Recent Trade & Tariff Perspectives

June 2, 2021 | Kevin Koch Product Development Manager

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Trade, Tariffs, and Customs Enforcement Updates

Legislative movement on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act

Last week, the U.S. Senate proposed amendments to a bill of particular interest to companies taking advantage of duty reduction or suspension programs, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), or exclusions from the Section 301 China tariffs. The amendments were being considered as part of a broader bill called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), an effort to increase the United States’ competitive advantage through investments in research and technology.

While the Senate ultimately decided to postpone a vote until the second week of June, there are many other hurdles the bill must clear before it has the potential to become law, including alignment with the House of Representatives. Here’s what we know thus far:

  1. MTB provisions would be extended for two more cycles, beginning in 2022 and 2025. There would also be an opportunity to apply retroactively for the benefits to cover entries received while the program was expired.
  2. GSP would be renewed for several years.
  3. The previous Section 301 China tariff exclusions would be extended and a process for requesting and applying tariff exclusions would be reinstated.

UK retaliatory tariff changes a possibility

Last week, the U.K. Trade Secretary offered a new list of target commodities to hit in retaliation for the U.S. Section 232 tariffs applied on foreign steel and aluminum. Input will be sought from U.K. businesses over the next month with the opportunity for industry to voice their opinions online. View the list of products recommended and all the details to see if your business will be affected.

Forced labor enforcement continues to accelerate

The Biden Administration announced last week that it is barring all seafood imports from the Dalian Ocean Fishing company, citing evidence that the Chinese company’s products are harvested under forced labor conditions.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas said in a joint press conference that he’s instructed Customs & Border Protection (CBP) personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to detain shipments containing tuna, swordfish, and other seafood harvested by the company’s fleet. This order also covers end products such as canned tuna and pet food. 

The new withhold release order requires that any Dalian shipment be held at port until the importing company can prove the shipment was not made with forced labor or re-exports it. If they fail to do either within three months, CBP will consider the seafood abandoned and will seize and destroy the shipment. A DHS official said that this move sends a powerful signal that the United States will not tolerate the use of forced labor in the seafood supply chain. 

Count on your C.H. Robinson Trusted Advisor® experts to keep you updated on the ever-changing trade policy landscape. If you would like to learn more about how these developments may impact your global trade and transportation programs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Have a great week!

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