A Tax on Imports?
Yes, this is under serious consideration. President-Elect Trump has complained repeatedly about the unfair advantage enjoyed by nearly all of America’s trading partners, almost all of whom employ consumption-based value-added taxes (VAT) as a revenue source. The “unfair” advantage results from zero-rating exports and fully taxing imports. Because the US derives revenues primarily from income taxes, WTO rules make it difficult to implement a similar “border adjustment”
As part of a recent video series, Paul Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Global Trade Management, discusses key point regarding the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.”
Back in December 9, 2015 Congress reached a final agreement on H.R. 644, the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” The bipartisan, bicameral trade legislation was created to authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to put in place effective tools to: (a) strengthen trade enforcement at the border; and, (b) facilitate the efficient movement of legitimate trade and travel. The Bill went to the President for signature, was signed, and a statement was released by The White House Press Secretary on February 24, 2016.
Paul Fitzpatrick, MIQ Managing Director of Global Trade Management, recently presented on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.
The TPP is a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries signed on February 4, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand after 7 years of negotiations. The TPP will create the world’s largest free-trade zone. The countries within its scope account for 40% of the world’s economic output. The Agreement will not enter into force until ratified by the respective governments.
Stay up to date on Q3 regulatory updates, including Brexit, ACE, HTSUS Chapter 62, and CBP Informed Compliance notifications.
The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (“OCEMA”) amended its Recommended Best Practice for the Acceptance and Transmission of Verified Gross Mass (VGM) to include a Terminal Weighing Approach (TWA). The TWA contemplates that marine terminals will provide gross container weights directly to ocean carrier stowage planners as VGM on behalf of shippers.
What this Means: Vessel Operators have finally agreed that the existing practice, whereby the marine terminals weigh containers prior to loading, is sufficient compliance for purposes of the VGM rule. Many Carriers have indicated they will now accept the weight provided by the terminals in lieu of receiving anything from shippers or NVOCCs with respect to traffic moving to the terminals by truck. With respect to containers moving by rail to the port of lading, most carriers have agreed to provide tare weights of the containers to be added to the weights reported by the shippers and NVOCC’s, and that would again constitute sufficient compliance with the VGM amendment.
MIQ Amended Procedures: MIQ will no longer require the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Certification distributed in June. Instead, MIQ requests that our client shippers either (a) use the revised MIQ Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) or, should the client shipper prefer to use its own form(s), (b) sign and return the MIQ Amended Terms and Conditions acknowledging that (i) MIQ is entitled to rely on the accuracy of weights provided by the shipper and (ii) agreeing to indemnify and hold MIQ harmless from any and all claims, all claims, losses, penalties or other costs resulting from any incorrect or questionable statements of the weight provided on which MIQ or its agent relies.
MIQ will continue to monitor the situation very carefully on a carrier by carrier basis. Please contact your MIQ Account Representative with your questions and concerns.
CBP issued CSMS #16-000499 on June 17, 2016 announcing that (a) Local Customs Ports will now issue Liquidated Damage claims without Headquarters’ review; (b) no longer will Ports issue three warnings before initiating Liquidated Damage claims (i.e. the “three strikes” policy); and, (c) Ports may hold cargo instead of (or in addition to) initiating Liquidated Damage claims.
The maximum liability for ISF filings is $10,000 in liquidated damages. However, CBP will normally assess a liquidated damages penalty of $5,000 per violation for most ISF violations (except for missing ISF’s). The guidelines also state that CBP will consider the presence of mitigating and aggravating factors when determining the final liquidated damages or penalties. Mitigating factors include: evidence of progress in implementing ISF requirements, a small number of violations compared to the number of shipments, Tier 2 or Tier 3 C-TPAT status, and demonstrated remedial action to prevent future violations. Aggravating factors include: lack of cooperation with CBP, evidence of smuggling, multiple errors on the ISF, and a rising error rate. Source: THE INTERNATIONAL LAWYER, Vol 44, No 1 (Spring 2010)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention to require shippers to provide the Verified Gross Mass (“VGM”) of containers carrying cargo before those containers can be loaded aboard a vessel. Without a VGM, the amendments also prohibit the vessel operator from loading a packed container. The SOLAS amendments are effective July 1, 2016; are not expected to be postponed; and, are globally binding – all Countries party to the convention have undertaken to implement amendments. There is no exception to this requirement. If the acceptable VGM documentation is not timely provided by the shipper, that container will not be loaded on board the vessel. As your NVOCC or Freight Forwarder, MIQ will require from your or your supplier the following data:
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention in November, 2014 to require shippers to verify container weights. These amendments were brought about by accidents resulting from overweight containers – both on the road and at sea – as well as studies showing that an unacceptably large percentage of significantly overweight containers are tendered to carriers. SOLAS is globally binding; all Countries that are party to the convention have undertaken to implement amendments.
On Nov 29th, the U.S. Department of Transportion’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially published the Final Rule in the Federal Register pertaining to Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; referred to as the “driver coercion rule”.
On December 9, 2015 Congress reached a final agreement on H.R. 644, the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” The bipartisan, bicameral trade legislation authorizes U.S. Customs and Border Protection and puts in place effective tools to: (a) strengthen trade enforcement at the border; and, (b) facilitate the efficient movement of legitimate trade and travel. The Bill now will go to the President for signature.