USMCA Signed at G20 Summit.

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As expected, the USMCA was signed by President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a replacement for the NAFTA agreement entered in 1994 between the 3 countries.

While the agreement was signed today, each of the legislatures from the three countries will still need to ratify the agreement before it takes effect.

A full text of the agreement can be viewed here.

If you have any questions how the USMCA may impact your business, call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US House of Representative Conservatives protest LGBT protections specified in the USMCA.

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According to the Politico, US House of Representative members Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Mark Meadows, and Rep. Diane Black along with 37 other conservative house members sent a letter today (Friday, November 16, 2018) to the Trump administration expressing their concerns of the LGBT protections in the USCMA agreement. The letter indicates that the LGBT protections may cause some of the signatories to the letter to not support the agreement.

In short, chapter 23 of the USMCA has requirements that workers be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. These LGBT protections were a priority for Canada and the Trudeau government.

The US, Canada and Mexico are expected to sign the USMCA at the G20 summit on November 30th in Argentina.

Democrats demand changes to USMCA.

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According to Bloomberg – several Democrat lawmakers demand changes be made to the USMCA before they will support the new agreement to replace NAFTA. These changes will likely need to be negotiated if approval can occur as Democrats have new clout after seizing control of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections earlier this month.

The new USMCA agreement was reached at the end of September and one part of the agreement strengthens independent unions but some Democrats say the method to enforce the rules is inadequate.

Other terms of the agreement require at least 40% of car production to come from factors paying a way of $16 per hour or higher while also allowing the US greater access to Canada’s dairy market.

Bloomberg cites that Democrats may not want to give Trump a deal leading into the 2020 elections while Trump could withdraw the US from NAFTA if the Democrats do not work with him. Check back for more details as they become available.

Feel free to contact David Hsu to see how the new USMCA may impact your business: (832) 896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Customs seizes undeclared currency hidden in traveler’s underwear.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s media release – CBP officers at Logan International Airport in Boston questioned two Indonesian nationals arriving on a flight from Doha, Qatar.

During a more thorough secondary inspection, CBP asked the travelers to declare any currency they were carrying. The travelers declared they had approximately $12,000. However, a search of the passengers revealed $4,900 sewn into the passenger’s underwear. CBP officers also found $20,000 in US currency and $2,000 in Canadian currency among their belongings – bringing the total seizure amount to $27,000.

This incident that occurred in early November is just a portion of the over $265,000 in undeclared currency seized daily by CBP.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs at the airport while leaving or entering the US, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 for immediate assistance.

After your currency has been seized, there are certain timelines and documents that need to be filed with Customs, don’t delay.

We represent travelers locally, nationwide and world wide and will work hard to get you your money back. Call or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com today!

ITC preliminary determination on aluminum wire and cable from China.

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According to Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., the International Trade Commission (ITC) preliminarily ruled that aluminum wire and cable from China receive government subsidies such as tax breaks, loans and grants. The lower cost of production to these goods from China are “dumped” to the US thereby hurting US manufacturers.

A preliminary determination is one step towards the implementation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Countervailing duties are to counteract any subsidies that may be given to foreign manufacturers.

Two US companies – Encore Wire and Southwire Co. petitioned the ITC to assess duties on goods for China because (1) the margins of wire and cable from China are up to 63.47 percent and (2) Chinese producers receive government subsidies, tax breaks, loans and grants. These two factors allow Chinese companies to have a competitive advantage against U.S. manufacturers.

According to the article, the US imported about 157.2 million worth of wire and cable from China in 2017 alone.

Besides the just passed preliminary stage, the next state is a “final determination” phase that determines whether the imported steel and

The U.S. will only impose anti-dumping or countervailing duties if Commerce makes a final determination that the imports were sold in the U.S. at less than fair value or unfairly subsidized, and the ITC makes a final determination that the imports seriously hurt or threaten U.S. industry.

Check back for more news as it becomes available. If you have any anti dumping or countervailing duty questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.

CBP seizes wall charges bearing counterfeit “UL” markings.

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By Underwriters Laboratories (Underwriters Laboratories) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A U. S. Customs and Border Protection media release today reported that CBP officers at the Port of New York/Newark seized wall chargers with counterfeit UL markings.

What is UL?
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is a worldwide safety consulting and certification company based in Illinois. UL will test products and issue a UL mark. The UL mark means that someone from UL has tested a representative sample of a product and such product meets defined requirements based on UL’s published and nationally recognized safety standards.

Back to the seized wall chargers –
The seizure occurred back in late September when CBP officers inspection a shipment of imported merchandise for possible Intellectual Property Rights violations. Import Specialists from the CBP’s Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (eCEE) determined that 150,000 wall chargers had counterfeit UL markings.

The total MSRP of the wall chargers, if genuine is estimated to be $2.7 million.

My thoughts?
Customs places liability for counterfeit goods on the Importer of Record. It is important for the IOR to verify with the shipper that goods do not contain any counterfeit markings and meet all other requirements before importation to the US. This is especially true since the IR bears all the risk and loss from seizures for IPR violations.

If you or anyone you know has a customs seizure or received a penalty for IPR violations, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Kuehne + Nagel report: global trade grew by 8.1% in October.

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According to freight forwarder and supply chain solution provider – Kuehne + Nagel, world trade in the first half of 2018 showed an increase in global trade by 8.1% over last year.

Also according to the report, emergency markets also saw a year over year increase while advanced economies saw a 1.4% decrease from 2017.

Latin America growth grew by 3.1% while Europe saw a decline from last year’s 5.7% figure.

South Korea, India, China, Canada and Australia’s foreign trade grew as the US, UK, France and Japan fell.

Full report and more information about Kuehne + Nagel can be found here.

Highlights from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the International Import Expo.

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As reported by CNN, Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the China International Import Expo in Shanghai with a speech on Monday.

Here’s a summary of the opening remarks and some observations made by CNN:

-The International Import Expo is to highlight China as a destination for foreign goods
-No senior US government officials attended the event
-President Xi Jinping said protectionism should not be a part of international trade
-Over 3,600 companies from over 150 countries participated
-President Xi and President Trump will meet later this month at the G20 summit in Argentina
-President Xi Jinping promised to open the Chinese economy further to international investment and protect foreign businesses already operating in China

If you have any questions regarding export compliance of goods sent to China, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

More invasive mitten crabs seized.

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Screen shot of seized mitten crabs – source: cbp.gov

For some reason, CBP likes to post their invasive mitten crab seizures. According to the CBP website – last Wednesday, October 31st, CBP officers found 108 Chinese mitten crabs in a package labeled as a dress.

Mitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and typically eaten.

The mitten crabs were seized and turned over to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The article does not say what happened to the mitten crabs.

If you have received a notice of seizure or penalty notice from Customs, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes 900 pounds of invasive mitten crabs.

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Screen grab of a Chinese mitten crab, source: CBP.gov website

In mid-October, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly 900 pounds of the invasive Chinese mitten crabs. For some reason CBP frequently publicizes their mitten crab seizures and this is the second they have posted about mitten crab seizures (there have been a total of 3 interceptions in Chicago in October).

The mitten crabs are considered a delicacy food, but cause damage to their non-native habits, with the mitten crabs even earning recognition as one of “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species”.

According to CBP, agriculture specialists seize more than 352 pests and 4,638 quarantine materials on any given day in Fiscal Year 2017.

If you have had a customs seizure or received a seizure notice, penalty or fine, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.