OHL Weekly Alert - April 24, 2015

Registration for the 2015 West Coast Trade Symposium is Open

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be hosting "Advancing Trade Through Partnership and Enforcement" in Tacoma, Washington on May 27, 2015 at the Hotel Murano.

To find out more information or register for the event, visit the CBP website.

Registration will end on May 1, 2015.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Rules & Regulations Updates


USDA Announces  the Importation of Fresh Apples from China into the Continental U.S. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published a final rule amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow fresh apples to be imported into the U.S. from China. The ruling was based on a risk analysis completed by APHIS in 2013 which determined that apples could be safely imported from China into the U.S.

The requirements for importing Chinese apples into the U.S. include:

  • Produced by grower who is part of a certification program administered by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of China
  • Pre-harvest NPPO inspection
  • Issuance of phytosanitary certificate
  • Importation in commercial consignments only
  • Sealed boxes
  • Location of apples in cold storage facility while awaiting export into U.S.
  • Apples from areas where Oriental fruit fly is known to exist must be treated with fumigation and refrigeration

All Chinese apples must be accompanied by phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that all conditions have been met and that the consignment of apples has been inspected and found free of quarantine pests.

Wood Packaging Materials:  U.S. Import and Export Compliance Requirements

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has set standards for wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the U.S. through 7 CFR 319.40. 

Importers and exporters of cargo using WPM (pallets, crating, dunnage, etc) into or out of the U.S. must make certain that the supplier or shipper has properly treated and marked all WPM prior to cargo movement. This will ensure your cargo is in compliance with ISPM 15 and USDA APHIS regulations in order to prevent cargo delays, government examination and additional costs.

Click here for information about US Customs WPM regulations, USDA ASPHIS regulations and the ISPM 15 standards.

USDA Announces U.S. Market Access for Peruvian Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) met in Washington, DC regarding recent achievements for several longstanding issues for both the United States and Peru including expansion of imports of papayas, oversized mangoes, peppers, and citrus. After many years of work between the U.S. and Peru’s agencies, actions are being taken to address many of these issues.

Click here to read more about the progress made during the meeting between the USDA and MOA.


The House of Preference Legislation Introduces Bill H.R. 1891


Renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Programs

Since the expiration of GSP back in July of 2013, American companies have paid nearly $2 million dollars per day in taxes. GSP is one of the oldest and broadest preference programs, providing duty-free entry for roughly 5,000 agricultural and non-agricultural products from 126 countries.

The renewal of GSP extends the duty-free entry program through December 31, 2017 and provides retroactive relief to eligible products imported during the GSP's lapse. Some trade experts believe that this renewal may retroactively cover products regardless of liquidation date or re-liquidation during the lapse. Importers would have to apply for retro-active benefits within 180 days of the bill's enactment. In addition experts believe that, due to language, exceptions could be made for imports from Bangladesh and Russia.

Extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

The decade long term extension of AGOA amends the bill from expiring in September of this year. The extension will be good until September 30, 2025.

The extension includes the fabric provision and expansion to the rule of origin, allowing countries greater flexibility. Since the enactment of the AGOA in 2000, the trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa has more than tripled and the act will continue to further enhance trade and investments, as well as promote economic growth and reduce poverty.  

Extension of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act

The HOPE act was enacted in 2006 to provide duty-free benefits on apparel exports from Haiti to the U.S. The act, set to expire in 2020, has been renewed through September 30, 2025. The HOPE act will continue promoting export growth and development for Haiti and will support an estimated 30,000 jobs within Haiti.

Click here to view the full AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 (Bill H.R. 1891).

Other articles regarding these extensions can be found here and here.


FMC Requests Evidence of Unreasonable Demurrage & Detention Fees

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released a report earlier in the month on the impact of port congestion on demurrage and detention fees. The report followed four regional forums hosted by the commission along with complaints by shippers and truckers who say they have been hit with fees for unavoidable pickup and delivery delays due to port congestion.

A few notes from the report:

  • Average daily prices for combined demurrage and detention fees were found to be higher for imports than exports
  • Importers and exports face additional external costs when vessel calls are cancelled or delayed
  • On average, fee prices are higher at New York/New Jersey port terminals
  • Individual prices for detention charges are generally the same regardless of loading or discharge

The full report, found here, includes possible actions for addressing these fees by VOCCs, MTOS, port authorities, BCOs and truckers, and the Commission, though the FMC does not provide recommended agency action. Instead, the FMC Chairman, Mario Cordero, encourages industry stakeholders to read the full report, engage with others in the industry, and submit documentation that could include information related to those who pay demurrage and detention fees.