The opinions expressed are those of David Hsu and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its partners, or its clients. The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice on any subject. No recipient of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act on the basis of any content in this site without seeking the appropriate legal or professional advice based on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark detained a shipment of products and accessories made with human hair today from Xinjiang, China.
The shipment was seized because of a pending “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) on hair products made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. The WRO came into effect on June 17th, in which Customs instructs each port to detain all products from certain manufacturers (in this case Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.). The 13 tons of seized products were worth over $800k dollars. WRO’s are typically issued if Customs reasonably believes goods are manufactured using prison labor, forced labor, made under use of excessive overtime, withholding of wages and or the restriction of movement. CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.t. Prior to a WRO being issued, CBP will give the importer the burden of proof to show the merchandise is not manufactured using forced labor or any of the other issues previously written above.
If you are subject to a WRO, or if you are under audit for a potential WRO action – contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu immediately by mobile phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Detroit seized more than a half ton of “salmonella-laced Kratom” at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.
Author’s comment: the original headline was “CBP Seizes Half Ton of Salmonella-Laced Kratom“. Not sure why they used the word “laced” in the headline as lacing something is typically used to mean adding an ingredient to bulk up a drug. I am unsure how a kratom exporter can “lace” kratom with salmonella on purpose or if there would be a benefit to doing so. Additionally, the use of the word “lace” to describe kratom may also be an effort to associate kratom as dangerous as other illegal drugs that are frequently laced such as crack, heroin, PCP, etc.
The media release reports 1,200 pounds of contaminated powder (valued according to CBP at $405,000) was selected for further inspection due to an unusual description and classification discrepancies.
CBP said the kratom “which originated from China, were manifested as botanical soils from Canada, though Officers and specialists believed it to be consistent in appearance to bulk green tea”.
Author’s comment: this is the first time I have heard of kratom from China, maybe it was transhipped from Indonesia? CBP did not indicate the “classification discrepancy” or point out what HTSUS code was used to enter the kratom.
CBP took a sample of the power and sent it to the Food and Drug Administration for lab tests – which confirmed the shipment was kratom but also saw it was contaminated with salmonella. As a result, CBP seized the shipment “due to significant risk to public health and safety”.
Author’s comment: CBP does not specify the import alert on kratom as the basis for seizure. I have not seen the seizure notice (it will only be sent to the importer of record), but it was likely seized for not being described as kratom on the shipping documents.
In the last paragraph of the CBP media release, they write:
Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. Kratom is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the Drug Enforcement Administration currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.
It is interesting they do not mention the 2016 import alert regarding kratom. If you have had your shipment of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) seized by CBP, contact David Hsu, 24/7 by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.
The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.
CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.
According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a shipment from China containing over 10,000 assault weapons parts being smuggled into the country. The shipment from Shenzhen, China was to be sent to a home in Florida and valued at approximately $129,600.
According to the media release, the packing list listed the items as “100 Steel Pin Samples”. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and importers of any firearms, ammunition or parts must be a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Houston seaport seized over 2,000 solar panels from Turkey violating intellectual property rights. If authentic, the value of the solar panels would total over $658,125.
This is the fourth importation of counterfeit solar panels – with counterfeit panels entering Houston as early as February. CBP later verified with the trademark owner that confirmed the panels were counterfeit.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Branch detained (and subsequently seized) a package from China manifested as containing contents as industrial masks on May 30.
The shipment contained in 24 boxes with each box containing 10 3M brand, 8822 Plus Masks. CBP suspected the masks as counterfeit due to low value, poor quality and poor packaging.
After CBP detained the masks, samples were sent to 3M where the shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality. A subsequent 3M authenticator (didn’t know they had those) confirmed the masks were counterfeit – if real, the masks would have an MSRP of $813.
Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we will likely see more importations of counterfeit PPE, medicine and thermometers.
To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.
According to The Detroit News, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled last week that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd’s US-built “Roxor” off-road vehicle is a copy of the Jeep Wrangler SUV. As a result of this finding, the ITC ruling prohibits Mahinda from importing vehicles and components that copy the appearance of the Jeep. The Roxor was built from 2018 to 2019.
While the Roxor is built in Auburn Hills, some components such as the engine and some body panels are built in India and assembled in the United States. The next step for Mahinda is further review in which the current administration has 60 days to veto the decision on public policy grounds or Mahindra can appeal to federal circuit court.
The case was originally brought to the ITC by Fiat Chrysler America who claimed Roxor’s boxy shape, vertical sides and rear body and hood all shared similarities with FCA’s Jeep.
Fiat Chrysler is facing growing competition in the off-road sector that for decades it has dominated. In addition to the Roxor, the return of Ford Motor Co.’s Bronco and its smaller version is forthcoming. The Bronco is set to make its first appearance next month, and this week, Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer, said during an auto industry conference held by Deutsche Bank that it would be a “much superior product” to Jeep.
Interesting fact I did not know – Jeep and Mahindra used to work together since 1940’s to build Jeeps for the Willy Overland Export Company.
Jeep and Mahindra had worked together starting in the 1940s when the Mumbai-based automaker began assembling Jeeps at its Kandivali plant under contract with Willy Overland Export Corp. Mahindra had defended itself that such past agreements dating to as late as 2009 gave them the right to build and sell the Roxor. Mahindra has also placed a bid proposal to build the next U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail delivery vehicle, so we will likely hear more about them in the future.
According to the Voice of America quoting a British political insider – the British government will quit plans to use Huawei technology in its 5G network, with an announcement coming soon. The announcement will also discuss the gradual removal of the current Huawei technology in place. Part of the decision is due to the COVID-19 crisis and public disillusionment with Beijing along with strong opposition to Huawei from senior members.
The VOA article stated initial public support for Huawei changed due to China’s handling of the coronavirus and the situation over Hong Kong. Lastly, the article mentions Britain’s Prime Minister Johnson’s fight against COVID-19 also likely resulted in a tougher view towards China.
In response, Huawei launched an advertising campaign reminding the British public of their 20 year involvement in the UK and their “commitment to helping bring fast reliable mobile and full fiber broadband networks to every part [of] the country.”
The United States will likely welcome the news as they have been lobbying the UK government and according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “The United States stands with our allies and partners” and “stands ready to assist our friends in the U.K. with any needs they have, from building secure and reliable nuclear power plants to developing trusted 5G solutions that protect their citizens’ privacy,” Pompeo said.
It will be interesting to see whether Nokia or Ericcson are picked to replace Huawei in England. Will post more as news becomes available.
CBP officers in Birmmingham seized 500 unregistered non-contact and infrared thermometers with country of origin as Malaysia or China. If genuine articles, the value of the shipment would have totaled $21,400.
The thermometers did contain the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) markings on the packaging and the devices, but the shipment was still seized as the shipping company was not registered with the FDA when the thermometers were imported. The registration of the shipping company is required as part of the pre-market notification process under section 510(k) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
According to CBP, so far this year they have seized 107,000 illegal COVID-19 test kits, 11,000 doses of chloroquine and more than 750,000 counterfeit masks. Given the current increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, CBP will likely be seizing more thermometers, face masks and chloroquine in the near future.
As if 2020 has not had enough bad news – it appears South Korea and Japan are heading towards a trade war stemming from events that happened in WW2. The tense relations between the two nations results from a wartime labor compensation issue stemming from Japan’s forced labor during their colonial occupation of Korea and a focus on Japan’s use of “comfort women” during WW2.
In 2018, a court in South Korea seized assets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited and Japan’s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation in order to compensate forced laborers and comfort women during Japanese colonial rule of Korea from 1910-1945. While we think assets include something tangible, in this instance the assets were stock shares from a joint venture between a Japanese and Korean company with a value of approximately $800,000.
In response to the court decision that would seize the assets, Japan made it more difficult for South Korea to import chemicals needed for semiconductor manufacturing. In response, South Korea took Japan off their “white list” nation of countries with favorable trade terms while South Korean citizens also started a boycott of Japanese goods.
A dispute likely won’t be coming to a resolution soon – South Korea claims Japan has never apologized and refuses to compensate the victims where as Japan claims South Koreans were compensated in 1965.
The next deadline is August 4th, when the South Korean court considers the Japanese parties have been served with the notice of damages paperwork and the liquidation process can begin.