Blog/News

Happy Holidays from ETC!

We’re wishing you a gift of health, wealth and happiness in 2023.

Please note: Our offices will close at 3 p.m. EST today and will be closed on Monday, December 26th, 2022.


Food Industry Update: FDA opens a Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) allowing importers to move their food products to the U.S with greater speed and predictability.

The anticipated VQIP application opens as of January 1st, 2023. According to fda.gov, buyers and wholesalers will benefit from this program.

The full announcement reads as follows:

“Participating importers will be able to import their products to the U.S. with greater speed and predictability, avoiding unexpected delays at the point of import entry. Consumers will also benefit from the importer’s robust management of the safety and security of their supply chains.

To participate, importers must meet eligibility criteria and pay a user fee that covers cost associated with the FDA’s administration of the program.

Importers interested in applying can start their application by submitting a notice of intent to participate by setting up an account via the FDA Industry Systems website. Once you have an account, selecting VQIP under the FSMA Program options will take you to the VQIP Application Page with an option for submitting a Notice of Intent to Participate. Importers applying for the next benefit period may wish to refer to the VQIP Portal User Guide as they prepare their applications.”

Here are the steps to apply for the VQIP:

  • Create an account on the FDA Industry Systems website
  • Submit a Notice of Intent to Participate in VQIP between January 1 and May 31, 11:59pm (EST).
  • Pay the user fee.

Begin the VQIP application process, which will take you through the above steps.

Check the status of your application on your VQIP Application home page at http://www.access.fda.gov.

 Most Frequent Asked Questions to assist you with the application:

What are the benefits of participating in VQIP?

Quicker, easier entry

FDA will expedite import entry into the United States for all foods included in an approved VQIP application.

FDA will use its Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting (PREDICT) import screening tool to recognize shipments of food that are part of an approved VQIP application. The screening tool will be programmed to recognize and, in most cases, immediately release the shipment, unless examination and sampling are necessary for the public health reasons listed below.

Limited examination and sampling

FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of VQIP food entries to the following situations: (1) “for cause” situations (i.e., investigation of an outbreak or illness) ; (2) to obtain statistically necessary risk-based microbiological samples (when building a product risk profile based on non-biased surveillance sampling); and (3) to audit a small percentage of import shipments covered by VQIP to verify that products declared in a VQIP entry are consistent with products covered in the VQIP application.

FDA sampling at preferred location

When FDA needs to examine an entry covered by VQIP, FDA will attempt, to the extent possible, to examine an import entry and collect samples at the VQIP food destination or other location preferred by the VQIP importer. If import entry to the U.S. is denied, FDA will assist in fulfilling an importer’s request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to export the refused products from the port preferred by the importer.

Faster lab results

In the event FDA collects a sample of a VQIP food import entry, FDA’s laboratories will prioritize processing of VQIP samples.

What are the eligibility criteria to participate in VQIP?

  • You have a 3-year history of importing food into the United States. Your import history is based on importation of all foods, including food that may not be covered under VQIP.
  • You have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) numberExternal Link Disclaimer. Don’t have a DUNS number, Contact Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) at 866-705-5711 or via e-mail at government@dnb.com. All entities doing business with the U.S. government can receive a DUNS number free of charge through D&B using the basic service or pay a nominal fee to expedite service.
  • You use paperless filers/brokers who received an acceptable rating during their last FDA Filer Evaluation. The filer/broker is the person responsible for submitting import entry and entry summary data on the food into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and as necessary submitting import documents into the International Trade Auxiliary Communication System (ITACS) or through Customs and Border Protection’s Document Imaging System (DIS).
  • None of the foods you import, including ones you do not intend to include in your VQIP application, is subject to an import alert or Class 1 recall at the time you submit your application.
  • Neither you nor the non-applicant entities associated with a VQIP food are subject to an ongoing FDA administrative or judicial action (e.g., Import Alertinjunction, and debarment), or have a history of significant non-compliances relating to food safety (e.g., an “Official Action Indicated” (OAI) FDA inspection classification; one or more voluntary Class 1 recalls relating to food safety) with no documentation of appropriate corrective actions. NOTE: “Non-applicant entities” are those entities associated with a VQIP food that conduct activities throughout the supply chain necessary for ensuring that the eligibility requirements of VQIP are met. Non-applicant entities associated with a VQIP food include, but are not limited to, the FSVP or HACCP importer of the food (if other than you), the foreign supplier of the food, and the import entry filer/broker.
  • If you are the FSVP or HACCP importer (U.S. owner or consignee at the time of entry into the United States or the U.S. agent or representative of the foreign owner or consignee at the time of entry into the U.S.) for a VQIP food, you are in compliance with the supplier verification and other importer responsibilities under the applicable FSVP, juice HACCP, or seafood HACCP regulations.
    • If you are not the FSVP or HACCP importer for a VQIP food, you must identify the FSVP or HACCP importer for the food and ensure that the FSVP or HACCP importer is in compliance with the applicable FSVP or HACCP regulations.
  • You have a current facility certification for each foreign supplier of the food you intend to import under the VQIP.
  • You develop and implement a VQIP Quality Assurance Program (QAP). Documentation of your QAP must be submitted with your VQIP application.
  • Within the past 3 years, you have not been the subject of any U.S. Customs and Border Protection penalties, forfeitures, or sanctions that are related to the safety and security of any FDA-regulated product that you imported or offered for import.
  • You must pay the user fee before October 1, the start of VQIP fiscal year, each year that you are approved to participate in the VQIP.

Why is there a user fee to participate in VQIP?

Annual user fees to participate in VQIP cover FDA’s costs for administering the program. These include the costs of reviewing applications; the costs of conducting inspections of importers (both foreign and domestic) accepted into the program; and the annual Information Technology (IT) maintenance costs. The user fee rates are calculated each Fiscal Year and will be posted in a Federal Register notice on or before August 1 each year. “

To read the full article, click HERE.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

References:

https://www.fda.gov/food/importing-food-products-united-states/voluntary-qualified-importer-program-vqip?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery


ETC COOKS UP A DEAL-IGHTFUL FACTORING FACILITY FOR A WHOLESALER OF FROZEN VEGAN MEALS.

VP Ashley Orlando discovered the client through her extensive network and contacts in the plant-based food and beverage industry. Two years ago, the client created a Vegan frozen lasagna that quickly gained popularity and flew off the shelves. Like an Italian grandma serving a guest in love with her food, the client is back in the kitchen and using ETC’s patented financial sauce to cook up more Italian staples like vegan ravioli, mozzarella sticks, meatballs, and arancini. 
 
After rolling out to a good start in 2022, the client forecasts robust sales growth for 2023 as they continue to open more doors and gain precious shelf space. But they needed the working capital to get there. Through a referral, the client approached Ashley and ETC with the perennial problem of cash flow crunches caused by a disparity in payment terms between customers and suppliers. 
 
Since the client’s retail customers were paying on net 30-day terms, the client consistently ran into cash crunches with their copacker who provided only net 10-day payment terms. Although the client had several promising talks to open more doors with larger accounts, the logistics proved difficult as each new account required an industry standard of net 30-day terms or greater which only increased the client’s financial burden with each additional order. 
 
Looking to thaw the client’s frozen growth, ETC opened a factoring facility to accelerate the payment of advance receivables. With a bit of good history, the client has the option to add a PO funding facility, allowing them further flexibility to juggle the working capital required to scale rapidly. ETC is thrilled to welcome this new client into our expanding food and beverage portfolio and proud to help entrepreneurs creating sustainable, earth and health friendly products. No animals were harmed in the making of this facility.

Don’t hesitate to contact us here ➡️ https://lnkd.in/e84Ti6hg for questions about how Express Trade Capital can help your business. 


COLUMBUS DAY HOLIDAY HOURS.

Due to the upcoming Columbus Day Holiday, our office will be closed on Monday, October 10th in observance of the holiday.

Please contact your account officer and plan accordingly during this time.

Happy Columbus Day to all!


ETC LETS THE DOGS OUT WITH $4.5 MM FACTORING AND 500K PO FUNDING LINES FOR A CANINE BAKED GOODS CO.

For over 20 years, the client dug a niche producing bakery-style specialty dog treats exclusively out of their facilities in Arkansas.  The treats are human grade, decorated with dog friendly frosting, and intended as special treats for pets to enjoy on birthdays and holidays.  Their customer base ranged from smaller and mid-sized pet shops to big box pet retailers. 

Early in 2022, the client realized they needed help to manage cash flow gaps necessitated by increased demand from larger retail customers. After sniffing around the market, they found Express Trade Capital to help them unleash the beast of big growth. A current Express client was happy to make the referral.

With prior annual sales of $8MM growing to $12MM, the client was unwilling to sit or stay in place.  To facilitate growth, ETC laid out two bowls of funding: a factoring line capped at $4.5MM and a PO funding line of $500,000.  The two lines will expand, contract, and otherwise adapt based on the client’s sales revenue and history.  The client is now free to fetch as many POs as they can chew.  The deal was led and brought to heel by Ashley Orlando who chased the tail of required documents and smoothed the path for onboarding.  According to Ashley, the client was a pleasure to work with throughout the onboarding process and we are excited to build a long-standing financing relationship with such a great team while deepening our experience in this industry.

This deal emblematic of Express’ commitment to ensure every business owner we serve has their day in the sun.  The client also earned a treat for demonstrating that old companies can still learn new tricks. Though Express wouldn’t let sleeping dogs lie when it came to funding rabid growth, everyone got to sleep like a dog after closing this one.

Since 1993, ETC has helped companies grow, fulfill purchase orders, mitigate risk, and navigate supply chain issues, all while maintaining and enhancing their equity. Our consultative approach leverages our combined 100+ years of experience to ensure clients get maximum support to handle any obstacle. ETC specializes in financing companies through factoring, purchase order funding, letters of credit and inventory-based lines of credit. In addition, ETC offers back-end support from logistics to warehousing to credit protection. 


Don’t hesitate to contact us HERE for questions about how Express Trade Capital can help your business.


HOLIDAY UPDATE: October 5, 2022

Please note there will be no Factoring advances on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 in observance of Yom Kippur. PO Funding & LC transactions will be extremely limited. Please plan accordingly.


Express Completes $7MM Factoring and $3MM PO Funding Deal for Hong Kong-based Denim Wholesaler.

In September 2022, Express Trade Capital Inc. secured a deal for a Hong Kong-based denim manufacturer who will work directly with top U.S. retailers who previously bought their denim goods through indirect wholesale channels.
 
The prospect reached out to Express to expand their U.S. wholesale presence which would allow them to take advantage of growing interest from top U.S. retailers. Led by AVP Dina Davletshina and VP Drew Cohen, ETC’s team worked directly with the client to develop a uniquely tailored program for their U.S. entity. 
 
To support an expected annual sales revenue of $15MM, ETC created a $7MM factoring facility and a $3MM purchase order funding line. Prior to signing with ETC, the team assisted the client with setting up their U.S. entity and bank account. ETC will also handle the client’s shipping and logistic needs, ensuring goods arrive promptly and POs are fulfilled timely. According to Dina Davletshina, who shepherded the deal to smooth completion: “our team worked hard to overcome several challenges inherent in funding a company that was technically new on paper but had many years of good history overseas. Although this was a non-traditional prospect, their customer base, product line and management team all fit well into our family of clients, so we rolled up our jeans and got creative. Overall, we were able to get the comfort and security we needed to get this deal done right.”
 
ETC specializes in financing companies through factoring, purchase order funding, letters of credit and inventory-based lines of credit. In addition, ETC offers back-end support from logistics to warehousing to credit protection. Since 1993, ETC has helped companies grow, fulfill purchase orders, mitigate risk, and navigate supply chain issues, all while maintaining and enhancing their equity. Our consultative approach leverages our combined 100+ years of experience to ensure clients get maximum support to handle any obstacle.
 
Don’t hesitate to contact us HERE for questions about how Express Trade Capital can help your business. 



SUPPLY CHAIN UPDATE: U.S. Rail Strike has been Deterred.

U.S. Rail Strike has been Deterred as Freight Railroads and Unions Reach Tentative Agreements. Earlier today, the 46th President of the U.S, Joe Biden has released a statement on the tentative Railway Labor Agreement. It reads as follows:

“The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people. It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years. These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.

I thank the unions and rail companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy.

I am grateful for the hard work that Secretaries Walsh, Buttigieg, and Vilsack, and NEC Director Deese put into reaching this tentative agreement. I especially want to thank Secretary Walsh for his tireless, around-the-clock efforts that delivered a win for the hard working people of the US rail industry: as a result, we will keep Americans on the job in all the industries in this country that are touched by this vital industry.

For the American people, the hard work done to reach this tentative agreement means that our economy can avert the significant damage any shutdown would have brought. With unemployment still near record lows and signs of progress in lowering costs, tonight’s agreement allows us to continue to fight for long term economic growth that finally works for working families.”

The Association of American Railroads released details of the agreement, which indicates that the new contracts provide rail employees a 24 % increase during the 5 years period from 2020-2024, including an immediate payout on average of $11,000 upon ratification, following the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250.

To read the full statement from AAR, you may click HERE.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

References:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/09/15/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-tentative-railway-labor-agreement/


Trade Update: USTR Declares for Continuation of China 301 Tariffs.

On September 02, 2022 the United States Trade Representative declared a continuation of China 301 Tariffs in a press release.

It reads as follows:

“WASHINGTON – Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative confirmed that representatives of domestic industries benefiting from the tariff actions in the Section 301 investigation of China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation have requested continuation of the tariffs. Accordingly, as required by statute, the tariffs did not expire on their four-year anniversary dates and USTR will proceed with the next steps as provided in the statute.

USTR’s formal notice of the continuation may be found here. Details on the next steps in the four-year review process will be set out in subsequent notices.

In May 2022, USTR commenced the statutory four-year process by notifying representatives of domestic industries that benefit from the tariff actions of the possible termination of those actions and of the opportunity for the representatives to request continuation. Because requests for continuation were received, the tariff actions have not terminated and USTR will conduct a review of the tariff actions.”

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

References:

https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2022/september/ustr-receives-requests-continuation-china-301-tariffs


HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND FROM ETC!

Happy Labor Day weekend to our employees, clients and partners. The world runs on your contributions and you all deserve recognition. We hope you have a great holiday weekend.