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September 2019 Newsletter

A monthly roundup of our Industry Updates, Blogs and Market Information

Recent Developments regarding Section 301 Tariffs

  • August 1, 2019, President Trump stated in a series of social media Tweets that a ten percent (10%) tariff will be imposed on all imported goods from China beginning September 1, 2019. Referred to as List 4, this includes nearly all the remaining imports not previously impacted by Section 301. 
  • August 23, 2019 President Trump instructed the USTR to increase tariffs on $550 in Chinese products by an additional 5%. The USTR notice can be viewed here

  • August 30th the USTR published a notice to the Federal Register increasing the Section 301 tariff on List 4a products from China to 15% effective September 1, 2019. In addition, the tariff on List 4b products will implement at 15% beginning December 15, 2019.
  • Tuesday, September 11th, President Trump announced in a tweet that as a "gesture of good will" the next increase in Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports scheduled for October 1 will be postponed until October 15th. 

    To clarify this most recent announcement:

    • All previous Lists currently implemented at 25% tariff will increase to 30% on October 15, 2019.
    • List 4B, currently scheduled to begin on December 15th, will now implement at 15%.
    Announcements made in this manner are typically followed by an official notice from the US Trade Representative. We will notify you when the USTR announces an update to the Federal Register

We will continue to monitor Section 301 tariff developments and will provide updates as new information becomes available. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our "Section 301 Tariff FAQ's" for more information.

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The Federal Maritime Commission recently posted the following notice regarding demurrage and detention charges. Demurrage fees are charged when a cargo container exceeds the free time allowed at a terminal. Detention fees are applied to the carrier-provided container as equipment when it is used past the allotted free time. 

Proposed Interpretive Rule on Demurrage and Detention Issued

Posted September 13, 2019
The Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed interpretive rule on demurrage and detention under the Shipping Act.

This interpretive rule would provide the public with guidance about how the Commission assesses the reasonableness of demurrage and detention practices and regulations under the Shipping Act. The interpretive rule describes a non-exclusive list of factors the Commission may consider in evaluating claims and complaints that come before the agency under 46 U.S.C. 41102(c) and 46 C.F.R. 545.4(d).

The Commission voted last week to adopt Commissioner Rebecca Dye’s recommendations on Fact Finding 28. Her first recommendation was that the Commission issue guidance in the form of an interpretive rule.

Interested parties have until Thursday, October 17, 2019, to provide comments in response to the NPRM. The proposed rule contains specific guidance on how to submit comments. While the Commission will provide confidential treatment for identified confidential information to the extent allowed by law, comments are considered to be part of the public record.

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New FEI portal launched by the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched its FDA Establishment Identifier (FEI) Portal last week to help importers obtain an entity's FEI for transmission on the electronic entry. In the CSMS message released on Friday, the FEI Portal specifically "assists users in identifying FEI numbers associated with a specific address or identifying a specific address associated with an FEI number for a firm already in FDA's firm inventory."

This Portal is provided free of charge. To begin using it, you will need to register for a new FEI Portal account. For questions on how to use the Portal, or for more information regarding FEI Portal searches, the FDA has released an FEI Portal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which you may access here

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US Import Trends - Retailers are seeking to Minimize Impact of Tariffs

According to a recent article in Logistics Management, the US - China trade war continues to impact import activity at US ports.  The Port Tracker Report, issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates indicates that August import volumes were high, estimated at 1.93 million TEU, up 1.8 percent year-over-year.

The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, Houston, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, and Savannah, Miami, Jacksonville, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades.

“Retailers are still trying to minimize the impact of the trade war on consumers by bringing in as much merchandise as they can before each new round of tariffs takes effect and drives up prices,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. “That’s the same pattern we’ve seen over the past year, but we’re very quickly going to be at the point where virtually all consumer goods will be subject to these taxes on American families. The upcoming October talks with China are an opportunity to put a stop to this escalation, repeal the tariffs that have been imposed and focus on growing the economy.” 

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Check out our IMO Low-Sulfur Fuel Mandate FAQ's

We have discussed the impact of transitioning to low-sulfur fuel in previous newsletters. In short, the low-sulfur mandate came about as an effort to cut sulfur-oxide emissions in Emission Control Areas (ECA), a 200-mile buffer around the U.S. shoreline and other designated areas around the world. Ocean carriers can comply with the new mandate by retrofitting vessels with special fuel scrubbers, a costly and time-consuming process or burning the new, more costly low-sulfur fuel. As we approach the deadline, there are some things you need to know about how the low-sulfur mandate will soon impact your bottom line. 

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