AD/CVD Petition Filed: May Impact Imports on Wood Moldings and Millwork Products from Brazil and China

As you know, we are committed to keeping you informed about important news and announcements. As such, we want to make you aware of an antidumping /countervailing duties (AD/CVD) petition filed January 8, 2020, by U.S. producers. The petition addresses imports from Brazil and China which can result in AD/CVD duties on merchandise identified in the scope of the petition imported from those countries to the U.S.
The petition is seeking AD/CVD to be placed on wood moldings and millwork products from Brazil and China (the full scope of merchandise affected can be found in the petition, listed below). As a result, the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce will begin an investigation to determine if the industry in the U.S. is affected, and whether or not Brazilian and Chinese imports are unfairly traded – meaning, priced below normal market value or unfairly subsidized.
The full description of the products from Brazil and China covered by the petition is found in pages 4-6 of Part 1.
Read the entire petition here:

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Cambodians With Alleged Connections to Illegal Logging

Last Monday, a press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury stated, “Today, on International Anti-Corruption Day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting corrupt actors and their networks across numerous countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  Today’s action, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.”

According to an article posted in The Phnom Penh Post, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation [of Cambodia] expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act.”

The article continues, “Pheap has used his vast network inside Cambodia to build a large-scale illegal logging consortium that relies on the collusion of Cambodian officials, to include purchasing protection from the government, including military protection, for the movement of his illegal products,” the U.S. Treasury Department said.

Mech Dara, the author of the article, claims the U.S. Treasury Department asserts that “Pheap had used the Cambodian Military to enable his timber trafficking activities and sell to buyers in Vietnam, China, Europe, and Russia.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 11 Cambodia-registered entities it said are owned or controlled by Pheap”.

Regarding Kim the article states, “The U.S. Treasury Department said he was instrumental in developing projects in Koh Kong province and had reaped significant financial benefits from his close relationship with a Chinese state-owned entity.  Kim had used Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAP) soldiers to ‘intimidate, demolish, and clear-out land sought by the PRC-owned entity’, it said, referring to the official acronym for China.”

The full article can be read here – https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national-politics/us-imposes-sanctions-oknha-pheap-and-kun-kim

From the U.S. Department of the Treasury Press Release (https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm849):

TRY PHEAP

Try Pheap (Pheap) is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official responsible for or complicit in, or directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.  The United States prioritizes anticorruption efforts as a key part of its vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, recognizing good governance as integral to U.S. foreign policy and national security interests and in line with U.S. values.

Pheap has used his vast network inside Cambodia to build a large scale illegal logging consortium that relies on the collusion of Cambodian officials, to include purchasing protection from the government, including military protection, for the movement of his illegal products.  For example, Pheap used the Cambodian military to enable his timber trafficking activities and sell to buyers in Vietnam, China, Europe, and Russia.  The support of these officials makes it difficult for local authorities to take lawful action against Pheap, as in one example, Cambodian National Park officials were paid by Pheap to keep his operations secret from the international community.

In addition to the designation of Pheap, OFAC is designating 11 Cambodia-registered entities that are owned or controlled by Pheap:  Try Pheap Group Co., Ltd.; M.D.S. Import Export Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Dry Port Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Grand Royal Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Import Export Co., Ltd.; Papa Petroleum Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Property Co., Ltd.; Try Pheap Travel & Tours Co., Ltd.; M D S Thmorda S E Z Co., Ltd.; and Try Pheap Oyadav S E Z Co., Ltd.

KUN KIM AND HIS FAMILY NETWORK

Kun Kim (Kim) is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.

Kim was a senior General in the RCAF and was instrumental in a development in Koh Kong province and had reaped significant financial benefit from his relationships with a People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned entity.  Kim used RCAF soldiers to intimidate, demolish, and clear-out land sought by the PRC-owned entity.  Kun Kim was replaced as RCAF Chief of Staff because Kim had not shared profits from his unlawful businesses with senior Cambodian government officials.

Cambodian elites like Kim use their familial networks to create shadow structures to shield ill-gotten assets. Such corruption undermines the ability to realize the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific that we share with ASEAN and other Indo-Pacific partners.  In addition to Kim, OFAC designated three members of Kim’s family: King Chandy (Chandy), Kim Sophary (Sophary), and Kim Phara (Phara), for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kim.  Five entities that are owned or controlled by these individuals were also designated today:

  • 7 Makara Phary Co., Ltd.is registered in Cambodia, and is owned or controlled by Sophary.
    • K D Rubber Plantation Co., Ltd. is registered in Cambodia, and is owned or controlled by Chandy.
    • Cambo Elite Security Force Co., Ltd. is registered in Cambodia, and is owned or controlled by Sophary.
    • Romdoul Capital Pawn Co., Ltd. and Romdoul Development Co., Ltd. are registered in Cambodia, and are owned or controlled by Phara.

Amazon trusted provider of Compliance services

Benchmark International, LLC is pleased to announce it has been approved as a member of the Amazon.com Service Provider Network(SPN) , and has achieved recognition as an Amazon trusted provider of Compliance services. The Amazon SPN helps to connect Amazon sellers with trusted professional service providers who have met Amazon’s strict standards and demonstrated competence in the areas they serve.

Benchmark offers a variety of compliance verification services to the consumer goods, furniture, cabinetry, and other industries who frequently market and sell their products on Amazon.com.From compliance program development to laboratory testing, supplier site assessments, and more, we ‘re here to help. If you currently manufacture, import, distribute, or sell your products on Amazon, or if you’re thinking of doing so, please Contact Us  or call +1 (541) 484-9212 to discuss how we can help!

Disclaimer:

Amazon, Amazon Service Provider Network, Amazon SPN, and Amazon SPN logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Breaking Announcement: Court Makes Announcement on EPA Rules

The Court finds the Delay Rule is beyond the scope of the EPA’s authority and is not in accordance with the Formaldehyde Act. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and DENIES the EPA’s cross-motion for summary judgment. Having found that the EPA has acted in excess of its statutory authority and therefore unlawfully under the APA, the Court vacates and sets aside the year-long extension to December 12, 2018 of the compliance deadlines set out by the EPA in the Delay Rule. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A); see also California Communities Against Toxics v. EPA, 688 F.3d 989, 992 (9th Cir. 2012) (per curiam).

At oral argument on these motions, the parties agreed that should the Court vacate the Delay Rule, the parties would meet and confer to address the timely implementation of the Court’s order. Accordingly, the Court STAYS this order vacating the Delay Rule until such time as the parties can address the timely and effective implementation of the compliance guidelines. The parties shall have until March 9, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. to provide the Court with a joint proposed submission or simultaneous briefing each not to exceed 15 pages to address the timing for lifting the stay and expeditious implementation of the Court’s order.

Formaldehyde Rule court date postponed

From the Woodworking Network:

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The federal district court hearing on motions challenging EPA’s authority to extend the Formaldehyde Rule compliance deadlines has been postponed until Jan. 26.  Originally scheduled for Jan. 12, the postponement is due to scheduling conflicts for the government’s counsel.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 31, 2017, by the Sierra Club and A Community Voice-Louisiana, which is represented by Earthjustice, claims EPA acted “arbitrarily, capriciously” and without authority when it granted panel producers a one-year extension for compliance to TSCA Title VI, also known as the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products. The original compliance date was Dec. 12, 2017.

 

For more click here

Merry Christmas!

The Benchmark International family would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

West Virginia Public Broadcasting Timber Series

Sometimes, we find news articles that aren’t always about regulations, legality, or chemicals. West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with funding from The Myles Family foundation, have created a series of articles and broadcasts related to the timber industry in West Virginia. The series can be found here. IIt includes lumber, flooring and other parts of the timber industry.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Benchmark International Family to Yours!

Benchmark International would like to wish each and everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

 

Photo by: VXLA

Alphabet Soup

In the forest products industry and beyond, there are a lot of acronyms that we see used over and over again. We use them to save space, talk quickly about a subject, or simply because we know what they mean, but not what they stand for. Below is a small list of acronyms that are seen most often and what they stand for:

CAR– Corrective Action Report

CARBCalifornia Air Resources Board

COB– Close of Business

COC or CoC– Chain of Custody

CWP– Composite Wood Product

ASTMAmerican Section of the International Association for Testing Materials

EPAU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

FSCForest Stewardship Council

HWPW-CC– Hardwood Plywood Composite Core

HWPW-VC– Hardwood Plywood Veneer Core

ISOInternational Organization of Standardization

JASJapanese Agricultural Standard

SFISustainable Forestry Initiative

TPC– Third Party Certifier

TSCAToxic Substance Control Act

What acronyms do you use? Email us your acronyms to add to the list.

Formaldehyde Rule Lawsuit Filed

A lawsuit was filed on Halloween (31 October 2017) by the Sierra Club and A Community Voice, represented by Earthjustice, against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the delay in implementing the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Title VI for formaldehyde in composite wood products. The suit alleges that the EPA is unlawfully delaying the implementation of the rules.

 

You can read the court filing here.