Is North Korean Labor used in your supply chains? Beware of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

curious isolated young woman looking away through metal bars of fence with hope at entrance of modern building
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com


Is North Korean Labor used in your supply chains? The answer should be no, and if you are not sure, then you need to be aware of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

In early December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorized the detention of merchandise from multiple China-based companies – Jingde Trading Ltd., Rixin Foods. Ltd., and Zhejiang Sunrise Garment Group Co. Ltd. at all U.S. ports.

This enforcement action is the result of a CBP investigation indicating that these companies use North Korean labor in their supply chains in violation of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The CAATSA prohibits any goods that are produced, or manufactured in whole or in part by North Korean nationals or North Korean citizens anywhere in the world – unless the importer or manufacturer can provide clear and convincing evidence the goods were not made by convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor.

To enforce the CAATSA – CBP can detain any merchandise suspected of violating CAATSA at all ports of entry into the US.

If you have received notice of a CAATSA violation – please note, you have 30 days to provide clear and convincing evidence forced labor was not used. If you have received a notice – contact David Hsu immediately by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com; DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

Any delay may result in seizure and or forfeiture of your goods. Also, if you are aware of any company or manufacturer importing goods made in violation of CAATSA, please also contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com; DH@GJATradeLaw.com. All communications are confidential and subject to attorney/client privilege.

Customs and Border Protection seizes $33,000 in currency from airport passenger.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a mid-November U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – a passenger headed from Dulles Airport to Egypt had over $33,000 in currency seized by CBP.

Prior to boarding the flight to Egypt, CBP officers asked the traveler the amount of currency in his possession while requiring the traveler to complete a U.S. Treasury Department form for reporting currency. At the time of questioning, the traveler told CBP and completed the form confirming he had $20,000. However, during a subsequent investigation of the passenger’s baggage, CBP officers discovered a total of $33,868. Officers seized the currency and released the traveler.

Not mentioned in the report is the traveler likely missed his flight as the baggage inspection process takes several hours and CBP will always stop passengers as the plane is boarding. Also not mentioned is whether the traveler received a small sum of money in return known as “humanitarian relief”. As it was not mentioned, I don’t believe CBP returned a portion of the seized funds to the traveler.

If you or someone you know has had their currency seized, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.om; dh@gjatradelaw.com.


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First-in-Nation “Leafhopper” Pest found.

a minute insect commonly known as a leafhopper
Leafhopper, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, agriculture specialists at the Calexico East port intercepted a “leafhopper” in late August. This small insect’s discovery is a “First-in-Nation” pest discovered in a shipment of celery and fresh peppers. While known as the “leafhopper”, the pest is actually identified as the Kunzeana versicolora (Cicadellidae). These insects are plant feeders that suck plant sap from grass, trees and shrubs.  The feeding by the Leafhoppers causes plants to develop pale specks and the leafhoppers also transmit plant pathogens that may result in plant disease.

As is usual with a first-in-nation pest, the truck and shipment of food was returned (re-exported) to Mexico as a precautionary measure.

If you or anyone you know has had their shipment delayed, seized, or received a notice to export due to an invasive pest, contact David Hsu immediately by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit Bob Marley and the Joker pictures seized.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Area Port of Norfolk-Newport News, Va., seized counterfeit 3-D holographic Bob Marley and Joker pictures on July 19, 2022, that were destined to Louisville, Kentucky. (CBP Photo/Handout)
Images of seized 3-D of Bob Marley and the Joker. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, CBP officers in Virginia seized counterfeit 3-D holographic pictures. The pictures contained images of Bob Marley and the Joker. The six Bob Marley photos and 80 Joker pictures arrived from China and were destined to an address in Kentucky.

CBP seized the shipment due to violations of trademarks for Bob Marley and the Joker. CBP’s Apparel, Footwear and Textiles CEE evaluated the shipment and the CEE trade experts seized the shipment for trademark violations.

Have you had your goods seized by CBP? Contact David Hsu 24/7 by phone/text: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US Dept. of the Treasury Releases 2021 CFIUS Annual Report.

At the beginning of August, the Department of the Treasury, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), released the public version of the CFIUS Annual Report to Congress for calendar year 2021.

The Annual Report provides statistics on transactions filed with CFIUS in 2021. As you are aware, CFIUS is tasked with reviewing foreign transactions and investments in the United States that may be harmful to national security.

According to the published report, highlights for 2021 include:

  1. CFIUS reviewed 164 declarations and 272 notices, a record number of covered transactions
  2. CFIUS cleared 60% of cases in the 30-day assessment period or within the initial 45-day review period for a notice.
  3. CFIUS provided comments on draft notices within 6 business days and accepted formal notices within 6 business days. A reduction from 9 days in 2020.

A copy of the report can be found here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/206/CFIUS-Public-AnnualReporttoCongressCY2021.pdf

If you or anyone you know has any CFIUS questions, or needs assistance with a CFIUS filing, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$30+ Billion in Trade Stuck at US Ports in mid-July.

intermodal container stacked on port
Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com

According to multiple sources, over $30+ billion dollars in trade are stuck at the port or stuck at sea due to port congestion in the United States. MarineTraffic estimates there are over 460,000 twenty-foot container equivalent units (TEU’s) on vessels waiting off the East Coast and 180,000 TEU’s off the West Coast. MDS Transmodal estimates the total value of the value of trade stuck on the water is over $30+ billion.

In addition to vessels stuck on the water, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach highlight congestion on land – with 33,484 rail containers waiting nine days or longer at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach combined.

Do you have an import, export, trade or compliance related problems, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP Seizes Counterfeit Beats Earphones.

Image of seized “Beats” earphones, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in New York seized a shipment of counterfeit Beats brand earphones. The July shipment was selected and examined by CBP. Officers found the earphones packed in zip lock bags and bearing a strong resemblance to Beats “Tour” earphones.

CBP suspected the earphones to be counterfeit due to the lack of labels, invoices, and packaging. As with all counterfeit goods, a sample was submitted to the Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise where it was determined the items were counterfeit and violated the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the Beats brand holder. If authentic, the seized shipment were worth a MSRP of $25,000.

Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia and Paraphernalia Seized by US Customs.

Counterfeit championship ring, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, in mid-July CBP officers in Indianapolis and Louisville seized 178 counterfeit championship rings and 171 counterfeit professional sports jerseys that, if genuine would have a combined MSRP of $288,350.

The seized items including a Championship rings featuring baseball teams such as the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and basketball teams such as the Boston Celtics and even collegiate teams from the University of Georgia.

The seized shipments all originated in China and were destined to various addresses in the US. CBP recognized the goods as counterfeit due to the poor quality of materials, poor printing and shipping the goods to residential addresses.

The remainder of the CBP media release highlighted the dangers of buying counterfeit goods and the belief counterfeit merchandise funds organized crime.

While I am sure counterfeit goods does fund organized crime, I believe the people who buy commercial quantities of counterfeit Championship rings are aware the rings are not authentic and purchase these for collecting, and not to re-sell as authentic.

If you or someone you know have had their goods seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact David Hsu at anytime by phone/text or email: attorney.dave@yahoo.com or 832-896-6288.

Counterfeit diabetic socks seized by CBP.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Virginia seized nearly 120,000 pairs of counterfeit socks frequently purchased by diabetic patients. The MSRP, if authentic, totals over $1.8 million. CBP verified whether the Hugh Ugoli branded cotton socks from Turkey contained the “Seal of Cotton” trademark. CBP officers verified the shipment with CBP’s Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Centers of Excellence and Expertise, for a final authenticity determination and an appraisal. CBP’s trade exports found the entire shipment was counterfeit for violating the “Seal of Cotton” trademark.

In general, products with the Seal of Cotton trademark, owned and licensed exclusively by Cotton Incorporated, are evaluated based on the cotton content in their product. Licensees of the “Seal of Cotton” must have all artwork and packaging bearing the “Seal of Cotton” trademark approved prior to manufacturing and distribution.

If you have had your shipment seized by CBP for violating the “Seal of Cotton” or other trademarks such as the iPhone, Android, USB, HDMI or any other trademark logo – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) signed into law.

assorted color cargo containers near body of water
Photo by Matthis on Pexels.com

In mid-June, President Biden signed a bipartisan bill to help US importers, exporters, freight forwarders, and other companies seeing high shipping costs and other problems since the start of the pandemic.

One highlight of the bill was to address the increasing demurrage and detention (D&D) charges which have skyrocketed in the past year. Common carriers under the new law, now have to certify that D&D charges comply with federal rules and regulations. The certification also requires common carrier invoices to include information (1) the applicable D&D rule on which the daily rate is based; (2) the applicable rate or rates per the applicable rule; (3) the total amount due; (4) the contact information for questions or requests for mitigation of fees; and (5) a statement that the common carrier’s performance did not cause or contribute to the underlying invoiced charges. The new bill requires this information, and if the common carrier does not provide the information in the invoice – then there is no obligation to pay the D&D charges.

Another highlight is the ability for individuals to submit complaints to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) about charges from a common carrier. The FMC is empowered to conduct a prompt investigation and the common carrier would have the burden of proof to establish reasonableness of any D&D charges.

In addition to addressing D&D charges, other parts of the OSRA require the FMC to: (1) define “unfair or unjust discriminatory methods”, (2) create a shipping exchange registry to provide certain services, such as mediation of contract disputes, (3) public disclosure and publication on the FMC website of false D&D invoices and quarterly reports, a (4) place for the public to submit complaints, concerns, reports of noncompliance, request for investigation, etc, and a (5) consumer affairs office to assist, mediate and facilitate challenges and disputes involving cargo shipments.

If you have any questions how the OSRA, and or would like to update your compliance program to address the new OSRA requirements – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.