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CAFTA TEXTILE RULE CHANGES TO TAKE EFFECT OCTOBER 13, 2012

In a notice to be published in the Federal Register this week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the changes in the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (“CAFTA”) eligibility rules for certain textile articles (provided for in H.R. 5986, signed into law by the President on August 10, 2012) will take effect on October 13, 2012. 

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First Sale Update

Thoughts on the ‘first sale’ rule

The ‘first sale’ rule is a method used to arrive at the transaction value of merchandise which is the subject of multi-tiered sales. Because the first sale price is always lower than any subsequent resale price, the use of the first sale appraisement method results in substantial savings in duty. The main commercial blocks of the world – the European Union (EU), United States (US) and Japan – accept the first sale appraisement and in the US, this process has been validated through a series of court decisions. Recently, however, a move to ‘last sale’ appraisement has been proposed. This has prompted many substantial importers, trade groups and industry organisations to file comments and legal briefs in strong opposition to the proposal. This article considers the position being taken by the EU Commission, the likely result in a change to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Customs Valuation, and concludes with the hope that customs administrators in the US and EU will heed the comments of the international trade community and continue the ‘first sale’ rule.

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Forensic Specialist James McAndrew featured on CNBC Crime Inc. "Art for the Taking"

On September 20, 2012, Forensic Specialist James McAndrew was featured on the CNBC program, Crime Inc – Art for the Taking.

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U.S. Trade Representative Cancels Anticipated Modifications To 100% Tariff List Covering Certain Eu-Origin Goods

In 1999, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body authorized the United States to impose increased tariffs on EU products up to a total annual trade value of $116.8 million. Pursuant to this authorization, the US created a "retaliation" list subjecting certain EU goods to a 100% ad valorem tariff rate. In January 2009, the US Trade Representative announced modifications to the 100% tariff list--these amendments included adding additional goods to the list, while removing others. The effective date of the modifications was initially scheduled for March 23, 2009. To permit additional time for resolution of the trade dispute through negotiations, the effective date was delayed until May 9, 2009, although the scheduled removal of certain items was effected. Prior to the final changes being implemented, however, the US and EU have reached a provisional agreement under which the US will not modify the current list of EU products subject to the 100% tariffs.

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Conflict Minerals Disclosure Requirement

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has published a final rule implementing Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) relating to “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”).

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