What We're Reading: Trendwatch Week 42

US shippers relieved by halt to Oct. 15 China tariff increase

Many U.S. importers and exporters, who were dreading an October 15 increase in tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, breathed a sigh of relief on Friday, October 11, when the Trump administration announced that it would suspend the increase. 

“Finally, a ray of hope for the U.S.-China trade relationship,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. 

Source: Freightwaves


Importers ramp up cheese purchasing, stockpile ahead of EU tariffs

This isn't the first time this year food retailers have taken a serious look at stockpiling as a way to ward off trade uncertainty. British sellers have been doing so for months under the specter of Brexit. Now the U.S. is facing similar supply issues regarding French cheese and Scotch whiskey as a result of the new tariffs.

Stockpiling is one way to avoid tariffs and ensure there is enough supply to get through the long, cold, busy winter months ahead, but the practice comes with its own risks and drawbacks.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


Customs brokers outline burdens of importer verification rule

The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) said it generally supports the Customs and Border Protection’s proposed rule to enhance the practices of verifying importers operating in the U.S. but warned that it could become a burdensome requirement for the country’s customs broker industry if certain adjustments are not made. 

Source: Freightwaves


Blockchain ship registration system under development

The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Singapore tech startup Perlin have teamed up to build an advanced digital blockchain ship registration preparation system for international adoption.

Called the International E-Registry of Ships, it aims to streamline, standardize and drastically improve the currently laborious ship registration and renewal process. Immediate advantages will include very significant reductions in operating costs, timing required, human error and fraud, says the SSA.

Source: Maritime Executive


China to implement "Two-Step Declaration" to further streamline customs clearance

On Aug. 24, 2019, China Customs launched a “Two-Step Declaration” pilot program in 10 ports under customs of Manzhouli, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Huangpu, to streamline the import declaration after goods arrival and promote trade facilitation.

According to GACC announcement [2019] No.127,  under “Two-Step Declaration” mode, importers can perform import declaration in following two steps, instead of submitting all of 105 declaration items for its imported goods.

Step 1: Brief Declaration - Importers will declare to customs whether the imported goods are prohibited or restricted, whether the imported goods are subject to inspection or quarantine according to relevant regulations, and whether the imported goods are subject to taxes.

Step 2: Complete Declaration – Importers will submit all the necessary information and documents and pay import taxes within 14 days after the declaration date of entry declaration for means of transport.

This program is expected to be fully implemented nationwide by Jan. 1, 2020. Meanwhile, China Customs published another GACC announcement [2019] No. 144 to amend the requirement on certain items of manifest as a supporting policy to this program.

This new declaration mode helps importers to reduce clearance time and cost at the port. However, it’s also expected that China Customs will increase the intensity of post importation audit and verification.

Sources: BDP International, General Administration of Customs


New IMO 2020 fuel indexing mechanism launched

With container line stakeholders facing an additional $11 billion fuel bill next year due to the switch to low-sulfur fuel oil, shipping consultant Drewry has joined with the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) to launch a new bunker adjustment factor (BAF) indexing mechanism.

The two parties believe their simplified BAF indexing mechanism and bunker charge guide will help shippers monitor and control bunker costs as shipping lines switch to the more expensive bunkers required under the IMO 2020 low-sulfur regulation that becomes mandatory Jan. 1.

Source: Freightwaves