Customs seizes over 1.5 million dollars in fake perfume.

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Image of the seized perfume in Miami, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in Miami seized over 1,440 cartons, holding about 60,000 bottles of perfume in bottles with counterfeit trademarks. If authentic the MSRP of the perfume is more than 1.7 million.

The April 9th seizure was probably in advance of Mother’s Day next week and contained counterfeit trademarks belonging to Christian Dior, Chanel and more.

Besides the economic cost to legitimate products, CBP highlighted the risk of using counterfeit perfumes – as the use of counterfeit perfumes may expose the consumer to hazardous chemicals.

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If you have had your good seized by Customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu for a free no cost consultation by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

New rules on exports to China, effective June 29, 2020.

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Yesterday, the Federal Register published new guidelines by the Bureau of Industry and Security governing the export, reexport and transfer of goods to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to expand license requirements on exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of items intended for military end use or military end users in the People’s Republic of China (China).

The first major change will require U.S. companies to obtain a license before selling certain items in China that can support the military, even if the products are for civilian use. Previously, a loophole allowed an exception for civilian technology to be exported with a license.

The new regulations will impact several industries in the US, such as the semiconductor industry.

The second major change will require U.S. companies to file declarations for all exports to China, regardless of value.

A third proposed rule change will require foreign companies shipping American goods to China to seek approval from the US prior to export.

There will be a brief comment period to collect information on the proposed changes.

If you would like to submit a comment, or if you would like an evaluation of your company’s export (and import) compliance program, or have any trade questions – contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com

CBP Half-Million Dollars in Counterfeit Electronics and Dental Gels

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized a half-million dollars’ worth of counterfeit electronics in Philadelphia in mid-April. The two shipments from China contained more than 20,000 pieces of 35 different counterfeit consumer electronics, such as video gaming systems, speakers, watches, cameras, scanners, DVD players, headphones, chargers and other electronics. Besides the consumer electronics, they also seized counterfeit injectable dental gels.

The MSRP of the seized goods, if authentic are estimated to be approximately $519,510.

If you have had your good seized by Customs for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text 24/7 at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

 

Counterfeit driver’s licenses continue to be imported (and seized).

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Image of seized ID’s, source: CBP.gov

In the past 18, Dallas CBP officers seized over 2000 counterfeit driver’s licenses from overseas, with 900 of the fake ID’s seized in the past 6 months. Most of the fake ID’s are hidden in contents of packages within larger items in the package. In an attempt to discourage the purchase of fake ID’s overseas, CBP officers noted that providing personal information to counterfeiters also carry a risk of the peron’s identity personal information being shared. From the media release, local law enforcement contacted the purchasers of the counterfeit ID cards and warned them of the risks of counterfeiters.

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In situations like this, the importer of record will not be getting these cards released and the case will likely be referred to HSI as part of a potential criminal case.

If you or someone you know receives a letter from CBP or Homeland Security Investigation, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Fake Roku streaming devices seized by Customs.

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Image of seized Roku remotes, source: CBP.gov

With shelter in place taking effect over larger parts of the US, people are streaming more than ever. Perhaps to capitalize upon this, one importer in Philadelphia had a shipment of 1,600 Roku remotes seized by CBP in late April.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Pittsburgh seized 1,600 counterfeit Roku remotes last week. If authentic, the remotes would have an approximate MSRP of $80,000. The media release claimed the remotes were made from “substandard materials that could easily break” and lacked the “full inventory of options or commands that an authentic remote offers”.

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Were these remotes really counterfeit? I’ve handled many cases from my clients who have had their goods seized. Especially my clients in the refurbishment business. Used or returned goods to a retailer are liquidated in bulk to wholesalers or other private companies who will repair the goods (refurbish) and then resell as used in various condition. Retailers frequently liquidate returned goods such as phones and other personal electronics.

As refurbishment costs are high in the United States, it is more economical to send the damaged goods overseas (typically to China) for repair and then sent back. The problem is upon shipment back to the US, CBP will detain the goods on suspicion of an IPR violation. CBP suspects the goods are counterfeit because (1) the repair process makes the goods appear new, and (2) the goods are shipped in non-oem packaging – typically in bubble wrap and bundled together to save on freight charges. In the photo above from CBP, you can see the remotes in bubble wrap and shipped without the typical Roku packaging. When CBP sees items such as these remotes, or typically repaired iphones or Samsung phones, they believe the goods are counterfeit even though the items were shipped to China for repair.

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What happens during a customs seizure? If you are an importer, CBP may detain your shipment first. While your shipment is detained, CBP sends a photo of the item to the intellectual property right (IPR) holder. The IPR holder will more likely than not tell CBP the goods are counterfeit. If so, CBP will seize the goods and issue a seizure notice.

You will be mailed a seizure notice by certified mail, return receipt requested (CMRRR). If you receive the notice, make a note of the letter date and add 30 days – write down the 30 days and be sure you respond before 30 days has expired.

If you receive a notice of seizure, do not ignore the seizure notice. If so, CBP may forfeit your goods and issue you a penalty. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Importer and company executives pay $5.2 million penalty under the FCA.

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Photo by Curtis Adams on Pexels.com

The DOJ recently announced a $5.2 million settlement from importer, Blue Furniture Solutions, LLC, based on alleged importation of merchandise into the United States using false descriptions and invoices that claimed the merchandise was not within the scope of the antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China.

A whistleblower under the FCA’s qui tam provisions exposed Blue Furniture Solution’s intentional misrepresentations totaling $1.7 million in antidumping payments. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened under the FCA.

One year later, on April 20, 2020, the DOJ announced the $.52 million settlement – in which the company pays $4.7 million and executives pay $550,000 for personal liability. Information on this case can be found in the following: United States ex rel. University Loft Company v. Blue Furniture Solutions, LLTC et al., No. 15-CV-588-LY (W.D. Tex.). The related criminal matter appeared under the case name United States v. Zeng, No. 19-CR-64-DCN (D.S.C.).

If you believe an importer is misrepresenting their customs entry to save on AD duties, or if you are a subject of an FCA investigation, contact experienced customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 by phone or text; or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com; dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Corona virus’ January and February impact on trade.

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According to the Financial Times, global trade dropped 2.6 percent in February compared to the same time in 2019. This February drop also follows a 1.5 percent drop from January 2020. Specifically, China had a 7.3 percent fall in imports in January 2020 due to parts of the country shutting down in response to the Corona virus. For February, China had another 3.2 percent drop for the month.

The US did not show any impact in trade volume while the EU trade volume dropped 1.5 percent for February 2020. Will be interesting to see March and April numbers when reported.

General importing/exporting questions? Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Port Laredo #1 in two-way trade.

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They say everything is bigger in Texas and Port Laredo is no exception.

According to census data analysis by WorldCity, for the second time in a year, Port Laredo has occupied the number 1 spot out of 450 international gateways, with a recorded 18.6 billion in two-way trade for the month of February. At the number 2 spot for recorded trade of $17.2 billion, the Port of Los Angeles. Port Laredo also surpassed the Port of Los Angeles in March 2918.

World City attributed LA’s second place ranking to the US-China trade war and corona virus pandemic impacting LA and the state of California.

Port Laredo is located in South Texas along the U.S. Mexico border and includes four vehicle bridges, international rail bridge and an international airport. World City expects Port Laredo to continue holding the lead as the Port of Los Angeles seaport will be impacted by the corona virus and ongoing trade war.

Questions about importing/exporting? Contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 for a no cost or obligation consultation. Email attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

What’s significant about July 1, 2020.

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Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

With all the news coverage focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration quietly notified Congress yesterday (Friday, April 24, 2020) that the U.S.-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) will take effect on July 1st.

If you have any questions how the new policy may impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Elizabeth, New Jersey’s use of Chinese-made DJI drone restarts national security debate of Chinese made equipment.

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The city of Elizabeth, New Jersey is deploying DJI amanufactured drones to enforce social distancing guidelines. Specifically, the drones will be deployed to warn Elizabeth citizens who are found to be outdoors and issue verbal warnings such as “Stop gathering, disperse and go home”.

I previously mentioned in this blog about prior US governmental use and the contents of an memo that claimed DJI’s commercial drones are giving sensitive US “infrastucture and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.” In fact, the U.S. Army has banned the use of all DJI drines since 2017.

In response, DJI claims full control of their drones belong to their owners and that no information is transmitted back to China. Since the outbreak of the corona virus, DJI has donated to 43 agencies across 22 states to enforce social distancing.