart are amended to harmonize with each other, as well as make changes based on the risk of diversion to unauthorized end user, end uses or destinations.

US - BIS proposes rules to implement Wassenaar controls on intrusion and surveillance items

On May 20, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule [Docket No. 150304218–5218–01] that would amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the agreements by the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) at the Plenary meeting in December 2013 with regard to systems, equipment or components specially designed for the generation, operation or delivery of, or communication with, intrusion software; software specially designed or modified for the development or production of such systems, equipment or components; software specially designed for the generation, operation or delivery of, or communication with, intrusion software; technology required for the development of intrusion software; Internet Protocol (IP) network communications surveillance systems or equipment and test, inspection, production equipment, specially designed components therefor, and development and production software and technology therefor.

BIS proposes a license requirement for the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of these cybersecurity items to all destinations, except Canada. Although these cybersecurity capabilities were not previously designated for export control, many of these items have been controlled for their “information security” functionality, including encryption and cryptanalysis. The rule thus continues applicable Encryption Items (EI) registration and review requirements, while setting forth proposed license review policies and special submission requirements to address the new cybersecurity controls, including submission of a letter of explanation with regard to the technical capabilities of the cybersecurity items. BIS also proposes to add the definition of “intrusion software” to the definition section of the EAR pursuant to the WA 2013 agreements.

Comments must be submitted on or before July 20, 2015.

Norway - Standardised packaging rules for tobacco products proposed

On 18 May 2015, Norway notified the WTO (G/TBT/N/NOR/23) that its Ministry of Health and Care Services was proposing regulations to establish standardised packaging standards for tobacco products in Norway. This proposal will apply to all types of tobacco products. If adopted, the regulations would make it unlawful to import into Norway, or to sell or distribute tobacco packaging and tobacco products that are not of standardised design in accordance with detailed provisions established by the Ministry in regulations.

Packaging will only have one solid colour, and some of the products will be required to have specific packaging materials. Brand names and variant names, as well as manufacturer information, shall have standardised colour, placement, font and size. The Ministry also proposes standardisation of other elements such as barcodes, packing material, etc. The packaging will retain the mandatory health warnings and other information in accordance with current legislation.

The Ministry furthermore proposes that the design of tobacco products and smoking accessories should be standardised to a certain extent, including the colour of the cigarette paper and snus portions, as well as the specification of brand names and variant names. A legal basis for standardising the packaging of tobacco surrogates is also proposed, but specific regulations are not proposed at this time. Tobacco surrogates include herbal cigarettes and herbal snus, among others. This is one of the strictest packaging rules notified to the WTO to date and will likely be discussed at a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee and/or Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) Council meeting in the near future.

U.S. Senate passes AGOA/GSP and Customs Enforcement bills

On May 14, 2015, the U.S. Senate in a 97-1 vote, passed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 1295, originally introduced as S. 1009). The bill would renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) through 2017 with retroactive effect from its 2013 expiration, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) through 2025, and tariff preferences for Haiti through 2025.

Also on May 14, 2015, the U.S. Senate in a 78-20 vote, passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (now H.R. 644, replacing the text of the House passed version which had contained unrelated amendments to the Internal Revenue Code called the America Gives More Act of 2015). The bill includes provisions on currency manipulation, Customs enforcement of ADD/CVD cases, IPR enforcement, ACE/ITDS single window, drawback modernization, increasing the de minimis level from $200 to $800 and other Customs-related provisions. The bill was one of the trade bills that Senate leaders agreed to consider along with Trade Promotion Authority (“fast track”) in order to overcome the Democrat’s actions to block consideration of trade promotion authority unless all four major trade bills moved together.

US - President extends national emergency with respect to Burma

On May 19, 2015, the Federal Register published the President’s Notice of May 15, 2015 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Burma which extends for an additional year the national emergency originally declared in Executive Order (E.O.) 13047 on May 20, 1997. E.O. 13047 certified to the Congress under section 570(b) of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (Public Law 104-208), that the Government of Burma had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma after September 30, 1996, thereby invoking the prohibition on new investment in Burma by United States persons contained in that section. The President also declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Burma.

The actions and policies of the Government of Burma continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on May 20, 1997, and the measures adopted to deal with that emergency in E.O.s 13047; 13310 of July 28, 2003; 13448 of October 18, 2007; 13464 of April 30, 2008; 13619 of July 11, 2012; and 13651 of August 6, 2013, have been continued in effect for an additional 1 year period.

US - State updates list of participating countries and entities in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
On May 18, 2015, the Department of State published in the Federal Register a notice updating, in accordance with the Clean Diamond Trade Act of 2003 and Executive Order 13312 of July 29, 2003, the list of Participants eligible for trade in rough diamonds under the Act, and their respective Importing and Exporting Authorities, revising the previously published list of August 11, 2014 to reflect certain technical revisions of the List; to maintain temporary self-suspension of Venezuela from trade under the Kimberley Process as of November 4, 2010; and to maintain the suspension of the Central African Republic from trade under the Kimberley Process as of May 23, 2013.
US - Census adopts final rule on temporary exports, carnets and TIBs
On May 15, 2015, the Bureau of Census published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket Number: 140821699–5179–02] adopting without change an interim final rule (published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2014, 79 Fed. Reg. 54588) that amended the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) to eliminate the reporting requirement for temporary exports, which includes Carnets, and goods previously imported on a Temporary Import Bond (TIB). The final rule is being implemented to ensure consistency with the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods (ATA Convention) and reduce filing burden on the trade community. The rule is effective May 15, 2015. The interim rule became effective September 12, 2014.
US - President extends national emergency with respect to Yemen

On May 15, 2015, the Federal Register published the President’s Notice of May 13, 2015 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Yemen which extends for an additional year the national emergency originally declared in Executive Order (E.O.) 13611 on May 16, 2012 to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Yemen and others that threatened Yemen’s peace, security, and stability, including by obstructing the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provided for a peaceful transition of power that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people for change, and by obstructing the political process in Yemen.”

The national emergency is being extended for an additional year because the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Yemen and others in threatening Yemen’s peace, security, and stability continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.



US - CBP Airport and Seaport Inspections User Fee Committee to meet
On May 14, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a notice announcing that the CBP Airport and Seaport Inspections User Fee Advisory Committee (UFAC) will meet on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Washington, DC at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Courtroom A, Washington, DC 20436. The meeting will be open to the public. Meeting participants may attend either in person or via webinar after pre-registering using a method indicated in the notice.
WTO - Participants urge swift conclusion of ITA 2 negotiations

On 8 May 2015, the WTO reported that at the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Committee meeting on 8 May many participants said that the negotiations for expanding the ITA coverage came close to conclusion last December, and urged swift conclusion to the negotiations. The following is from the WTO news release:

The European Union said that the basis for inclusion of products in the ITA 2 list is consensus, and urged the participants concerned to not block agreement but to accept what is already on the table. Japan called for progress to be made at the meeting of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) trade ministers meeting in the Philippines later this month and at the June mini-ministerial on the sidelines of the OECD meeting. The United States said it considers ITA 2 a top trade priority, adding that its IT industry as well as those of other countries are getting impatient over the lack of agreement.

Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Montenegro, Singapore, Colombia, Australia and Hong Kong, China also supported the early conclusion of ITA 2.

Korea said it is actively engaged in good faith negotiations, and sees the remaining gap as not big and within reach. China said that it has been doing all it can for ITA 2, including holding difficult consultations with domestic industry, but members cannot expect just one participant to make contributions all the time as all participants must contribute. It said participants must not make unrealistic requests, and should instead focus on what is on the table.

On 7 May there was a workshop on non-tariff barriers affecting information and communications technology (ICT) products with the participation of many industry representatives from all over the world. Participants made many recommendations including the following:

• the establishment of a centralized database of administrative and technical requirements;
• avoiding duplication of conformity assessment procedures and use of globally recognized standards;
• encouraging the use of e-labelling as a solution to the costly problem of the proliferation of marking requirements;
• harmonizing practice in the field of energy efficiency requirements; and
• encouraging global cooperation to avoid forced localization requirements

Switzerland suggested that the incoming chair consult with members on how the Committee should proceed with these recommendations, and report at the next meeting. The Philippines, Japan, Chinese Taipei and the EU supported this proposal. The US said that it has heard several doable solutions at the workshop, in particular on e-labelling. It encouraged other ITA members to allow e-labelling use to reduce costs to IT companies.

US – President extends national emergency with respect to the Central African Republic
On May 11, 2015, the Federal Register published the President’s Notice of May 8, 2015—Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Central African Republic which extends for an additional year the national emergency originally declared in Executive Order (E.O.) 13667 on May 12, 2015 to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in and in relation to the Central African Republic, which has been marked by a breakdown of law and order, intersectarian tension, widespread violence and atrocities, and the pervasive, often forced recruitment and use of child soldiers, and that threatens the peace, security, or stability of the Central African Republic and neighboring states. Because the situation in and in relation to the Central African Republic continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the President is continuing the national emergency for an additional year.
US - CBP makes technical corrections to the NAFTA uniform regulations

On May 11, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a final rule [CBP Dec. 15-07] that sets forth amendments to the CBP regulations that implement the preferential tariff treatment and other customs-related provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The amendments reflect technical rectifications to the NAFTA Uniform Regulations agreed upon by the three NAFTA Parties, as well as corrections necessitated by changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The conforming amendments are required to maintain the United States’ obligations under the NAFTA and to ensure that NAFTA traders operate under a uniform tariff and rules of origin regime. The amendments set forth in the document involve no substantive interpretation of the NAFTA or change in policy.

To effect the agreed upon numerical and text changes to the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations for the United States, technical rectifications are made to the following provisions within the Appendix to 19 C.F.R. part 181:

• Part II, Section 5, subsection (4)(i), pertaining to exceptions to the de minimis rule for non-originating materials that do not undergo, subject to authorization, a required tariff change.
• Part III, Section 6, subsection (6)(d)(iv), pertaining to regional value content and application of the net cost method in certain circumstances.
• Part VI, Section 16, subsection (3), pertaining to exceptions to transshipment rules for certain goods.
• Schedule IV, pertaining to the list of tariff provisions for the purposes of section 9 of the Appendix

In addition to the technical rectifications trilaterally agreed to by the NAFTA Parties in the 2009 Exchange of Letters, described above, this document makes additional technical corrections to the Schedule IV light-duty automotive tracing list within the Appendix to 19 C.F.R. part 181 to reflect pre-2007 modifications to the HTSUS. As noted above, the HTSUS is periodically updated to reflect systemic revisions to the HS. The periodic revisions to the HTSUS result in certain tariff provisions being added or removed, or certain goods being transferred to different or newly-created tariff provisions. As a result of pre-2007 systemic HTSUS revisions, the existing Schedule IV light-duty automotive tracing list in the Appendix to part 181 contains outdated tariff provisions that are no longer consistent with Annex 403.1 of the NAFTA. The document makes technical corrections to the numerical tariff references in the tracing list so as to conform to the current version of the HTSUS and maintain the United States’ obligations under the NAFTA.

The corrections are effective July 10, 2015.

US – CBP to open C-TPAT program to exporters

On May 8, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) message CSMS# 15-000269 announced that as of May 17, 2015, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) would be open to exporters. According to CBP, Potential benefits include, but are not limited to:

• Prioritized export shipments
• Global security partnerships
• Heightened facilitation from mutually recognized customs partners
• Access to C-TPAT sponsored security seminars
• Reduced examinations

For C-TPAT purposes, an exporter is defined as: “A person or company who, as the principal party in interest in the export transaction, has the power and responsibility for determining and controlling the sending of the items out of the United States.”

Entities that wish to participate in the C-TPAT Exporter program must meet with the program’s definition of an Exporter as well as meet with the following eligibility requirements:

• Be an active U.S. Exporter out of the United States.
• Have a business office staffed in the U.S.
• Be an active U.S. Exporter with a documentable

o Employer Identification Number (EIN), or
o Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number.

• Have a documented export security program and a designated officer or manager who will act as the C-TPAT program main point of contact. Additionally the participant should have an alternate point of contact should the designated point of contact be unavailable.
• Commit to maintaining the C-TPAT supply chain security criteria as outlined in the C- TPAT Exporter agreement.
• Create and provide CBP with a C-TPAT supply chain security profile which identifies how the Exporter will meet, maintain, and enhance internal policy to meet the C-TPAT Exporter security criteria.
• In order to be eligible the Exporter must have an acceptable level of compliance for export reporting for the latest 12-month period and be in good standing with U.S. Regulatory Bodies such as: Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Treasury, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Department of Defense.

Singapore – Customs issues revised guide on keeping records in an image system

On 8 May 2015, Singapore Customs (SC) released a revised version of the Guide on “Keeping and Maintaining Records in Image System” (the Guide) which governs the keeping and maintenance of representations of a documents generated by photographic, electronic or other means, which are stored in any computer system that is capable of capturing, storing and retrieving images or generating Image System Output.

Under section 90 of the Customs Act, all importers, exporters or their agents (collectively “traders”) are required to keep documents and records relating to the purchase, importation, sale or exportation of their goods for not less than 5 years. Failure to comply with the requirement constitutes an offence under section 90(3) the Customs Act. Since 1 January 2012, traders may use an image system to store images without retaining the physical paper document provided they can comply with the requirements in the Guide. The Guide does not replace the requirements of the Evidence Act (Cap. 97) or the Evidence (Computer Output) Regulations. Traders who wish to use Image Systems to admit evidence under the Evidence Act or the Regulations should consult their lawyers.

US - USTR seeks comments on priorities regarding Mauritius in the TISA

On May 8, 2015, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a request for comments regarding particular priorities with respect to the participation of Mauritius in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations. On January 15, 2013, USTR notified Congress of the Administration’s intention to enter into negotiations for TISA with an initial group of 20 trading partners.

The January 15 notification states that the group negotiating TISA “will expand as negotiations progress to include others who share our ambitious goals.” The following 20 trading partners constituted the initial group of TISA participants: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union on behalf of its member states, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, and Turkey. Paraguay and Liechtenstein joined the negotiations in September 2013. Uruguay followed in February 2015. In April 2015, the TISA negotiating participants reached a consensus decision to accept Mauritius into the negotiations. Written comments are due by noon, June 8, 2015.

US - President extends national emergency with respect to actions of Syrian Government

On May 8, 2015, the Federal Register published the President’s Notice of May 6, 2015—Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Actions of the Government of Syria which extends for an additional year the national emergency originally declared in Executive Order (E.O.) 13338 on May 11, 2004, pursuant to the President’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. E.O. 13338 declared a national emergency with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria and authorized the blocking of property of certain persons and prohibited the exportation or re-exportation of certain goods to Syria. The national emergency was modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in E.O. 13399 of April 25, 2006, E.O. 13460 of February 13, 2008, E.O. 13572 of April 29, 2011, E.O. 13573 of May 18, 2011, E.O. 13582 of August 17, 2011, E.O. 13606 of April 22, 2012, and E.O. 13608 of May 1, 2012.

The President found that:

The regime’s brutality and repression of the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, not only endangers the Syrian people themselves, but also is generating instability throughout the region. The Syrian regime’s actions and policies, including with respect to chemical and biological weapons, supporting terrorist organizations, and obstructing the Lebanese government’s ability to function effectively, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

As a result, the President is continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria.

US - OFAC publishes new and revised FAQs regarding Ukraine-related sanctions
On May 7, 2015, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revised existing FAQs 395 and 419 and issued a new FAQ regarding Ukraine-related sanctions.
WCO publishes Correlation Tables HS 2012 – 2017

On 6 May, 2015, the WCO published tables correlating the 2012 and 2017 versions of the Harmonized System (HS) (Table I and Table II), as drawn up by the WCO Secretariat in accordance with instructions received from the Harmonized System Committee. The WCO website explains:

Though these Correlation Tables were examined by the Harmonized System Committee, they are not to be regarded as constituting classification decisions taken by that Committee; they constitute a guide published by the Secretariat and whose sole purpose is to facilitate implementation of the 2017 version of the Harmonized System. They do not have legal status.

During the discussions within the Review Sub-Committee and the Harmonized System Committee aimed at amending the HS Nomenclature, several differing views emerged concerning the present classification of certain goods, without the Committee ruling officially on their classification. It was agreed that the Tables should be as comprehensive as possible and thus include correlations supported by several Contracting Parties, even if the subheadings mentioned did not reflect the views expressed by the majority within the Committee. The Correlation Tables might be subject to further amendments or changes. The most recent version is reproduced on this Web site.

Table I establishes the correlation between the 2017 version and the 2012 version of the HS. It contains remarks opposite certain correlations briefly specifying the nature of the goods transferred. In many cases, reference has also been made to the amended legal provisions.

The left-hand column of Table I refers to the HS 2017 code numbers whose scope has been changed compared with HS 2012, or which have been introduced as new entries. The centre column contains the corresponding HS 2012 code numbers, and may be preceded by "ex". This prefix indicates that the corresponding HS 2017 entry contains only part of the referenced subheading. For example, new subheadings 0304.56 and 0304.57 contain a part of the HS 2012 code number 0304.59, which are, therefore, preceded by "ex". The other part of HS 2012 code number 0304.59 is covered by subheading 0304.51, the scope of which has been expanded, or remains in subheading 0304.59.

In some cases, however, the code number has been changed though its content remains the same. For example, subheadings 2939.71 and 2939.79 (HS 2017) have the same scope as HS 2012 code numbers 2939.91 and 2939.99, respectively. The renumbering was necessary because of the expansion of the scope of heading 29.39.

In other cases, the code number has not been changed, although the scope of the subheading did change, in particular when it concerned so-called residual subheadings. For example, code number 8472.90 has not been changed, despite the fact that the subheading now also covers the content of HS 2012 heading 84.69 (deletion of heading 84.69 due to the low volume of trade).

Table II establishes the correlation starting from the 2012 version to the 2017 version of the HS. It is simply a mechanical transposition of Table I and therefore includes no remarks.

Table II contains the HS 2012 code number references in the left-hand column, with the corresponding HS 2017 entry in the right-hand column. The prefix "ex" is used in the same way as it has been used in Table I, i.e., to indicate that only a part of the subheading concerned is covered by the code number referred to in the left-hand column.

For additional information about the Correlation Tables, you are advised to contact your national Customs administration. Click here for e-mail addresses of officials responsible for Harmonized System matters in national administrations, which may advise you in matters related to HS classification, decisions taken by the HS Committee and policy matters.

Canada - Revisions to Regulations made under the Customs Act

On May 6, 2015, the Canada Gazette published Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Customs Act (SOR/2015-90, April 24, 2015) (the Regulations). The Regulations are intended to allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to better employ risk management to ensure that costs and delays associated with clearance processes on legitimate shipments are minimized while also identifying and mitigating threats to national health, safety, security and prosperity. The key to this risk-based approach is information: getting the right information to the right people at the right time ensures that border processing is both efficient and effective. The Executive Summary states in pertinent part that:

eManifest (electronic manifest) is an initiative designed to establish advance electronic information requirements in the highway and rail modes of transportation, and to build upon existing advance commercial information requirements for goods in the marine and air modes. eManifest will ensure a paperless process, which starts before any goods reach the Canadian border, for commercial importations in all modes of transportation.

These regulatory amendments represent the first of two pack¬ages of regulatory amendments designed to support the full implementation of eManifest. “Package 1” includes require¬ments for electronic advance information in the highway and rail modes, enhancements to existing processes in the marine and air modes, and provisions that allows the CBSA to develop administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) for non-compliance with eManifest requirements. The second package is expected to be introduced in 2015–2016 and would mainly include provi¬sions relating to advance information requirements for import-ers. This package of regulatory amendments introduces changes to five regulations made under the Customs Act:

• the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations;
• the Customs Sufferance Warehouses Regulations;
• the Designated Provisions (Customs) Regulations;
• the Transportation of Goods Regulations; and
• the Presentation of Persons (2003) Regulations (consequential amendments).

EU - Various BTIs relating to fruit juices revoked

On 5 May 2015, the Official Journal published Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/714 of 24 April 2015 concerning the validity of certain binding tariff information (notified under document C(2015) 2888) which revoked the Binding Tariff Information (BTI) listed below because they contain a tariff classification incompatible with the general rules for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature (CN) set out in Section I of Part One of Annex I to Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 and is inconsistent with other BTI.

The products covered by the listed BTI consist of fruit juice(s), fruit juice concentrate(s), vegetable juice(s) or vegetable juice concentrate(s), whether or not mixed, as well as additives, diluted with water or aerated. The tariff classification of those products as set out in the BTI is not in accordance with TARIC codes 2202901019, 2202901099, 2202909190, 2202909590 and 2202909990, respectively.

To ensure equality between operators and the uniform application of the TARIC, the listed BTI will cease to be valid. The customs authorities which issued the information will revoke it as soon as possible following the notification of the present Decision and notify the Commission to that effect. The binding tariff information referred to in column 1 of the table set out below issued by the customs authorities specified in column 2 of that table for the tariff classification specified in column 3 of that table will cease to be valid when the customs authorities specified in column 2 of the table revoke the BTI referred to in column 1 of that table and notify the holders thereof at the earliest possible date and in any case not later than 10 days from the notification of this Decision.

In accordance with Article 12(6) of Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92, the holder of a BTI is given, for a period of six months from the date of notification of the revocation of the binding tariff information to the holder, the possibility of invoking BTI which has ceased to be valid subject to the conditions laid down in that provision and in Article 14(1) of Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93.

Binding tariff information

Reference №

Customs authority

Tariff classification

1

2

3

AT 2009/000570

Zollamt Wien

2202901019

AT 2009/000573

Zollamt Wien

2202901019

AT 2009/000574

Zollamt Wien

2202901019

DE 23376/12-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE 6324/12-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE B/810/09-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE B/811/09-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE B/812/09-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE B/813/09-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

DE B/815/09-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202901019

ES -2009-000120-0019/09

Departamento de Aduanas E II.EE, Madrid

2202901019

FR -PRO-2012-004802

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects, Montreuil

2202901019

FR -RTC-2013-164920

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects, Montreuil

2202901019

FR -RTC-2014-006435

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects, Montreuil

2202901019

PT 2014-IPV-020

Autoridade Tributária Aduaneira, Lisboa

2202901019

PT 2014-IPV-021

Autoridade Tributária Aduaneira, Lisboa

2202901019

PT 2014-IPV-023

Autoridade Tributária Aduaneira, Lisboa

2202901019

PT 2014-IPV-024

Autoridade Tributária Aduaneira, Lisboa

2202901019

ES -2009-000122-0019/09

Departamento de Aduanas E II.EE, Madrid

2202901099

ES -2009-000125-0019/09

Departamento de Aduanas E II.EE, Madrid

2202901099

GB 120294213

HM Revenue & Customs, Southend-on-Sea

2202901099

DE 6948/14-1

Hauptzollamt Hannover

2202909590


US - OFAC Publishes Guidance related to travel between the United States and Cuba

On May 5, 2015, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Guidance Related to Travel Between the United States and Cuba pertaining to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR).
The Guidance:

• Lists the categories of individuals that may be transported between the United States and Cuba by a person that qualifies for the general license to provide carrier services via aircraft or that has received a specific license to provide carrier services via commercial passenger vessel;

• Discusses the type of cargo that a person authorized to provide carrier services via aircraft or commercial passenger vessel may transport from the United States to Cuba; and

• Discusses the type of cargo that a person authorized to provide carrier services via aircraft or commercial passenger vessel may transport directly from Cuba to the United States.

US - State proposes revision to USML Category XII to precisely describe covered items

On May 5, 2015, the Department of State published in the Federal Register a proposed rule [Public Notice: 9110] to amend, as part of the President’s Export Control Reform effort, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Category XII (fire control, range finder, optical and guidance and control equipment) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting control on the USML, in order to establish a “bright line” between the USML and the CCL for the control of these articles.

The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.

US - BIS proposes revision to EAR to cover military fire control, range finder, and optical items that no longer warrant control under U.S. Munitions List
On May 5, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule [Docket No. 140221170-4170-01] that describes how articles the President determines no longer warrant control under Category XII (Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment) of the United States Munitions List (USML) of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) would be controlled under the Commerce Control List (CCL) by creating new “600 series” Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN)s 6A615, 6B615 and 6D615 for military fire control, range finder, and optical items, by revising ECCN 7A611 and by creating new ECCNs 7B611, 7C611 and 7E611 for military optical and guidance items. In addition, for certain night vision items currently subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), this rule proposes to expand the scope of control, eliminate the use of some license exceptions, and create new ECCNs for certain software and technology related to night vision items. This proposed rule would also expand the scope of end-use restrictions on certain exports and reexports of certain cameras, systems, or equipment and expand the scope of military commodities described in ECCN 0A919. Comments must be received by July 6, 2015.
China reforms resource tax for rare earths – eliminating the export tax

The Ministry of Finance announced on April 30, 2015 that China will levy a resource tax on rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum based on sales value instead of production quantity. The State Council, quoting a Xinhua release stated:

The new tax, taking effect from May 1, is set at 6.5 percent for tungsten, and at 11 percent for molybdenum.

Resource taxes for light rare earths are set at 11.5 percent, 9.5 percent, and 7.5 percent, respectively in Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Sichuan province, and Shandong province, while for medium and heavy rare earths it is generally set at 27 percent.

The ministry also said last week that the resources will be exempt from export tariffs from May.

Rare earths, a class of 17 minerals, are some of the most sought after metals due to their military use and role in green technology like wind turbines and car batteries. China meets over 90 percent of world demand, but at the cost of much pollution.

On May 4, 2015, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman praised the change in China’s policy. Last year, the United States, the European Union, and Japan had successfully challenged China’s export duties and quotas as contrary to WTO rules. The tariffs “hiked costs for Americans by up to 300 percent on exports of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum, which are used as key components in a large number of U.S.-made products for critical American manufacturing sectors, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, and energy-efficient lighting” according to the office of the USTR.

US - ITDS seeks participants for ATF Import Working Group for ACE

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) message CSMS# 15-000255 (May 1, 2015) announced that the International Trade Data System (ITDS) Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN) needs input and participation in its new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Import Working Group

The purpose of the ATF Import Working Group is to solicit stakeholder input regarding the data elements that ATF intends to require to be submitted through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) filing system, as well as the technical requirements to use ACE. The working group will primarily focus on the information technology issues associated with implementing ACE. The working group will consist of members of the international trade community that import ATF-regulated commodities, software development companies, and representatives from ATF and CBP that are working on the ACE project. Participation in ACE implements the electronic submission of ATF-required import data for cargo admissibility processing through the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Your involvement is needed to ensure that ACE will provide for the efficient and timely clearance of cargo, while maintaining compliance with ATF regulations.

US - CBP announces West Coast Trade Symposium

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it will convene the West Coast Trade Symposium in Tacoma, Washington on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The West Coast Trade Symposium (“Advancing Trade Through Partnership and Enforcement”) will feature panel discussions involving agency personnel, members of the trade community, and other government agencies, on the agency’s role in international trade initiatives and programs. This marks CBP’s fourteenth year convening the Trade Symposium. Members of the international trade and transportation communities and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.

To obtain the latest information on the Trade Symposium and to register online, visit the CBP Trade Symposium website. There is an $81 registration fee.

EU adjusts CDSOA retaliatory duties against certain US products

On 30 April 2015, the Official Journal published Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/675 of 26 February 2015 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 establishing additional customs duties on imports of certain products originating in the United States of America. Council Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 of 25 April 2005 originally established additional customs duties of 15% on imports of certain products originating in the United States because of the United States failure to bring the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA, also known as the ‘Byrd Amendment’) in compliance with its obligations under the WTO agreements and dispute resolution decisions. These additional duties are subject to annual review and must be adjusted to reflect the level of nullification or impairment caused by the CDSOA to the EU.

The CDSOA disbursements for the most recent year for which data are available relate to the distribution of anti-dumping and countervailing duties collected during the Fiscal Year 2014 (1 October 2013 - 30 September 2014). On the basis of the data published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the level of nullification or impairment caused to the EU is calculated at USD 3 295 333. Although the level of nullification or impairment has increased from the previous year, the level of suspension cannot be adjusted to the level of nullification or impairment by adding or removing products from the list in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 673/2005. The four products listed in Annex I (0710 40 00, 9003 19 30, 8705 10 00, and 6204 62 31) will therefore be maintained on the list and the rate of additional import duty will be amended and set at 1,5 %, which, over a one year period, should not exceed the USD 3 295 333. The adjusted duties apply from 1 May 2015.

US - CBP issues guidance on temporary exportation of firearms

On April 27, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) posted on its website Guidance on Temporary Exportation of Firearms. According to the release, CBP officers throughout New England are providing guidance to assist cross-border travelers who intend to transport personal firearms and ammunition out of the country, temporarily. The Guidance stated that:

CBP will continue to follow the long standing practice of issuing and certifying a Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4457) to ensure that no traveler attempting to legally take their firearm out of the country experiences significant delays or incurs additional cost due to the implementation of a new regulation requiring an electronic filing. CBP’s enforcement focus is on those engaged in illegal exportation of firearms for use by overseas organizations and individuals wishing to cause harm.

When a traveler contacts CBP to report export of a firearm, CBP will provide a fact sheet about the regulation and how to comply. Additionally, CBP is working with our other government partners to modify existing data bases and the reporting process to make a more user-friendly experience for individual travelers.

CBP recommends that travelers allow a few hours for the declaration of the firearms to CBP and advises travelers to become familiar with the import requirements of the foreign country(s) that they may be traveling through or visiting. Other countries may have more restrictive laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms.

Current export regulations issued by the Department of State require the traveler to file electronic export information for temporary export of personally owned firearms via the Automated Export System (AES) prior to departure from the United States. AES has a free web-based internet application known as AESDirect that permits the traveling public to electronically report the Electronic Export Information for temporary export of their firearm(s).

EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee adopts resolution on TTIP

On 22 April 2015, EFTA announced that in order to ensure homogeneity of the EEA, state Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians from the EEA EFTA States in a resolution adopted by the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee (EEA JPC) in March 2015 stated that it is important to increase the dialogue between the EU and the EEA EFTA States on developments in the TTIP negotiations. The announcement stated:

TTIP is a comprehensive free trade and investment agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. By reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade and strengthening regulatory cooperation, TTIP is expected to make it easier for firms on both sides of the Atlantic to do business together and possibly increase overall trading activity.

The EEA JPC resolution “TTIP and its possible implications for the EEA EFTA States” welcomes the negotiations and acknowledges the potential positive effects that TTIP could have on the EEA through increased demand for goods and services. Since the EEA EFTA States are closely integrated in the EU’s Single Market through the EEA Agreement and therefore apply the same Single Market rules, any impact that TTIP may have on the Single Market is likely to affect the EEA EFTA States.

The EEA JPC therefore urges the European Commission to increase the dialogue with the EEA EFTA States’ governments and parliaments with regard to important developments in the negotiations, in particular keeping in mind the need to ensure the homogeneity of the EEA.

The full resolution text and the report adopted by the EEA JPC can be found here.

To access the report, click here.

EFTA parliamentarians support stronger trade relations between EFTA and MERCOSUR

On 23 April 2015, EFTA announced that a delegation from the EFTA Parliamentary Committee visited Brazil from 15 to 17 April 2015 to support stronger trade relations between MERCOSUR and EFTA. The delegation met with the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of the Brazilian Parliament and business community. The announcement stated:

The main purpose of the visit by parliamentarians from the EFTA countries was to support the EFTA-MERCOSUR trade dialogue, as well as to strengthen its parliamentary dimension.

Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and currently holds the presidency of MERCOSUR, whose Member States also include Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. EFTA and MERCOSUR launched a trade dialogue 15 years ago, which was recently strengthened by a Joint Committee meeting in March 2015.

MERCOSUR is EFTA’s most important trading partner in Latin America, and trade and investments between EFTA and MERCOSUR have increased progressively over the last decade. For the EFTA States, it is important to develop this relationship further.

The EFTA Parliamentary Committee is a forum for parliamentarians from the four Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Committee follows issues related to EFTA’s third-country relations and other aspects of free trade, such as sustainable development policies in free trade agreements.

EFTA publishes annual report

On 29 April 2014, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) announced that the 54th Annual Report of the European Free Trade Association has been published. The report contains an overview of the functions and activities of EFTA throughout 2014 in the areas of managing the EEA Agreement, EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade agreements and the EFTA Convention. The announcement stated:

Among the highlights of EFTA‘s work was the introduction of new procedures that contributed to a significant reduction in the number of EU legal acts awaiting incorporation into the EEA Agreement. The EEA Joint Committee adopted 291 decisions incorporating 627 legal acts in 2014, more than in any year since the late 1990s.

EFTA continued its ambitious pursuit of a worldwide network of free trade agreements (FTAs), with EFTA Ministers signing a joint declaration on cooperation with the Philippines, setting the stage for the launch of free trade negotiations in 2015. They also met with representatives of Guatemala to discuss the development of closer trade relations in view of Guatemala’s forthcoming accession to the EFTA-Central America FTA, which entered into force in 2014 . The FTA with the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also entered into force in 2014, and by the end of the year, EFTA’s network of preferential trade relations extended to 57 partners outside the EU through various means of engagement.

US - Commerce establishes Ready Applicant Pool for trade missions and Expedited Trade Mission procedures

On April 28, 2015, the International Trade Administration (ITA), Department of Commerce (Commerce) published in the Federal Register a notice announcing that the ITA is establishing a Ready Applicant Pool (RAP), for organizations and companies that would like to receive information directly from Commerce, when it organizes a trade mission aligned with the products, services, technologies, sectors, target markets or goals of the applicant. Applicants willing and interested to send a high-level representative to participate on an expedited trade mission to any location, at any time, on very short notice are especially encouraged to apply for the RAP. Applications to join the RAP can be found here and will be accepted at any time. Applications will be evaluated quarterly and those accepted will be notified as soon as possible. Applicants will be selected for the current RAP term and will need to reapply when the term ends on December 31, 2016. Each term will last two years.

In a related matter, on April 28, 2015, the Commerce published in the Federal Register a notice announcing that ITA is establishing new procedures for Expedited Trade Missions. When the Secretary approves a Decision Memo justifying the use of expedited procedures, Commerce will endeavor to conduct recruitment and selection for the mission within 2–3 weeks. Applicants should be aware that mission statements for Expedited Trade Missions will not be notified in the Federal Register. Instead, they will be posted online here. Applicants should also be aware that deadlines for applying for Expedited Trade Missions will be extremely short. The procedures for selecting participants for Expedited Trade Missions will be compressed. All interested parties that meet the conditions of participation are encouraged to apply, and all applicants will be evaluated on an equal basis with respect to the participation criteria. Expedited Trade Mission procedures are established as of April 28, 2015.

US – House and Senate Committee actions on Trade Promotion Authority and other key trade bills

On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved S. 995, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill by a 20-6 vote. On April 23, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee approved by a 25-13 vote H.R. 1890, the House TPA bill, amended to conform to the Senate’s version as reported by Senate Finance.

On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee also approved by voice vote a bill to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, and the preferential duty treatment program for Haiti and a bill to reauthorize trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities, and for other purposes (Both Senate bills were not yet numbered). The House Ways and Means Committee held a mark-up and reported its AGOA bill out (H.R. 1891) without amendments. The Ways and Means Committee also reported out H.R. 1892, a bill to extend the trade adjustment assistance program, and for other purposes.

House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi, along with co-sponsors Rep. Charles Boustany and Rep. Kevin Brady, introduced the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 1907) which was reported out of full Committee with amendments on April 23, 2015.

US - Commerce publishes list of scope rulings and anti-circumvention determinations

On April 24, 2015, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce (Commerce) published in the Federal Register a document listing scope rulings and anticircumvention determinations made between October 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014, inclusive. Commerce intends to publish future lists after the close of the next calendar quarter. The rulings related to the following orders (Numbers in parenthesis indicate the number of rulings for each case):

A–201–504: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe From Mexico (1)

A–570–967 and C–570–968: Aluminum Extrusions From the PR of China (11)

A–570–899: Artist Canvas From the PR of China (1)

A–570–827: Certain Cased Pencils From the PR of China (1)

A–570–901: Certain Lined Paper Products From the PR of China (1)

A–570–506: Porcelain-on-Steel Cooking Ware From the PR of China (1)

A–570–894: Tissue Paper Products From the PR of China (1)

A–570–890: Wooden Bedroom From the PR of China (2)

A–583–843: Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Taiwan (1)

US – State renews provision of certain temporary sanctions relief
On April 23, 2015, the Department of State published in the Federal Register a notice [Public Notice 9100] renewing temporary waivers of certain sanctions to allow for a discrete range of transactions related to the provision of satellite connectivity services to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). The U.S. government is renewing these waivers based on Iran’s commitment to ensure that harmful uplink satellite interference does not emanate from its territory, and verification by the U.S. government that harmful uplink satellite interference is not currently emanating from the territory of Iran. The effective dates of these waiver actions are as described in the determinations set forth in the Federal Register notice.
US – State publishes “§ 515.582” list in Federal Register

In accordance with the policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, to further engage and empower the Cuban people, § 515.582 of the Department of the Treasury’s Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR) authorizes the importation into the United States of certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs as determined by the State Department as set forth on the § 515.582 List. On April 23, 2015, the Department of State published in the Federal Register a notice [Public Notice 9108] stating that on February 13, 2015, the Department of State published the initial publication of list of goods and services produced by Cuban independent entrepreneurs eligible for importation into the United State pursuant to § 515.582 of the CACR. The initial list was also reproduced in the notice.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to § 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.

The list does not supersede or excuse compliance with any additional requirements in U.S. law or regulation, including the relevant duties as set forth on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

For travelers importing authorized goods into the United States pursuant to § 515.582 as accompanied baggage, the $400 monetary limit set forth in § 515.560(c)(3) does not apply to such goods, but goods may be subject to applicable duties, fees, and taxes.

EU – Commission opens consultation on EU Timber Regulation

On 15 April 2015, the European Commission opened a public consultation on the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 995/2010 (the EU Timber Regulation; the EUTR) two years after its entry into application.

The EUTR establishes a prohibition on the placing on the EU market of illegally harvested timber. It also requires “operators” to exercise “due diligence” to minimise the risk of illegally harvested timber entering their supply chain. According to the Regulation ‘illegally harvested’ means harvested in contravention of the applicable legislation in the country of harvest. A “light” obligation exists for EU “traders” to keep records of their suppliers and customers so as to facilitate traceability. The Regulation applies to both domestically produced and imported timber and timber products.

The consultation, which will remain open until 3 July 2015, seeks gain stakeholder and public input regarding a review of the EUTR. The review will provide essential elements for the mandatory report to be submitted by the Commission by 3 December 2015 to the European Parliament and the Council. The report may be accompanied, if necessary, by appropriate legislative proposals.

The consultation document is an online survey.

US - CBP publishes quarterly IRS interest rates
On April 22, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a notice advising the public of the quarterly Internal Revenue Service interest rates used to calculate interest on overdue accounts (underpayments) and refunds (overpayments) of customs duties. For the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2015, the interest rates for overpayments will be 2 percent for corporations and 3 percent for non-corporations, and the interest rate for underpayments will be 3 percent for both corporations and non-corporations.This notice is published for the convenience of the importing public and U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel. The rates were effective April 1, 2015.
US - State issues permit regarding Columbus land port of entry
On April 22, 2015, the Department of State (State) published in the Federal Register a notice [Public Notice 9106] stating that State issued a Presidential Permit to the General Services Administration (GSA) on April 14, 2015, allowing the GSA to replace, expand, operate and maintain the existing Columbus Land Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico. In making this determination, the Department provided public notice of the proposed permit (79 Fed. Reg. 68345, November 14, 2014), offered the opportunity for comment, and consulted with other federal agencies, as required by Executive Order 11423, as amended.
Bipartisan trade preference bill (AGOA, GSP, Haiti) introduced

On April 17, 2015, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced H.R. 1891, a Bill “To extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, the preferential duty treatment program for Haiti, and for other purposes.” The bill would extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015, until September 30, 2025. The bill will reinstate the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program which expired on July 31, 2013, until December 31, 2017 with retroactive treatment (without interest) for goods that would have qualified under the law as it existed prior to its expiration, provided a request (meeting the identification requirements in the bill) is filed with Customs and Border Protection not later than 180 days after enactment. The Haitian preference program is also extended until September 30, 2025.

In order to pay for the extensions, the expiration of the merchandise processing fee would be extended from June 30, 2021 until June 30, 2025. There would also be user fee adjustments and internal revenue estimated payment adjustments.

UK - New Export Control Order came into effect 17 April

Notice to Exporters 2015/16: amendment to the Export Control Order 2008 (‘the main Order’) – changes to Schedule 1, 2 and 3 announced that the Export Control (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015 No: 940) came into effect on 17 April 2015. The Notice makes the following points:

Notice to Exporters 2015/15 of 27 March (paragraph 7) gave prior warning that a further amendment of the Export Control Order 2008 would be required. This has been necessary to correct a mistake in the Export Control Office (ECO) controls on firearms created by that amendment Order.

• A new national control (PL9010) covering firearms considered to be ‘Non Military ’ has been introduced in Schedule 3 (UK controlled dual-use goods, software and technology) to the Order (see Article 2(7) of the new amendment Order). Some new definitions related to the new firearms control have also been added.

• This new control entry provides for a clearer alignment of the various controls on firearms found in the UK Military List (Schedule 2 to The Order) with that of the Common Military List of the EU (CFSP 2014/C 107/1). This will improve the implementation of Regulation (EU) No.258/2012. These changes do not introduce any new controls on firearms.

• As a result of the creation of this new entry in Schedule 3, and items being re-aligned from Schedule 2, a number of consequential changes to Schedule 1 of the Order have been necessary (see Articles 2(2)-(4)). A new paragraph 10a has been added to ensure that trade controls continue to be applied to firearms in Schedule 3 PL9010 (see Article 2(5)).

The amendment Order has also allowed correction of small errors in some Schedule 2 control entries to ensure consistency with the EU Common Military List (see Article 2(6)). These amendments also include appropriate cross references to the control entries: ML1, ML2 and ML3 in Schedule 2 and the new PL9010 control in Schedule 3.

• The UK Strategic Export Control Lists have been updated to reflect the above changes.

Exporters should ensure that they are familiar with the changes made to the scope of the controls and the respective Schedules.

Australia - Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015 receives Royal Assent

On 2 April 2015, the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015 (DTC Amendment Bill) which amends the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (DTC Act) received Royal Assent.

According to an announcement by the Defence Export Control Office (DECO):

The offence provisions of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 – for supplying and publishing DSGL technology and for brokering DSGL goods and technology – will not come into force until the end of a 12-month implementation period that will expire on 1 April 2016.

Individuals and organisations do not need to seek permits for any activities that will occur during this implementation period. Individuals and organisations will be able to apply for permits from 16 May 2015 in preparation for the offence provisions coming in to force on 2 April 2016.

Defence will work closely with stakeholders as they establish internal compliance arrangements by providing significant implementation support through outreach and engagement sessions. Detailed guidance, tools and training will be available on DECO’s website shortly.

A summary of the key changes to the DTC Act that will be introduced by the DTC Amendment Bill is available in the Guide to the DTC Bill.

US - Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority bill introduced in Congress

On April 16, 2015, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. According to the announcement, the legislation “establishes concrete rules for international trade negotiations to help the United States deliver strong, high-standard trade agreements that will boost American exports and create new economic opportunities and better jobs for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs.” The announcement stated:

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) outlines 21st century congressional negotiating objectives that any administration – Republican or Democratic – must follow when entering into and conducting trade talks with foreign countries while also increasing transparency by requiring that Congress have access to important information surrounding pending trade deals and that the public receive detailed updates and see the full details of trade agreements well before they are signed. When the trade agreement meets the United States’ objectives and Congress is sufficiently consulted, the legislation allows for trade deals to be submitted to Congress for an up-or-down vote, an incentive for negotiating nations to put their best offer forward for any deal. At the same time, the bill creates a new mechanism to withdraw TPA procedures and hold the administration accountable should it fail to meet the requirements of TPA.

The TPA bill comes as the two of the most ambitious trade negotiations in the nation’s history – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) - are underway. According to the announcement, together these two trade agreements would further open markets encompassing nearly 1.3 billion customers and approximately 60 percent of global gross domestic product. (Citing World Bank data)

TPA expired in 2007 and is needed for the United States to successfully conclude these negotiations.

A summary the bill can be found here, section-by-section summary of bill here and a copy of the bill text can be found here.

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Chair, NA International
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Miguel Noyola
Partner, Chicago
Email: Miguel Noyola
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Trade Compliance Steering Committee


Janet K. Kim
Partner, Washington DC
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Email: John McKenzie
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Editor, International Trade
Compliance Update


Stuart P. Seidel
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