Ocean and air freight rates and trends; customs and trade industry news for the week of April 1, 2020.
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Force Majeure Locus Expands Normally reserved for regional natural disasters, American Shipper reports that big logistics companies are declaring force majeure, reserving the right to modify part or all of its services, procedures, rates, surcharges, and other measures as needed, due to global logistics complexities caused by COVID-19. While not all forwarders are invoking the clause, its expansion could set a precedent for later global events.
Logistics Push Keeps Goods Moving While some national retailers have suspended distribution and fulfilment, the WSJ reports aggressive logistics tactics are maintaining the flow of vital consumer goods, like medical supplies and groceries, to meet demand for stockpiling quantities. Warehouses and trucking companies are taking drastic measures such as worker distancing, staggered shifts, protective gear, and temporary hourly raises.
Meanwhile, this week, Flexport Chief Economist Dr. Phil Levy noted the following economic highlights:
USTR Grants New Exclusions on Section 301 List 4 The USTR granted new exclusions to Section 301 List 4 tariffs. As with previous lists, the exclusions apply retroactively to the September 1, 2019 implementation date and remain in effect until September 1, 2020.
Duty Payment Deferral Still Under Discussion CBP advises a brief period of accepting requests to delay duty payments has been halted. The abrupt end is likely due to implementation issues. The Wall Street Journal reports the Trump administration discussed deferring duties for three months, but President Trump shot down the idea as "fake news.” For the few who received a duty deferral approval, reviewed on a case by case basis, a CSMS message states how to proceed.
Canada Extends Payment Timeframe CBSA announces it has extended deadlines for duties and GST payments.
29 New Subheadings to be Enforced Under Lacey Act The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service added 29 tariffs that will require Lacey Act declarations for items that are subject starting on October 1, 2020. This is a typical 6-month notice to the trade community every time new APHIS declarations are proposed. The trade community has 2 months to submit comments. Subheadings being added are under Chapters 33, 42, 44, 92, and 96. A copy of the notice is here.
For a roundup of tariff-related news, visit Tariff Insider.
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