Trade and Customs Updates
Lacey Act Phase VII is coming!
Coming this fall, APHIS will announce the schedule of the next phase of Lacey Act declaration implementation: Phase VII. Phase VII will include a wide variety of materials and plant products that have not yet required a declaration.
In Phase VII, Lacey Act declarations will be required for all remaining plant product Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes that are not 100-percent composite materials. That means a wide array of imported products—such as furniture, additional essential oils, and cork—that have never before needed Lacey Act declarations will now need them.
The USDA has launched an outreach campaign to provide information about the upcoming declaration implementation phase. USDA will publish associated HS codes prior to implementation to give importers an opportunity to get ready for the implementation.
Further information about the coming Phase VII expansion is available on USDA’s APHIS website.
ILWU Ratifies Labor Contract
In a press release issued on 31 Aug 2023, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced its members voted to ratify the tentative labor agreement reached with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) with 75% voting in the affirmative. The new agreement will last six years, expiring on 01 Jul 2028.
The agreement will cover 22,000 employees over 29 ports from California to Washington state. The deal, which is retroactive to July 1, 2022, includes a 32% pay increase over the span of the contract as well as a one-time bonus for working through the early days of the COVID pandemic.
In addition, the PMA issued their own press release as well as praise from local leaders about the agreement being finalized:
Gene Soroka, the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, commented:
“Thank you to the 22,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members who overwhelmingly ratified a six-year contract. With the leadership of ILWU President Willie Adams and PMA President & CEO Jim McKenna, the collective bargaining system worked. This contract brings long-term stability and confidence to our customers as we re-double our efforts to bring more cargo back to the Port of Los Angeles, the premier gateway to and from the Pacific Rim.”
Lucille Roybal-Allard, Los Angeles Harbor Commission President, added:
“I salute the ILWU and PMA for reaching a final agreement on this contract. Our longshore workers did heroic work throughout the pandemic and are critical to the success of our Port. Now it’s time for all stakeholders to come together as we work to grow jobs and cargo while creating a cleaner and more sustainable port.”
Karen Bass, Mayor of Los Angeles, added her own commentary:
“The International Longshore and Warehouse Union membership’s approval of the tentative agreement is a major win for the people of Los Angeles. This agreement will make sure the Port of L.A. continues to operate and provide good paying jobs. The positive impacts of the approved contract will be felt across the region, the West Coast and our nation. Thank you to all the parties who worked together to achieve a contract agreement that puts people first while safeguarding our economy. The Port of L.A. will continue to be a leader in our economy, on innovative climate sustainability efforts and an important job creator in the region.”
FDA Hosting Webinar on Facing Food Safety Challenges
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the eighth in the ongoing series of webinars exploring food safety culture taking place on 13 Sept 2023, from 12 noon to 1:00 pm ET. The webinar series Collaborating on Culture in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety is in partnership with Stop Foodborne Illness, a non-profit public health organization.
The upcoming webinar Facing Food Safety Challenges through Culture and Persistence will focus on the importance of a strong food safety culture and how it can help organizations address food safety challenges they may face.
Guest speakers on 13 Sept 13, include:
- Kerry Bridges, Vice President of Food Safety, Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Al Almanza, Global Head of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, JBS Foods
- Lone Jespersen, Principal and Founder, Cultivate SA
- Conrad Choiniere, PhD, Director, Office of Analytics and Outreach, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA
The webinar series engages experts from the public and private sectors in a collaborative exchange of ideas and experiences related to the importance of a robust food safety culture in helping to ensure safe food production.
Food safety culture is one of the core elements in the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint, which states that dramatic improvements in reducing the burden of foodborne illness cannot be made without doing more to influence the beliefs, attitudes, and, most importantly, the behaviors of people and the actions of organizations.
To learn more about this webinar series and to listen to recordings, visit Collaborating on Culture in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.