Emergency Action Notice for Wood Packaging Materials – Increased CBP Enforcement!

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Since late 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has increased their enforcement of regulations surrounding the use of Wood Packaging Materials (WPM) in shipments entering the US.

In a September 25, 2017 message, CBP began imposing penalties for a 1st violation of the WPM regulations (7 C.F.R. 319.40 – 3). This news is significant as penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1595a or 1592 can be enormous. In addition to these penalties, monetary loss also results from from having to export entire shiploads of cargo, even when just a small portion of it is in violation. Frequent violations in the WPM regulations are regarding improper markings or pests. CBP will always inspect shipments containing WPM for a proper mark and the presence of any invasive pests.

There is a lot of plant construction underway along the Gulf coast. Shiploads of wood packaged steel structures have been halted by Customs at the port and directed to immediately export.

The first indication of a problem is if you receive an “Emergency Action Notice” (EAN) from Customs. The EAN will typically require the immediate exportation of the cargo at great expensive to the importer, the manufacturer and at a great hassle to all parties involved (broker, shipper, forwarder, manufacturer, vendor, seller, buyer, etc!).

If you have received an Emergency Action Notice, contact experienced trade and WPM attorney David Hsu by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Time is of the essence for these WPM cases and call us for immediate options.

 

CBP Stops Invasive Insect at Detroit Airport.

Khapra Beetle

Screenshot of CBP website photo of the Khapra Beetle. Credit: CBP

According to a CBP news release on July 5th, CBP Agricultural Specialists officers in Detroit inspected a traveler from Iraq. The traveler was bringing in seeds to grow in her garden, however the Agricultural Specialists found the seeds were infested with Khapra Beetles.

According to the CBP site, the Khapra Beetle is “considered to be one of the world’s most destructive pests of stored grain products and seeds. This small but persistent insect has a wide-ranging appetite and can spoil anything from stored corn to pasta. It also very difficult to control because it can survive without food for long periods and can resist many insecticides.”

CBP Agriculture Specialists are the unsung heroes who work around the clock at the hundreds of ports of entry by sea, land and air to stop pests from causing harm to our country.

Fake Super Bowl rings seized by CBP.

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According to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP agents in Philadelphia seize fake Super Bowl rings worth $1 million dollars if authentic.

I did a quick search and found listings for Super Bowl rings ranging in price from $9.99 to $99.99 on alibaba.com. The CBP media release claims authorized replicas retail from around $10,000, but I did not seem to find a link to purchase authorized replicas.

CBP seized the 108 counterfeit rings because they contain trademarks belonging to the National Football League. CBP noted the poor craftsmanship of the rings from Hong Kong and the NFL confirmed the rings to be counterfeit.

If you have had property seized by Customs, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, there may be something we can do to protect you from further civil or criminal liability.

CBP encounters first-in-US wood-boring wasp species.

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This past Thursday, agriculture specialists at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Baltimore found a first-in-the-US species of wood-boring wasps – the Urocerus augur Klug (Siricidae).

These wood-boring wasps are known to bore holes in trees and lay their eggs. From your author’s experience on wood-boring wasps, the wasps usually bore holes in dead or dying trees. However, when these wood-boring wasps are in the US, they tend to bore holes in living trees and then laying eggs, which eventually causes the tree to die.

In Baltimore, CBP/agriculture specialists were inspecting a shipment of aluminum coils from Greece and discovered the wasps and boring holes in the wood packaging material (WPM). A sample was sent to USDA entomologists for identification.

In general, WPM with invasive pests are required to be re-exported. If you or someone you know has had an issue with WPM certification or re-exportation of goods due to pests, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Before you re-export, contact David Hsu, there may be some alternatives to re-exporting that will save you time and money!

CBP seizes $10 million in counterfeit luxury watches.

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This past Thursday (June 28th), Philadelphia U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 699 luxury watches with a MSRP of nearly $10 million (if authentic).

The shipment was from Hong Kong, China and labeled as “lithium batteries”. Upon inspection, CBP officers found watches bearing luxury watch names such as: Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, and Fossil among others.

CBP probably questioned the shipment as luxury watches that are authentic are usually not sent from Hong Kong. In the media release, CBP officers also claimed the watch quality and packaging was poor – a typical dead give away for counterfeit goods.

If you have had any good seized by CBP on suspicion of being counterfeit, there are things we can do – call David Hsu, experienced trade and customs attorney for a free consultation and the next steps: 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit mermaid and fashion dolls.

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As reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media relations office – CBP agents at the International Falls Port of Entry in Minnesota inspected a rail container and found merchandise that violated intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations.

As you are aware, CBP enforces the intellectual property rights and trademark rights of companies that register their mark with CBP. When goods are suspected of violating IPR – CBP will send photos or a sample to the property rights holder for verification. More often than not, the rights holder will notify CBP that the goods are counterfeit.

Specifically, CBP seized 60,180 mermaid and fashion dolls that contained copyright protected markings. If protected markings are found, even on a small doll accessory or only one doll, CBP will seize items as they had in this case. CBP calculates the seizure value based on the total MSRP if the items were authentic. Here, CBP in Minnesota claims the seized goods total approximately $601,198.

While the CBP media release doesn’t specifically mention the brand name, based on 60,180 dolls having a combined value of $601,198 and based on my experience as a parent to a daughter who loves Barbie – the seized dolls are counterfeit of the standard grocery store Barbie doll for about $10.

So what happens after a seizure? CBP will seize the goods and give the importer of record several options. CBP may also access civil penalties to the IOR.

If you or anyone you know has had items seized by CBP for IPR violations, or if you have any trade and customs law questions – contact experienced customs attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

 

Philadelpha CBP seize 100 counterfeit Yeti mugs.

Yeti Screengrab

Screengrab of the Yeti.com website.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on June 19th, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 100 counterfeit mugs branded with the name of the poular cooler company Yeti.

The items were shipped from Hong Kong, China in April and labeled “fishing reel iron products”. CBP noted the “poor packaging” and “substandard quality” and detained the shipment.

After a shipment is detained, Customs will usually send a sample or photos to the trademark/word mark holder to verify authenticity of the mark. In this case, Yeti likely replied and told CBP the items were counterfeit.

In the event the trademark holder notifies CBP of the unauthorized use of a registered mark, CBP will seize the items and send a “Notice of Seizure” to the importer of record.

Philadelphia CBP has been busy with five counterfeit seizures in the past 3 months. Prior seizures included counterfeit jewelry and luxury watches.

If you have had your shipments seized by Customs, and you receive a “Notice of Seizure”, you should take action – call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. CBP seizures do not just go away and you may expose yourself and your company to personal, criminal and civil liability – call today!

 

 

 

 

Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program in effect starting June 12, 2018.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration  (TSA) announced that the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program went into effect on June 12, 2018. The ACAS program requires submitting in advance air cargo information on shipments arriving in the US from a foreign location.

Starting today, the program is now mandatory for all airlines flying to the United States and requires submitting pre-arrival air cargo data to CBP prior to landing or transiting through the United States. The new ACAS program is a joint effort between the CBP and TSA to screen high volumes of cargo and to identify high-risk cargo and minimize risks.

The interim final rule can be found here on the Federal Register.

If you have any questions about ACAS program compliance, please contact David Hsu anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

US Customs seizes family’s life savings.

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As has been widely reported in the news, an immigrant family in Ohio had Customs seize $58,100 of their money, an amount described as the family’s life savings.

Rustem Kazazi was headed to Albania when Customs and Border Protection stopped them at the airport and seized their cash. The cash was separated into three stacks ranging from $19,000 to $20,000 per stack.

The family is now suing CBP because they claim CBP used civil forfeiture laws to take the money without an arrest being made or charges against anyone.

Kazazi planned to spend six months in Albania and the funds were earmarked for a vacation home along the Adriatic Cost and to help extended family. The cash was also to pay living expenses while they spent 6 months back in Albania.

Will be following this and the other currency seizure involving the Texas nurse and post updates on the cases as they progress.

I’m surprised the currency was seized in Cleveland as he was supposed to take a flight to Newark, NJ before leaving from there to Albania. The currency reporting requirements are for reporting currency and or monetary instruments over $10,000 upon entering and or leaving the country. It seems in this instant case that Kazazi wasn’t leaving the country when they seized his currency, his next flight was from Ohio to Newark and then to Albania.

If you or someone you know has had a currency seizure and has any questions – contact experienced currency seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.comm 

Cash seizures by CBP during busy Memorial Day and tips on what you need to do if you have had your cash seized.

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CBP media release noted multiple drug arrests over the Memorial Day weekend at the Buffalo area (Peace Bridge and Lewiston Ports of Entry). Most of the incidents involved travelers with illegal substances and arrests on several US travelers for outstanding warrants.

Lastly, CBP seized $20,000 in currency from a Canadian citizen for failure to report currency over $10,000.

The media release indicates CBP seized the currency and “the traveler was refused entry into the United States”.

What? At least let the guy in –

If you are ever traveling and have your currency seized, be sure to do the following:

  1. Give Customs and Border Protection your real address. They will send you a certified letter.
  2. Cooperate with Customs officials.
  3. Disclose all the money you have up front.
  4. You will be asked to sign a FinCen form, sign it only after you write down all the money you really have.

Here are some other tips:

  1. CBP will seize all currency, doesn’t matter if it is in US dollars or in currency of another country.
  2. Money orders, checks also count, it is not just cash that is counted.
  3. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving or entering the country – you have to declare the currency anytime you ENTER or LEAVE the US.
  4. Check your mail within 1-2 weeks of your currency seizure.
  5. Do not ignore the letter you will receive from Customs.
  6. Call experienced Currency Seizure attorney David Hsu immediately at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.