Blog/News

U.S. Imports for Consumption of Steel Commodities as of March 2022.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on April 25,2022 that preliminary March steel imports were $3.9 billion (2.8 million metric tons) compared to the preliminary February totals of $3.1 billion (2.1 million metric tons). The March change in steel imports based on metric tonnage reflected an increase in hot rolled sheets. Decreases occurred in used rails; electrical sheets and strips; and pipe and tubing. Increases occurred primarily with Canada. Decreases occurred primarily with Austria, Italy, and Germany. The year-to-date final statistics through February 2022 showed steel imports of 4.9 million metric tons compared with 3.9 million metric tons through February 2021. The largest commodity increases occurred with galvanized hot dipped sheets and strip and cold rolled sheets. Decreases occurred primarily in blooms, billets, and slabs; line pipe; and galvanized electrolyte sheets and strip. The largest country increases occurred with Mexico. Decreases occurred primarily with Brazil. The April report is scheduled for release on May 24, 2022. Yo may view the full report here: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/steel/steelp_2203.pdf

Weekly updates are available through quota Bulletins which can be discovered on U.S. Customs and Border Protection official website or by clicking here: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/quota/bulletins

CBP’s Modernization of ACE Portal as of April 2022:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is modernizing the Automated Commercial Environment Secure Data Portal (ACE Portal) over multiple phases in 2022. The modernization effort will entail the transition of existing functionality to an upgraded platform, offering easier use and better performance. The ACE Portal offers users real-time access to trade data through features such as ACE Reports, ACE account management, and electronic communication with CBP and Partner Government Agencies (PGA).

As of April 23, 2022, CBP has modernized the ACE portal by implementing the CBP forms application which delivers the capability to manage CBP’s form 28 (request for information), 29 (notice of action) and 4647 (notice to mark and/or notice to redeliver). Here’s the quick reference guide which provides detailed instructions on the new forms within the updated ACE portal: : https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2022-Apr/Modernized%20Forms%20-%20Trade.pdf

To view the full plan for ACE portal modernization, use the following link:  https://www.cbp.gov/trade/automated/ace-portal-modernization

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

References:

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/automated/ace-portal-modernization

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2022-Apr/Modernized%20Forms%20-%20Trade.pdf

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/quota/bulletins

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/steel/steelp_2203.pdf

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/steel_index.html


The latest in TRADE: U.S. Customs and Border Protection – National Commodity Specialist Division May Webinars Schedule along with FDA’s Improvement Plan in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.

National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD) May 2022 Webinars have been announced by U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection in CSMS #51637091. You may register by accessing each individual link listed below (as the webinar date nears, you will receive additional correspondence from CBP).

The Cargo System Messaging Service looks as follows:

The Office of Trade’s National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD) and the Office of Trade Relations is excited to present a series of approximately 40 commodity-specific, educational webinars to support Customs and Border Protection’s internal and external customers. The webinars began in February and will run through September 2022. Each webinar will be approximately an hour. The date and time will vary, so please be sure to check the time for each webinar.

To provide a more seamless experience, the webinar platform has been changed to Microsoft Teams, and each webinar will have its own link to join. The schedule for the May webinars is below. Please click on the webinar title to register. The link to join will be sent via email on the day of the webinar. We look forward to your participation!

The May schedule is as follow:

Other Electronics of Heading 8517
Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Breaking Down Bags of Heading 4202
Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Classification of Gender Neutral Garments
Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Cryptocurrency Miners
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET

2022 Changes to HTSUS for Wood, Ch. 44
Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET

A Treasure of Headquarters Rulings on Jewelry
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Earthmovers: Where on Earth Do They Go?
Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety highlighted by The U.S. Federal Food & Drug Administration in their latest webinar, held on April 13th, 2022.

The webinar’s focus was on the Outbreak Response Improvement Plan , which was originally released in December 2021 that attracted over 1,600 registrants worldwide.

The webinar summary reads as follows:

Deputy FDA Commissioner Frank Yiannas and FDA experts across agency’s human foods program were available to explain and answer questions about the plan with the goal of raising awareness, enhancing understanding, and building support. Stakeholders were welcome to provide their insights as well as ask questions.

This response improvement plan focuses on tech-enabled product traceback, root cause investigations, analysis and dissemination of outbreak data, and operational improvements. It is intended to work in concert with FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, which outlines specific approaches the FDA will take over the next decade to address food safety in the rapidly changing food system.

The plan was also informed by an independent review of the FDA’s structural and functional capacity to support, participate in, or lead multistate foodborne illness outbreak investigation activities. You will hear more about that review in this webinar.

The speakers:

  • Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response
  • RADM David Goldman, Chief Medical Officer, Office of Food Policy and Response
  • Stic Harris, Director, FDA’s Coordinated Response and Evaluation Network (CORE)
  • CDR Kari Irvin, Deputy Director, CORE
  • Scott MacIntire, Program Director, Office of Human and Animal Food Operations – West
  • Craig Hedberg, University of Minnesota, author of “An Independent Review of FDA’s Foodborne Outbreak Response Processes”

To view the webinar recording, you may click here.

Furthermore, FDA has been releasing a series of the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety TechTalk Podcast” episodes. You may find them here.

References:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCBP/bulletins/313eb63

https://www.fda.gov/food/workshops-meetings-webinars-food-and-dietary-supplements/webinar-foodborne-outbreak-response-improvement-plan-04132022

https://www.fda.gov/food/new-era-smarter-food-safety/new-era-smarter-food-safety-techtalk-podcast


Global Governance of Letters of Credit and the UCP600

By: Slava Vernidub, Express Trade Capital

Every year, trade transactions exceeding US$2 trillion are conducted under UCP600, totaling some 11% of all import/export transactions.­­1 The primary goal of the UCP600 is to ease cross-border trade by providing global uniform rules regulating the issuance and usage of letters of credit (“LCs”).

To date, the UCP (“Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits”) rules are adopted in 175 countries. UCP rules are issued by the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) commission on Banking Technique and Practice.  It is important to note that the ICC is a private international organization of industry experts, not a governmental body. The UCP600 is arguably the most widely accepted set of private rules for international trade ever developed.

How is UCP600 different from previous UCP publications?

Since the UCP was first established in 1933, it underwent several revisions, each reflecting the evolution of trade finance practices across banking, insurance, and transport industries. The objective was to create a set of internationally uniform rules to remove confusion caused by individual countries promoting disparate laws and practices governing the use of letters of credit. By guiding banks and other players engaged in global trade, the UCP enables greater trust between multinational actors and drastically increases the reliability, frequency and efficiency of international trade transactions. As of today, the UCP600 is the latest published revision issued on July 1, 2007 and includes 39 Articles.

In contrast to previous UCP publications, UCP600 not only lays out guidelines, but also includes definitions (Article 2) and interpretations (Article 3) on how to apply certain provisions of the code. By providing clear, defined terms and information specifying the role of banks in letters of credit, UCP600 removes ambiguity and provides a more concise and precise set of regulations to govern LCs. As a result, compared to transactions governed by previous versions of the UCP, transactions conducted under UCP600 are more streamlined, less risky and require fewer amendments.

Aiming to adapt the evolving practice of submitting electronic documents under letters of credit, UCP600 introduced the eUCP which has 12 articles. The goal of the eUCP is to ‘accommodate presentation of electronic records alone or in combination with paper documents’.2 However, for a letter of credit to be subject to eUCP, it must explicitly indicate so in the instrument. Letters of credit subject to eUCP are also subject to UCP600 even if this is not explicitly stated in the letter of credit. If there is a conflict, eUCP will prevail in situations where it will produce a different result from UCP.

How is UCP600 beneficial for trade transactions?

1. UCP600 levels the playing field by creating one set of operating rules for all international parties. This makes trade more inclusive because it allows SMEs to participate in international markets and integrate global supply chains.  SMEs can now rely on banks and counterparties to follow the UCP600 rather than relying on their network, market position, banking relationships and ability to exercise legal muscle, to hold sway over their trade partners when disputes arise.

2. UCP600 resolves disagreements without court intervention, providing more fair, cost-effective, and efficient global trade transactions. Banks and other LC issuing institutions can perform better as neutral third parties to decide issues that are resolved by the language of UCP600 rather than deferring and referring issues for resolution to courts for fear of incurring liability.

3. UCP600 clearly identifies the roles of parties involved and their responsibilities, reducing risk and increasing transparency and therefore speed for exporters and importers who otherwise would have no recourse beyond suing their trade partners and corresponding banks in courts of foreign jurisdiction.

4. A notable feature of UCP600 is the irrevocable nature of the letter of credit. An irrevocable letter of credit cannot be revoked by the issuing bank or at the request of the letter of credit applicant. It assures the parties involved that the guarantee offered by an LC cannot be rescinded once issued unless all parties mutually agree to cancel it. An LC is irrevocable by default, even if not explicitly stated.

For a letter of credit to adhere to UCP600, it must specify so (unless it states that it is subject to the eUCP in which case, both apply). This ensures that all parties involved understand how their performance under the instrument will be governed. If a transaction requires, certain parts of the UCP600 can be omitted but such exceptions must be specifically and unambiguously written into the LC.

If you would like to find out more about LCs, the UCP600 and how it could benefit your trade transactions, reach out to slava@expresstradecapital.com. A comprehensive understanding of UCP600 will help both small and large businesses mitigate risks and conquer new international markets.

To make sure your LCs are issued under UCP600, reach out to us. We issue LCs, SBLCs, BGs, RWAs, and Proof of Funds. Contact us to understand which instrument is best suited for your business needs.

Sources:

1. Collyer, Gary. Guide to Documentary Credits. The London Institute of Banking & Finance, 2017

2. International Chamber of Commerce. Supplement to the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits for Electronic Presentations (eUCP), 2007

International Chamber of Commerce. Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits, Publication 600 (UCP600), 2007

“UCP600.” ShippingCollege,

shippingcollege.co.uk/j365/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=193

“Global Rules.” International Chamber of Commerce,

iccwbo.org/global-issues-trends/banking-finance/global-rules/

Thanuja, Rodrigo. “UCP 500 to 600: A forward movement.” Murdoch University Law Review, vol. 18, no. 2, 2011,

research-repository.griffith.edu.au/bitstream/handle/10072/48300/80083_1.pdf

Badlis, Baziz. “UCP600 & UCP500 Compared.”

academia.edu/11329530/DIFFERENCE_BETWEEN_UCP_500_V_UCP600

Castaneda, Cristina. “Comparative Study of UCP500 and UCP600 – Approach to Negotiation and Preclusion.” Jan. 2007,

picadoyleon.com/en/pdf/COMPARATIVE.pdf

Chan, Jeremy. “Banks see uneven digitisation in trade.” The Global Treasurer, 24 November 2020,

theglobaltreasurer.com/2020/11/24/banks-see-uneven-digitisation-in-trade/

Manzella, John. “The New UCP 600: Better Rules to Better Facilitate International Trade.” The Manzella Report, 1 Jan. 2007,

manzellareport.com/index.php/trade-finance/438-the-new-ucp-600-better-rules-to-better-facilitate-international-trade


CBP Issues Regionwide Withhold Order Xingang China Cotton and Tomato Products

Effective January 13, 2021, the CBP has issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that all U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain cotton products and tomato products produced in China’s Xinjian Uygur Autonomous Region. The WRO will detain the following products from China’s Xinjian Uygur: Apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes.

The CBP will begin detaining shipments that “exploit forced labor laws at any point in their supply chain, including the production or harvesting of the raw material”. The agency identified the following forced labor indicators through the course of its investigation: debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions.

Notice of WRO 1/13/2021

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-issues-region-wide-withhold-release-orderproducts-made-slave

CBP Forced Labor Information

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/forcedlabor?_ga=2.198706028.2124264278.1610577086-1520727500.1541643165

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at contact@expresstradecapital.com.


Essential Updates for Businesses & Individuals

As each new day unfolds during the current COVID-19 crisis, we are continuing to keep you updated on important information that we believe is relevant.

We encourage you to research all your options and reach out to your account officer to discuss any issues you are facing and let us know how we can help you during these challenging times.

Financial Assistance Programs

Due to the market disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus, many stores are postponing, rejecting and even canceling orders, while others are delaying payment on existing receivables. We understand that these issues will cause cash flow problems for many of our clients.

There are federal, state and local public resources available to help businesses that are experiencing COVID-19 issues:

•  The Small Business Administration offers consulting and loan programs to help small businesses: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

•  For NYC based businesses, NYC Small Business Services offer programs that include interest free loans and grants to help small businesses cover payroll and other necessary expenses: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/businesses/covid19-business-outreach.page

•  For assistance outside of New York, please check with your state and local agencies as well as local SBA offices (listed at the bottom of the SBA website provided)

Duty Extensions

US Customs and Border Protection is accepting requests for a 7-day duty payment extension. Interested parties should send requests (name of importer and IOR#) to Director Randy Mitchell at randy.mitchell@cbp.dhs.gov.

The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), an industry group serving importers and exporters, has asked Customs for a 90-day tolling or deferral period, and Customs is considering the request.

IRS Pushes Tax Date to July 15

At a press conference held late Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the in addition to the extension on the Federal tax payment deadline, the filing deadline has also been delayed by 90 days.

•  This postponement applies to any individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, and companies or corporations.

•  Taxpayers do not have to file Forms 4868 or 7004 for an extension.

•  There is no limitation on the amount of the payment that may be postponed.

•  No interest or penalty is due during the 90-day extension. 

•  Interest & penalties on postponed Federal income tax filings and payments will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.

State Filings

State filing information is still being updated for all states, including New York. For further information on State filing updates, check out : https://www.aicpa.org/content/dam/aicpa/advocacy/tax/downloadabledocuments/coronavirus-state-filing-relief.pdf.


CBP CONSIDERING DUTY PAYMENT EXTENSIONS

In response to the difficulties facing American businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures, Customs and Border Protection is contemplating granting relief to importers.  In consideration of requests from the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association Customs Committee, chaired by GEODIS’ SVP of Trade Services and Government Relations Mary Jo Muoio, along with other industry group requests, CBP is looking at ways to provide flexibility to and extensions for a wide variety of deadlines importers face with customs obligations.

Specifically, CBP is considering granting a ninety-day extension of duty payments.  At this time CBP is working to understand authorities and mechanisms which may allow this and specifics are not available. In the meantime, CBP is reviewing extraordinary requests on a case-by-case basis.  As of today, lacking specific individual permissions, duty and related obligations remain in place.  We expect more information in the near future and will alert our clients as soon as known. If you would like to seek temporary duty-payment relief from CBP, please contact us immediately.  Initially, this relief would be for importers having duty payments due in the next week; if broader CBP issued extensions are not granted, we will pursue additional case-by-case requests.

 If you have questions about your duty payments, bond obligations or challenges meeting other CBP commitments, contact your account representative at Express Trade Capital, Inc. 

If You Import from China – US and China have come to a decision regarding tariffs

Carli Valinoti, Express Trade Capital

Chinese President Xi Jinping with President Donald Trump in June in Japan. They are the primary actors in the longest-running, most serious trade war in history.
via Getty Images/WSJ

After months of negotiation, the US and China have announced that they have come to an agreement on trade. The US will cut the current taxes on $120 billion of Chinese goods from 15% down to 7.5% and has decided to not move forward with adding tariffs to the rest of the $160 billion Chinese goods. This will take effect on December 15, 2019. A 25% tariff rate will continue to stay in place on approximately $250 billion worth of US goods. In return, China has agreed to increase its purchases of US goods and services along with around $40-50 billion in agriculture products.

For questions on how this affects your imports from China, contact our logistics office for further assistance. Contact@expresstradecapital.com


Section 301 Tariffs Increase to 30 Percent on Chinese Goods Suspended

After meeting with Vice Premier Liu He of the People’s Republic of China, President Trump announced in a news release on October 11, 2019 that the duty increase from 25% to 30% on List 1, 2, and 3 products would be suspended. A final decision will be made later regarding the additional duties scheduled to go into effect December 15, 2019 for List 4B commodities.

Information regarding the phase one deal can be found in the White House news release here.


IF YOU IMPORT FROM THE E.U.

Following a World Trade Organization decision paving the way, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) has published a list of products form E.U. origin which will be subject to additional duty rates of 10% or 25% ad valorem, effective October 18, 2019.

We expect that a FEDERAL REGISTER notice will be published with the details including confirming the definition of the October 18 effective date; effective dates are commonly based on the date of entry. 

A link to the list of products, countries and additional tariff rates may be accessed at:  https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/enforcement/301Investigations/EU_Large_Civil_Aircraft_Final_Product_List.pdf

As with other tariffs, close coordination with your carrier and EXPRESS representative is needed to avoid duties assessed to shipments arriving before the effective date.  EXPRESS Trade Capital, Inc. is available to answer your questions, help assess impact to your business and discuss mitigation strategies. Reach out to us at logistics@expresstradecapital.com


If you Import from China

By; Carli Valinoti, Express Trade Capital 

After meeting with President Xi over the weekend, President Trump announced decisions regarding the bilateral trade dispute. The President announced that while current tariffs will remain in place, he will not move forward with additional tariffs as negotiations continue. Therefore, there are no immediate plans to implement Tranche or List 4 trade-remedy tariffs.

The United States Trade Representative recently concluded seven days of hearings on the proposed List 4. The testimony and comments solicited from the public as part of the List 4 review may influence the products to be included and tariff rate if and when any additional trade-remedy actions are taken. But for now, any action on List 4 is on hold.

If you import from China, Express Trade Capital is here to assist with trade strategies to minimize the impact, apply for exemptions, and process refund claims where exemptions have been granted. Click here to contact Express Trade Capital for expertise and support. We are here to help.