Ship being loaded at Port of Long BeachFederal Judge Rules on Longshoremen Dispute in Portland – District Court Judge Michael Simon held a court hearing on Thursday to consider the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) request to declare the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in contempt of court for disregarding a temporary restraining order (TRO). The TRO against the ILWU was issued on July 3 in response to intentional slowdowns at the Port of Portland. Judge Simon did not find the ILWU in contempt. Instead, he turned the temporary restraining order into a permanent injunction. The injunction bars the ILWU from causing intentional slowdowns until the NLRB concludes a separate process concerning labor contracts.

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House Approves Bills to Protect U.S. Ports – The U.S. House of Representatives has approved five homeland security bills that will help the Department of Homeland Security defend U.S. ports and implement improved aviation security policies. Out of the five bills passed, H.R. 4005 and H.R. 4251 are most directly related to increased security at U.S. ports.

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Slowdown in Brazil Continues – Last month Brazil customs officials announced plans for intermittent strikes and slowdowns until their demands for wage increases are met. Negotiations are taking longer than expected; therefore, customs officials have said that they would not clear any cargo except for medicines, food, and livestock from Monday through Thursday. The greatest impact of the slowdown is being felt at Brazil’s main port, Port of Santos.

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South Korea Pursues Bilateral Trade Treaty – Since the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) became effective in 2007, total trade between South Korea and Indonesia has increased significantly. As a result, the two countries believe that a further bilateral trade treaty could provide additional benefits. The first round of talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA) began in July and will cover goods, services, investment, rules of origin, and customs and trade facilitation.

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