ASTA Advocate January 2009

Halt on Unfinished Federal Regulations

One of the Obama Administration’s first initiatives was to stop work on all federal regulations left unfinished at the end of the Bush Administration. A memo released to federal agencies and departments directed them to stop pending rules until the new administration can conduct a “legal and policy review” of each regulation.

In December 2008, ASTA submitted three comments on pending regulations and it is not yet known what impact the order to stop work on implementation will have.

The three proposals are:

1) Possible tariff increases were proposed for certain European Community (EC) products, including dried, crushed or ground paprika. ASTA urged the United States Trade Representative not to increase tariffs on EC paprika.

2) All owners or consignees of food refused at a U.S. port would be required to affix a label to the container that reads “UNITED STATES: REFUSED ENTRY” in clear print. A label also would be required on invoices, bills and electronic documents. ASTA supported the proposal, however recommended that the label not be required on individual bags or drums within a shipment.

3) The newly passed Lacey Act amendments makes it illegal to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration, which is a form containing detailed information about the name and origin of the item. “Common food crops” are exempt. ASTA submitted comments urging the USDA to include spices in the definition of “common food crops.”

These three proposed regulations, among hundreds, will be delayed for approximately 60 days and could be changed substantially.

Since 1981 and the new presidency of Ronald Reagan, incoming administrations have stopped pending regulations in order to review and ensure the presence of the new perspective. These modifications can have a far reaching impact on affected industries. The Bush Administration had issued 100 final rules since November; but the White House press office said it is unclear how many unfinished rules the new administration has inherited. In addition to the rules that have not yet taken effect, there are additional regulations in other phases of the rule making process.

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Recent Salmonella Outbreak May Push Congress to Focus on Food Safety

The number of people taken ill in the salmonella outbreak involving peanut butter products has now climbed to almost 500 individuals from 43 states and Canada. Health officials in the U.S. attribute a possible six deaths and 107 hospitalizations to the outbreak.

More than 125 peanut butter products have been voluntarily recalled through precautionary measures by grocery chains and food companies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that consumers should avoid products containing peanut butter or peanut butter paste during the probe of the salmonella outbreak. The FDA has been criticized for its handling of this outbreak by many in the media.

This outbreak almost assuredly will push Congress to continue development of food safety legislation. ASTA will continue to advocate for legislation that is reasonable and workable for the spice industry by working with Congress and the Food Import Safety Coalition.

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Report Lists FDA as “High Risk”

Because the FDA may not be able to adequately do its job, it was added to the list of “high-risk” areas of the federal government by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO releases this report at the start of each new Congress to help lawmakers set legislative priorities. According to the GAO, the FDA has problems caused by globalization, an increasing number of complex products, and laws that have made operations more difficult.

Release of this report indicates that food and drug safety legislation and possibly a major overhaul of the FDA will be a high priority for Congress in 2009. The need for additional support was noted by Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Frank Torti in a recent statement to Congress, where he said, “We need your partnership to reshape the agency and to provide us with the resources and legislative authorities necessary to support our work.”

“10+2” Import Rule/Importer Security Filing Effective 1/26/09

The “10+2” rule is a new security measure put in place by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This new procedure will begin on 1/26/09. In order to provide the trade sufficient time to adjust to the new requirements and in consideration of the business process changes that may be necessary to achieve full compliance, CBP will “show restraint in enforcing the rule”, taking into account difficulties that importers may face in complying with the rule, as long as importers make satisfactory progress toward compliance and exhibit a good faith effort to comply with the rule to the extent of their current ability.

This transition phase applies to all aspects of the new rule and will be in place for twelve months after the effective date. After that time, importers in violation of the new procedure will be fined $5,000.

The measure calls for ten data elements that must be filed by the importer or the importer’s agent 24 hours prior to lading in a foreign port. These data elements must be filed for all ocean cargo imported into the USA, except Freight Remaining on Board (FROB), goods moving on an Immediate Exportation (I.E.) or Transport and Exportation (T&E).

The Importer Security Filing must consist of 10 elements, unless an element is specifically exempted. The manufacturer (or supplier), country of origin, and commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) number must be linked to one another at the line item level. The 10 elements are as follows:

(1) Seller;

(2) Buyer;

(3) Importer of record number / foreign trade zone applicant identification number;

(4) Consignee number(s);

(5) Manufacturer (or supplier);

(6) Ship to party;

(7) Country of origin;

(8) Commodity HTSUS number;

(9) Container stuffing location;

(10) Consolidator (stuffer).

CBP is hosting trade outreach events in various locations around the country to educate the trade community about the new Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (ISF/”10+2”) interim final rule. These events are intended to give the importing and filing community a basic understanding of how to fulfill the new requirements. Pre-register using the CBP on-line registration process .

Click here for events in late January and February 2009 and for additional information.

Savannah , GA – Thursday January 29, 2009

( Savannah, GA Registration )

( Savannah, GA Cancellation )

The following cities are scheduled for February 2009:

Houston, TX – Wednesday,February 4th, 2009

( Houston, TX Registration )

( Houston, TX Cancellation )

JFK Area, NY – Thursday, February 5th, 2009

( JFK Area, NY Registration )

( JFK Area, NY Cancellation )

Miami – Tuesday February 10, 2009

( Miami, FL Registration )

( Miami, FL Cancellation )

Long Beach – Wednesday February 18, 2009

( Long Beach, CA Registration )

( Long Beach, CA Cancellation )

Note: Specific event information with location details and further instructions will be emailed to registrants after completion of the on-line registration process. (If you registered early the confirmation emails will be sent at least one week prior to the event but usually not any sooner than this.)

Dates for the following cities will be announced in the near future:

Boston , MA

Chicago, IL

Norfolk, VA

ISF/”10+2” outreach events have already occurred in the following cities:

Long Beach / Los Angeles, CA – December 9 & 10th, 2008

Seattle, WA – December 11th, 2008

Newark, NJ – December 16 & 17th, 2008

Oakland/Burlingame, CA January 14, 2009

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