Trump will decide tariffs on auto imports “soon”.

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Today’s November 14th deadline on whether to impose tariffs (duties) on cars and auto parts imported into the US will likely result in President Trump extending the time to make a decision.

These additional tariffs on vehicles and parts are part of the “Section 232” national security tariffs enacted during the Cold-War that could see tariffs as high as 25% on vehicles and parts from the European Union, South Korea, and Japan.

A delay would likely result in a 6-month extension and allow for negotiators from all sides attempt to reach an agreement.

If you are an importer of car parts or vehicles and want to know what you can do, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Russia trying to legalise blood diamonds from the CAR.

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According to the Independent, Moscow claims the international ban is not working and seeks to end an international embargo on diamonds exported from the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2013. At the moment, the CAR is the only country in the world subject to a ban on “blood diamonds”.

The main reason Moscow wants to end the embargo on CAR diamonds is because 90% of the CAR’s diamonds are exported through the black market.

Blood diamonds refers to diamonds mined in a a war zone, and then sold to finance war activity.

Next year, Russia will chair the Kimberley Process, a UN program designed to stop diamond profits flowing to armed militias or used to fund war. Estimates put the Kimberley Process as high as 99.8% successful in stopping the global production of blood diamonds.

If you have any questions about the Kimberley Process and how it will effect your imports of diamonds to the US, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Fake airbags from China seized in Ontario, California.

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Image of seized airbag, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, officers at Ontario International Airport (ONT) express air cargo operations in Ontario, California along with the import specialists (IS) assigned to the Automotive & Aerospace Center of Excellence (AA Center) seized counterfeit Honda airbags arriving in packages from China.

Eight Honda airbags were arriving from China when CBP officers discovered the airbags during an examination of the express packages. The airbags were sent to import specialists who focused on automobile parts and confirmed the airbags were in violation of Honda’s  protected mark. If the airbags were genuine, they carried an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,856.

The remainder of the CBP article highlights the dangers of purchasing fake parts that may not function as well as OEM parts.

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

India says they will not join the largest free trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

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Yesterday, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced India would not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RSCEP is a proposed trade deal among 16 countries and has been discussed for the past 7 years and the subject of over 28 rounds of discussion. The RCEP was believed to be the “largest trade deal” because both China and India were expected to participate. China, India and 14-other nations in the RCEP would account for 40% of the world’s GDP.

In a public statement, the government of India cited several reasons to withdraw from the RCEP: (1) India wanted stronger wording on rules of origin, (2) change in the base year for the reduction of duties to be 2019 instead of 2014 and (3) for companies investing in India to procure a certain percentage of local input materials.

The remaining 15 countries have vowed to continue efforts to pass the RCEP with India’s involvement.

Do you have any general trade or customs law questions? Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes undervalued Range Rovers prior to export to Nigeria

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Seized Range Rover, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Delaware seized a 2016 Land Rover Range Rover prior to export to Lagos, Nigeria.

The vehicle worth approximately $55,000 was undervalued in export documents with a value of $13,000. Customs seized the vehicle for violation of 13 USC 305 which is submission of filing a false export declaration and undervaluing an export. 13 USC 305 is fairly broad and used often as a basis for export seizures.

This seizure in Delaware is just one of the many reasons Customs will seize vehicles prior to export – if you have had your vehicle detained or seized by Customs prior to export overseas to places such as Nigeria, the UAE, China, etc, contact experienced vehicle seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes +$2 million in counterfeit goods from China.

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Counterfeit goods seized by CBP, source: cbp.gov

According to a  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Washington Dulles airport seized fake goods from China with a MSRP of $2 million destined to Flushing, New York.

The air cargo shipment contained 2,601 coin purses, 459 purses, and backpacks with counterfeit logos of luxury brand names such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

When CBP seizes suspected counterfeit goods, they send samples and photos to the CBP Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) for verification with the trademark holders.

The goods were determined to be counterfeit (no trademark holder has ever agreed that a product was not counterfeit), and if authentic, would have an MSRP of $2,244,370.

If you have had your shipment seized by CBP on suspicion of being counterfeit, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu for assistance, we can explore your options. If you have received a penalty notice for violation of intellectual property rights, give us a call or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$715k in US currency seized from bus entering the US from Mexico.

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According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers in Hidalgo intercepted $715,010 in unreported U.S. currency in a commercial bus attempting to enter into Mexico on September 24th.

The officers were conducting an outbound operation at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and stopped the bus for further inspection. Officers used an imaging system and found 32 packages containing US currency hidden in the bus.

The hidden currency was seized by CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were involved.

In general, if HSI is involved, CBP believes the currency is the proceeds or will be used for illegal activities.

If you have had your currency seized by CBP, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance. Phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China leading the way for new trade deal with ASEAN nations.

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This week, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand and one main focus will be the creation of a free-trade pact that will cover 50% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s commerce. The ASEAN nations hope to enact the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade deal that covers a territory from India to New Zealand.
In negotiation for the past few years, the current US China trade war is pushing the effort to create the RCEP. Will post any updates as available.
Do you have any trade or customs law questions, contact your trade and customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status on January 1, 2020.

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Earlier this week, President Trump announced to Congress his decision to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status starting 2020 due to alleged human rights violations  – citing “extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention and torture”.

As of January 1, 2020, Cameroon will be removed from the list of countries benefiting under the African Grown and Opportunity Act of 2000 that encompasses 39 African nations.

Part of the move to end Cameroon’s trade status came from reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports of torture and abuse that included overcrowded conditions, torture and delayed trials.

Overall, Cameroon is the US’s 128th largest trade partner with an estimated $413 million worth of goods exchanged last year.

If you believe you will be impacted by this, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu to explore your options for exporting and importing from Cameroon after January 1st. Phone/text David at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Tobacco from Malawi subject to detention by US Customs.

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Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a withhold release order on tobacco from the southeast African country of Malawi and other products that contain tobacco from Malawi.
A withhold release order (WRO) means any products from Malawi containing tobacco will be detained by CBP at all of the ports of entry. A WRO was issued after information was collected by CBP that indicates tobacco from Malawi is produced using forced labor and forced child labor.
Many believe a WRO means you cannot import tobacco from Malawi – however, an WRO still allows for importation of tobacco, but importers need to provide documentation that their tobacco and tobacco containing products do not include tobacco from Malwai that was produced using child labor or other prohibitions under US law. 
This most recent WRO is just one of 7 previously issued by CBP this year to prevent the importation of products made using forced labor (which includes convict labor, forced child labor or indentured labor).
If you believe your goods have been wrongly seized by a WRO, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance – we have helped many importers and can be reached by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.