Trump delays decision on steel and aluminium tariffs.

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A little background – back in March 2018, President Trump imposed worldwide tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% on aluminum. Countries such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union were temporarily exempted from these tariffs.

Later in April, the US gave South Korea a permanent exemption from these tariffs in exchange for a 30% reduction of SK exports of steel to the United States.

One country not exempted was China, and as posted previously on this blog, China retaliated with their own duties on many US imports to the middle kingdom.

Fast forward to May 1st and the current administration has extended negotiations on steel and aluminium tariffs for an additional 30 days with Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Tentative agreements have been reached with Argentina, Brazil and Australia.

Check back here for more details as they become available.

CBP seizes $107,360 in unreported currency from traveler headed to Jordan.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

Another day, another CBP media release of a currency seizure. This time the seizure occurred at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). On April 11th, a traveler departing ORD to Jordan was intercepted by CBP and found to be concealing $107,360 in sealed shirt bags.

31 USC 5316 indicates that all travelers must report currency in the amount of $10,000 or more. Travelers carrying $10,000 or more need to complete a FinCEN Form 105, also known as the Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR).

If you have had currency seized, call David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. We can assist clients all over the world, don’t delay call today.

CBP seizes combined $152k in unreported currency from two travelers in April 2018.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers at the Philadelphia International Airport seized a combined total of 152,342 in unreported currency from two travelers departing out of who recently departed PHL.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much currency (cash, checks, money orders, or other monetary instruments), but MUST report all amounts totaling $10,000 or more on a U.S. Department of Treasury financial form.

The first seizure took place on April 1st, where a traveler headed to Turkey was seized with $46,500 and the second seizure occurred on April 7th, where a traveler to Ghana had possessed $105,842.

If you or anyone you know has had cash seized at the airport, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

We work hard to get your hard earned money back from Customs, don’t delay – call today!

Latest CBP Instructions on Section 232 Investigations (April 11, 2018)

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Photocredit: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

See below for the most recent instructions regarding the Section 232 Investigations. These instructions were released by the CBP, on April 11th. The original text can be found here.

Commodities: Unchanged and includes steel mill and aluminum articles as specified in proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018: All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

However, after May 1, 2018, all countries of origin.

Customs does make a note to remind readers that it is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:

Steel Products: importers shall use the HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to duty: 9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products)

Aluminum Products: importers shall use HTS classification: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

If the two above HTS numbers are not used for importers under Chapters 72, 73 and 76 for the covered countries of origin, these error messages will display:

E1 IQ10 LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09 QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05 BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note: Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

If importers or filers do not include the chapter 99 code with their Post Summary Corrections for imports under Chapters 72, 73 and 76, the above reject messages will also appear.

Importers may file a protest if they believe an entry was incorrectly liquidated.

Below are the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS from the CBP website copied for your convenience.

1. What is the timing of duty calculations on immediate transportation in bond entries subject to Section 232?

Pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations, duties are due on goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

19 CFR 141.69(b) states:

Merchandise which is not subject to a quantitative or tariff-rate quota and which is covered by an entry for immediate transportation made at the port of original importation, if entered for consumption at the port designated by the consignee or his agent in such transportation entry without having been taken into custody by the port director for general order under section 490, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended ( 19 U.S.C. 1490), shall be subject to the rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

For such entries covered by an entry for immediate transportation, and with a country of origin and Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification subject to the Presidential Proclamations, such entries shall be subject to the duty rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

Accordingly, entries of steel and aluminum articles covered by an entry for immediate transportation accepted at the port of original importation before March 23, may have been incorrectly rejected by CBP and/or incorrectly filed with a Chapter 99 steel or aluminum HTS classification.

CBP is working to address the incorrectly filed entries to alleviate the need for the trade to resubmit entry summaries, submit post summary corrections (PSC), or file protests. CBP is aware that some entry summaries incorrectly submitted with the Chapter 99 HTS classification may have a deadline approaching to pay the associated duties. CBP will fully consider the issues associated with these entries in enforcing the duty deadline and CBP will be addressing these entries promptly. Importers who incorrectly paid duties pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations on an AD/CVD entry, and want to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation, may file a PSC to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation.

2. Which Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) classifications under HTS 7616.99.51 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

Per the Presidential Proclamations, 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

 

If you have any questions, call customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Importing Kratom? If yes, read this post.

Kratom Leaves

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) leaves, photo by Manuel Jebauer on Wikipedia

What is Kratom
Kratom is a plant found in Thailand and Malaysia and grown naturally. In the US, Kratom is typically sold in smoke shops as a powder that is used in tea to slow the effects of opioid withdrawal. Kratom is also believed to relieve fatigue, pain, cough and diarrhea. Kratom is sometimes used recreationally for its euphoric effects.

What is the problem with Kratom?
In November of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited 36 deaths from consumers who used Kratom to ease their opioid withdraw symptoms. Additionally the FDA said consumption of Kratom also causes risks for abuse, addiction and in some instances death as opiods. As of February 18, 2017, the current Kratom related death count is 44 according to FDA spokesperson Lyndsay Meyer.

Is Kratom safe?
Previous studies of Kratom performed in Asia do not link Kratom in its pure form to  any deaths. It is believed the lack of quality control in the US can lead to the dangerous alterations of Kratom or addition of other drugs.

What about importing Kratom?
Back in November 2017, the FDA issued import alerts to stop the shipments of Kratom from entering the US. After the announcement, hundreds of shipments have already been detained and seized. Even with the import alert, it is estimated that there may be around 340 million packages of Kratom reaching the US each year.

If you have had shipments of Kratom seized by Customs and Border Protection, call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

China imposes new tariffs on imports from the United States.

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In response to the U.S. Section 232 tariff measures imposed on steel and aluminum products, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced their intention to impose tariffs on certain products from imported from the United States.

According to an English press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce (full text here), China intends to impose tariffs on 128 products that cover a wide range of items, from food and alcohol to oil and gas pipes.

The tariffs vary from 15% to 25% and a notice of tariffs is available here online for public comment.

A quick look at the list shows these items are subject to the increased tariffs: citrus fruits,
watermelons, dried apples, steel drilled oil and gas drilling pipes with an outside diameter less than 168 mm, cold rolled alloy steel seamless circular cross-section tubes
other fresh or cold pork, frozen pork liver, aluminum scrap, modified ethanol, and American ginseng.

For more information or if you would like to know whether your exported product will be subject to these new duties, contact experienced and bi-lingual English/Chinese Mandarin speaking attorney David Hsu now at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

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Just in time for Easter – CBP reminds travelers of their Holiday Easter Egg regulations.

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With Easter Sunday this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded travelers that Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are limited to 12 per passenger. The shells may be decorated, etched, or painted, but they must be clean, dry and free of any egg residue.

Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in an effort to reduce the spread of  Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells. HPAI is a contagious diseases fatal to bird species and effects their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. The virus infects chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons, and ostriches.

As Mexico is affected with Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), fresh eggs, raw chicken and live birds or poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry to the US.

If you or anyone you know has any customs or trade law issues, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seize Over 6 Million Counterfeit Cigarettes.

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In mid March of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commercial fraud agents seized six million counterfeit cigarettes during a warehouse inspection.

The estimated retail price is $1.1 million. CBP import specialists with the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Miami reviewed 600 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes and found multiple trade name protection and trafficking counterfeit goods violations.

CBP cites many dangers to these counterfeit cigarettes – first criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods and second, counterfeit cigarettes pose a greater public health risk. CBP also indicates that trademark owners are also hurt and the government also is deprived of tax revenue.

If you or someone you know has had counterfeit cigarettes or any other goods seized by Customs for suspected IP violations or trademark violations – contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu. Customs holds importers liable for both civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Call 832-896-6288 or e-mail dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

Trump Announces Tariffs on at Least $50 billion in Chinese Goods.

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On March 22nd, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum instructing the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare a list of goods imported from China that will be subject to tariffs.

The tariffs are in response to China’s policies of forced technology transfers, forced joint ventures, intellectual property theft and technology licensing restrictions for U.S. companies doing business in China.

Check back here for the list when it is published. It is is estimated the list will include approximately 1,300 tariff lines and the public will have 30 days to submit comments.

If you have any questions how this may affect your imports, call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Section 232 Exclusion Requests.

 

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The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has released the rules and procedures to apply for a Section 232 exclusion request for imports of steel or aluminum. Additionally, the BIS also released guidelines to object to any exclusion requests.

Contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com to get started today on the exclusion request process.