An article posted on the CBC News website yesterday about the so-called “price gap” is unlikely to provide Canadian holiday shoppers with anything in the way of comfort let alone joy about having to deal with the possibly unexpected paperwork and various import costs associated with their cross-border purchases that might now as a result seem considerably less of a bargain than had initially appeared to be the case. Click here to read more.
Canadians who have holiday cards and parcels to send had better do it quickly.
Canada Post is racing to keep up with a surge of holiday mail in the final week before Christmas. Friday marks the last day you can send a card to someone in the local area and Canada Post will guarantee it’ll be delivered by the 25th.
You can still send packages anywhere as late as Dec. 23, though you’ll have to pay a bit more for it. Read more here.
(Allysia Finley – WSJ)
Christmas may come late for many Americans this year thanks to a West Coast labor brawl.
Manufacturers and retailers complain that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents about 20,000 dockworkers on West Coast ports, has deliberately slowed down traffic during the holiday season to increase their leverage in contract negotiations. Because the union’s last collective-bargaining agreement expired in July, longshoremen can’t be disciplined for slacking off.
The innocent casualties in this fracas are customers who will have to pay more and wait longer for products to be delivered. Domestic and foreign businesses are redirecting shipments to East and Gulf Coasts ports to avoid the bottleneck. Read more here.
Related:No Deal in Sight on US West Coast Labour Contract (Lloyd’s Loading List)
Hundreds of farmers and trade unionists are protesting in Brussels against negotiations to set up a trans-Atlantic free trade zone, which they fear will leave them out in the cold at the expense of big multinationals.
Farmers built fires and set off firecrackers close to EU headquarters early Friday, where only a few hours earlier a summit of EU government leaders had ended. Read more here.
U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation passed by the U.S. Congress authorizing more sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
The president said in a statement Thursday that while he signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, it “does not signal a change” in the administration’s sanctions policy. He said at this time, the administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the administration “additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.” Read more here.
(Mike King – Lloyd’s Loading List)
Transpacific container lines have confirmed new rate increases on the Asia-US trade lane will be implemented next month.
The 15 lines that make up the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have seen spot rates spike over the last week after a $1,000-per-40-foot container general rate increase for all origins and destinations was introduced by most TSA lines on 15 December. Read more here.
Russ Girling’s Keystone XL saga is taking a new twist with a global glut of cheap oil.
Americans, including President Barack Obama, are increasingly questioning whether the pipeline is needed or if it will just be a corridor for Canadian oil-sands crude to reach China. Girling’s answer is that the U.S. isn’t weaning itself off foreign oil anytime soon and that Gulf Coast refineries will be the buyers, not Asia.
“We’re not going to be exporting anything outside of the United States,” the chief executive officer of TransCanada Corp. said yesterday in an interview at his Calgary office, adding that low oil prices only increase consumption. “The pipeline that we’ve proposed will be needed under any scenario.” Read more here.
(Mark Solomon – DC Velocity)
The trucking industry will get a nine-month reprieve from the most contentious components of government rules governing the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can do their jobs.
On Saturday the Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2015, and sent it to President Obama’s desk for signature, thus averting a federal government shutdown.
Contained in the omnibus spending bill is an amendment that sets aside two provisions of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 2011 rule governing a drivers’ hours of service: that drivers are required to take their 34-hour rest break only once every seven days, and that they would be forced to include in the rest cycle two breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. over two consecutive days. The current 34-hour rest cycle would be maintained, as would a requirement that drivers be limited to 10 hours of daily drive time and that they take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of consecutive driving. Read more here.
Memorandum D15-2-8: Refined Sugar
This memorandum refers to the application of anti-dumping and countervailing duty, pursuant to section 3 of the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), to importations of refined sugar from certain countries. Refined sugar originating in or exported from the United States of America, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom is subject to anti-dumping duty. Refined sugar originating in or exported from the European Union is subject to countervailing duty. These duties are applied as a result of orders made by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal) that the dumping and subsidizing of these goods are threatening to cause material injury to the domestic industry. Complete details are available here.
Memorandum D15-2-65: Certain Liquid Dielectric Transformers Originating in or Exported From the Republic of Korea
This memorandum refers to the application of anti-dumping duty in accordance with section 3 of the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) to importations of certain liquid dielectric transformers originating in or exported from the Republic of Korea, as a result of a finding of injury by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal). Complete details are available here.
(Business in Vancouver)
Vancouver-area ports could be shut down once again by striking truckers if the province doesn’t budge on recently introduced payment rates.
“They’re very unhappy,” said Gavin McGarrigle, B.C. area director for Unifor. “All options are on the table.” McGarrigle warned that if movement doesn’t happen soon on the file, “it could be a rocky Christmas.”
Two groups of container truckers went on strike last March for a total of 29 days: 1,000 non-unionized workers organized as the United Truckers’ Association (UTA) and 250 members of the Vancouver Container Truckers’ Assocation (VCTA), represented by Unifor. Read more here.
(IndustryWeek – AFP)
The historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba relations announced Wednesday will allow more money to flow to the Caribbean island but keep trade and investment relations under tight controls, experts said.
After a trade embargo on Cuba for more than 50 years, the White House said it will expand how much money Americans can send to the impoverished country and open up the flow of U.S. tourists there.
But investment and trade will remain strictly controlled under laws passed by Congress and Cuba’s own restrictions, holding off moves to enter the Cuban market by industries from U.S. hoteliers to oil companies and automakers. Read more here.
Exports from Latin America will drop by about 1.4% in 2014, the first decline in exports since the collapse of international commerce during the 2009 financial crisis, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The decline marks the third straight year of low performance in foreign trade, caused in part by low international commodities prices and weak international demand, according to the Latin AmericanTrade Trends Estimates 2014.
The study reveals that although exports from the region fell, the results varied from country to country. Ten countries reported increases in sales abroad, in some cases even higher than the world average. But those numbers did not make up for the drop in exports in the rest of the countries. While some countries benefited from the economic recovery in the United States, others were negatively affected by the fall in exports to the rest of the world. Read more here.
Notice to Exporters: General Export Permit – Cryptography for the Development or Production of a Product
The purpose of this Notice is to advise exporters that, pursuant to the Export and Import Permits Act, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has issued a General Export Permit (GEP) relating to the export or transfer of cryptography for development or production of a product. Complete details are available here.
Memorandum D15-2-53: Certain Thermoelectric Containers Originating in or Exported From the People’s Republic of China
This memorandum refers to the application of anti-dumping and countervailing duty in accordance with section 3 of the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) to importations of certain thermoelectric containers originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China. The duty is applied as a result of a finding of injury by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal). Complete details are available here.
Memorandum D15-1-91: Whole Potatoes Originating in or Exported From the United States of America
This memorandum refers to the application of anti-dumping duty to importations of whole potatoes originating in or exported from the United States of America (U.S.) for use or consumption in the province of British Columbia (British Columbia), pursuant to section 3 of the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), as a result of findings or orders of injury by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal). Complete details are available here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is migrating Air Manifest to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Multi-Modal Manifest (MMM) Baseline in May 2015. As a result of this migration, the In-bond functionality of record identifier QX/WX, as documented in the Air In-bond Automated Broker Interface (ABI) CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR), is being incorporated into record identifier QP/WP functionality in the ACE CATAIR chapter titled In-bond. There is no structural changes to record identifier QP/WP for current users of this CATAIR message set but air in-bond QX/WX filers will need to review the updated ACE CATAIR document dated December 15, 2014. All changes are highlighted in red and will take effect on May 2015.
To access the updated Air In-Bond and In-Bond CATAIR chapters, please visit the “ACE ABI CATAIR” and the “Automated Commercial System (ACS) and ABI CATAIR” pages of CBP.gov.
(Government of Canada)
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport along with Roxanne James, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced new initiatives aimed at making air travel to the United States even easier for NEXUS members and other low-risk Trusted Travellers who have undergone extensive background checks. Minister Raitt also encouraged travellers to use a new holiday travel toolkit to enable faster and more convenient holiday travel. Read more here.
(Chad Moutray – NAM Shopfloor)
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said that it can be “patient” in normalizing rates. The participants at its December 16–17 meeting cited progress in the overall economy, including “solid [labor market] gains and a lower unemployment rate.” Moreover, the Fed noted better consumer and business spending, with a moderate pace of economic growth overall. At the same time, the housing market’s recovery has been slow, and despite recent progress, labor markets remain underutilized. Read more here.