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June 30, 2010 

International Trade News and Notes for June 30, 2010

  • Iran Sanctions - At 6:15 pm EDT tomorrow, July 1st, President Obama will sign into law H.R. 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. 
  • Export Control Reform - In a speech today before the Senate Aerospace Caucus General James L. Jones announced, that as part of the export reform process, the Obama Administration intends to propose a new, single and independent agency that will merge export licensing activities at the State and Commerce departments under a board of directors reporting to the president. Under the proposal, the new agency’s board of directors would be consist of the secretaries of the departments of Defense, State, Commerce, Treasury and Homeland Security. However, the online DoD Buzz published a story this afternoon noting Congressional opposition to the idea of a single licensing agency. Nobody said that export control reform would be easy.
  • Antidumping - The AP published an interesting story on the use of "honey-laundering" to evade antidumping duties on U.S. imports of Chinese honey. 
  • The Bureau of Industry and Industry and Security published in today's Federal Register a proposed rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations by adding Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 6A981 to the Commerce Control List to control passive infrasound sensors because of their military and commercial utility. If finalized, items under this new ECCN would be controlled for Regional Stability (RS) and Anti-Terrorism (AT) reasons. BIS also proposes to control technology and software for the development, production, or use of these items for RS and AT reasons under revised ECCNs 6D991 and 6E991. Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted by August 30, 2010.
  • The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has posted the agenda for the July 7, 2010 Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) meeting. 
  • This afternoon the House Committee on Agriculture will mark up H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, which would: 
  1. lift the restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, 
  2. require agricultural exports to Cuba to have same payment requirements as exports to other countries (i.e., lift cash in advance requirement);
  3. eliminate current requirement that payments to U.S. agricultural exporters must pass through banks in third countries. 
[Update: The House Agriculture Committee voted this afternoon to report H.R. 4645 to the House floor with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 25 in favor and 20 against. Prospects for final passage of this bill in this term of Congress remain slim. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) released a statement indicating his support for the bill and noting that the "travel ban to Cuba simply has not worked to help the Cuban people in any way. It has not hurt the Castros as it was intended to do, but it has hurt U.S. citizens.]
  • National Export Initiative - The Obama Administration, through the interagency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), published an announcement today seeking comments from exporters, other private businesses, trade associations, academia, labor organizations, non-governmental organizations on export programs and other information as part of the National Export Initiative. Comments are due on July 26, 2010,
  • SNAP-R Maintenance - BIS will be performing updates that will affect SNAP-R this weekend. SNAP-R users will continue to be able to submit their applications via the SNAP-R system. However applications received after midnight on Friday, July 2, 2010 until midnight Monday July 5, 2010 will not be processed until Tuesday July 6, 2010. In addition, the STELA Web application will be unavailable during this time. 

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