US trade war impacts US/China military relations.

paper boats on solid surface

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

In the past, the US Navy frequently made port calls to Qingdao, Hong Kong and Shanghai. However, the current trade war and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong (which China accuses the US of inciting) have increased tensions enough for the Chinese government to deny an American warship permission to visit a port in Qingdao. Besides Qingdao, permission was also denied to for a port call to Hong Kong. China most likely denied the port call to Hong Kong as it may have been supportive of the protesters.

Other reasons for the current denials could be a response to the trade war and the recent $8 billion dollars sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

Japan downgrades South Korea’s trade status.

black and white mountain over yellow white and blue sky

Photo by Pixabay on

This past Wednesday, Japan downgraded South Korea’s preferential trade status – requiring Japanese manufacturers to now apply for approval for technology-related goods to be exported to South Korea. Japan claims the trade status of South Korea was needed over concerns the technology could be used for military purposes. Prior to Wednesday, exports to South Korea required less compliance as a preferential trade partner. South Korea also announced their action to downgrade Japan’s trade status to take effect later this month (September).

As previously posted on this blog, South Korea accuses Japan using trade as retaliation in responses to court decision granting compensation to individuals who were victims of forced labor during Japan’s occupation of Korea. The AP reports leadership from both countries are working on an agreement.

Citizens from both countries have also joined in street protests and boycotting goods from either country.

USTR to open comment period on List 4.

birds eye view photo of freight containers

Photo by Tom Fisk on

This past Thursday, the US Trade Representative (USTR) gave formal notice of the plan to raise tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 15% starting December 15th. The formal notice starts the opportunity for importers or anyone impacted by the potential tariffs to submit comments. The comments are an opportunity for businesses to tell the White House why the tariffs are good or bad. As in the past, comments have been both supportive and critical of the potential tariffs.
This round of tariffs encompasses goods on “List 4” and includes mostly consumer goods – such as smartphones, computers, and other consumer electronics.
If you want to submit comments regarding any goods on “List 4”, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at,

Chinese traveler to US denied entry to the US due to body armor.

stainless steel armor

Photo by Pixabay on

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at Detroit Metro sent a traveler back to China after the passenger initially claimed he was not carrying any prohibited items. A subsequent inspection found armor and tactical apparel. Federal Agents also searched the residence of the traveler and found “a significant cache of firearms and other regulated paraphernalia”.
CBP determined the passenger was inadmissible to the United States and returned him to China. 
I don’t understand how he could be sent back, the article says the traveler had a residence where they found a lot of firearms. Maybe he is on a student visa? Most likely, this individual was just a fan of guns – as private gun ownership is prohibited in China, he probably enjoyed being able to collect firearms here in the US. Given the high-profile mass shootings, the CBP agents are probably being extra cautious.

US and Mexico reach deal to end tomato dispute.

board close up cooking delicious

Photo by Pixabay on

According to Reuters, Mexican tomato growers and the Trump administration reached a deal to end a potential anti-dumping investigation and end a tariff dispute. The agreement means many Mexican tomato exports will be subject to U.S. border inspections, and specialty tomatoes face higher reference prices on the American marketplace.

The negotiations began back in May when the Trump administration imposed a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomatoes after the parties did not reach an agreement.

The Commerce Department said the new deal will ensure sales do not fall below certain prices for Mexican tomatoes and allows a mechanism to audit up to 80 Mexican tomato producers per quarter, or more.

If you have any questions how the tomato deal may impact your business – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at or

US will not impose additional tariffs on Japanese automobiles.

people walking on the street

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

According to Reuters, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met last Sunday at the G7 Summit – agreeing that the current duties on cars remain at 2.5% for passenger vehicles and 25% for pickup trucks from Tokyo. Previously, the US did threaten Japan with additional duties of 25% on auto exports to the US under the premise of national security.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said the United States would not imminently impose new tariffs on autos imported from Japan as the largest and third-largest economies continue their trade negotiations. Japan would also agree to greater market access for US agricultural products such as beef and to increase purchases of US corn.

CBP seizes counterfeit electronic door locks.

electronic locks

Image of seized counterfeit locks, source:

According to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers inspected a rail container and discovered electronic locks in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations. The seizure consister of 3,856 counterfeit locks with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $760,841 if the goods had been genuine.

The counterfeit locks are the Lockly brand and typically retail for about $279.99 each.

The remainder of the press releases explained that illicit goods damage the US economy and threaten the health and safety of Americans.

If you have had your imports seized by Customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu – we can help fight to get your imports back – call 832-896-6288 or by email at,


CBP posts their 2018 intellectual property rights seizure statistics.

PHL Phones1H 072619

Seized Asus and LG Phones. Source:

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted their 2018 intellectual property rights statistics. The annual report lists statistics for the products that infringe upon US trademark and copy rights or othersize subject to exclusion orders involving various agencies such as CBP, ICE, and HSI.
Here’s a summary:
1. How much product comes into the US? 11 million containers by sea, 10 million containers by truck, 3 million by rail and 250,000,000 by cargo/postal/express pacakages through the air.
2. 33,810 total seizures (333 less than FY 2017’s 34,143).
3. Total MSRP of seized goods 1.4 billion (1.2 billion in FY 2017).
4. ICE-HSI arrested 381 people, obtained 296 indictments, 260 convictions.
5. CBP’s Integrated Trade Targeting Networking (ITTN) conducted over 120 operations and seized 4,891 shipments of IPR-infringing goods with a total MSRP of $94 million.
6. Investigations by CBP’s Center of Excellence and Expertise totaled 24, with a MSRP of seized goods totaling over $11.5 million.
7. The “Truth Behind Counterfeits” public awareness campaign to educate the public on the negative impacts of counterfeit products included major billboards at airports and online ads on travel websites – it is estimated the campaign generated over 200 million views.
8. In 2018, CBP enforced over 17,641 active trademark and copyright recordations, including 2,289 new recordations and 812 renewals of expiring recordations.
9. There were over 161 million express shipments and 475 million shipped through international mail.
10. Over 90% of all IPR violations occurred among the international mail and express environments.
11. 18% of all seizures were wearing apparel/accessories, footwear came in number 2 at 14%.
12. Counterfeit watches and jewelry was the most seized product, totaling 44% of all seizures with a MSRP almost $618 million.
13. China was the number one trading partner with the most seized goods at 54% of the total number of seized goods.
The full report can be downloaded here:
If you have received a letter from Customs for alleged intellectual property rights violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu on his cell at 832-896-6288, or by email at or

CBP incorporates US Virgin Islands into ACE.

white lighthouse under cloudy sky

Photo by Mario Cuadros on

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, this week, the CBP has incorporated the U.S. Virgin Islands into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) in order to expedite the importation process.   This marks the end of a 3-year process known as the ““Paving the way forward: Transforming the V.I. Trade through Technology”.

As you are aware, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and the government determines admissibility. 
CBP officers and representatives were also in the VI to perform training and to introduce the ACE system along with the APHIS Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) database.  The FAVIR database allows customers to search fruits and vegetables by commodity and or country.
Besides discussing ACE and FAVIR, CBP also discussed the risk of importing counterfeit medicine and merchandise – with CBP stressing that “medicine can be dangerous and pose a great risk to your health” and that the ” proceeds from the sales of illicit and counterfeit goods can have a negative impact on the economy”.

Chinese-owned very large crude carrier changed name to evade oil sanctions.

landscape sunset twilight park

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on

According to Reuters, a Malaysia-bound boat named the Pacific Bravo carrying a potential $118 million USD of crude oil disappeared and reappeared under a new name, the Latin Venture. The newly named Latin Venture has the same unique identification number as the Pacific Bravo: IMO9206035. As the unique identification number stays with the ship, the new name suggests someone was trying to avoid Iran oil sanctions. This prompoted the US government to warn parts in Asia to not allow the ship to dock. The shipment of Iranian crude oil violates economic sanctions in place against doing business with Iran.

The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran in November and withdrawing from the 2015 Iran deal aimed at limited Iran’s nuclear program. And in an effort to reduce Iran’s oil sales, this past May the US ended sanction waivers to some importers of Iranian oil.

If you want to be sure your exports are in compliance with the current Iranian sanctions, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at,