Authored by Manny Schoenhuber
Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Impacts Products Passing Through the Xinjiang Region
The United States has adopted a more forceful stance against China and the reported use of forced labor in its Xinjiang region. Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, every product with ties to the Xinjiang region is automatically treated as being made with forced labor and will be detained unless the importer can overcome this presumption. This means you will have to trace all the inputs used in your product back to the raw materials—an almost impossible feat—or stop sourcing products with inputs from that region altogether. Be aware, the question is not whether these inputs were manufactured or sourced in the Xinjiang region. Instead, the Act covers every product that has ever passed through the region. From a compliance standpoint, you will be required to document every step of the supply chain for the applicable products. Of course, it still remains to be seen how aggressively U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce these requirements. But expect to see stricter enforcement over time.
Ocean Shipping Reform Act Aims to Provide Relief From Skyrocketing Cargo Costs
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act now places ocean container carriers under tougher regulatory scrutiny in an effort to provide relief from skyrocketing cargo costs. Under OSRA, the Federal Maritime Commission can penalize ocean container carriers suspecting of unscrupulous business practices (e.g., charging unreasonably high delay fees or refusing to accept less profitable loads). Although the final rulemaking process is still pending, as an importer, OSRA will offer you more opportunity to go after ocean container carriers transporting your products to the United States.
Areas Identified for Offshore Wind Development Off Texas and Louisiana Coasts
The Biden administration advanced plans to open up the Gulf of Mexico to offshore wind development off the Texas and Louisiana coasts. The U.S. Department of Interior identified two areas for potential wind leasing — more than 730,000 acres of federal waters, which already include offshore oil and gas drilling. The first draft wind area covers approximately 546,000 acres off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The second area covers approximately 188,000 acres off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. This announcement is part of President Biden’s plan to take more aggressive executive action to address climate change and offers European companies and investors in the wind energy sector ample opportunity to take advantage of their expertise gained from similar developments in Europe.
INFLATION REDUCTION ACT
Inflation Reduction Act Includes Major Provisions on Healthcare, Tax, and Energy
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes major legislation on healthcare, tax, and energy. To be specific, it seeks to lower the cost of some medicines, increase corporate taxes, and reduce carbon emissions. The package includes a minimum 15% tax on most corporations that make more than $1 billion a year in income, a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, and $369 billon for energy security and climate action — the largest climate investment in U.S. history. Billions will be spent in an effort to speed up the production of clean technology, such as solar panels and wind turbines, with a goal to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. To accomplish the goal, experts say the U.S. needs more people who can design, permit, finance, and build the clean energy infrastructure of the future. ♦
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