America’s Strong Marine Economy Vital to Building Back Better

America’s marine economy contributed about $397 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2019 and grew faster than the nation’s economy as a whole, according to the most current results of the first official Marine Economy Satellite Account released today by two Department of Commerce agencies.

“America’s strong marine economy is absolutely vital for building back better,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “President Biden sees the immense value and potential of strengthening America’s blue economy, and this administration will continue to take actions to combat the climate crisis, conserve our oceans, and protect our coastal communities.”

“These statistics show how powerful America’s blue economy is as a driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “This information will assist our nation’s economic recovery by helping policymakers, industry advocates, and organizations track and accelerate investments in target markets.”

For these statistics, experts from NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) described 10 sectors representing businesses dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes between the years 2014 and 2019. Marine-related gross domestic product grew 4.2% from 2018 to 2019, faster than the 2.2% growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars. Businesses included in the report also generated a total of $665.7 billion in sales and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019.

The 10 sectors ranked by their sales are:

  • Tourism and recreation, including recreational fishing ($235 billion)
  • National defense and public administration ($180 billion)
  • Offshore minerals ($93 billion)
  • Transportation and warehousing ($64 billion)
  • Commercial Ship and boat building ($31 billion)
  • Living resources, including commercial fishing and aquaculture ($27 billion)
  • Utilities ($12 billion)
  • Research and education ($10.4 billion)
  • Construction ($7.0 billion)
  • Professional and technical services ($6.3 billion)

“These statistics are further proof that our waters are vital for America’s economy,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “It is nearly impossible to go a single day without eating, wearing, or using items that come from or through our ports and coastal communities.”

Last year, NOAA and BEA released the Ocean Economy Prototype statistics which covered 2014-2018 and were the most comprehensive measurement of the marine economy at the time. This year’s statistics offer improved national estimates for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes-related economic activity by major sector, accounting for inflation. 

NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020. 

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. 

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.  

“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

  • In March, NOAA upgraded the flagship Global Forecast System (GFS) to improve hurricane genesis forecasting and coupled GFS with a wave model extending ocean wave forecasts from 10 days out to 16 days. Additionally, Global Positioning Satellite Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) data are now included in the GFS model, providing an additional source of observations to strengthen overall model performance.
  • Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are now using an upgraded probabilistic storm surge model — known as P-Surge — which includes improved tropical cyclone wind structure and storm size information that offers better predictability and accuracy. This upgrade extends the lead time of P-Surge forecast guidance from 48 to 60 hours in situations where there is high confidence. 
  • NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory will deploy its largest array of air and water uncrewed systems to gather data designed to help improve hurricane intensity forecasts and forecast models. New drones will be launched from NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that will fly into the lower part of hurricanes, and in the ocean, saildrones, hurricane gliders, global drifters, and air-deployable technology — called ALAMO floats — will track various parts of the life cycle of tropical storms.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season. 

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Message from the 40th Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo

On March 3, Gina M. Raimondo was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Raimondo was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris after a bipartisan vote of 84-15 in the United States Senate. In her role as Secretary of Commerce, Raimondo will lead a key agency focused on promoting economic growth, which includes the International Trade Administration, the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Economic Development Administration, Minority Business Development Agency, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Message from Secretary Raimondo

COVID-19 has impacted every community in our country.

As the Governor of Rhode Island, I saw firsthand how our families, our children, and our communities have been impacted by this virus. Millions of Americans are out of work, and over 400,000 small businesses have been forced to shut their doors. Minority-owned and women-run businesses have been the hardest hit.

Now, I also know firsthand the pain that losing a job causes a family. I still remember when my dad lost his job after 28 years of work in manufacturing. It was a tough time for us and too many families all across our country today are having to make the same sacrifices we had to make back then.

And it’s not just the pandemic. We are facing an urgent economic crisis, a climate emergency, longstanding racial inequities, and the need to restore America’s leadership on the world’s stage.

But there is hope ahead. Because when we come together as a country, there is nothing that can stop us. We innovate. We grow. And we will meet these unprecedented challenges by building back better and ensuring that every American is part of our success.

As the Secretary of Commerce, I am committed to helping working Americans and businesses – small and large – combat this pandemic head-on, creating millions of good-paying jobs, and powering a more just, sustainable economy. An economy where workers are treated with dignity and respect, businesses have the tools they need to innovate, and America can out-compete any country in the world. We’re going to revitalize domestic manufacturing, strengthen critical supply chains here in the United States, and set the stage for economic growth for decades to come.

I’m proud to be leading the Commerce Department. Our hard-working, talented workforce has the tools, data, and expertise we need to help communities address the challenges we face as a nation.

We want the Commerce Department to be about opportunity and competitiveness. The opportunity to start or grow a business. The opportunity to get a good, stable job. The opportunity to pursue the American Dream, regardless of where you live or where you come from.

Let’s create a future that is made in America. That invests in our communities and for future generations. It’s time to Build Back Better, to build back smarter, build back stronger, and to build back equitably.

I am Gina Raimondo, and I am proud to serve as the 40th Secretary for the Department of Commerce.

This is our opportunity to tackle our most pressing challenges and create a more equitable economy for all Americans.

PBGC Announces New Inspector General Appointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced the appointment of Nicholas J. Novak as the agency’s Inspector General. In his 35-year career, Novak spent nearly 20 years holding various positions within PBGC’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring (ONR) and the agency’s Office of the Inspector General. Novak’s ONR portfolio included supervising aspects of the Multiemployer Pension Insurance Program. He most recently served as PBGC’s Acting Inspector General since April 2020.

“I know that Nick shares my commitment to ensuring PBGC and everyone at the agency operate ethically and effectively,” PBGC Director Gordon Hartogensis said. “I look forward to continuing our work together as he takes on the role of Inspector General.”

As Inspector General, Novak will continue to oversee independent audits and investigations, provide guidance to improve the agency’s business practices, and execute procedures to prevent and detect fraud. Novak reports directly to PBGC’s Board of Directors and Congress to help improve and maintain the integrity of PBGC’s programs and operations.

A proven public servant, he previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Publishing Office, and in the private sector.

He is a certified public accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

About PBGC
PBGC protects the retirement security of over 35 million American workers, retirees, and beneficiaries in both single-employer and multiemployer private-sector pension plans. The agency’s two insurance programs are legally separate and operationally and financially independent. PBGC is currently responsible for the benefits of about 1.5 million people in failed pension plans and receives no taxpayer dollars. The Single-Employer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. The Multiemployer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums and investment income. For more information, visit PBGC.gov.

U.S. Signs MOU Establishing U.S. Trade Zone in Kingdom of Bahrain

Jan 12th, U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of the Kingdom of Bahrain signed of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to Enhance U.S.-Bahrain Trade through the Establishment of a U.S. Trade Zone (USTZ) in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The MoU was signed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism in the Kingdom of Bahrain H.E. Zayed R. Alzayani.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain has been, and continues to be, an important strategic and trade partner of the United States, maintaining stability and ensuring the free flow of commerce in the Gulf. The Department of Commerce remains committed to our deep partnership with the Kingdom,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “This MoU is but one such example of our mutual commitment and close relationship, and the International Trade Administration is committed to working with the Kingdom of Bahrain toward the realization of this unique free trade zone.”

The Establishment of a USTZ in the Kingdom of Bahrain will foster enhanced economic connectivity, trade, and industrial cooperation and will help boost bilateral trade between the two countries. The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain will promote the USTZ as a regional trade, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution hub for U.S. companies in Bahrain, markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and beyond.

The USTZ will allow U.S. businesses multimodal access to an area ideal for crossdocking activities, end-to-end specialized customs solutions, and fast track operation for the purpose of exporting via Khalifa bin Salman Port, Bahrain International Airport, King Fahad Causeway or any future customs posts created by the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain are longstanding partners with a strong record of economic and security cooperation. The United States established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1971 and designated Bahrain a Major Non-NATO Ally in 2002. The U.S-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force in 2006, generating additional commercial opportunities for both countries. In 2019, bilateral merchandise trade reached $2.45 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion of trade in services (2019 figures).

U.S. and Singapore Sign MOU on Trade Financing and Investment Cooperation

The United States of America (U.S.) and Singapore have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen economic cooperation and extend trade financing and investment support to companies in Singapore and the U.S. The MOU was signed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

“The U.S. and Singapore have enjoyed more than fifty years of official partnership since we established diplomatic ties in 1966,” said Secretary Ross. “This MOU will help Singapore importers finance the purchase of U.S. exports and support Singapore investors looking at opportunities in the U.S.”

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said, “As like-minded partners, Singapore and the U.S. are committed to supporting our businesses as they respond to the global economic disruptions caused by COVID-19. Through this MOU, we will facilitate company investments into Singapore and the U.S., and help businesses access more trade financing facilities. We also look forward to catalysing greater trade and investment flows between the U.S., Singapore, and Southeast Asia, and enabling our companies to continue trading and accessing opportunities in these challenging times.”

The U.S. and Singapore are like-minded and longstanding partners with a strong record of economic cooperation. Recognising the significant global tightening of credit following the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOU aims to enhance the availability of and access to trade financing options for U.S. and Singapore companies. The MOU will also facilitate bilateral trade in goods and services to enhance our respective regions’ growth opportunities. In addition, the MOU seeks to strengthen cooperation on investment promotion and provide opportunities for both countries to explore the use of technology (e.g. FinTech) to address new trade financing and investment challenges.

The renewable, two-year MOU will be overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. The MOU will also be supported by implementing agencies, including the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the U.S. Commercial Service in Singapore, and Enterprise Singapore.

The MOU is the latest tangible result of the robust economic and investment partnership between the U.S. and Singapore. The U.S. is Singapore’s largest foreign investor, while Singapore was the fourth-largest Asian investor in the U.S. in 2019. Both countries are committed to working together towards a stronger post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Our continued partnership will help to facilitate bilateral trade and investments and ensure that our companies are well positioned to tap into growth opportunities in our respective markets and regions.

Asian Film Festival Announces Winners of 2020 Golden Diamond Awards

Nov 21st – Beverly Hills, CA -– The 2 nd Annual Asian Film Festival Los Angeles (AFF ) 2020 announced the winners of the festival’s 2020 film competitions today at the Maybourne Beverly Hills Los Angeles. With the festival following COVID-19 pandemic, the festival did not host a live Golden Diamond Awards ceremony this year, with a virtual awards ceremony. The 2nd Golden Diamond Awards of AFF Los Angeles featured twenty competitive categories: Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary, Animation, Short Film, Documentary Short, Student Short Film, Director, Director Short Film, First Director, Director Student, Script, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Music, Actor, Actress, Child Actor and Child Actress.

The Asian Film Festival Los Angeles Chairman Holmes Stoner Said, “This year’s program featured so many wonderful films, and we are grateful to our jurors for selecting our award-winning films, We thank and congratulate all of the filmmakers who shared their films with the festival this year and look forward to great things from each and every one of them.”

“While we are not yet able to celebrate these incredible films at their premieres, we are so proud to celebrate them in partnership with our generous team through our 2020 Golden Diamond Awards virtual ceremony” said Festival Executive Chairman Jason Quin. “ AFF Los Angeles chose to recognize a daring, innovative, entertaining, diverse group of films and filmmakers, and the Festival is pleased to honor all of them with our first ever virtual awards ceremony at this particular moment in 2020.” “”We are also grateful for the involvement and support of filmmakers from dozens of countries and regionesas to join with AFF work together to meet the novel COVID-19 pandemic challenge.”

The 2nd annual Golden DIamond Awards were unlike in our ceremony history in this age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of filmmakers incuding directors, actors and crew from different countries and regions congratulated AFF via video. The Asian Film Festival Los Angeles 2020 was originally set to take place on Nov 1st -14th, however it will be rescheduled due to the pandemic.

For more information on all of the 2020 Asian Film Festival Los Angels competition winners, visit AFF offical website and check out the full list of winners below:

The list of confirmed winners is as follows:

Best Feature: “Stowaways”, USA
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Touch of Spring”, Canada,
Best Documentary: “Heart of Gold”, Thailand
Best Animation: “ Let’s Eat”, USA
Best Short Film: “Song of the Crickets”, Swtizerland
Best Documentary Short: “Paerntal Guiidance Suggested”, USA
Best Student Short Film: “What We’re Owed”,Australia
Best Director: “Fire on the Ridge”, USA
Best Director Short Film: “À La Carte”, Vietnam
Best First Director: “Magic Kingdom”, Hong Kong China
Best Director Student: Eris Zhao, “Landing”, USA
Best Script: “Whispers In The Wind”, Indonesia
Best Cinematography: “Rendezvous”, Japan
Best Editing: “Navras”, Germany
Best Production Design: “Between”, Czech
Best Music: “Depth of Pyaar”, India
Best Actor: “Father And Son”, China
Best Actress: “Homa And Sisters”, Iran
Best Child Actor: “Catharsis”, Sri Lanka
Best Child Actress: “Bringing Schools To Where There Are None!”, Italy

AFF Los Angeles 2020: The 2nd Annual Golden Diamond Awards Nominees

Nov 7th- Beverly Hill, The 2nd Annual Asian Film Festival Los Angeles Golden Diamond Awards, hosted by AFF Committee announced nominees list ‪on Saturday Nov. 7th 2020, ‬in Maybourne Beverly Hill Los Angeles. The virtual festival ceremony will on official website and multimedia Channel.

AFF Hosts Virtual Asian Film Festival during COVID-19 Pandemic release with the continuing spread of the coronavirus, Asian Film Festival Committee reached out to the trade community virtually to keep industry engaged when it hosted its virtual Asian Film Festival Los Angeles 2020 between November 1st -14th 2020.

“In the midst of this global pandemic and the vast challenges we’re all navigating, I really believe coming together in this way shows our collective commitment to continue our persistent, ongoing dialogue and candid discussions about the most pressing issues facing AFF and you, the film community,” said AFF Commissioner Chairman Holmes Stoner in his welcoming address on Nov 7th 2020.

Due to the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2nd Annual Golden Diamond Awards will not have a live audience or a red carpet. The Golden Diamond Awards and its production teams will adhere to safety guidelines.

Here is the list of the 2nd Annual Golden Diamond Awards of Asian Film Festival Los Angeles 2020 nominees:

Best Feature:
“Stowaways”, USA
“Irumbu”, India,
“In My Dream”, Turkey
“Depth of Pyaar”, Canada
“Present Still Perfect”, Thailand

Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Touch of Spring”, Canada,
“Like Father And Son”, China
“Execution Day”, Azerbaijan
“Present Still Perfect”, Thailand
“MEKONG 2030”, Lao

Best Documentary:
“Twinkle Dammit!” USA
”More Than Miyagi” USA
”Dream In Silence”, China
“Two Flage”, India
“Heart of Gold”, Thhailand
‘The Six’, China

Best Animation:
“ Let’s Eat”, USA
“The Tale of Cuoi 2020”, Vietnam
“ Sliced Fruit”, USA
“ Take A Breach”, China
“My Tagalong”, Canada

Best Short Film:
“Song of the Crickets”, Swtizerland
“Dr. Daddy”, USA
“Hello From Taiwan”, USA
“I Want To Be”, Thailand
“The Kestrels”, Hungary

Best Documentary Short:
“Rising Silenceleesa Gazi”, Bangladesh
“Wuqiao Circus”, China
”The Khe Sanh Peace Garden”, Vietnam
“Paerntal Guiidance Suggested”, USA
“Lockdown Are We Safe”, Bangladesh

Best Director:
Nancy Hamilton , “ Fire on the Ridge”, USA
Samuel Kiehoon Lee, Gyopo”, Canada
Xiao Dan He, “A Touch of Spring”, Canada
Like Father and Son”, China
Kevin Derek, “More Than Miyagi”, USA

Best Director Short Film:
Weisheng Yu, “Lust Day”, China
Tom Hand, “ The Shadow Boxer”, UK
Haruna Tanaka, “Lifelike”, Japan
Jay DO, “A La Carte”, Vietnam
Mackey Lai Loke Yee,” The Cloud is Still There”, Malaysia

Best First Director:
“Cacti And Weed”, Canada
Rayner Wang, “Circus Sam”, Japan
Leesa Gazi, “Rising Silence”, Bangladesh
Avdjin Kutakis , “Case 0013”, Russia
Dax Phelan, “Jasmine”, USA

Best Director Student:
Eris Zhao, “ Landing”, USA
Kelvin Zhu, “ Datura”, Canada
Beibei Xu, “Lotus”, USA
Wenqi NI, “ Daemon”, USA
Jiawei Cheng, “ Under The Flag”, USA

Best Script
“ Chusei (Allegiance) “, USA
“Sleep No More”, India
“ Whispers In The Wind”, Indonesia
“ Klaus; Witch Killer”, USA
“ Starpeople 2007”, USA

Best Cinematography:
“Apart”, China Hong Kong
“Sholler’s Archive”, Azerbaijan
“The Six”, China
“JASMINE”, USA
“MORE THAN MIYAGI”, USA

Best Student Short Film:
“The Speech”, USA
“The Shadow Boxer”, UK
“ Bathhouse Drummer”, China
“ In”, South Korea
“What We’re Owed”,Australia

Best Editing:
“Invisible Man In The Mist”, China
Knock And Rock ( Thatrom Thookrom )”, India
“Sky Bloossom Feature”, USA
“Alan”, Spain
“Sonata”, USA

Best Production Design,
”Torinaoshi”, Japan
“In My Dream”, Turkey
Barbora KučerÍKovÁ”, Czech
“ Apart”, China Hong Kong
“In”, South Korea

Best Music:
“Depth of Pyaar”, India
“Blind Mind”, India
“Feel India”, Moldova
“ Apait”, China Hong Kong

Best Actor:
Keigo Oka, “”Lifelike”, Japan
Ramesh Varma, “ The 137 Auditions Of Avrahaam”, India
Zhao Xuan, “A Touch of Spring”, Canada
Hui WangJun, “ Father And Son”, China
Jason Tobin, “JASMINE ”, USA

Best Actress:
Zicheng Li, “ A Sunburnt Summer”, USA
Nhi Do, “ Hope And Grace”, Canada
Sofiee NG, “ Apart”, China Hong Kong
Jessica Park, “Trust Me”, France
Sahra Asadollahe , “Homa And Sisters”, Iran

Best Child Actor:
Bai Zeze, “ Like Father And Son”, China
Sean Lee,”Like How I Remember”, Australia
Mukesh Asopa, “ Depth Of Pyaar”, Canada
June CÁCeres, “Serfs”, Venezuela
Ariful Islam , “Bringing Schools To Where There Are None!”, Italy

Best Child Actress:
Ireland Richards, “Landing”, USA
Hae-Sup Sin, “ Comrade Anna”, Switzerland
Olivia Tang, “ Sometimes Never”, USA
Moditha Dabare, “Catharsis”, Sri Lanka
Tiffany Frances, “Hello From Taiwan”, USA

STATEMENT BY U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR SCALIA ON THE SEPTEMBER JOBS REPORT

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued the following statement on the September 2020 Employment Situation Report:

“Today’s report shows 877,000 private-sector jobs added back in September, and an additional 145,000 jobs from July and August. However, the report reflects a seasonally-adjusted loss of 350,000 jobs in public and private education. Large gains were made in lower-wage jobs in retail and leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing added 66,000 jobs, its largest increase since June. ”

“More than half the jobs lost from the pandemic have now been restored, and the third quarter ended with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, half the15.8 percent third quarter unemployment rate projected by the Congressional Budget Office in May.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Releases Enhanced Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the adoption of a final rule modernizing the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system. Commerce also announced plans to unveil a new online platform for SIMA on Commerce’s website in October.

“These significant improvements to SIMA will enable Commerce and the public to more readily identify transshipment and circumvention involving steel imports,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This is one more way the Trump Administration is standing up for our workers and families across the country who depend on a strong American steel industry.”

The regulatory changes adopted by today’s final rule will: (1) require steel import license applicants to identify not only the country of origin, but also the country where steel used in the manufacture of the imported product was melted and poured, as defined in the final rule; (2) expand the scope of steel products subject to the import licensing requirement to include all products subject to Section 232 tariffs; (3) extend the SIMA system indefinitely; and (4) codify the existing low-value license requirement for certain steel entries up to $5,000. Commerce received public comments on these regulatory changes, as published in a March 2020 proposed rule.

The new online platform for SIMA to be released on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, represents the first major overhaul of the system since it was last updated in 2005. The updated SIMA will offer free, modern data analytic tools to the public for performing detailed, customized data analysis. These tools will aid in the identification of changing trade patterns and surges in U.S. imports of steel products, as well as potential circumvention and evasion.

Commerce will hold a series of webinars for users to become familiar with the updated SIMA system. The webinars will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For specific dates and times of the demonstrations, and for information about participating, please visit https://www.trade.gov/updates-steel-import-licensing.

The updates to SIMA are consistent with the May 17, 2019 joint understandings between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico, which provided that in monitoring for steel import surges, the United States may treat products made with steel that is melted and poured in North America separately from products that are not.

SIMA is administered by Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration, which is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws.