Serbia and Turkey sign new free trade agreement.

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According to a B92.net news article, Serbia and Turkey signed a new free trade agreement. The signing took place on January 30th and will allow Serbia duty-free exports to Turkey of beef, raw and refined sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and some milling products.

In addition to duty free exports, quotas for certain types of frozen fruit exports to Turkey will also be doubled.

Pennsylvania-based hat company settles with FTC regarding deceptive “Made in USA” claims.

American Made Matters

Screenshot of their “American Made Matters” logo from their website: http://www.americanmadematters.com

 

According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) press release on January 23, 2018, Pennsylvania-based Bollman Hat Company (wholly-owned subsidiary of SaveAnAmericanJob, LLC) settled with the FTC regarding the use of their “American Made Matters” certification and marketing materials.

The FTC complaint initially claimed the Bollman Hat Company deceived consumers with “Made in USA” claims for their hats and other products. In addition to the “Made in USA” claims, the hats were marketed with other taglines such as “American Matters,” “Choose American,” and “Made in USA since 1868.”

However, the FTC found that 70 percent or more of their hat styles are imported as finished products. The complaint alleged the remaining styles contained significant amounts of imported content. Claiming “Made in USA” is a high standard that is not met by most manufacturers. In order to avoid FTC issues, some manufacturers qualify their “Made in USA” claims with additional language such as – “Made in USA from domestic and foreign components” or “Assembled in the USA”.

Also according to the FTC complaint, the Bollman Hat Company used an “American Made Matters” seal on their products, and also licensed that “American Made Matters” seal to any company that claimed they had a US based manufacturing factory. The Bollman Hat Company also charged a $99 per year licensing fee and also required manufacturers to certify that at least 50% of the cost of their products was incurred in the US with final assembly or substantial transformation in the US.

As part of their settlement with the FTC, Bollman and subsidiaries are no longer able to make US origin claims for their products unless they can show final assembly or processing takes place in the US. Under the FTC order, any qualified Made in USA claims must include a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients, and/or processing.

For the past year, the FTC has increased prosecution of deceptive “Made in USA” claims as the Bollman case is the third case in the past year.

There will be a public comment period through February 23, 2018 before the FTC order becomes final.

If you have any questions regarding whether your manufactured good is “Made in USA” , deceptive claims, any other “Made in the USA” issue; or wish to file comments with the FTC, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Consultations are free and all calls and emails are confidential.

CBP agriculture specialists intercept pest found in used vehicles from Germany.

Agriculture

Photo of the moth from the CBP media release.

The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists in Florida found a potentially destructive pest while inspecting a shipment of used vehicles from Germany.

This is the first time CBP has intercepted this pest in the United States. The pest found was the Tortricidae moth, also commonly known as the tortrix moth or leafroller moth.

CBP considers the Tortricidae moth to be a serious pest because the moth often feeds on fruits of apple and peach crops.

This interception was just one of the tens of thousands of actional pests seized by CBP agriculture specialists.

If Customs has seized any of your imports or you received a letter from any of the US agencies regarding seized property, call David Hsu, we work hard to get you your items back, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

Baltimore CBP and the CPSC Seize Children’s “Activity Cubes” due to Potential Choking Hazard.

ToyScreengrab

Above photo is a screengrab from the Customs website showing the seized children’s mini activity cubes.

As the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) functions as the USA’s border security agency – CBP enforces hundreds of laws from different agencies. For example, CBP may seize imported automotive parts that violate Department of Transportation regulations or CBP may seize counterfeit and tainted foods products that violate Food and Drug Administration rules.

On January 15th, CBP officers in Baltimore examined a shipment of toys valued at $5,600 from Hong Kong and submitted samples of the toys to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). CBP officers initially sent this sample to the CPSC because the toys appeared to contain potential choking hazards.

CPSC subsequently tested the activity cubes and determined the toys violated the small parts requirement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act [15 USC §1263]. A copy of the FHSA can be found at this link: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/fhsa.pdf

Unfortunately for this importer, they won’t be able to get their goods and may face further penalties from Customs. If you have had your imports seized by Customs due to DOT, CPSC, FDA or any of the other alphabet soup of government agency regulations, please call David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, free consultations.

Dulles CBP seizes over $143k in currency from travelers to and from Ghana.

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According to a January 18, 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $143,968.00 in unreported currency. The seizure occurred at Washington Dulles International Airport and reflected the combined total of currency seized during three separate incidents from travelers departing and arriving from Ghana.

On Sunday, a man arriving from Ghana reported possessing $10,000 in currency. Upon subsequent inspection CBP found an additional $10,000 wrapped in a t-shirt in the man’s carryon baggage.

Also on Sunday, CBP seized over $100,000 in cash from a man heading to Ghana who initially claimed to carry $2,000. Subsequent search by CBP found $10,000 each in 10 bank envelopes in the man’s carryon backpack.

The day before, CBP seized over $23,000 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted CBP officers to the traveler’s carryon baggage.

On Saturday, CBP officers seized $23,826 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted to his carry-on bag. The man initially reported that he possessed $5,000. A baggage exam revealed $23,826 in a suit jacket and camera bag.

Unfortunately for these travelers, CBP seized the entire funds, and only providing about $1,000 to each traveler as a “humanitarian monetary release”.

If you have had a currency seizure at Dulles, IAH, LAX or any other port of entry to the US, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com at anytime for a free consultation. We work hard to get your money back.

Boston CBP Officers find $10k in cash sewn into arriving passenger’s pants.

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According to a CBP Public Affairs media release – on January 18, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Logan International Airport seized more than $29,000 in undeclared currency from a traveler arriving on a flight from Israel.

The traveler (a U.S. Citizen), initially told CBP he was carrying $7,000 for him and an additional $7,000 for a friend. A subsequent baggage examination resulted in a finding of about $18,000 total. Upon even further inspection (which will always happen), CBP found an additional $10,000 sewn into the pockets of the pants belonging to the traveler.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much cash and other forms of currency into and out of the United States as long as all amounts greater than $10,000 are reported on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form (FinCen 105 form).

Unfortunately for this traveler, how the money was concealed and the subsequent seizure means he will have to petition CBP to get back his money.

If you or anyone you know has had currency seized at an airport, seaport, or any other port of entry by CBP, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance. Certain time limitations apply so call 832.896.6288 for a free consultation and to start getting your money back.

 

Change in Penalties for Wood Packaging Material (WPM) Violations.

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Under previous U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidelines, importers could have five (5) wood packaging material violations in one year before being penalized. Unfortunately, according to a Frequently Asked Questions page on the CBP website found here, as of November 1, 2017, any importer, carrier, or bonded custodian can now be liable for a penalty in the first instance of a wood packaging material violation.

If you are an importer, carrier, bonded custodian or any other responsible person who received an Emergency Action Notification (EAN), give our office a call first. We can discuss ways to mitigate the penalty and other methods to protect you. Call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free and private consultation.

Baltimore CBP Seizes $1 Million in Counterfeit Stainless Steel Sinks.

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On Wednesday, January 17th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Baltimore seized over 2,900 stainless sinks for displaying a counterfeit UPC shield design on the 17th.

CBP initially detained the shipment for anti-dumping and countervailing duties enforcement and during their examination found the UPC shield logo. In addition to looking for shipments subject to ADD/CVD duties, CBP also enforces the intellectual property rights of trademark holders, among others.

CBP and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) specialists sent the UPC shield logo to the registered trademark holder, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the registered trademark holder, who determined the use of the logo to be unauthorized.

As the marks were unauthorized, CBP seized the entire shipment for containing markings without trademark holder’s authorization (19 CFR 133.21).

The full release can be found here: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/baltimore-cbp-seizes-1m-counterfeit-stainless-steel-sinks

If you or anyone you know has had any property seized by customs for suspected intellectual property rights violations, please contact your trade and customs law attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP Government [NOT] Shutdown Notice.

According to the CBP website:


* Update as of January 22, 2018 **

Government is Open and will resume normal operational hours.

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As posted on the CBP website, the Government shutdown has closed the CBP Information Center and CBP Global Entry Enrollment Centers. From the website:

Due to a lapse in appropriations the CBP Information Center is closed until further notice.

Also, CBP Global Entry Enrollment Centers are closed. It will be necassary [sic] for you to reschedule your interview after U.S. government operations resume.

Click here for the original source:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1207/~/%2A%2A-government-is-shutdown-breaking-news-from-the-cbp-information-center-%2A%2A