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The CRCBFA Blog

CRCBFA Pulse: Spring 2018

May 2, 2018

General Membership Meetings –

            January-featured guest speaker Peter Friedmann, Our Man in D.C. giving the inside scoop on current events and some changes on the horizon including increased tariffs, GSP, and NAFTA.

            February- We took a break from the monthly luncheon and relaxed with a night out at the WXYZ Bar for an industry mix and mingle after hours.

            March-featured guest speaker DFO Humphrey, Director of San Francisco and Portland Field Offices with U.S. Customs and Border Protection shared his insight on the controversial Section 232 (steel and aluminum tariffs) as well as developments in the e-commerce environment.

            April-featured guest speakers Federal Maritime Commission Area Representatives Shadrack Scheirman and Diane Rebollow. A copy of their presentation can be found here

               

CRCBFA Seminar:  Cyber Security: Hoping for the Best, Planning for the Worst- host Su Ross, with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP and Scott Bradford, Assistant United States Attorney. The association received a broad education on hacking trends, what dangers to look for, how to protect yourself and your company, and when to get outside help from the FBI or other authorities. If you attended, the seminar is worth 2.5 CCS/CES points. There was also a follow up to the presentation that was sent out to any who attended. If you did not receive your presentation copy or need to follow up on your CCS/CES points, please send a message to admin@crcbfa.org

 

CRCBFA 2018 Board- Board elections were held during the January monthly luncheon. The membership reelected Chuck Willis and Kiffani Iverson and welcomed Victoria Lane.  The election of officers commenced during the February board meeting. CRCBFA was happy to announce the new President as Victoria Lane and Vice President Brenda Barnes. A full list of Board members and officers can be found on the CRCBFA website.

 

CRCBFA New Members- We would like to welcome our new 2018 CRCBFA Members! Thank you for your interest and support!

 

International Bond & Marine
Core Health & Fitness
International Trade Systems

 

 *If you are interested in becoming a new member, please email: allisonb@shiptlr.com for more details

 

WESCCON 2018! Registration and Hotel reservations are now OPEN! October 18, 2018 through October 21, 2018. WESCCON will be held at the Riviera in downtown Palm Springs, CA. Plan ahead and register early before it sells out.

 

https://www.pacificcoastcouncil.org/wesccon

 

Registration Includes all of the following:

► Everything’s Included from Thurs-Sun, all meals, everything! - none of those so-called “On Your Own”gaps

► Jam-Packed Program

► Top-Notch Speakers and Panelists

► Full Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners

► Nightly Entertainment & Hospitality Suites

►Full Exhibit Hall

►Networking Breaks

 

CRCBFA Main Events Sponsorship levels- We have opportunities for event sponsors. For information on levels and benefits visit the website or contact us at admin@crcbfa.org with questions.

 

Upcoming Events

May General Membership Meeting – The May meeting is taking place on May 16th and will feature guest speaker Terri Cummings, Roanoke, on employee risk, Registration is open now. https://www.crcbfa.org/

June Annual CRCBFA BBQ- hosted by Summit NW to celebrate the end of another successful season before we break for the summer.

August Annual CRCBFA Open House-TBA

 

Committee Reports

 

Import Report-

International trade, and our nation’s imports in particular are certainly having a moment in the spotlight.  Many of you who work in this industry, no doubt, are finding yourselves asked by family and friends more than any other time in recent history about various trade-related headlines that are making their way into mainstream/national news.  Questions like these are common:  What affect does the Trump administration trade policy have on your business?  Are your customers going to be hurt by all these new tariffs?  Is NAFTA dead?

 

The news is moving fast these days and it’s a lot to keep track of.  Here’s a brief recap of where we stand on some of these hotter news items:

 

First, the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel which captured a news cycle or two last month are in place for non-exempt origin goods and went into effect on March 23rd.  Importers are now paying an additional 10% on the subject aluminum HTS codes and 25% for the steel.  The proclamation targets only certain six-digit HTS subheadings from chapters 72, 73 and 76.  Temporary exemptions were offered for goods from certain countries but those exemptions are currently set to expire after April 31st, at which point subject merchandise from all countries will require payment of the new duties.  There is a mechanism available to importers by which they can request tariff exclusion for specific products via the Department of Commerce, though Senators Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch recently levied some public criticism against the exclusion request process calling it unfair for various reasons, not the least of which is that exclusions will only be granted retroactively to the point at which the request was made (rather than to when the tariffs were imposed).  That’s not to mention that as of April 18th, the Department had received more than 3800 specific product requests and they appear to be possibly inundated without adequate resources to process them timely.

 

Next, the Section 301 tariffs which were announced as a response to institutionalized Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property rights will, if ultimately enacted, be levied at a rate of 25%.  These target 1300 unique HTS 8-digit subheadings and go after, among other things, machinery, metals, trucks, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, optical equipment, rubber tires/tubes and televisions.  Chapter 84 would be hammered.  Comments are due by May 11.  The earliest the U.S. would make an official announcement would be late May or early June, pushing the effective date possibly into July.  That said, there certainly remain various schools of thought on the likelihood that any or all of these tariffs will ultimately be imposed.  Some think this is a negotiation tactic to bring China to the table on its IPR transgressions.  Others think this is an unpredictable era in D.C. and anything is possible.  One prominent Washington think tank put the odds last week at closer to 60 %.  Our Man in D.C., Mr. Peter Friedmann, for what it’s worth, has said he believes the chances are lower than that and if enacted, many fewer than those 1300 codes might be on the final list.  There really is a general consensus that indeed, China has been in the business of stealing U.S. IPR – there’s not much question there.  The question is whether a trade war that could ultimately hurt the U.S. consumer and U.S. exporters (principally ag. exporters) by way of China’s own retaliatory tariffs is truly in our collective interest.

 

The Korea/U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), NAFTA and the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) have once again all made recent headlines, too.  First, as it relates to the Section 232 tariffs, there was some concern that the Korea agreement could be in jeopardy.  Since then, we granted Korean goods an exemption, though, and KORUS seemed safe for the moment.  Keep your eye on the news, though, to see what transpires when the exemption expires at the end of this month.  Next, with NAFTA it appears we’re about to see a compromise on regional content for automobiles.  There is one potential issue with Canada taking steps to protect its dairy industry which would be in violation of world trade standards.  Trump might be able to ignore any such action unless/until congress introduces legislation targeting that move with U.S. domestic dairy producers driving the effort.  It’s not impossible that there could be NAFTA implications.  Otherwise, Trump surprised the world (not to mention his cabinet) two weeks ago when he announced that he’d reconsider joining the TPP and asked the USTR to present options for doing so.  Although we’d have a long way to go to get there, this one-eighty was received by our industry as an encouraging development. Five days later, though, Trump contradicted himself when meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when he said that he didn’t like the deal and thought it would be unwise for the U.S. to join.  These contradictory positions within a short period of time left heads spinning and ultimately feeling today that we’re no closer to participation in the pact than we were a month ago.

 

Lastly, on a positive note, we were pleased to see the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) get renewed last month and retroactively so.  This popular special program, which grants preferential (duty-free) status to certain products from “developing” countries and is widely utilized among importers expired at the end of 2017.  It went back into effect on 4/22.  For entry summary lines that were flagged with the appropriate temporary SPI during the lapsed period, CBP will begin to process retroactive refunds immediately.  Checks will be sent directly to the importers of record.  For any lines that were not flagged with the temporary SPI and should have been, refunds are still available but by way of a different post-entry procedure.  Those will be treated with a lower priority than those that were flagged.

 

COAC Update-

The next COAC public meeting is scheduled for the afternoon of May 23 in Washington DC.  (Actually, it is being held at the USDA building in Maryland.)

Much is being done in the way of E-Commerce and Blockchain at this time.   However, we are anxiously awaiting to receive our COAC 15th Term Charter so COAC can meet on the 23rd of May and continue to work in the name of COAC.   We are all anxiously awaiting to find out who the new members with be in the 15th.

 

Export Report-

Clean Trucks are in effect now at Seattle and Tacoma ports.

 

Tariffs: The Chinese retaliation on US increased steel and aluminum tariffs has resulted in quite a list of items and agriculture seems to be where they are hitting us the hardest:

Soybeans: $14 billion, about 30% of American production.

Cotton:  $1 billion.

Sorghum: Over $1.1 billion.

Durum wheat: Over $285 million.

Corn: Over $150 million. Supposedly unrelated to this 301 dispute, China restricts imports of US corn that is genetically engineered.

Beef: Over $14 million - the China market was reopened last year after being closed to US beef for 14 years. 

Whiskey: $8 million.

Unfrozen orange juice: $600,000

 

FMC:  FMC has started their investigation on the demurrage/detention invoices during the slowdown with a new email: FF28@FMC.Gov .   They are asking for everyone to submit to this email or mail to:

Commissioner Rebecca Dye
Federal Maritime Commission
800 North Capitol Street, Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20573

Deadline is September 2, 2018. FMC is expected to have a report out no later than December 2, 2018.

 

Port of Portland:   Working on gaining more Swire callings.   As well the other carriers they are talking to right now besides Swire are Westwood, SM Line, Zim, and Hyundai.

 

 

AgTC:  Agriculture Transportation Coalition held a conference can with US Customs and US Census Bureau to discuss the over penalize shipments going out of the US by rail for export.  The shippers are not told when or where the rail crossed, nor do they tell the ocean carriers.  This means the data in the EEI (Export Electronic Information) could be incorrect without the shipper or forwarder knowing otherwise.      

 

 

 

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