March 2015

TAG's Leslie Bergland made news last week as she stood in support of Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization. To read the article in the Minneapolis StarTribune, click here.

Thanks, Leslie, for all that you do to support the interests of small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses! Read on to see what you can do...

So...Can I ship to Cuba now?

The short answer: Not yet. The U.S.'s recently expanded relationship with Cuba will include "authorizing expanded commercial sales/exports from the United States of certain goods and services" and "facilitating authorized transactions between the United States and Cuba" aimed at improving the speed, efficiency, and oversight of authorized payments between the United States and Cuba. However, the changes must be implemented through amendments to existing law. Bottom line: stay tuned because this hasn't happened yet. For now, Ex-Im Bank is still off-cover and will not provide financing or credit insurance. The same goes for the private credit insurers.

For more information, see the White House Fact Sheet, and this Alert from Arent Fox. Pay special attention to the 12 allowable reasons for Americans to visit Cuba and how much tobacco (i.e. the # of Cuban cigars you can bring back). Hint: it's less than $100 for alcohol and tobacco combined.

What about Russia or Ukraine?

The short answer: Probably not here either.

Russian entities, individuals, and entire sectors continue to be sanctioned by the U.S. and E.U. Crimea has been effectively embargoed. The IMF just concluded a second round of program negotiations in Ukraine which may include some requirements to restructure private sector debt. And the cease fire negotiated in Minsk mid-February between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France seems to have failed (again). Ex-Im Bank is not taking any new applications for these countries; private insurers are cutting or cancelling existing limits. For more information on sanctions, see the White House Statement, and this Alert from Arent Fox.

ITA Tool - Consolidated Screening List (CSL)
A new tool is available online here from the International Trade Administration (ITA) which allows yo u to search the CSL, a streamlined collection of nine different "screening lists" from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury. The CSL contains names of individuals and companies with whom a U.S. company may not be allowed to do business due to U.S. export regulations, sanctions, or other restrictions.

Ex-Im Bank Re-re-authorization?

After receiving a last-minute short-term extension last fall, Ex-Im Bank's current authorization is set to expire on June 30, 2015. Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce organized a "Fly-in" and meetings with members of Congress to show support for Ex-Im Bank and advocate for its reauthorization. TAG was one of 650 companies scheduled for over 400 meetings with members of Congress and their staff on Wednesday, Feb 25. The message was clear: "time is running out, Ex-Im Bank needs your support."

What Can You Do?
Tell Congress that Ex-Im Bank support is important to your business. By using this link (or typing in www.exportersforexim.org) and clicking on Take Action, you can search by your zip code and send a pre-drafted message to your Congressperson in less than 5 minutes.

Call TAG!
If you are concerned about the possibility that Ex-Im Bank may not be re-authorized in June, and are wondering about the impact that could have on your business, please contact us. We can talk through your specific situation and insurance or financing needs. TAG can help you compare your available options - for all markets - domestic and foreign.

Having Trouble Collecting Payments?

You may not be alone. Euler Hermes has launched a Collection Complexity Index and analysis of 44 countries around the globe. The findings are published in a new report, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" which provides an analysis and comparison of the differing levels of complexity encountered when collecting around the world. The report finds that Sweden, Germany and Austria rank amongst the least complex countries when it comes to debt collection, while Russia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are still lagging behind when it comes to simplifying the life of companies trying to recover payments. To view the full report Click Here.

Are your goods stuck in L.A./Long Beach?

Photo Credits: Mike Kelley
Ongoing and contentious contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) over the past several months have resulted in severe congestion at the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach. The negotiators are said to have reached a tentative agreement which now must be ratified by all parties. Nevertheless, port congestion on the U.S. West Coast has caused a ripple effect throughout the U.S. supply chain, resulting in increased costs and delays. Although work can resume before the deal is ratified, the congestion is expected to continue over the next several months.

If you have questions about this situation or how it impacts you, please contact our trusted logistics partner, LR International (LRI).

As always, we value our relationship with you. If we can be of assistance in any way, please let us know.

Kind Regards,

The TAG Team

Curt, Leslie, Ursula, Jackie, Sara and Mason

We appreciate your feedback! Please let us know what you think. If you have ideas for content you'd like to see in future issues, do let us know. Remember, "We Work for You!"

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