April 12th listen to Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council, talk about the future of the United States’ relationship with China and how this will affect trade. China and the US are two large, developed nations that have an important influence on trade. Where is the future headed for trade? Find out on April 12th, 12:00-1:00 pm ET.
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On Friday, March 31, President Trump signed two executive orders related to trade.
1. The Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws seeks to address uncollected antidumping and countervailing duties which were estimated to be $2.3 billion not collected in 2015.
- This will done primarily “through bonds and other legal measures, and also would identify other appropriate enforcement measures.”
- The Order also seeks to “ensure the timely and efficient enforcement of laws protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) holders from the importation of counterfeit goods.”
- Finally, the Order directs the “Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, (to) develop recommended prosecution practices and allocate appropriate resources to ensure that Federal prosecutors accord a high priority to prosecuting significant offenses related to violations of trade laws.”
2. The Presidential Executive Order Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits seeks to identify factors that result in a trade deficit in goods which exceeds $700 billion annually. Within 90 days of the date of the order, the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with numerous other agencies, “shall prepare and submit to the President an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits (Report).”
The purpose of the report is to:
- (a) assess the major causes of the trade deficit, including, as applicable, differential tariffs, non-tariff barriers, injurious dumping, injurious government subsidization, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, denial of worker rights and labor standards, and any other form of discrimination against the commerce of the United States or other factors contributing to the deficit;
- (b) assess whether the trading partner is, directly or indirectly, imposing unequal burdens on, or unfairly discriminating in fact against, the commerce of the United States by law, regulation, or practice and thereby placing the commerce of the United States at an unfair disadvantage;
- (c) assess the effects of the trade relationship on the production capacity and strength of the manufacturing and defense industrial bases of the United States;
- (d) assess the effects of the trade relationship on employment and wage growth in the United States; and
- (e) identify imports and trade practices that may be impairing the national security of the United States.
Many in the Trade recognized Brenda Brockman Smith witnessing the signing of the Orders.
In US Customs’ publication, “Trade Transformation Accomplishments 2012,” CBP discusses its Trade Intelligence initiative (p. 4) which “places individuals from the private sector, representing specific industries, to work with CBP staff to identify issues of mutual interest and to provide CBP with targeting, enforcement, and intelligence information.”
Customs has implemented Trade Intelligence at two of its Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEEs) thus far and has had some success:
- At the Pharmaceutical CEE (NY), both industry and Customs teamed to publish pocket-sized counterfeit detection guides for CBP field officers
- At the Electronics CEE (LA), trade and CBP collaboration has led to “large-scale seizures, revenue recovers, and criminal prosecution.”
Curiously, the referenced article makes no mention of Customs’ trade intelligence gathering unit, the Private Sector Intelligence Liaison Office (PSILO), although it is presumed that PSILO is the lead unit here. According to the Customs’ January 2013 publication, “Trade Transformation: CBP Initiatives for the 21st Century“ (p. 15), the agency this year will “deploy PSILO in Auto and Petroleum CEEs and [i]mplement CBP/ICE Commercial Fraud Working Group recommendations to enhance joint enforcement of trade violations.”
US Customs has just announced the formation of a trade intelligence gathering unit, the Private Sector Intelligence Liaison Office (PSILO). According to CBP,
[t]his dedicates industry personnel to strategic CBP locations, identifying issues of mutual interest. Together, the PSILO and CBP work to manage issues in need of resolution via CBP’s targeting, enforcement, or intelligence efforts.
PSILO representatives, selected from the security, customs compliance and sourcing departments of importers, will help provide intelligence to Customs on issues such as intellectual property rights, ADD/CVD, trade preference areas and more. Apparently, Customs will be recruiting “trusted partners” from the trade.
CBP’s announcement, which contains some additional information, can be found here. As of this posting, a Google search as well as a search of the cbp.gov website did not reveal any additional information on PSILO. It is not clear, for example whether PSILO will address importer identity theft, a matter of great concern to the trade.