Xinjiang Region WRO (Withhold Release Order)
In January, CBP announced a new WRO (withhold release order) for cotton and tomato products produced (in whole or in part) in the Xinjiang region of China. A WRO requires all products in question to be detained at the US port of entry and only released if proven to meet acceptable standards or requirements. This WRO is the result of an investigation on forced labor practices in the region, which is an extension of a company-specific WRO which went in to effect in December. Shipments with apparel/textile and tomato products are already being held and examined.
Goods produced in third-countries with Chinese components pose tracking and compliance problems for CBP. They are working on some technology solutions to help address and streamline this. Although the process and methods of enforcement may not be clear yet, one thing is clear – importers must know their supply chain or face potential criminal and monetary penalties when they don’t.
GSP & MTB Renewal
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTB), which allowed for reduced or duty-free treatment of certain goods, both expired at the end of 2020 and still have yet to be renewed. Numerous changes have been proposed for GSP which is causing some delay in the renewal. Until lawmakers can agree, both GSP and MTB will remain inactive.
USTR’s Vietnam Investigation
The USTR announced no action will be taken at this time – in the form of Section 301 tariffs – on the findings of their investigation into currency manipulation in Vietnam. This comes as a huge sigh of relief to US Importers, as many are still facing these additional tariffs on their imports from China.
We have a team of experts on staff who would be happy to help you navigate the complexities of these issues. Please contact Ashley Coxey, National Director of Business Development, Customs Brokerage or your Laufer representative for more information on any topic discussed in this week’s market letter.