While members of Congress actively negotiate government spending levels for fiscal year 2024, the United States is heading for its fourth partial government shutdown in the last decade. Trade agencies’ operations will be at risk if a government shutdown occurs. The House of Representatives and the Senate have a deadline of September 30th, 2023, to reach an agreement on spending bills for fiscal year 2024. If an agreement is not met, approximately 438 government agencies will suspend their day-to-day operations starting on October 1st, 2023.
Non-essential federal workers will be forced into furlough, which in return will disrupt various services vital to U.S. trade activities. Agencies and federal workers deemed “essential” will continue to provide important services, such as anything relating to national security, and activities necessary to protect life and property. With the length of the looming shutdown unknown, the trade industry must prepare for impacts on operations for importers, exporters, transportation and logistics companies, Customs brokers, and any other party involved in global trading with the United States.
We expect cargo to flow through our borders as normal should a government shutdown take place; however, there could be unexpected delays in clearing shipments if the goods require any other Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) involved with processing imported merchandise. Post summary activities such as refunds or responses to rulings are also expected to face delays in the importing process.
Due to the upcoming 4th of July Holiday, our office will be closed on Tuesday July 4th for the observation of the holiday and close at 3 p.m. on Monday July 3rd. Please contact your account officer and plan accordingly during this time. Happy Independence Day to all!
Express Trade Capital (“ETC”) is thrilled to announce the addition of a $3.5MM B2C – Ecommerce financing facility to a well-established and fast-growing cashmere apparel manufacturer.
The client produces sustainable cashmere apparel sourced from ethically farmed and well pampered Mongolian goats. Not content to be just another sheep in the herd, the client signed with Express over 6 years ago and obtained a multi-tier facility that included factoring, PO financing and both documentary and standby letters of credit. Equipped with the proper facilities, the client wisely spent their time and capital, growing over 10x since starting with ETC.
In addition to producing high end, sustainable and affordable cashmere products, the client also employed savvy marketing skills to create quirky comedic content which garnered millions of views and helped rocket their online sales to over $25MM in annual revenue.
As their B2C ecommerce business took off and exceeded their wholesale revenue, the client needed additional assistance to keep up with heavy, growing demand. They needed more capital but didn’t want to get fleeced by promises of quick cash at exorbitant rates. Naturally, they approached ETC based on the trust earned from shepherding their current facilities. Upon discussion, it became clear these cashmere merchants needed more than mere cash – they needed a program that could scale along with their sales.
Given the client’s solid longstanding history with the client and ETC’s deep knowledge of the client’s products and operations, ETC was able to quickly structure an e-commerce financing program to help them shear their sheep of expanding revenue.
This facility allows the client to meet and exceed their internal projections and includes an accordion feature to expand the facility further based upon reaching certain credit milestones.
This is just another example of how ETC can quickly deploy a vast suite of services to help clients grow and prosper. Is ETC the GOAT of finance? Maybe. Maybe not. But in this case, they certainly stepped up and led their flock to the promised land of greener pastures and great growth, ensuring their client’s capital needs shall not want.
Since 1993,ETC has been advising its clients on the following:
How to structure transactions for maximum profitability.
How to most efficiently move your goods from pickup to delivery to your customer.
How to manage cash flow and mitigate risk throughout the various stages of production and delivery.
It is with great joy that we announce our nominee Ashley Orlando VP/Director of Eco Financing was selected as a 2023 SFNet’s 40 under 40 WINNER! Ashley was nominated byMark Bienstock & David Estrakhin virtue of her being an outstanding employee, colleague, and exemplar of true excellence. We acknowledge and honor her as she has honored us for the last 8+ years through her relentless devotion and unwavering zeal to elevate our profession.
In a recent post, FDA highlights the challenges the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Foods Program has encountered and their resolutions to achieve their mission of protecting the safety of human foods, as increasing access to safe and nutritious foods for all consumers in 2022.
The post highlights 4 main elements: Infant formula, food safety, nutrition and innovation.
The article reads as follows:
“Despite being a challenging year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Foods Program has taken important strides in 2022 to protect the safety of human foods and expand access to safe and nutritious foods for all consumers last year.
We know the infant formula issue created hardships for far too many families across the country, so first we’d like to take a moment to highlight our work to address the Cronobacter sakazakii related illnesses in infants and the ensuing infant formula shortage, one of the toughest challenges the FDA has faced since the passage of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). This situation reinforced our public health mission.
Infant Formula (Frank Yiannas)
As the infant formula incident unfolded, we worked around-the-clock with infant formula manufacturers to increase production and used data tools to monitor industry-provided production volumes for infant formula and assist with tracking and addressing infant formula supply shortages throughout the country. Additionally, we have expanded access to infant formula by exercising enforcement discretion for 12 firms to temporarily import their foreign-produced infant formula products into the U.S. market. The agency has provided a pathway for those manufacturers to bring their products into full compliance with U.S. requirements and be able to sell in the U.S. permanently. Importantly, we also worked with manufacturers to increase their production capacity by exercising flexibility on ingredient and packaging supply chain issues and by working with other government partners activated the Defense Production Act to ensure availability of critical ingredients. Finally, the FDA has outlined a prevention strategy on Cronobacter sakazakii and powdered infant formula that will help us do our part to reduce illnesses associated with Cronobacter sakazakii contamination. We continue to be fully committed to protecting the safety of infant formula and safeguarding this essential source of nutrition for so many babies in this country.
Food Safety ( Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D.)
In 2022, we made significant advances in implementing FSMA and, building upon it, through the advancement of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety goals: In November, the FDA issued the Food Traceability Final Rule mandated by FSMA, with its list of foods for which additional recordkeeping will apply, allowing for faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market. We continued work to finalize the pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce other than sprouts. In March, we released an on-line Agricultural Water Assessment Builder to guide farmers in an interactive format. We released the first in a series of Prevention Strategies to Enhance Food Safety that target specific commodity-hazard pairings. Our Office of Human and Animal Food Operations trained more than 1,000 FDA staff to recognize elements of Food Safety Culture in food operations. We expanded Domestic Mutual Reliance partnerships with states, adding Iowa, Minnesota, and Virginia. We entered into a Memorandum of Understanding between the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to strengthen food safety in retail and foodservice establishments. In September, we released the “Activities for the Safety of Imported Produce” to detail how the agency is working to enhance the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables. We enhanced oversight of imported shrimp from the three largest exporting countries through increased examination and sample collection. Additionally, we collaborated with foreign governments to provide training and outreach events focusing on seafood safety and import requirements. We enhanced regulatory oversight of foreign firms the agency cannot routinely inspect by leveraging tools such as the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, remote regulatory assessments, importer seafood inspections, and sampling to ensure supply chain security and compliance with good manufacturing practices. Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D. Other advances in our food safety work included making available the testing results for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in seafood samples collected at retail. As a result of the findings, two companies issued voluntary product recalls. Additionally, we advanced the Closer to Zero initiative. In support of those goals, the agency is working with federal partners to study the role of seafood consumption, the primary dietary source of mercury, in child growth and development. The FDA also issued a draft guidance to industry on action levels for lead in single-strength juices and juice blends.
The FDA’s Foods Program is committed to helping to ensure that consumers have access to healthy foods and have the information they need to make informed choices for themselves and their families. In September, we participated in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health during which one of the priorities was empowering consumers to make healthy choices. At the conference, the FDA announced the proposed updated criteria for when foods can be labeled with the nutrient content claim “healthy” on their packaging. In December, we issued the 2022 edition of the FDA Food Code, which provides guidance to state and local authorities and retailers to help mitigate foodborne illness risks at retail and provide a uniform set of national standards for retail food safety. The 2022 update specifically addressed food donations as part of an effort to reduce food waste that is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.
Innovation ( Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D.)
We are constantly striving to find smarter and more modern ways to improve food safety and increase access to nutritious foods. In 2022, the agency: Continued to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to strengthen import screening. We entered the third phase of the Artificial Intelligence Imported Seafood Pilot program, which uses AI and machine learning to help predict the likelihood that an import shipment is potentially harmful and not compliant with FDA regulations. Completed our first pre-market consultation for a human food made from cultured animal cells. As the Human Foods program undergoes some important changes, at our core the talented and dedicated employees from the program look forward to continuing this important work with our public and private sector partners in the year ahead. Together we will bend the curve of foodborne illness, protect consumers from unsafe foods, and support them in making healthy food choices”.
If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us HERE.
Congratulations to MINA on yet another excellent creation. Mina’s Moroccan Harira is a flavorful soup full of chickpeas and lentils. The heartiness and earthiness of this Harira will make your taste buds sing.
”As a result of a difficult 2022 holiday-sales environment, apparel importers and manufacturers are facing dual issues going into 2023. First is bringing their inventory back to a more manageable level. Many companies were dealing with a logistical logjam of too many containers arriving at the same time as well as missing the current season. This forced the retail community to postpone or cancel many orders. The importing and manufacturing trades are still carrying elevated inventory, causing added margin compression to their bottom lines. Second, the rising interest-rate policy of the Federal Reserve to tame inflation is causing many in the apparel community to resize their respective entity structures as we are potentially heading into a recession. Cost containment throughout the entire manufacturing and selling ecosystem will be paramount to come out stronger once economic recovery is underway.”
At Express Trade Capital, we provide financing along with logistics solutions, and serve as your consultant – providing advice including:
– How to structure transactions for maximum profitability. – How to most efficiently move your goods from pickup to delivery to your customer. – How to manage cash flow and mitigate risk throughout the various stages of production and delivery.
This advisory capacity truly sets us apart from other financiers. It’s in our best interests to give you the best advice because our own profitability is determined by your success.
The cosmetics industry is one of the highest valued retail markets in the United States. According to Inc., beauty product sales (which includes skincare products, makeup, and fragrance) generate more than $50 billion each year. The average consumer spends thousands on beauty products and services annually. In fact, a recent study from Wells Fargo showed that many Americans will decide whether to purchase a product based on whether or not it’s available in store or online.
After being nominated for top women’s leadership in North America, the owner of a 2-year-old cosmetics business had her eyes set on expanding.
The company has recently tripled their sales volume, with more accounts and larger orders in the pipeline, working capital was constrained and the client needed assistance to keep up. With big box retailers knocking and further large orders on the horizon, they simply didn’t have financial stability to handle it all. When the prospect reached out, ETC put on its war paint and embarked on a complete financial makeover for the client. Starting with a solid foundation of factoring to speed up customer payments and PO funding facility to defray the costs of production, the client was prepared for Express to apply concealer to their cash flow issues.
Thanks toEric Khorsandi who sourced this deal, the client is now equipped to scale rapidly and responsibly with a secured financing facility that also mitigates and protects against customer credit and supply chain risk. Now that ETC rolled out the rouge carpet, the client’s path is comfortably powdered (and powered) for growth. ETC is blushing with pride for starting another promising relationship (and for its newly discovered makeover chops).
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.”
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.
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 Alert, injunction, 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.
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. “