Department of State Development
  • A US $484 billion stimulus aid was approved by the House of Representatives on 23 April. The additional funding is for small businesses, hospitals, and coronavirus testing.
  • On 16 April, President Trump announced guidelines for Opening up America Again, which outline three phases for states to gradually ease their lockdowns. All 50 states have begun implementing some form of the ‘Opening up America Again Plan’: Status of US states reopening plans
  • The National Social Distancing Executive Order expired on 30 April, with President Trump indicating he had no intention of extending the measures, which will be fading out, because now the governors are doing it’.
  • Texas Governor Gregg Abbott announced that state parks are open as of 20 April. In addition, retail can resume on 24 April but as a ‘to-go’ service.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has opened some of the state’s beaches and parks.
  • The US has various levels of lockdown which is not nationwide, but all 50 states now have reported cases. ‘Shelter-in-Place’ directives are implemented in various degrees at the state and local level.
  • The US Government granted importers a deferment of tariff payments, though deferment is not as wide-spread as the importers wanted. The Treasury Department and the US Customs and Border Protection announced temporary rule to allow importers to delay the payment of tariffs for 90 days on certain goods. This ruling does not apply to goods coming from China or steel and aluminium imports.
  • Personal travel restrictions do not apply to trade, but trade via air freight is significantly reduced due to the grounding of the majority of trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic passenger flights.
  • Airlines, such as American Airlines and United, propose to pursue freight only services. American Airlines has carried out such a service to Europe already, whilst United is looking to run 40 charter flights weekly, with the intention of adding more routes.
  • Whilst early chartered freight has been focused on critical supplies, some opportunities for the transport of perishables may become available.
  • At the US seaports, there are restrictions for non-passenger vessels that have travelled from or through China in last 14 days. They can operate in the US as long as there aren’t any sick crew members. US ports are expecting a 20% drop in cargo volume.
  • The global outbreak has caused disruptions in the US supply chain. There is a shortage of medical devices and surgical masks. Automotive and technology sectors are heavily reliant on the supply chain from China and are seeing a shortage of parts needed for production. 
  • In the food sector, products may be in short supply in coming months, such as specialty cheese and wine from Italy and France.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce reports long-term changes in consumer behaviour:
    • Consumers will shop more online, particularly grocery purchases.
    • Retailers will look to connect with customers and enhance their online experience.
  • As result of Americans staying at home during this period, consumer behaviour is moving from the traditional brick-and-mortar business to online consumption. The following sectors have seen increased online activity: Media (+46%); Supermarket (+42%); Retail Healthcare (comprising online pharmacies, vitamin, supplement: +24%); and Telecom (+24%).
  • BIO International 2020: Conference is scheduled to take place as a digital event from 8-12 June 2020.
  • In terms of economic stimulus, President Trump signed a stimulus bill valued at US$2.2 trillion. The bill includes distributing US$1,200 checks to millions of Americans and providing zero-interest loans to small businesses.
  • U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labour announced Payroll Tax Credits for small and midsize businesses for coronavirus-related leave for employees.
  • If a state is declared an economic disaster area, small businesses, small agricultural coops, and most private non-profit groups can apply for US Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

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