Ocean and air freight rates and trends; customs and trade industry news plus Covid-19 impacts for the week of December 29, 2020.
The EU and China held the 35th round of negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) from Dec 6th to 11th, 2020. CAI’s core focus for this round is to provide new opportunities and broaden EU investors’s access to the Chinese market by eliminating some restrictions, equity caps, or the JV requirements. [source]
Vietnam is targeting for 6.5% gdp growth for 2021, up from a sluggish growth of 2.91% in 2020 [source]
USTR Extends COVID Treatment Product Exclusions from China Tariffs
In a December 23rd notice published by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the agency announced that it would extend exclusions from the China Section 301 tariffs for certain medical-care products utilized in efforts to combat COVID-19 from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021. The USTR also announced that they would be adding several COVID treatment-related products to the exclusion list.
Commerce to Require Licenses for Aluminum Imports Starting January 25th
In a final rule published in the Federal Register on December 22nd by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce), the agency announced new licensing requirements for imported aluminum products will begin Jan. 25, 2021 with the adoption of the Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis (AIM) system. The AIM system will require importers to apply for and obtain an import license for each entry of certain aluminum products and identify the countries of origin where the largest and the second largest volumes of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the imported aluminum product were smelted (subject to certain exceptions) and the country where the aluminum product was most recently cast.
Customs Issues Guidance on Filling GSP After Expiration
In a CSMS message posted by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on December 21st, Customs advised importers to continue to flag Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) eligible importations with Special Program Indicator (SPI) “A” after GSP’s expiration at the end of the year, even though there is no immediate plan for renewal in place. Though the general rate of duty must be paid on these imports starting January 1, 2021, CBP says it “has programming in place that, in the event that GSP is renewed with a retroactive refund clause, will allow CBP to automate the duty refund process.”
Nations Weigh EU Emissions Plan An EU plan to add a new carbon tax to cargo ships has some nations objecting to the cost and claiming the efforts undermine recent IMO work to reduce global emissions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Carriers Respond to FMC Scrutiny The World Shipping Council sent a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission highlighting its recent efforts to relieve supply chain bottlenecks. The Journal of Commerce specifies the carriers’ efforts to deploy and reposition all available vessels and containers, after the FMC issued a mid-December warning regarding carrier refusal of exports.
Trucks Leave UK After Covid Mutation A delay of several days at the English Channel border is slowly unclogging as France eases restrictions following the rapid spread of a new Covid-19 variant. The Independent reports the queue to leave the UK originally included up to 3,000 drivers.
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