TPP discusses UK membership.

united kingdom marching band
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According to the Kyodo news, the current 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began discussing the United Kingdom’s bid to join the trade pact. If approved, the UK will be the 12th member since the creation of the TPP in 2018. At the time of this post, China and Taiwan have also submitted applications to join the free trade agreement.

While typically known as the TPP, the official name is called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. The chair of the organization rotates and the current chair is Japan.

Entry to the CPTPP requires applicant countries to revise their domestic laws and regulations to meet TPP criteria. If approved, the UK will join Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

CBP seizes $46,000 in cash from airport traveler.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $46,628 in unreported currency from a U.S. citizen traveling to Cameroon on September 27, 2021.
Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), CBP officers at Dulles airport seized about $46,628 in unreported currency from a man traveling to Cameroon. The random inspection occurred on outbound passengers on a flight to Brussels. CBP officers asked the individual how much money he was carrying – the traveler told Customs he had $30,000 and completed and signed a U.S. Treasury Department form (FINCEN 105).

Upon further inspection, CBP officers found a total of $46,628.00 and seized the entire amount. As you are aware, there is no limit how much cash you are bringing into or out of the US, the only requirement is for travelers to report currency $10,000 or greater.

According to the media release, the traveler “was not criminally charged”. This means CBP did not involve Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). If CBP brings involves HSI, then they believe your currency is related to criminal activity and you may need criminal counsel in addition to customs counsel.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at anytime at 832-896-6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $46,628 in unreported currency from a U.S. citizen traveling to Cameroon on September 27, 2021.
CBP seized $46,628 in unreported
currency from Cameroon-bound man.
Source: CBP.gov

US detains solar panel imports due to forced labor concerns.

black and silver solar panels
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Back in June of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection imposed a ban on solar panels from a company called Hoshine Silicon – a producer of raw materials used in the manufacturing of solar panels. The ban was instituted by CBP under the forced labor provisions – in which CBP can block goods believe to have been made using forced labor. Hoshine Silicon operates plants in China’s Xinjiang region and is suspected of using forced labor. Forced labor covers a broad range of actions by the employer and in the case of Hoshine, it is believed they intimidate workers and restrict their movements. Hoshine is also believed to be participating in state-sponsored employment programs targeted towards minorities in the Xinjiang region into factory jobs – forced labor in that there is no choice but to accept the jobs.

Hoshine plays a major role in the manufacturing of solar panels and the raw materials they sell are sold to at least 8 of the largest polysilicon manufacturers, also based in China. The polysilicon is then used to make solar panels. The largest solar manufacturing companies are based in China due to cheap electricity and other low manufacturing costs. Some human rights watchdogs claim the use of forced labor is another factor driving down the prices of Chinese solar panels.

If you have had your goods detained based on suspicion of being manufactured using forced labor – contact David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Another day, another seizure of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Pittsburgh seized 70 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards on September 7 that shipped from China and were destined to an address in Beaver County, Pa.
Source: CBP.gov. CBP seized 70 counterfeit COVID-19
vaccination cards shipped from China.

Must be a shortage of card stock in the US, as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release reports a seizure of 2 shipments of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in Pittsburgh in early September. CBP were able to determine the vaccination cards as counterfeit due to the low-quality appearance and the importer of record or consignee was not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Customs media release reminds readers of the illegality of buying, selling or using counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards.

If you have had your shipment seized by customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime for assistance at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for assistance.

Taiwan’s CPTPP application followed by China’s CPTPP application.

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According to a Reuters article, Taiwan’s economy minister, Mei-hua Wang, voiced concern last week after China’s “sudden” decision to apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) following Taiwan’s application.

In response, the Taiwan economy minister claims China’s current policies are counter to the principles of free trade and transparency expected by CPTPP members – such as China’s use of import bans and potential inability to meet the high standards required of CPTPP participating countries.

According to the Reuters article, one such motivation for China’s sudden application is because China views Taiwan as part of its territory and does not want Taiwan to join before they join.

The CPTPP was originally going to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but the trade agreement was drastically changed in 2017 when former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. This led to creation of the current CPTPP linking the following countries: Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Besides Taiwan and China, Britain is also applying for membership.

Lastly, Reuters writes Taiwan has been heartened by recent progress towards trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, which are both frustrated with China’s lack of progress in opening its economy and are keen to show their support for Taiwan’s democracy and much freer market policies.

Counterfeit Sports Championship Rings Seized.

Champ Rings
Image of counterfeit rings, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized a shipment from China containing counterfeit championship rings in mid-September. The shipment contained 86 rings celebrating championships from sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals among others.

CBP Officers and the trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise determined the rings were counterfeit because the rings were of poor quality. The MSRP of the rings, if authentic would equal approximately $2.38 million.

This shipment was just one of the over 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in 2019 – in which the total value of seized goods totaled over $1.5 billion.

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

$25,000 in Canadian dollars seized by Customs.

Image of seized Canadian currency; source: CBP.gov

In mid-August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Tennessee searched a package labeled as containing books or brochures, belt buckles and jeans headed to Boston. Upon x-ray of the package, the x-ray image did not resemble brochures or clothing. When CBP officers opened the package, they found $25,000 in Canadian dollars, or about $19,657 in US dollars. The currency was seized because it was not reported.

All currency being taken into or out of the US, including by mail, containing more than $10,000 must be reported to Customs through use of the Fincen 105 currency reporting site or use of a paper copy.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 for immediate assistance. You can also email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$57 million in designer watches seized by Customs.

Counterfeit watches, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized a shipment last Saturday of 32 separate shipments containing counterfeit designer watches valued at $57.84 million dollars, if authentic. Some of the counterfeits were branded Rolex and Richard Mille.

The 32 separate shipments contained 2,168 watches that were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s experts at the various CEE departments. The watches were from Hong Kong where approximately 25% of the counterfeit goods seized originate.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288; or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com for assistance.

Forced labor modification for Top Glove Corp. Bhd.

a woman with gloves
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Back in March of 2021, CBP published a finding of forced labor in the Federal Register for disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd. The finding against Top Glove was due to reports of forced labor indicators such as: debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions and retention of identity documents.

A finding of forced labor results in a “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) that instructs CBP to seize shipments of the gloves produced using the forced labor. It is then up to the importer to prove the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

The process a company needs to take involves a request to modify or revoke a finding. Each situation is different, but in general, CBP will modify a WRO or findings if there is enough evidence the subject merchandise is no longer produced or manufactured using forced labor.

In Top Glove’s situation – Top Glove paid $30 million in payments to workers and improved the living and working conditions at the company’s facilities.

If you are subject to a WRO or CBP finding of forced labor, or if you have any compliance concerns to ensure your company is not subject to a WRO or finding of forced labor, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

“Cartier” jewelry seized by CBP totaling $5.2 million.

Counterfeit Cartier goods; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Ohio seized two shipments containing 500 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry from China and Hong Kong. While the importer did not pay a combined $5.2 million for the 500 pieces, CBP values the shipments seized based on the value of the goods, if authentic.

The two shipments contained mostly bracelets and rings and were destined to an address in Florida and Mississippi.

On August 16, officers inspected the first shipment containing 450 Cartier Love bracelets and rings. The bracelets and rings were mixed in with other jewelry that did not violate Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The shipment was from China and headed to a residence in Aventura, Florida.

When Customs seizes goods suspected of being counterfeit, samples (either photos or actual goods) will be sent to a CBP Centers for Excellence and Expertise, known as a (CEE, pronounced “see”). The CEE will verify with the trademark holders the authenticity of the goods. In general, the trademark holders will never say the goods are authentic.

If you have had your goods seized by customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.