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In The Press
Unipac Shipping Inc/Continental Agency Inc. provide news articles that are compiled from a number of public sources that, to the best of Unipac Shipping Inc./Continental Agency Inc. knowledge, are true and correct.  However, in the event any information contained herein is erroneous, Unipac shipping Inc. or Continental Agency Inc. accepts no liability or responsibility. Any decision factor might result from news articles listed, we ask you to contact us by phone or emails for further clarification.
Retroactive Generalized System of Preferences Claims Automatic Refunds and Post Entry Deadlines

On October 24, 2011 the Executive Director from the Trade Policy and Programs Office of International Trade released a memorandum regarding the renewal of the Generalized System of Preference (GSP). The renewal would allow retroactive GSP claims for entries filed after the expiration of the GSP program from December 31, 2010 for shipments entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption from January 1, 2011 to November 4, 2011. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicated that they would “begin to process refunds immediately for entries filed via the Automated Broker Interface (ABI)” system for entries filed with the Special Program Indictor (SPI) “A” during the January to November period.

Updates and Important Dates
On December 13, 2011 CBP released CSMS #11-000310 announcing that any non-ABI entries or entries that did not include the SPI “A” during the original transmission, and would like to benefit from the retroactive GSP claims, must be filed by April 18, 2012. All retroactive claims “should be filed at the port where the goods were entered.”

According to sources at CBP, there were a few thousand entries that were either rejected or the data with the SPI “A” refund claims was corrupted. In order to make sure importers are able to benefit from the retroactive GSP claim it is strongly encouraged that importers that have not received a refund check by March 31, 2012 assume that their file falls into one of the two categories and file a new written refund request by the April 18,2012 deadline.

Additional information regarding GSP can be found by following the link below:



U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement March 13, 2012

On March 15, 2012 the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement will go into effect.  "Almost 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial products to Korea will become duty-free, including aerospace equipment, agricultural equipment, auto parts, building products, chemicals, consumer goods, electrical equipment, environmental goods, all footwear and travel goods, paper products, scientific equipment and shipping and transportation equipment."

Based on the publication from the U.S. Trade Representatives about two-thirds of the agricultural products being exported to Korea will also become duty-free.

On March 9, 2012 the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) also released the modification to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, which contained the effected tariffs under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Any goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption into the United States, on or after March 15, 2012 will be eligible to claim the preferential tariff treatment under this FTA.

Additional information can be found on the sites listed below.




US-Korea FTA-March2012
General Rate Increase (GRI) and Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) for Trans-Pacific Trade

Dear Valued Customers :
Although the world economy is currently in a slow recovery stage, the second half of this year still contains many uncertainties.

As you might know, with the ever-rising oil prices and slow economy, many steamship lines are still operating at a loss. In an effort to reduce their losses, many steamship lines are reducing the number of sailings from Asia to USA, and are participating in joint ventures with other steamship lines. Even with fewer sailings, an increasing demand on space towards the end of the year and low shipping prices, steamship lines have already cancelled 14 sailings during past few months.

Due to the above conditions, steamship lines have decided to implement GRI (General Rate Increases) and PSS (Peak Season Surcharges). The GRI and PSS will have different effective dates, and the amounts will vary with different steamship lines, as well. They expect a shortage of containers and space lasting through the peak season, and it is projected that this will create a significantly higher demand for container bookings.

This early announcement of the GRI and PSS implementation will allow our valued customers to plan ahead; so we can schedule as much of your cargo movement as possible, to avoid any cargo delay.

You are welcome to contact us at Tel: 909-839-7420, Email: marketing@unipacshipping.com, for more information and rates.
Unipac Shipping GRI PSS notice
FDA seminar update

On November 3, 2011 FDA hosted a seminar to provide an update on FDA as a whole as well as the current focuses by the local FDA offices.

Nationwide the importation of FDA regulated products has increased at a rate of 13% per year and they currently make up about 10% of all products being imported into the United States. Over the last 7 years Food products have increased by 10% per year and medical devises have increased by 20% per year. Currently about 50% of all medical devices that exist in the United States are imported. By 2015 FDA is expecting to see another 15% increase of FDA regulated products. The increase in imports and the emerging markets has influenced FDA to focus not just on the individual shipments but has moved them to look at the global picture.  Over the last few years FDA has developed PREDICT, increased foreign inspections and it actively opening more offices internationally at key origins. Currently FDA has 3 offices in China, 2 in India, and will soon be opening one in Israel. FDA has been focusing on additional training internally with a focus on technology. By the end of 2011 they are expecting that all of the offices in the United States will be utilizing PREDICT.

Locally FDA continues to focus on the affirmation of compliance codes that are being transmitted.  Transmitting valid and accurate codes are the key to obtaining a fast release. With the focus on technology the Los Angeles FDA office prefers that the trade community communicate via email. Brokers and importers are encouraged to stick to one form of communication to avoid double work and possible delays.  Manufacturer/Shipper information is currently being sent at the MID level but PREDICT was programed to accept DUNS #’s as well. As PREDICT is fully implemented FDA will be moving away from MID’s and utilizing the DUNS # instead. This change has caused some entries to be flagged for document review but should be quickly released. FDA is also currently working with Customs in seeing how/if the simplified entry process will work with FDA shipments. During the initial release of the simplified entry process FDA entries do not qualify for clearance via this program.

On January 4th, 2011 the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama. “It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it.” The FSMA has fifty new rules which are causing FDA to take longer to review. FDA will soon be holding public meetings in LAX and Orlando. One of the changes is that importers will be responsible to make sure that the foreign suppliers they are using are validated.

With the focus on compliance and enforcement FDA is sending Customs weekly updates on merchandise refused for entry. As a result Customs has been issuing redelivery notices (CF4647) within 30 days. After the merchandise is refused Importers have 90 days to act. Importers should note that the 90 days start from the date the merchandise is refused not from the date of the notice. Since FDA reviews merchandise on a line by line basis it is possible to receive multiple redelivery notices for the same entry. When FDA refuses merchandise the entry will be referred to the official FDA refusal department, not Customs, which will physically oversee the exportation of the refused merchandise.

Additional information can be found on the sites listed below.


Cotton Fee Increase by Agricultural Marketing Service nsf fees?<

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a final rule which will amend the Cotton Board Rules and Regulations and increase the assessments rate, update the textile trade conversion formula, and significantly expand the number of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) numbers affected by it.

The total cotton fee is calculated by combining a $1 per 500 lbs. bale assessment with a “supplemental assessment” which is based on the weighted average price of Upland cotton for the calendar year. In 2010 the supplemental assessment rate was higher than the previous year. As a result the combined rate has increased.  The previous assessment rate was $0.01088 per KG which has been increased to $0.012665 per KG.

The assessment rate which applies to textile products which contain cotton is calculated using the AMS conversion factors supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. With the updated conversion factor the estimated cotton content has been reduced to 4.7 percent which has caused a slight reduction in assessment on these products.

Based on the final rule the number HTS numbers subject to the Cotton fee has gone from 706 to 2,371. Previously the program was collecting the cotton fee on an estimated 89 percent of cotton and cotton-containing products. The changes will allow the AMS to collect assessments on close to 100 percent of those productsgoing forward.

Additional information can be found on the sites listed below.

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) - Renewal

On October 12, 2011 the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of H.R. 2832 which retroactively renews GSP. The bill extends GSP to July 13, 2013 and authorizes a refund of duties already paid on GSPeligible entries imported after December 31, 2010.

On October 21, 2011 President Obama signed H.R. 2832 which is effective 15 days after enactment. Therefore GSP was to be reactivated November 5, 2011 and entries eligible for refunds beginning January 1, 2011 can be initiated. If the entry was previously flagged with the GSP special program indicator they will be processed for refunds automatically. If the entries did not previously contain the special program indicator imports need to file post entry amendments or protest on eligible entries to receive the refund. On November 2, 2011 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published CSMS# 11-000275 indicating that “on Friday, November 4, 2011 at approximately 07:00, the ACS system will be updated to allow the trade to obtain the duty free rate for a GSP (SPI A) claim.

Additional information can be found on the sites listed below.
Merchandise Processing Fee (update): Increase October 2011 nsf f

On October 21, 2011 President Obama signed H.R. 2832. The bill will increase the Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) from 0.21% to 0.3464%. Although the MPF rate has increased the minimum and maximum amount
due remains the same. Based on the bill the increase will be retroactive to October 1, 2011.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not announced how importers will be billed for the additional MPF duties. On October 21, 2011 however, they did publish CSMS# 11-000262 notifying the trade community that CBP is in the process of doing system updates to allow for the new increase. Once the programing is in place CBP will give about a one week notice of when the new rate should be claimed electronically. Until the system changes go into effect entries will not be able to be flagged with the increased MPF rate.

On November 1, 2011 CBP published CSMS# 11-000274 notifying ABI filers that entries will be able to be filed using the new increased MPF rate beginning Saturday, November 5, 2011 at approximately 07:30.

Additional information can be found on the sites listed below.
Antidumping Duties on Ball Bearings from Japan and Great Britain: Revoked

On July 15, 2011 the Department of Commerce, Import Administration, International Trade Administration announced, via the Federal Register, that antidumping duty orders on ball bearings and parts thereof from Japan and the United Kingdom are revoked.
Effective July 16, 2011 U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been instructed to discontinue the collection of cash deposits for estimated antidumping duties for orders A-588-804 (Customs equivalent A-588-201) and A-412-801 (Customs equivalent A-412-201). 
In Message Number 1196310 dated July 15, 2011 from the Director AD/CVD & Revenue Policy & Programs to the Directors of Field Operations, Port Directors, further instructions were provided to CBP that No Cash Deposit is Required, however, “CBP [is instructed] to continue the suspension of liquidation of entries of balls bearings and parts thereof.” 
Please read the Federal Register for more details:
Mexico to Eliminate or Reduce Most AD Duties on Imports from China

Mexico to Eliminate or Reduce Most AD Duties on Imports from China
Mexico and China have signed an agreement under which Mexico will immediately eliminate or reduce nearly three-quarters of the antidumping duties it currently maintains against imports from China. The agreement was signed by Mexican Minister of Economy Eduardo Soto and Chinese trade minister Chen Ming after six months of negotiations, and it must now be approved by the Mexican Senate before it can take effect. Some industries are protesting the deal and are seeking ways to challenge it.

Once the agreement is implemented, 73 percent of Mexico’s AD duties on imports from China (covering 749 tariff lines) will immediately be lowered or lifted entirely. This action will cover products such as textiles, apparel, footwear, toys, bicycles, strollers, tools, electrical appliances, electronic devices, chemical products, valves and locks. For example, tariffs will be reduced from 1,105 percent to 100 percent for footwear, 533 or 379 percent to 140 percent for apparel, 501 percent to 110 percent for certain thread, and 312 percent to 120 percent for tools.

The remaining 27 percent of the AD duties (covering 204 tariff lines) will remain at their current levels until Dec. 11, 2011, when they will be removed. The two sides agreed to this transition period in order to allow Mexican producers of these “sensitive” products (including lamp ballasts, candles, pencils and lighters) more time to adjust to competition from China.

As part of its accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001, China agreed to let Mexico maintain for an additional six years the AD duty orders it had in place against Chinese products at that time, which were not imposed in accordance with WTO rules. Although Mexico faced a Dec. 11, 2007, deadline for ensuring that these orders met WTO requirements, it had only launched a review of the issue by that date. However, beginning in November 2007 Mexican and Chinese officials held several rounds of talks on the matter, reaching the outline of an agreement in April and finalizing the details in May.
ACE Accounts Inactive for 45 Days May Be Suspended Beginning May 25, 2008

ACE Accounts Inactive for 45 Days May Be Suspended Beginning May 25, 2008;

ACE Accounts Inactive for 45 Days May Be Suspended Beginning May 25, 2008

On May 22, 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs, CBP) issued Cargo Services Messaging System Message (CSMS) # 08-000090 announcing that beginning the week of May 25, 2008, CBP will begin suspending accounts of Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) portal users who have not logged in to ACE for more than 45 days.

According to the CSMS message, a Federal Register notice published on May 16, 2008 stated that “one of the conditions for portal access addresses the failure of the Trade Account Owner, the Proxy Trade Account Owner or any Trade Account User to access the ACE Portal for a period of ninety (90) days consecutively.” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines reduced the allowable inactivity period from 90 days to 45 days.

“Failure to access the ACE portal within the prescribed time period will result in the suspension of access to the ACE Portal,” the message said. Users may restore access by contacting the ACE Help Desk.
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