Shanghai is seeing early success from its pilot free trade zone (FTZ). According the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, the FTZ has expanded the city’s trade by 16.5 percent since 2013 -- better than the national average of 10.3 percent.

Shanghai Daily reports that exports rose 9.8 percent and imports rose 22.9 percent. January 2014 reports show that the city’s gross domestic product grew 7.7 percent -- matching the national average and generating 2.16 trillion Yuan in revenue.

The FTZ program, which drew international attention from traders and investors from the start, has been a testing ground for many economic reforms. One of the reforms will allow individuals to carry out cross-border transactions using funds earned in the zone. More concrete measures are expected to be announced in late February 2014.

"The reforms will no doubt be a boon to the city's financial sector. But whether the zone will be counted as part of Shanghai or as an independent administration when growth figures are calculated this year is unclear," said Chen Bo, a professor of international trade and economics at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

The International Trade Data System, ITDS, or as it is commonly referred to “The Single Window” has been given a completion date of December 31, 2016 by an Executive Order signed by US President Obama on February 20, 2014.    This single window will allow for the submission (electronically) of a single set of data elements that will then be reviewed by all relevant government agencies for release and clearance of goods.   This will be a considerable step forward in streamlining the US import and export processes.

As part of the Executive Order was the codifying of the Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC).  While the Council was established a few years ago, it was more voluntary in nature and participation by pertinent government agencies was limited.  This Executive Order changes that, and now places senior level officials from the appropriate agencies as required members.

A few key points from the Executive Order:

  • As part of the retrospective review report due to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on July 14, 2014, each agency must determine whether any regulatory changes will be needed to meet this order, and if so, promptly implement any needed rulemaking to accomplish this
  • Within 180 days of the signed Executive Order, any relevant agencies must report to the Board on their anticipated use of international standards for product classification and identification
  • By July 1, 2014, and every year thereafter until July 2016, the BIEC, in consultation with the ITDS Board, shall provide a report on the implementation progress to the President
  • The ITDS Board shall make publicly available a timeline outlining the development and delivery of the secure ITDS capabilities, as well as agency implementation plans and schedules

According to the fact sheet produced by the White House, “the ITDS will allow more efficient government decision-making associated with goods arriving at the border, reducing the time for clearing goods from many days to, in some cases, seconds. This will dramatically speed the flow of legitimate commerce across our borders.”

For those monitoring ACE progress and deadlines, you will note that the ITDS deadline is 3 months following the mandatory use of ACE for all cargo processing (October 1, 2016).

With regulations ever changing and updates constantly being made, we understand keeping up with new regulations affecting global trade can be challenging. Therefore, Global Trade News has taken the information that we have gathered over the last month from governments around the world, and compiled it into a monthly summary, posted here for you. You can access this information, along with all related FTA posts at any time by visiting the Free Trade Agreement category on this blog.

FTAs to Come Into Force:
Vietnam -  EU –
China- Iceland –
Uzbekistan – Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) –

FTAs Under Negotiations:
South Korea – China –
Pakistan – Yemen –
Peru – Armenia –
Turkey – Japan –
Singapore – Turkey –
Taiwan – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  –
Canada – South Korea –
Peru – Turkey –
Morocco – European Union –
Pakistan – Sri Lanka –
Pakistan – India –
Vietnam – Republic of Korea –
Vietnam – Russia, Belarus & Kazakhstan –
Australia – Japan –
Philippines – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) –
Canada – CARICOM –
Australia – South Korea –
EU – Singapore –

Proposed FTAs:
Africa Tripartite FTA –
Thailand – India –
Philippines – Switzerland –
European Union – India –
Sino (China, Japan, South Korea) - Australia –
Canada – Israel –
Taiwan - China –
China – United Arab Emirates –
China – Sri Lanka –
China – European Union –
Russia – New Zealand –
US - Egypt –
Pakistan – US  –
European Union – Indonesia –
Canada – Honduras –
India – ASEAN –

Current FTAs:
South Korea – India –