Trade and Customs Updates
GBI Proof of Concept (EPOC) Test Extended and Modified
In a Federal Register notice issued on July 21, 2023 US Customs and Border Protection announced the extension and modification of the Global Business Identifier (GBI) Evaluative Proof of Concept (EPOC) test through February 14, 2024. The original test started back in December of 2022; CBP has and will continue to accept requests from Importers and Licensed Customs Brokers to participate through the conclusion of the test, or, until revoked.
“The test is intended to evaluate the feasibility of replacing the current manufacturer or shipper identification code (MID) with unique entity identifiers (GBIs) to more accurately identify legal business entities, their different business locations and addresses, as well as their various functions and supply chain roles, based upon information derived from the unique D–U–N–S®, GLN, and LEI entity identifiers.” The original test required the transmission of all three identifiers (Global Location Number (GLN), Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)) in addition to the Manufacturer’s Identification Code (MID.) The biggest modification made to the test is that CBP will now accept one or more of those three entity identifiers to be transmitted, in addition to the MID.
The test remains limited to the same entry types, commodities and countries of origin as the original test.
Per the FRN “All interested parties are invited to comment on any aspect of this test at any time. CBP requests comments and feedback on all aspects of this test, including the design, conduct and implementation of the test, in order to determine whether to modify, alter, expand, limit, continue, end, or fully implement this program. Comments should be submitted via email to GBI@cbp.dhs.gov.”
FDA Holding Listening Tour on Center for Tobacco products
On Saturday, 22 Jul 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a virtual listening session entitled “Public Meeting and Listening Session for Developing FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ Strategic Plan” on 22 Aug 2023. The purpose of the listening session is to obtain feedback on the proposed strategic goals that are being used to develop FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ (CTP) comprehensive Strategic Plan. FDA will provide information on the proposed goals and provide the public an opportunity to provide open public comment.
The virtual listening session will be held on 22 Aug 2023, beginning at 10:00AM ET. Additional details, such as the time of the listening session and registration information, is available at:
All requests to make open public comment must be received by 14 Aug 2023, at 11:59PM ET. Either electronic or written comments on this listening session must be submitted to the docket by 29 Aug 2023.
APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services Updates eFile Reporting
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) announced it is updating its compliance reporting features in APHIS eFile. BRS permit holders using APHIS eFile will experience:
- Faster page response times with pop-up window style data entry
- Easier to sort and navigate XML table with auto-refresh to show upload progress
- A new look and feel to match BRS Permit Applications
- An ability to delete supporting documents before submission
- An ability to create and upload larger reports and generate larger PDF reports
To help use these new tools, BRS has updated its APHIS 2000 Permit Application and Compliance Reporting Job Aid and training resources on their website at: USDA APHIS > APHIS eFile Training.
Fish & Wildlife Revise their Seizure & Forfeiture Procedures
In a Federal Register Notice published on Tuesday, 25 Jul 2023, Fish & Wildlife (F&W) advised they are revising their seizure and forfeiture procedures to modernize them and make them easier to understand. The regulations establish procedures relating to property seized or subject to administrative forfeiture under the F&W laws. The rule makes these regulations easier to understand using simpler language. This revision more clearly explains the procedures used in administrative forfeiture proceedings, makes the process more efficient, and makes the Service’s seizure and forfeiture procedures more uniform with those of other agencies subject to Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA) and those of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The rule is effective on 24 Aug 2023. Public comments are available at https://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–HQ–LE–2016–0067.
UPS reaches tentative contract agreement avoiding a strike
UPS has reached a tentative contract agreement with its 340,000-person union, potentially averting a strike that threatened to disrupt package deliveries for millions of businesses and households nationwide. The agreement was announced on Tuesday, 25 Jul 2023, the first day that UPS and the Teamsters union returned to the table after contentious negotiations broke down earlier this month.
“Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers,” said Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer. “This agreement continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong.”
The five-year agreement covers US Teamsters-represented employees in small-package roles and is subject to voting and ratification by union members.
Teamsters call off strike at Yellow after offer to extend benefits
Teamsters from Yellow Corporation announced Monday, 24 Jul 2023 that The Central States Health and Welfare Fund will extend health care benefits for workers at the trucking company, at least temporarily averting a strike, according to a press release from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Union members had planned to strike starting midnight on Sunday, 30 Jul 2023, due to the companies’ plans to end health care and retirement benefits for workers and their families.
The Central States fund had previously planned to end healthcare benefits starting 23 Jul 2323. However, after discussions with Teamster leadership, they agreed to give Yellow 30 days to pay the obligated benefit payments of $50 million. Yellow has agreed to those terms and plans to make those payments within the next two weeks, according to the press release.
However, Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien wants to meet with Yellow representatives to review the current contracts and ensure the health care benefits will be paid for the workers at the company.
FedEx Pilots Reject Tentative Agreement
Pilots for FedEx have rejected a tentative labor deal. But that doesn’t mean they’re about to walk off the job.
The FedEx pilots who belong to the Air Line Pilots Association voted 57% against the proposed contract, which was reached in May and endorsed by union leadership. The proposed contract would have provided for a 30% pay increase, as well as a 30% improvement in pension benefit.
FedEx pilots are also covered by the Railway Labor Act, which despite the name, covers both rail workers and airline employees. Those are two of the most heavily unionized US industries, and the law places considerable hurdles in the way of any union that wants to strike. The FedEx pilots, unlike most FedEx employees, count as airline employees when it comes to which labor law they work under.
Trade and Customs Reminders & Events
WEBINAR: Continuing Education for Licensed Customs Brokers
03 Aug 2023 1:00-2:00PM ET
The webinar will provide an overview of the new regulations for customs brokers, which mandate a continuing education requirement to maintain an individual license. The webinar will present an implementation overview as well as the next steps for customs brokers to take to meet the upcoming program requirements.