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Trans Pacific Partnership and ISF Updates

Mark R. Kopp, Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc.

Trans Pacific Partnership
The 19th round of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was held the third and fourth weeks of August in Brunei. The United States was represented by new USTR Ambassador Mike Forman. The following is a press release issued August 30, 2013 by the office of the United States Trade Representative.1

Ministerial Guidance Energizes Negotiators' Work During 19th Round of TPP Negotiations
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators intensified their work this week to close gaps between them as directed by their Ministers, who met last week in Brunei Darussalam to discuss possible landing zones on remaining sensitive and challenging issues and sequencing of issues in the final talks. A Ministerial meeting of the TPP countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam - gave guidance to negotiators on achieving an ambitious and balanced 21st century agreement that will enhance trade and investment between them, promote innovation and competitiveness, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs in their countries.


Buoyed by the ministerial engagement and their commitment to actively guide the negotiations, negotiators advanced their technical work this round on the texts covering market access, rules of origin, investment, financial services, intellectual property, competition, and environment. They also made progress on the packages providing access to each other's markets for goods, services, investment, financial services, temporary entry, and government procurement. Their discussions both jointly and bilaterally were successful in identifying creative and pragmatic solutions to many issues and further narrowing the remaining work. Also this week, negotiators covering labor issues continued their work on the outstanding issues in the chapter.

Having identified pathways forward, negotiators will meet again intersessionally in the coming weeks to further their work. Several other negotiating groups that did not meet during this round because they required additional time for domestic consultation before convening also will meet, including those covering technical barriers to trade, e-commerce, and legal issues. The intersessional work is intended to further advance the negotiations in the lead up to APEC Leaders meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on the margins of which TPP Leaders are expected to meet as they have in past years. This meeting will be an important milestone as the 12 countries work intensively to conclude this landmark agreement this year.

On August 27, the TPP negotiations were temporarily adjourned so that negotiators could meet with 150 stakeholders on site from across the TPP region. Stakeholders made presentations to negotiators on a wide range of issues, and Chief Negotiators met informally with stakeholders to discuss in detail on specific issues of interest to them.

The hope is that enough progress was made in this round that the negotiators can finish their work at the next meeting scheduled for October in Bali or at a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) also in Bali scheduled in December.

Talks have been complicated by the late entry of Japan to the group. There are still sensitive issues to be discussed. Japan has concerns is some agricultural areas such as rice, barley and pork. The United States continues its concerns on the sensitive areas of textiles, apparel, footwear, sugar and dairy.

Another issue appears to be Japan's interest in continuing Tariff Rate Quota barriers while the United States is working to dismantle them.

Importer Security Filing
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun to enforce the provisions of ISF. While we have not seen the issuing of any of the statutory $5,000 fines, YET, we have seen containers held at the U.S. port of arrival pending explanations of late filing and the need to obtain a bill of lading match. Containers held at the pier pending ISF resolution will certainly cost the importer time as well as additional costs in storage and demurrage.

It is only a matter of time before CBP begins to issue fines. All importers must be aware of their responsibility to file their ISF's timely and accurately. Importers should be in constant communication with their ISF filers to be certain ISF's have been filed and bills of lading submitted by the filer match the bill numbers submitted by the carriers.


Mark is currently the Senior Manager for Import Compliance for Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc. Mark has over 30 years experience in all aspects of supply chain management and compliance ヨ from product development and buying, cargo management and shipping, customs brokerage, to warehousing, distribution and retail sales. He has managed/directed imports for Kinney Shoe Corporation, Woolworth Corporation, Russ Berrie & Co. and DHL. He has also served on the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America government customs council, been a member of the Board of Directors for the Toy Shippers Association, and been an instructor at The World Trade Institute in New York. Currently, he is a member of the NY/NJ Freight Forwarders & Brokers Association and serves on the American Apparel & Footwear Association Government Relations Committee. Mark graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with a B.A in Political Science.