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5/23/14: WTO Sides with U.S. Against China's AD Car Tariffs

Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) sided with the U.S. against China’s levy of antidumping (AD) tariffs on certain U.S. auto exports. In this third win for the U.S. against China, the WTO ruled that China “improperly” calculated its tariff rates, which ranged up to 21.5%, sometimes without factual basis. The AD tariffs, now illegal, affected more than $5 billion of U.S. auto exports with engines of 2.5 liters or larger. While China already discontinued these tariffs the U.S. continued seeking a WTO ruling so as to establish on the record the way China sometimes imposes such tariffs.



5/14/14: $750,000 CPSC Penalty for Failure to “Immediately” Notify

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today a $750,000 civil penalty against Electrolux for failing to notify it “immediately” upon learning of incidents involving gas buildups in some of its ovens. In a Complaint filed in a district court in Georgia, the CPSC alleged that the company failed in its requirement to notify the CPSC “immediately” upon becoming aware of problems with its product. The company also agreed to maintain a compliance program and to institute certain recordkeeping and monitoring systems.



5/8/14: Russia Loses GSP Benefits

President Obama announced today that Russia no longer qualifies as a “developing” beneficiary country and will lose Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits it enjoyed until now.



U.S. Files WTO Case Against China

The United States today filed a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China’s imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of American poultry “broiler products.” China found that these products were being dumped onto the Chinese market at “less than fair value” while the United States contends that China’s investigation did not follow proper WTO procedures.

The parties have 60 days to “consult” and resolve their disagreements after which the United States can ask for the establishment of a binding WTO Dispute Settlement Panel.



Gibson Guitar Investigated Over Alleged Use of Endangered Wood

Federal officials recently raided the Gibson guitar company over allegations of illegally importing and using endangered Indian tropical hardwoods.

While the latest action by federal authorities seems to focus on whether Gibson violated Indian law, a previous raid specifically targeted alleged violations of the Lacey Act.  The Lacey Act bars the importation of certain endangered woods and requires the filing of a “declaration” with customs authorities every time an item which contains a “wood product” is imported.

See http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/index.shtml for additional importing requirements.


FDA to Share More Information With Foreign Counterparts

The FDA Commissioner recently stated that the FDA needs a comprehensive, global coalition to assist it to inspect the increased foodstuffs, pharmaceutical ingredients and medical equipment reaching the U.S. The FDA is also seeking help with inspections of the hundreds of thousands of foreign food, pharmaceutical and medical manufacturers overseas. Some of the proposals include increased data sharing with its foreign counterparts, computerized identification of the highest risk imports and third-party plant inspections.