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President Donald Trump yesterday signed legislation to impose sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong’s autonomy. The executive order ends the preferential treatment that Hong Kong has long enjoyed, clarifies that Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China.
“No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies. In addition to that, we are placing massive tariffs and have placed very large tariffs on China,” said Trump.
China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday Beijing will impose retaliatory sanctions against U.S. individuals and entities in response to the law targeting banks, though the statement released through state media did not reference the executive order.
The law, dubbed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, would impose mandatory sanctions on Chinese officials and companies that helped back Beijing’s imposition of a security law that clamps down on dissent in Hong Kong. The sanctions bill passed both houses of Congress earlier this month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into question the status of Trump’s long-sought trade deal with Beijing, the first phase of which was signed by both US and China earlier this year. The world’s two largest economies are continuing with the struggle to mend trade relations.
U.S. Hardens Stance Against China’s ‘Completely Unlawful’ South China Sea Claims
The United States recently hardened its rejection of China’s disputed claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, calling them “completely unlawful.”
“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful." U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said in a statement.
The United States has long opposed China’s expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, even sending U.S. ships regularly through the strategic waterway to demonstrate freedom of navigation there.
China has overlapping claims in the energy-rich South China Sea, through which some $3 trillion of trade passes a year with the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. Beijing has built bases atop atolls in the region but says its intentions are peaceful.
U.S. Ports Status Update
Below is a general overview of the operations BRi USA has been able to gather for most major U.S. ports. This list will be updated as information is made available.
Port of Seattle and Tacoma – All terminals at the ports are open and operational this week.
Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach – After cutting average truck turn times in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach almost in half over the past year, drayage operators intend to reduce visit times even further by working with terminal operators to refine their appointment systems. They intend to develop metrics including the daily consistency of terminal performance, the availability of dual transactions for drivers, and their policies on the return of empty containers All terminals are open for normal operations this week, and cargo operations continue to run smoothly, with no congestion or disruption.
Port of Oakland – The Port of Oakland this week reported June loaded import volume grew 1.9% year-over-year. This gain was unexpected considering throughout June, 10 percent of Oakland vessel calls were scrubbed due to coronavirus-induced trade disruption. All terminals are open and operational this week.
Port of Houston – Both Bayport and Barbours Cut Terminals are open and operating normally this week.
Port of New York/New Jersey – Recently, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor’s latest attempt to retain responsibility for oversight of longshore hiring practices in the Port of New York and New Jersey was denied by an appellate court. The battle over who should oversee background checks and criminal investigations at the largest port complex on the US East Coast has been ongoing for six years. The ports of NY/NJ are open this week for normal operations and gate hours.
Port of Virginia - The Governor of Virginia announced that the state will be providing the port $14 million to buy two new ship-to-shore-cranes for Norfolk International Terminals. He also announced a new pilot program introducing some specialized electric cargo handling equipment at Richmond Marine Terminal. All terminals are open and operational this week.
North Carolina Ports - All North Carolina Ports terminals – the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City and Charlotte Inland Port – continue to operate on a normal schedule.
South Carolina Ports - This summer marked the beginning of paving at the new Hugh Leatherman Terminal for Phase One. The terminal plans to open in March 2021. SC Ports in Charleston, Greer and Dillon are operating normally for gates and vessels at this time.
Port of Georgia - Both Port Savannah and Brunswick are open for normal hours this week.
Port of Jacksonville - The city of Jacksonville will vote July 28 on legislation that would appropriate up to $110 million in grant and loans to deepen the Port of Jacksonville’s inner harbor to 47 feet at the Blount Island Terminal. Dredging is necessary so larger vessels from Asia can regularly call Jacksonville. The hope is that the completion of this project will attract larger vessels from Asia.
USTR Announces More Amendments and Exclusions
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced the following amendments and exclusions for Section 301 tariffs on goods from China. All of the following amendments and exclusions were granted as of July 10, 2020.
• List 1 – Technical amendment for exclusion for 8501.52.4000 here. This exclusion has been moved to 9903.88.20.
• List 2 – Amendments to existing exclusion for 8501.52.4000 here. This exclusion is valid through October 2, 2020.
• List 3 – 14 Technical amendments and 3 additional amendments to accommodate conforming changes to HTSUS.
Fresh Tariff Threat Could Put Pressure on Westbound Trans-Atlantic
A rush to get European imports into the United States before a potential wave of tariffs is imposed in August could further tighten westbound trans-Atlantic capacity in the coming weeks, increasing the risk of rolled cargo.
There was front-loading of US imports from the European Union in January due the end of a comment period for retaliatory US tariffs, and now the end of a new public comment period leaves the window open for more tariffs. We are already seeing some front-load imports to avoid the tariffs tied to the US-EU dispute over government subsidies to Boeing and Airbus.
Current tariffs on EU imports range between 15 percent and 25 percent and are levied on $7.5 billion worth of goods. The latest round of potential tariffs could be as high as 100 percent imports, according to a US Trade Representative notice.
Separately, the Trump administration on Friday announced that starting next year, it would impose a 25 percent tariff on $1.3 billion worth of imports from France, including cosmetics, soap, and handbags. US importers of French wine dodged the new tariffs, which were a retaliatory move against a French tax on US technologies companies.
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BRi Customer Solutions TeamBack to News Page