Monday, November 22, 2010

Recent News In International Trade

CBP Requests Comments on CBP Form 28

On November 17, 2010, U. S. Customs and Border Protection issued a request for comments regarding CBP Form 28. The Request for Information, CBP 28, is used as an informal method for CBP to request and review import records when they need additional information not provided by the documentation submitted.

The comments should address:
(a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility;
(b) the accuracy of the agency's estimates of the burden of the collection of information;
(c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;
(d) ways to minimize the burden including the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology; and
(e) the annual costs burden to respondents or record keepers from the collection of information (a total capital/startup costs and operations and maintenance costs).

Comments should be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Attn: Tracey Denning, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 799 9th Street, NW., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20229-1177.

H.R. 6410 Introduced - Requires 100% Screening on All-Cargo Aircraft

On November 16, 2010, a new air cargo security bill was introduced into the House of Representatives. H.R. 6410, the "Air Cargo Security Act," would require systems to be established for the inspection and screening of cargo traveling on all-cargo aircraft "operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or interstate air transportation." The bill would require that the screening for cargo intended for all-cargo aircraft "provide a level of security commensurate with the level of security for the screening of passenger checked baggage." The bill also provides for training for air cargo handlers and regular inspection of air cargo facilities. consequences imposed for a facility not in compliance

If the bill is approved, 50 percent of the cargo intended for all-cargo aircraft will be inspected no later than 18 months after enactment and 100 percent screening of the cargo within three years of enactment.

Failure to Comply with OFAC Subpoena Results in $225,000 Fine

OFAC issued a subpoena to Pinnacle Aircraft Parts, Inc. related to an investigation into the company’s involvement in the sale of a jet engine that may have been ultimately destined for Iran. In response to the subpoena, Pinnacle did not supply a copy of an email that indicated the engine was destined for Iran. Obviously, the email might have shown awareness by the company, which could have provided the basis for criminal prosecution.

Although the email in question was provided to Pinnacle’s attorney, it was not included in the submission of documents requested by OFAC. Pinnacle decided not to produce the email based on the advice of counsel; however, they are legally responsible for compliance with the subpoena and the actions of their agents. The end result – a $225,000 fine issued by OFAC. The penalty was slightly mitigated based on Pinnacle’s reliance on the advice of counsel and prior good record.

FTA Update

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Preference Act/Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPA/ATPDEA) are scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010. Possible extension of these acts is being discussed in the House and Senate.

The U.S and Korea have not reached a final agreement on the U.S. - Korea FTA. Terms that have been subject of much discussion include unrestricted imports of automobiles and beef into South Korea. Given the impasse, an agreement will not likely be reached this year. President Obama pledges to keep moving forward so that this agreement may be ready for Congress in early 2011.

SAVE Award Winner

In 2009, President Obama introduced the SAVE Award (Securing American’s Value and Efficiency). The program seeks ideas from federal employees on how the make government more effective and efficient. Over 18,000 entries were received. The winner was Trudy Givens who works for the bureau of Prisons in Wisconsin. Trudy suggested“opt in” features for the approximately 8,000 copies of the Federal Register being mailed every day. Statute requires the government to make hard copies available; however, most of the public views them online. If recipients are allowed to opt-in to receive hard copies, the government could save printing and postage costs.

As this year’s winner, Trudy will have an opportunity to meet the President to discuss her idea with him. All of the SAVE Award submissions have been sent to the agencies for potential action and inclusion in the 2012 Budget. Last year, a total of 20 SAVE ideas representing millions of dollars in savings made it into the President’s FY2011 budget.

"If You See Something, Say Something"

The Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of the “"If You See Something, Say Something" campaign. The phrase was originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority after 9/11 and has spread to other cities across the country. The newest campaign encourages travelers and employees in the hotel industry to report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper law enforcement authorities.

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