China Closes Borders to Foreign Travelers

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China National Immigration Administration Announcement on the Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits

March 26, 2020

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0 a.m., 28 march 2020. Entry by foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards will be suspended as well. Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended. Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates. Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after this announcement will not be affected.

The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries. China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances. The above-mentioned measures will be calibrated in light of the evolving situation and announced accordingly.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

National Immigration Administration

U.S. Dept of Commerce Rules that Wooden Cabinets & Vanities Injure U.S. Industry

To our valued clients, business partners, families, and friends:

In these tumultuous times, it’s even more important to remain vigilant about industry updates in the midst of the global pandemic. Today, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that the U.S. industry is injured as a result of wooden cabinets and vanities imported from China that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidized and then sold in the U.S. at less than market value.

The Commission’s public report Wooden Cabinets and Vanities from China (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-620 and 731-TA-1445 (Final), USITC Publication 5042, April 2020) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigations.

The report will be available by April 27, 2020; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at:

As a result, Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of these products in China.

These findings have the potential to have tremendous repercussions on our industry, and we will be closely monitoring the situation to provide you with relevant information you need to stay informed. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason. We’re in this together.


Washington, DC 20436


Wooden Cabinets and Vanities from China
Investigation Nos. 701-TA-620 and 731-TA-1445 (Final)

Product Description:  Wooden cabinets and vanities (“WCVs”) are wood‐constructed products used for permanently installed cabinetry that are usually found in the kitchen (in the case of cabinets) or the bathroom (in the case of vanities). WCVs have physical characteristics applicable to the intended use for storage and easy access of various household items. WCVs may be sold in a fully assembled form, where the product is ready for installation, or in a “flat pack” or “ready to assemble” (“RTA”) form, which contains most or all of the items required to assemble a cabinet or vanity into its completed form. WCVs are manufactured wholly or in part from wood products, including natural wood and engineered wood products. In addition to the wood components, these products may contain certain quantities of non‐wood material such as glass, vinyl, plastics, and metal.

Status of Proceedings:

  1. Type of investigation:  Final phase antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations.
  2. Petitioners:  American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance, Reston, VA.
  3. USITC Institution Date:  Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
  4. USITC Hearing Date:  Thursday, February 20, 2020.
  5. USITC Vote Date:  Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
  6. USITC Notification to Commerce Date:  Monday, April 6, 2020.

U.S. Industry in 2018:

  1. Number of U.S. producers:  49.
  2. Location of producers’ plants:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  3. Production and related workers:  35,459.
  4. U.S. producers’ U.S. shipments:  $7.2 billion.
  5. Apparent U.S. consumption:  1
  6. Ratio of subject imports to apparent U.S. consumption:  1

U.S. Imports in 2018:

  1. Subject imports:  [1]
  2. Nonsubject imports:  1
  3. Leading import sources:  China.

California Orders Residents To Stay Home

Today, California State Public Health Officer & Director of the California Department of Health ordered all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.
This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice.
Essential services will remain open such as:
  1. Gas stations
  2. Pharmacies
  3. Food: Grocery stores, farmer’s markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out, delivery restaurants
  4. Banks, laundromats/laundry services
Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.
Establishments that are closed include:
  1. Dine-in restaurants
  2. Bars and nightclubs
  3. Entertainment venues
  4. Gyms and fitness studios
  5. Public events and gatherings
  6. Convention Centers
This is in effect throughout the State of California.
The full order can be read here.

U.S. Department of State: Global Health Advisory, 19 March 2020 – Level 4: DO NOT TRAVEL

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.  Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

COVID-19 Guidance / Updates from EPA

With the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) now impacting a number of countries worldwide, the international response has posed increasing challenges to effectively manage the global supply chain. Among other things, several countries have enacted, or are considering to enact, various international and regional travel bans and restrictions which have the effect of further constraining global trade. Such restrictions have already been implemented in a number of Southeast Asian countries, and the U.S. has implemented travel restrictions for specific foreign nationals.
In light of the challenges posed by this situation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to add guidance for Third-Party Certifiers (TPCs) regarding the requirements for conducting routine surveillance audits at production facilities certified pursuant to TSCA Title VI:

13. In the event of unsafe conditions in the geographic areas that would prevent a third-party certifier (TPC) from traveling in-person to that area, how can a TPC work with one of its TSCA Title VI-certified composite wood product manufacturing panel producers to conduct quarterly inspections (including sampling collections of composite wood products) to ensure TSCA Title VI compliance until the unsafe conditions are no longer present?

In the event of unsafe conditions (e.g., natural disasters, outbreaks, political unrest, epidemics, and pandemics) in the area of a composite wood product manufacturing panel producer, in order to conduct the required quarterly inspections and sample collections, the TPC could conduct a remote quarterly inspection via teleconference to satisfy the requirements of 40 CFR 770.7(c)(4)(i)(F), and work with the panel producer quality control manager at that time to select, package, sign, and ship the TPC panels/samples for the quarterly test according to 40 CFR 770.20(c). TPCs and panel producers should also remain in close communication with each to ensure any changes or developments that might affect the panel producer or product type certification are managed according to the TSCA Title VI regulations. The panel producer and TPC should also document each unsafe conditions occurrence for auditing purposes, and the TPC should notify EPA through its TSCA Title VI accrediting body/third-party certifier general mailbox ( when this remote method of quarterly inspection is being used. The standard practice for a TPC providing certification services for composite wood panel producers remains that a TPC conducts in-person quarterly inspections and sample collection, packaging, signature, and shipping for quality control testing.

The above FAQ can be found at:

EPA’s guidance provides an interim solution to meet the challenges posed by the international response to the COVID-19 outbreak and further aligns the agency’s guidance to that of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on these types of matters. However, the application of the guidance provided by this FAQ is to be used only in extraordinary circumstances, and should not be viewed as a means to bypass normal quarterly audit and testing requirements. Benchmark continues to manage its global staff to meet client needs and regulatory requirements, and we will only utilize the above mechanism as a last resort. We remain in close contact with EPA, our clients, and other regulatory agencies as needed, and we will communicate further information as needed.
Please contact us if you have any questions.