On March 29, 2021, the Commerce Department announced that it is submitting a notice announcing a delay in the March 29, 2021 effective date of the Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis (AIM) system to the Office of the Federal Register. Commerce had published a final rule in the Federal Register on December 23, 2020, adopting the AIM system regulations and establishing an AIM website. The AIM website consists of an online aluminum import license application platform and public AIM monitor. Under the AIM regulations, all aluminum imports into the United States will require an import license for Customs entry summary. The aluminum import license is an automatic license used for data collection purposes only. The delay means that licenses will not be required for covered aluminum product imports beginning on March 29, 2021 until June 28, 2021.
Beijing announced on March 27 sanctions on US and Canadian individuals and an entity, urging the parties to redress their mistakes and stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues. The Chinese penalties were in response to the two countries’ unilateral sanctions on individuals and entities in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on March 22 based on rumors and disinformation.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, the sanctions were placed on three individuals and one entity, namely Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Gayle Manchin, Vice-Chair of the USCIRF Tony Perkins, Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Chong, and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the House of Commons of Canada. The individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the individuals and having exchanges with the subcommittee.
On March 26, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) posted an advance copy of a Federal Register notice terminating, as of March 26, 2021, the Section 301 investigations of Digital Services Taxes (DSTs) under consideration by Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, and Indonesia because these jurisdictions either have not adopted or not implemented a DST during the period of investigation.
The US Government has imposed a series of sanctions against Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC) and Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (a.k.a. Myanmar Economic Holding Limited) (MEHL), two military-affiliated conglomerates, in response to the February military coup in Burma (Myanmar). The combined restrictions are likely to have a significant impact on business activities in Burma as these conglomerates have substantial interests and joint ventures in several sectors of the Burmese economy, including trading, natural resources, tourism, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods. In addition, the US Government has significantly tightened export controls for Burma.
On 22 March 2021, the EU imposed restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities in relation to alleged human rights violations, including: four individuals and one company with links to the large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, etc.
On March 18, 2021, the US State Department (State) published a Federal Register notice that formally outlines the various US export controls targeting Russia that will be strengthened pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) as a result of State’s determination that the Russian Government had used a chemical weapon against its own nationals in violation of international law. On the same day, State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) published a notice explaining its implementation of the CBW Act in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published its own notice explaining its implementation of the CBW Act in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
On March 12, 2021, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a final rule that amends the CBP regulations to reflect an extension of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological material from Colombia. The restrictions, which were originally imposed by CBP Dec. 06-09 and last extended by CBP Dec. 16-05, are due to expire on March 15, 2021. The Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State, has made the requisite determinations for extending the import restrictions that previously existed, and the Governments of the United States and Colombia entered into a new agreement to reflect the extension of these import restrictions. The new agreement, which entered into force on March 10, 2021, supersedes the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that became effective on March 15, 2006, and enabled the promulgation of the existing import restrictions. Accordingly, the import restrictions will remain in effect for an additional five years, and the CBP regulations are being amended to reflect this further extension until March 10, 2026. The final rule was effective on March 10, 2021.
On March 12, 2021, CBP issued CSMS #46590066 – GUIDANCE: Suspension of EU Duties in Section 301 Action: Enforcement of U.S. World Trade Organization (WTO) Rights in Large Civil Aircraft Dispute. The purpose of this message is to provide notice of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) determination to temporarily suspend additional duties on products of the European Union (EU) under the Section 301 Large Civil Aircraft (LCA) Dispute. The suspension is effective for products of the EU entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on March 11, 2021 and before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on July 11, 2021.
On March 10, 2021, CBP issued CSMS #46561075 – GUIDANCE: Suspension of UK Duties in Section 301 Action: Enforcement of U.S. World Trade Organization (WTO) Rights in Large Civil Aircraft Dispute. The purpose of this message is to provide notice of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) determination to temporarily suspend additional duties on products of the United Kingdom (UK) under the Section 301 Large Civil Aircraft (LCA) Dispute. The suspension is effective for imports, or warehouse withdrawals for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on March 4, 2021 and before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on July 4, 2021.
On March 8, 2021, the Acting US Trade Representative announced the conclusion of negotiations with the European Union on adjustments to the EU’s WTO tariff rate quotas (TRQ) as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. The agreement, after two years of negotiations under WTO procedures, will determine how to split TRQ quantities between the EU-27 and the United Kingdom (UK). The agreement will be signed and implemented after formal approval procedures are completed by the EU.