Counterfeit auto parts seized by CBP.

Seized shipment of counterfeit auto parts; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Philadelphia seized counterfeit Chinese vehicle parts in June consisting of door locks, hinges, powered mirrors, steering wheel switches, headlights and taillights, grills, rear bumpers, and paint kits. As the goods from China were branded with “Mercedes-Benz”, CBP officers suspected the goods may have been counterfeit. CBP Officers confirmed with the trademark holder and seized the goods for being counterfeit. The estimated retail value of the goods, if authentic totals $295,052.

If your shipment of goods from China has been detained or seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com 24/7 for immediate assistance.

Wood Packaging Material Dangers – not just pests.

wooden pallets
Photo by Brent Keane on Pexels.com

I frequently post about pests, larvae or other wood-boring and non wood-boring insections in wood packaging materials (wpm) that cause most of the problems. However, the other unknown danger not frequently reported is another risk of using WPM – the missing IPPC 15 stamp.

IPPC is short for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 15 stamps. IPPC stamps are used to certify the wood packaging material has been treated with approved measures prior to shipment. Untreated wpm can result in insects and larvae to burrow into the wood materials prior to shipment and escape the ship or port once the shipment arrives.

In general, an IPPC 15 stamp needs to be visible and meet the approved design standard. The most recent standard is from May 2017 and can be found at the IPPC website here (scroll down to number 15). If you are importer, you must ensure the foreign shipper is in compliance with the IPPC standard if WPM is used. This is often forgotten among first time importers.

In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in New Orleans found two shipments from Brazil that were not in compliance with the IPPC standard as the stamps were missing. Due to the non-compliance, the shipments were re-exported back to their respective countries, Brazil and Suriname.

While the shipment in May was re-exported, CBP may sometimes allow for manipulation and other remedial measures depending on the situation. Call David Hsu to discuss your options – 832-896-6288. You can also text at the same number.

Failure to meet IPPC 15 standards for WPM is a serious problem and can lead to delays, fines, penalties and a lot of unhappy people who are relying on the timely delivery of your shipment. If you have a WPM issue, or want to be sure you are in compliance with the IPPC 15 standard, call David Hsu by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com anytime. Looking forward to hearing from you!

.

Importing solar materials? US bans some Chinese solar materials tied to forced labor.

alternative alternative energy clouds eco energy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Two days ago, the Biden Administration announced a ban on the importation of some solar materials from Xinjiang, the province in China that supplies most of the world’s polysilicon used to make solar panels. The ban is in response to what the White House accuses China of committing genocide and repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

Specifically, the ban applies to imports by “Hoshine Silicon Industry Company” and any goods made using those products (sometimes referred to as goods “downmarket”). CBP will ban imports of certain manufacturers if they have “information reasonably indicating” that a manufacturer uses forced labor to produce its goods. The risk to importers is very high and Customs will require the importer of record to provide information proving their goods are not downmarket from Hoshine Silicon or other companies subject to the ban.

Besides Hoshine Silicon Industry Company, other companies subject to the ban include:

  1. Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Company,
  2. Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Company,
  3. Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology Company, and the
  4. Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

If you are unsure what to do, or unsure your products contain the banned materials, contact our office for a free no cost consultation. We also assist companies in the preparation of a Social Compliance Program to meet CTPAT requirements and to help lower your company’s risk of forced labor issues. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 for assistance or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Small insect equals big Customs problem.

wooden pallets
Photo by Brent Keane on Pexels.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists in California intercepted a shipment of antique terracotta roof tiles from France due to an infestation of wood boring pests. Specifically, CBP found the longhorn beetle known scientifically as the Arhopalus sp. (Cerambycidae). The larvae of the longhorn beetle are known as roundheaded borers and bore into wood, causing extensive damage to the tree and to other untreated wood.

In this seizure, Agriculture Specialists were able to locate the beetles due to fresh “frass”, a powdery sawdust that falls to the ground from the boring activity of the larvae and beetles.

As you are aware, if Customs finds invasive species or other pests, CBP will issue an Emergency Action Notice (EAN) and re-export the goods for fumigation or heat treatment. Afterwards, CBP will issue a civil penalty to the importer.

If you have received an Emergency Action Notice, there may be some alternatives instead of re-exportation. Contact David Hsu by phone/text or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, 832-896-6288 to discuss your options.

$101k in unreported money seized by Customs.

Seized funds from Ethiopian traveler, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Dulles International Airport seized over $101,000 in undeclared, unreported currency. This currency seizure is unique from my usual posts because the traveler had their currency seized when entering the US. The traveler arrived from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and upon entry declared he was in possession of $2,000 in currency. The $2,000 total later because $2,300 prior to CBP officers searching his baggage for a second time. Ultimately, a search by CBP revealed over $100,000 inside a plastic bag. While Customs seized over $101,000 from the traveler – they returned $1,995 for “humanitarian purposes”.

To make matters worse for the traveler, CBP officers determined the traveler from Ethiopia was not eligible to enter the US because he was flagged as a prior Visa Waiver Program violator. In general, a visa waiver program violator is someone who previously entered the US without a visa, and then over stayed the allotted time. The US and certain countries allow citizens of other countries to enter into the US visa free for a period of 60 or 90 days. This privilege is only extended to countries that also allow US citizens to enter their country without a visa. Unfortunately for this traveler, he previously overstayed his visa, and left the US after the visa free period expired – therefore being flagged as a visa waiver program violator.

As the traveler was not eligible to enter into the US, his currency was seized and he was sent on the next flight back to Ethiopia.

Can customs seize money from travelers entering the US?
This instant seizure is a perfect example of a question we frequently receive from our clients – can CBP seize funds from non-US citizens entering the US? And the short answer is yes, any individual crossing the border is required to declare any funds over $10,000 in their possession.

Are you overseas and have had your funds seized by US Customs?
If so, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance. We represent travelers world wide and can help you get your money back.

If you or anyone you know has had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime day or night at 832-896-6288 or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. Do not rely on any part of this blog as legal advice. Instead, seek out the advice of a licensed attorney. Also, this information may be out-of-date.

$4.2 million in fake jewelry seized.

Image of seized good, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release – officers in Cincinnati seized a shipment in late March containing jewelry with name brands such as Tiffany, Chanel, Rolex, Pandora, Cartier, Dior, Gucci and more. When suspected counterfeit goods are seized, samples and photos of the seized goods are sent to a CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) where the shipment is further evaluated. At the CEE, an import specialist will determine whether the jewelry is real – one method is through verification with the property right holder.

While the declared value on the shipment was $119, the actual value of the seized goods, if authentic would total more than $4.2 million dollars.

I am frequently asked why customs uses the “if authentic” value versus the declared value – since the declared value is likely more accurate to what the seized goods actually cost.

The main reason is Customs will use the “if authentic” value when issuing fines to the importer of record. And perhaps the most obvious reason to only use the “if authentic” value is for impact. A $4.2 million seizure is much more impactful than a $119 seizure of counterfeit goods.

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

Over $300,000 in unreported currency seized in P.R

Image of seized funds in PR, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Puerto Rico seized $348,940 in undeclared currency hidden inside wooden tables and a sink found inside a 1989 Ford cargo truck. The shipment was destined to an address in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In general, there is no limit to how much currency (cash, checks, traveler’s checks, foreign currency) can be importer or exported by travelers. However, any amount over $10,000, however federal law requires travelers to report to CBP any amount exceeding $10,000 in US dollars or the equivalent in foreign currency. When the funds over $10,000 are not reported or are under-reported, CBP may seize the currency and may lead to an arrest.

If you have any questions about what to do BEFORE you travel and are carrying over $10,000, give David Hsu a call, or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Unapproved Juul pods seized by CBP.

Image of seized Juul pods, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protections media release, officers in Indianapolis over 10,000 Juul Pods shipped from Ontario, Canada to New York and New Jersey. The shipments were seized because they were misbranded consumer goods imported by an unauthorized agent.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) governs the importation of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, the basis of this seizure was likely under 19 USC 1499(a)(3)(a) unspecified articles and 19 USC 1595(c)(1) merchandise introduced contrary to law because the packages were labeled as an “electrical apparatus”.

If you have had your goods seized and you received a seizure notice alleging violations of 19 USC 1499 and 19 USC 1595, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit 3M masks seized by CBP.

Image of seized masks, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, Chicago-based CBP officers in early March seized 136 boxes of suspected counterfeit 3M branded N95 type masks bearing the 3M registered trademarks. This most recent seizure is just one of tens of shipments Customs has seized since the start of the pandemic over one year ago.

CBP questioned the authenticity of the masks due to a chemical smell and grammatical errors on the packaging. In instances of suspected counterfeit violations, CBP specialists check with the trademark holder. CBP seized over 65,000 masks contained within the 136 boxes, if authentic the masks would be valued at over $400,000.

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.

Unapproved Viagra RX seized.

Image of seized Viagra pills, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized over 618 bottles of Viagra containing about 18,540 pills. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized the pills for being misbranded – a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

Since the pills were being imported, they were likely purchased online and may have been produced abroad and seized by the FDA on the basis the pills were from a non-regulated foreign company and may contain da ngerous compounds, with different ingredients and poor quality control.

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