FedEx Express is making the following changes to our Dangerous Goods (DG) shipping policy. This independent initiative anticipates prospective regulatory changes in response to growing concerns about the safe handling of bulk or standalone shipments of lithium batteries.
As of January 1st, 2017 FedEx Express customers sending bulk shipments of lithium batteries (United Nations (UN) number 3090 & United Nations (UN) number 3480) can only do so by treating all such shipments as fully regulated Dangerous Goods (DG) commodities.
This initiative also helps us increase the visibility of lithium battery types throughout our network and ensure the integrity of such DG shipments until their final destinations.
How does this initiative change bulk lithium battery shipments?
With effect from January 1st, 2017, FedEx Express customers shipping UN 3090 & UN 3480 shipments must carry out the following steps:
In addition, although this new rule does not apply to individual lithium batteries packed with or contained in equipment (UN3091 and UN3481 as defined in Section II), you will need to follow the same instructions as explained above regarding the inclusion of the Lithium Battery Mark or the Lithium Battery Label.
- Add a Class 9 Lithium Battery Label and Cargo Aircraft Only label to each shipment
- Review all lithium battery shipment packing to ensure it meets IATA packing instructions UN 3480 – PI965 & UN 3090 – PI968.Note that a Dangerous Goods handling surcharge might apply to shipments containing such lithium batteries.
Where can you find more information?
May is World Trade month and normally a time when we highlight the benefits of trade to the American economy. The fact is the US economy benefits enormously from trade. If you are following the political campaign you will know there has been a lot of debate about trade and its impacts on our economy.
From an economic standpoint virtually all economists agree (one of the rare areas of agreement) that trade stimulates economic growth and raises incomes across an economy. But they also acknowledge not everyone benefits and there are real costs associated with job and career transitions in some affected industries. But most believe that those costs are small compared to the long-term benefits to the economy.
Economists point out the impact of trade is really about the re-distribution of jobs throughout an economy – with more jobs being created in the sectors that the US excels in – and there are many of those – and fewer jobs in sectors where other countries are more competitive. This adjustment, over time, makes the US economy stronger, more productive and more competitive globally.
A recent study looked at potential workplace adjustments in the labor force related to TPP and found under the most realistic scenario the number of jobs affected would be a tiny fraction of the normal job transitions in the US economy. Under this same scenario TPP’s benefits will outweigh its costs by over 17:1 during the ten year period of adjustment. After the adjustment period, the benefit-cost ratio rises to over 356:1, according Robert Lawrence, the study’s author.
The fact that trade creates adjustments in the workforce is not a flaw – that is what is supposed to happen. If there is a flaw, and many economists believe there is, it is that the US labor market is too rigid – it is not easy to change jobs and to get re-trained to take advantage of the new opportunities produced by the global economy.
Labor market rigidity does two things: 1) it prolongs the pain for those transitioning jobs or careers, especially those in the second half of their working lives; and 2) it limits the economic benefits of our trade policy because the reallocation of jobs towards the more competitive sectors does not happen as fully or as quickly as it should.
Making the US job market more fluid and flexible – and better able to adjust to inevitable evolution of the global economy should be one of our top economic priorities. What would be helpful is a comprehensive and balanced review of US labor and tax laws, as well as our education system, to come up with a modern and effective set of measures to help workers transition and get the training and education they need to take on the new jobs that our economy is producing. There are millions of jobs that go unfilled today because we don’t have people with the right skills.
These kinds of initiatives would help the U.S. better realize the gains from trade and increase the public support for trade. This is actually how trade is supposed to work – some small portion of the benefits is used to help those most affected.
There can be no doubt that protectionism is the wrong solution. Raising tariffs hurts the economy, especially the middle class, by raising prices, reducing choice and limiting competition. The fact is the U.S. economy became the strongest, most innovative and most competitive economy in the world because we embraced trade and rejected protectionism. That’s a platform for success that we should all embrace.
If you haven’t heard much about the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015, you’re not alone. The bill was just passed by Congress, and while it didn’t get a lot of attention outside of Washington, the positive changes it brings are significant. The law will modernize and speed up the customs clearance process in the United States. We know how important efficient customs clearance is to our customers, so FedEx and others worked hard to help get this bill through Congress.
One of the biggest changes that everyone will benefit from is the increase in the de minimis level from $200 to $800. This means you can be anywhere in the United States and purchase items up to $800 from anywhere in the world duty-free.
Before this bill, tourists returning from international trips could carry back up to $800 of merchandise duty free. But if they shipped those exact same goods, only the first $200 was duty free. This bill fixes this anomaly. This amounts to a huge tax cut for the millions of Americans who shop online for products from Paris to Peru. Having the new duty-free threshold at $800, along with a simplified return process, will now make cross-border ecommerce cheaper, faster and more predictable.
This is just one part of a larger bill that simplifies the import process, which is good for American competitiveness. With today’s global supply chains, finished goods are seldom completely made in one country – they have parts and value added from many different global markets. Research has shown when a country improves its processing of imports, the biggest improvement is often in its own exports! So, you can see that in order to compete globally as a manufacturer, U.S. companies need rapid and reliable access to parts sourced around the world – and these new rules streamline that process.
Just to highlight two examples – the new bill advances the ACE (Automated Cargo Environment) program which moves the United States further towards a fully automated clearance procedure, and also supports the new Single Window clearance system, where importers can file only one set of import documents to receive clearance from multiple U.S agencies. These two changes will help bring customs clearance into the digital age and will have enormous benefits for everyone involved in international trade, especially small businesses.
In addition to facilitating trade, the bill also strengthens U.S. enforcement tools. The new rules include increased information sharing between customs and the owners of copyrighted and trademarked goods, and increased training of customs personnel to detect and stop intellectual property violations. It also strengthens mechanisms to prevent customs fraud and improve measures to ensure consumer safety for imported goods.
What’s clear is the new rules will go a long way in helping our customers take advantage of the enormous opportunities the global economy presents. By doing so, they’ll also help make the U.S. the most competitive economy in the world. For me, that’s a delivery worth celebrating.