MSC Temporarily Suspended from C-TPAT – USTR Opens New Portal for Third Tranche of Section 301 Tariffs

USTR to Open New Portal for Third Tranche Exclusion Requests on June 30

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will begin accepting exclusion requests for the third tranche of Section 301 tariffs through a new portal on June 30 at noon, the agency said in a notice. The exclusion requests will be due through the portal at exclusions.ustr.gov/ by Sept. 30, with responses due 14 days after the request is posted on the portal, USTR said. Exclusions will be effective going back to Sept. 24, 2018, when the tariffs on $200 billion in goods from China were implemented with a 10 percent tariff.

MSC Temporarily Suspended from C-TPAT After Major Drug Bust

The US Government has temporarily suspended MSC from C-TPAT after more than 16 tons of cocaine were seized from containers shipped by the carrier to the Port of Philadelphia. The 90-day suspension of MSC means the container line will no longer enjoy “trusted trader” status, increasing the likelihood of import shipment delays. This comes directly from a JOC report.

Below is the statement from MSC officials clarifying their service, in the wake of this week’s temporary suspension from C-TPAT:

MSC has not been restricted from doing business or suspended from operating in the US market.

Our cargo continues to flow regularly for both import and export.

It is with sincere regret that we must advise you that we have been informed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that our Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certification has been temporarily suspended. This follows a recent incident involving MSC Gayane, which has been widely reported in the media, where several U.S. law enforcement agencies discovered a large amount of contraband onboard.

Due to an ongoing investigation, CBP is unable to provide us with further information. Meetings are scheduled to take place during the upcoming days with CBP and CTPAT representatives to discuss the issue urgently to seek a swift resolution.

We assure you that we are committed to actively working with the authorities to reinstate our certification as soon as possible and to ensure that a similar incident does not take place in the future.

Please note that you should only expect minimal disruption, such as possible increases of inspections on certain containers coming from South and Central America.

MSC takes this matter very seriously and we are grateful to the authorities for identifying any suspected abuse of our services.

Terminal 18 in Seattle Announces Night Gate & Fee

For our partners shipping through Seattle, please see the following update from the Northwest Seaport Alliance:

Terminal 18 in Seattle announced their night gates & fee, which will be for export loads. More hours to deliver loads and likely faster turn times. Here’s a summary:

· Maersk/MSC/ZIM transpacific service (TP9/Maple/ZP9) and MSC’s Latin America/Europe service (CAX) moved from Terminal 46 to Terminal 18 this week
· Terminal 18 will offer fixed night gates with following details:

o Night gates will begin July 1st
o Night gates will be Monday-Friday, 6pm-2:30am
o Transactions allowed during night gates: export full in (except over dimensional loads), empty in, empty out
o In the first month no fee will be assessed
o Starting August 5th, a $38/export load will be assessed (applies to all export loads using Terminal 18 day or night)
o Fee on account of BCO, will be billed after vessel departure
o Import loads not allowed to use night gates, nor will imports be assessed any Extended Gate Fee

· Regarding other terminals’ extra gates, Pierce County Terminal (PCT) continues to offer hoot shifts (3am) start Monday-Thursday; currently no fee is being assessed
· Other terminals may announce fixed extra gates in conjunction with The NWSA’s Gate Efficiency Program, more info here: https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/gate-efficiency-program

Vietnam Customs Cracking Down on Transshipment Schemes

Vietnam is cracking down on transshipment schemes that falsely claim Vietnamese country of origin to avoid high tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a June 13 report in Customs News. Vietnam Customs has discovered dozens of certificate of origin violations so far, particularly in the textiles and apparel, sea­food, agricultural, steel, aluminum and timber sectors. This comes from a Reuters report on the topic.

Furthermore, according to the report, the goods are imported from China, then repackaged with Made in Vietnam labels and exported to the U.S., the European Union and Japan with Vietnamese certificates of origin, said Customs News, which calls itself the “mouthpiece” of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Vietnam Customs is currently developing a process to check goods that are often associated with trade fraud and has directed provincial and municipal customs offices to “drastically strengthen inspections to uncover fake certificates of origin,” the report said. Goods imported from China will be checked for their name, origin and labeling, it said.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Trade has been directed to “develop a decree which increases penalties for such violations,” the report said. The Vietnamese National Assembly has also warned “that domestic companies should be careful in associating with foreign firms to ensure transparency,” Customs­ News said. “They should not take advantage of legal loopholes to collaborate with foreign businesses in exporting goods to the US.”

The Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recently noted a dramatic increase in companies that are exporting to the U.S., especially for companies that have never or rarely applied for a certificate of origin for goods exported to the U.S., according to an unofficial translation of a release on the Vietnamese government’s trade portal dated June 5. Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Trade has proposed that VCCI strengthen verification of the production capacity of exporters, the release said. If you have any questions regarding the summary above please feel free to reach out to our team.