Global Trade Update

Posted 05/08/2020

We continue to see the global logistics industry impacted by the current pandemic, but more and more, other issues in the industry are creating an impact.

US Ports: We are still seeing US ports limit their hours and staff to accommodate a decrease in container volume. With the continuation of blank vessel sailing announcements we are likely to see this trend continue through the month of May. Still, operations continue and traffic continues to flow in and out of the ports as usual, and carriers are preparing for an uptick in bookings as the year goes on.

US-UK FTA: With the UK's departure from the EU earlier this year, the UK will no longer be included in the US-EU trade agreements. Thus, this week, USTR Ambassador and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade announced they have entered into free trade negotiations. There are several trade agreements that exist in the US-EU agreements pertaining to wine and spirits that will be reviewed and most likey included in these new negotiations. Back in February of 2019, there was already a reciprocal agreement accomplished to continue legal recognition of 'Scotch whisky', 'Irish whisky' and US 'Bourbon' and 'Tennessee whisky'. We will see what happens in terms of whether the current EU tariffs on US products and retaliatory tariffs in the USA on EU products will be adjusted in the new talks. The industry associations are pressing hard for the UK and US governments to return to tariff-free trade.

CBMA: Customs continues to process CBMA claims and confirms that they are consistently working through claims without any significant delay due to the COVID-19 crisis; the delay is due to the complexity of the review process and errors in claims. Efficiencies are improving as import specialists become more familiar with the review process and its complexities. WSSA has been on several calls with other industry groups, including NABI and DISCUS, discussing the CBMA refund process, and overall the determination stands that we must exercise patience as currently there is little way the process can be expedited. In better news, CBP announced this week that it will be adding some limited CBMA developments to the ACE portal this coming fall. WSSA and other trade associations aim to assist in these developments to enhance the portal's CBMA features going forward. We will keep you updated on any developments to this situation.

South Africa Update: With the re-opening of South Africa beverage alcohol movement, we are warned that this cargo is at high risk for criminal activity due to the lack of availability in the market for the last weeks. Make sure you have adequate cargo insurance and please reach out to WSSA if you have any need to add coverage in this area. We are seeing an uptick in theft on a global basis, and it is a good time to make sure you have adequate risk mitigation.

As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Stay safe and healthy!