Importing Kratom? If yes, read this post.

Kratom Leaves

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) leaves, photo by Manuel Jebauer on Wikipedia

What is Kratom
Kratom is a plant found in Thailand and Malaysia and grown naturally. In the US, Kratom is typically sold in smoke shops as a powder that is used in tea to slow the effects of opioid withdrawal. Kratom is also believed to relieve fatigue, pain, cough and diarrhea. Kratom is sometimes used recreationally for its euphoric effects.

What is the problem with Kratom?
In November of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited 36 deaths from consumers who used Kratom to ease their opioid withdraw symptoms. Additionally the FDA said consumption of Kratom also causes risks for abuse, addiction and in some instances death as opiods. As of February 18, 2017, the current Kratom related death count is 44 according to FDA spokesperson Lyndsay Meyer.

Is Kratom safe?
Previous studies of Kratom performed in Asia do not link Kratom in its pure form to  any deaths. It is believed the lack of quality control in the US can lead to the dangerous alterations of Kratom or addition of other drugs.

What about importing Kratom?
Back in November 2017, the FDA issued import alerts to stop the shipments of Kratom from entering the US. After the announcement, hundreds of shipments have already been detained and seized. Even with the import alert, it is estimated that there may be around 340 million packages of Kratom reaching the US each year.

See my most recent Kratom post here:

FDA issues new warning on Kratom – May 22, 2018.

If you have had shipments of Kratom seized by Customs and Border Protection, call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Renegotiated KORUS FTA results in changes more favorable to US companies.

pexels-photo-373290.jpeg

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative website, the Trump administration has negotiated additional favorable terms of the United States – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that went into effect in 2012.

Fulfilling part of his campaign promises, President Trump has re-negotiated the KORUS with these (and many more) favorable changes to US companies:

1. Korea will double the number of US automobile exports to 50,000 cars per manufacturer per year.

2. US automobile exports to Korea that meet US safety standards can enter the Korean market without further modification. This lowers the cost of US cars being sold in Korea as additional testing and modifications are not needed before the US cars are sold in the marketplace.

3. Korea will recognize US standards for auto parts to service US vehicles in Korea, this reduces the labeling burden for US parts manufacturers.

4. Korea will amend their Premium Pricing Policy for Global Innovative Drugs to ensure non-discriminatory and fair treatment for US pharamceutical exports.

5. Korea imports of steel products into the US will be subject to a product-specific quota equal to 70% for the average annual import volume of such products during the years 2015-2017, resulting in reduction of Korean steel shipments to the US.

If you have any questions regarding the KORUS or other trade and customs law issues, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

South Korea allows for increases on US auto imports in exchange for U.S. Steel tariff exemption.

pexels-photo-70912.jpeg

According to Reuters, the US and South Korea agreed on Monday (March 27th, 2018) to revise the KORUS bilateral free trade deal. As part of the deal, South Korea would improve access to U.S. automakers and in exchange the US would exempt Korean steel from the new Section 232 duty rates.

President Trump has always claimed the current KORUS agreement was “horrible” and lead to a doubling of the U.S. goods trade deficit with South Korea since 2012. While the terms have not yet been announced, the agreement likely makes South Korea is the first US ally to receive an indefinite exemption but still subject to quotas.

In addition to South Korea, Trump has temporarily excluded other major US trading partners Canada, Mexico, Australia and the European Union from higher U.S. import duties on steel and aluminium.

Check back for the latest news and as always, please contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com for all your trade and international law questions.

China imposes new tariffs on imports from the United States.

pexels-photo.jpg

In response to the U.S. Section 232 tariff measures imposed on steel and aluminum products, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced their intention to impose tariffs on certain products from imported from the United States.

According to an English press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce (full text here), China intends to impose tariffs on 128 products that cover a wide range of items, from food and alcohol to oil and gas pipes.

The tariffs vary from 15% to 25% and a notice of tariffs is available here online for public comment.

A quick look at the list shows these items are subject to the increased tariffs: citrus fruits,
watermelons, dried apples, steel drilled oil and gas drilling pipes with an outside diameter less than 168 mm, cold rolled alloy steel seamless circular cross-section tubes
other fresh or cold pork, frozen pork liver, aluminum scrap, modified ethanol, and American ginseng.

For more information or if you would like to know whether your exported product will be subject to these new duties, contact experienced and bi-lingual English/Chinese Mandarin speaking attorney David Hsu now at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

pexels-photo.jpg

Just in time for Easter – CBP reminds travelers of their Holiday Easter Egg regulations.

pexels-photo-356330.jpeg

With Easter Sunday this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded travelers that Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are limited to 12 per passenger. The shells may be decorated, etched, or painted, but they must be clean, dry and free of any egg residue.

Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in an effort to reduce the spread of  Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells. HPAI is a contagious diseases fatal to bird species and effects their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. The virus infects chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons, and ostriches.

As Mexico is affected with Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), fresh eggs, raw chicken and live birds or poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry to the US.

If you or anyone you know has any customs or trade law issues, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Section 232 – Duties do not apply to goods coming from these countries until May 1, 2018.

pexels-photo-113885.jpeg

Until May 1, 2018, the Section 232 duties do not apply to goods coming from:

• Argentina;

• Australia;

• Brazil;

• Canada;

• Mexico;

• the member countries of the European Union; and

• South Korea.

After that time, the President will review whether to continue exempting these countries from the order.

Furthermore, the most recent customs message also says that admissions into FTZs can only be made with a privileged foreign status, which closes the previous FTZ loophole.

Any Section 232 questions? Call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Cargo Systems Messaging Service – Additional Duties on Imports of Steel and Aluminum under Section 232 – March 22, 2018.

pexels-photo-415945.jpeg

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released Cargo Systems Messaging Service Number 18-000240 with additional information regarding the imports of steel and aluminum under Section 232.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CSMS #18-000240

Title:
Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 Date: 3/22/2018 11:39:25 PM To: Automated Broker Interface, ACE Portal Accounts, ACE Reports, Air Manifest, New ACE Programming, Ocean Manifest, Partner Government Agencies, Rail Manifest, Trade Policy Updates, Truck Manifest  Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962

BACKGROUND:
On March 8, 2018, the President issued Proclamations 9704 and 9705 on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), providing for additional import duties for steel mill and aluminum articles, effective March 23, 2018.  See the Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018.  On March 22, 2018, the President issued Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

These duty requirements are effective with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

COMMODITY:
Steel mill and aluminum articles, as specified in the Presidential Proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018:  All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and  member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

As of May 1, 2018:  All countries of origin.

Please note this is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:
Steel Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapters 72 & 73 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty:9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products) Aluminum Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapter 76 of the HTS classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

Importers and filers failing to submit the required Chapter 99 HTS classifications with the entry summary information for imports under the specified Chapter 72, 73, and 76

HTS classifications for the covered countries of origin will receive the following reject messages:

E1 IQ10    LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09   QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05   BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note:  Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

Importers or filers receiving one of the reject messages above, who have researched their classification and dates to confirm the entry summaries were incorrectly rejected, should contact their assigned Client Representative with the results of their review.

Additional Information
Any steel or aluminum article subject to the Section 232 duties that is admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, must be admitted as “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, and will be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under the applicable HTSUS subheading.

Any steel or aluminum article that was admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones under “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, will likewise be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under applicable HTSUS subheadings imposed by the Proclamations.

The merchandise covered by the additional duties may also be subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.

CBP will issue additional guidance on entry requirements for any products excluded from these measures, as soon as information is available.  CBP will also issue updated guidance if there are any changes to these measures, including any changes to exempted countries and any new requirements, such as quota requirements.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:For more information, please refer to the Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018; and the March 22, 2018 Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

Questions related to Section 232 entry filing requirements should be emailed to adcvdissues-hq@cbp.dhs.gov.

Questions from the importing community concerning ACE rejections should be referred to their Client Representative.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seize Over 6 Million Counterfeit Cigarettes.

pexels-photo-57528.jpeg

In mid March of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commercial fraud agents seized six million counterfeit cigarettes during a warehouse inspection.

The estimated retail price is $1.1 million. CBP import specialists with the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Miami reviewed 600 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes and found multiple trade name protection and trafficking counterfeit goods violations.

CBP cites many dangers to these counterfeit cigarettes – first criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods and second, counterfeit cigarettes pose a greater public health risk. CBP also indicates that trademark owners are also hurt and the government also is deprived of tax revenue.

If you or someone you know has had counterfeit cigarettes or any other goods seized by Customs for suspected IP violations or trademark violations – contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu. Customs holds importers liable for both civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Call 832-896-6288 or e-mail dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

Trump Announces Tariffs on at Least $50 billion in Chinese Goods.

pexels-photo-753331.jpeg

On March 22nd, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum instructing the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare a list of goods imported from China that will be subject to tariffs.

The tariffs are in response to China’s policies of forced technology transfers, forced joint ventures, intellectual property theft and technology licensing restrictions for U.S. companies doing business in China.

Check back here for the list when it is published. It is is estimated the list will include approximately 1,300 tariff lines and the public will have 30 days to submit comments.

If you have any questions how this may affect your imports, call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Section 232 Exclusion Requests.

 

pexels-photo-210158.jpeg

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has released the rules and procedures to apply for a Section 232 exclusion request for imports of steel or aluminum. Additionally, the BIS also released guidelines to object to any exclusion requests.

Contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com to get started today on the exclusion request process.