MEMO TO CLIENTS ISSUE 21-004 – April 29, 2021

Latest Comments on GSP and MTB

The Top Republican of the House ways and means committee, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas  would like to see the Miscellaneous Trade B (MTB) renewed before the July recess. He said that the way the changes are being reviewed are not consistent with the established process for passing MTB.  He also said that staffers from both sides are talking to each other, but not the members. This is the first step progress on GSP. Rep. Brady added that he was hopeful that India would be added back to GSP. The House Ways and Means Committee is the House Committee where legislation on tariffs begins.

Since Rep . Brady’s comments, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Spoke to the situation in the Senate. There was some talk about some sort of deal between Senate Finance Committee members, but there is nothing concrete yet.

Commerce Secretary Says It Is Fair to Expect Changes in U.S. Tariffs Against China

The Secretary of the Commerce Department, Gina Raimondo commented that it is fair to expect changes in the U.S. tariffs against China, but that the Administration has not made a final determination yet. Instead, the Administration is still completing its review of strategy as it relates to China. This review includes the tariffs. She added that whatever changes are considered, the Department of Commerce will continue to hold China accountable for any unfair trade actions.

Port of Montreal Facing Labor Strike

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) has acknowledged a notice from the union of an unlimited general strike. This notice has resulted in a total halt of cargo handling activities since Friday.  The MPA did point out that in other strike episodes in 2020 and 2021 the partial shutdowns usually lasted a little longer than the weekend, but since this is a general strike, we will have to watch closely on how long it lasts.

CBP is Changing Reliance on Blockchain

In the last year we have all heard a lot from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about the use of Blockchain as a major part of its business transformation. CBP has put on several presentations about the use of blockchain to move data and to validate the authenticity of data when an entry is filed. However, the Director of CBP’s Business Transformation Office, Vincent Annunziato has announced that CBP is moving into interoperability for the process. This will allow for other forms of technology to be reviewed and tested for providing data for CBP. This announcement did not eliminate blockchain from the CBP transformation and it is still a useful tier technology tool. This opens the door for other distributed LED technology development.