The Latest Customs and Trade Policy Developments to Follow

Stay ahead of the curve—and the competition—with essential insights on the latest customs and trade developments impacting today's rapidly evolving market. Understanding the latest shifts and changes to regulations can help your business navigate global markets with confidence and adapt swiftly to emerging opportunities.

Looming government shutdown

On September 30, 2023, Congress narrowly averted a potential government shutdown by extending government funding for 45 days. The last U.S. government shutdown was December 2018, which lasted for 35 days.

Shutdowns occur when Congress does not approve discretionary spending for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1. During that time, nearly all aspects of the U.S. government can be affected as federal employees can be furloughed or asked to work without pay, depending on whether they are considered essential workers.

For global shippers importing to or exporting from the United States, a shutdown may result in significant and costly supply chain delays due to decreased staffing levels at federal agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Partner Government Agencies (PGAs).

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have until November 17, 2023, to finish their funding legislation. In the meantime, read our blog to see how you can prepare for a government shutdown.

Section 301 China Tariff exclusions extended

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently extended 352 previously reinstated exclusions and 77 COVID-related product exclusions until December 31, 2023, from the previous September 30, 2023 deadline. The exclusions cover various items, including medical products like face masks, hand sanitizing wipes, industrial pumps, and electric motors.

“The extension will allow for further consideration under the statutory four-year review,” the USTR said, in the September 6, 2023, announcement.

Any major revisions to the China Tariffs are unlikely to occur until the USTR completes the statutory four-year review. USTR, Katherine Tai, stated this year that the USTR’s office would be taking a holistic look at the effect the tariffs have had on the national economy, specifically U.S. customers, businesses, and production. The USTR wants to focus on analyzing the current structure of the tariffs, as well as any changes that should be explored.

To see if any exclusions apply to your products, get an easy-to-understand report from our free U.S. Tariff Search Tool. You can also use the tool to gain clarity on import costs and identify potential opportunities to reduce or eliminate duties and fees. Watch this demo to get started with the tool in less than a minute.

EPA issues final rule on HFC restrictions

On October 24, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final rule restricting the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) for more than 40 product sectors—from refrigerators/freezers to heat pump products and equipment.

According to the EPA, the final rule focuses on “facilitating the transition to next-generation technologies by restricting use of HFCs in the sectors or subsectors in which they are used.” Depending on the product, the new restrictions will be implemented between 2025 and 2028, with the earliest restrictions beginning on January 1, 2025.

The rule operates by prohibiting:

  • The manufacture and import of products that use higher-GWP HFCs
  • The sale, distribution, and export of those products three years after the manufacture and import restrictions
  • The installation of new RACHP systems that use higher-GWP HFCs

Importers and manufacturers will be required to report directly to the EPA on the volume of units imported, manufactured, or exported annually. Importers will also be required to keep entry records for three years, and all new products and components using HFCs will need to be labeled, among other requirements set out by the rule.

Check out the EPA’s fact sheet and reach out to your C.H. Robinson representative for more information on how your business can prepare for this change.

Stay informed

Developments in customs and trade continue to evolve—stay informed to be prepared:


Ivana Gavroski
Product Development Manager
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