CBP seizes ancient artifacts for repatriation.

pexels-photo-122164.jpeg

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers at Miami International Airport (MIA) seized two shipments containing suspected ancient artifacts.

The first shipment from the United Kingdom was a wooden cargo container with a manifest indicating a value of $252,000. When CBP opened the container they found a helmet appearing to be an ancient artifact. An expert appraiser determined the helmet to be an authentic “Corinthian Helmet” dating back to 100-500 B.C.

The second seizure was from El Salvador containing 13 artifacts of Mayan origin.

While not frequently mentioned in the press, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their country of origin. CBP works with ICE to ensure the repatriation rules are followed.

If you or someone you know has had artifacts seized, call experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free consultation.

Highlights from CBP’s FY2017 Trade and Travel Report.

CBP FY2017 Trade Travel Report

Screenshot of the FY2017 CBP Trade and Travel Report

CBP released their “Trade and Travel” fiscal year 2017 report on February 13, 2018 and here are a few highlights from the report:

1. CBP officers processed more than 397.2 million travelers at the air, land, and sea ports of entry in 2017
2. Arriving air travelers has increased each year since FY2009 with 4.2 percent more air arrivals over FY2016
3. CBP collected $40.1 billion in duties, taxes and fees in FY2017
4. Automated processing at airports has increased from 3.3% in FY2013 to over 50% in FY2017
5. CBP processed $2.39 trillion in imports
6. CBP processed 33.2 million entries and more than 28.5 million cargo containers
7. Shipments violating intellectual property rights increased by 8% in FY2017 to 34,143 seizures
8. Establishment of the E-Commerce and Small Business Branch within the Office of Trade in FY2017

The full text of the report can be found here.

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

CBP seizes fake perfume valued over $31 million.

woman-girl-young-beauty.jpg

In the past few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in the seaport at Los Angeles have seized over 475,000 bottles of imported perfume bearing counterfeit trademarks. While the cost of the counterfeit perfumes may be low, if genuine, CBP estimates the MSRP of the seized perfumes to retail over $31 million.

CBP’s fiscal year starts October 1, 2017 and since then, CBP officials in Los Angeles have seized 11 shipments with suspected counterfeit marks along with confusingly similar fragrances. As you are aware, CBP enforces the trademarks for companies registered with CBP. The seizues included violations of trademarks belonging to over 34 perfume brands.

According to the CBP news release, the “counterfeit brands included Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Victoria Secret, and Perry Ellis among others.”

As a general rule, if you purchase perfume at prices “too good to be true”, it is likely the item is counterfeit. The news release indicates the counterfeit perfumes were packaged in boxes and colors resembling the genuine items with fake country of origin markings (“Made in France”) even though the port of origin was China.

CBP is especially vigilent in seizing suspected counterfeit perfumes as these items are placed on the skin and absorbed by the body – counterfeit perfumes may be composed of chemicals harmful to the body and may be made and sold without any product testing.

In FY 2016, CBP seized over $1.4 billion worth of counterfeit goods – if you have had your imports seized and want to speak to an experienced attorney, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

What is a Customs “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)”?

stairs-people-airport-escalators.jpg

After your property is seized at an airport, border crossing or any of the other 400 ports of entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send you a “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)” by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address you provided to CBP at the time of the seizure.

DHS and CBP are required by law to send you the notice under 19 USC 1607 and 19 CFR 162.45. The notice tells you that DHS has seized the items and will intend to “forfeit and sell, or otherwise dispose of according to law”. The final disposition of your seized property ultimately depends on the item seized.

If you do not receive a notice by mail, you can still file a claim within 30 days from the date of the publication of the CBP “Official Notification” posted on the forfeiture.gov website.

If you have had currency, suspected trademarked goods, or any other property seized by Customs, call David Hsu, an experienced customs and trade law attorney who works for you to get your hard earned property and money back. Call or email anytime, 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Dulles CBP seizes $11k from couple traveling to Vietnam.

pexels-photo-259132.jpeg

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $11,882 from a couple traveling out of Dulles on February 6, 2018.

During inspections of travelers leaving the US, CBP stopped a couple boarding a flight to Vietnam. When stopped by CBP, the couple initially told CBP they had $4,000. CBP officers then read the reporting requirements to the travelers who then claimed they possessed $7,000. Upon further questioning, the travelers wrote down they had $9,000. After searching the traveler’s belongings, CBP found additional currency in the male passenger’s pants and and a purse belonging to the female traveler. A total of $11,882 was seized by CBP.

CBP does not limit how much money travelers can carry, however, CBP does require reporting of any currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more. A common misconception we hear at our law office is that the amount of money being carried will somehow be subject to a tax, which is not true.

As the couple was traveling to Vietnam at the start of February, I believe the large amount of cash was to be used during the celebration of Tet which falls on Friday, February 16th this year. Hopefully the couple will return in time to respond to the seizure notice that will inevitably be mailed to their address on file.

If your hard-earned money was taken as part of the $289,000 seized on average by CBP daily,  call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, we are here for you!

 

 

 

Importing Refurbished Cell Phones and Customs Seizures.

iPhone Housing

Today’s blog post is in response to our firm seeing an increase in the number of importers having their Samsung or Apple phones seized by Customs.

Typically, our client is a company in the United States that purchases used Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones from the US. The used phones vary anywhere from A to C stock and may have broken screens, defective home buttons, scratched, dented or damaged housing or cracked camera lens. Some phones are store demos with burn-in on the screens, customer returns or old, new stock. The phones are packaged and then sent to China for repair and refurbishing. The fixed phones are then sent back to the US for sale through wholesalers and distributors.

However, as the phones are shipped back to the company in the US, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detains shipments to review whether or not the cell phones violate any intellectual property rights (IPR).

CBP will first detain the phones and has 30-days to speak to the trademark or IPR holder to determine the authenticity of the trademark or IPR. The trademark could be the “Samsung” logo, the “Apple” logo or even the “iPhone” trademark printed in text on the back of the phones. More often than not, the shipped phones change from being “detained” to being “seized”.

The majority of the seizures are due to trademarks found on the rear housing of the phones. As most importers cannot provide authorization by the trademark or IPR holder the right to use the mark, CBP considers the importer phones to be counterfeit and are then subsequently seized.

If you have had your refurbished iPhone or Samsung phone seized by Customs, call experienced cell phone seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. There are certain time limitations after a seizure has occurred so contact David Hsu today.

Bassett Mirror Company to pay $10.5 million for allegations of evading customs duties.

pexels-photo-172276.jpeg

According to a January 16, 2018 Department of Justice press release – Virginia based home furniture company, Bassett Mirror Company (Bassett) will pay $10.5 million to resolve allegations that Bassett violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by “knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC)”.

Wooden bedroom furniture from the People’s Republic Of China is covered under case number: A-570-890 and the scope includes:


The product covered by the order is wooden bedroom furniture. Wooden bedroom furniture is generally, but not exclusively, designed, manufactured, and offered for sale in coordinated groups, or bedrooms, in which all of the individual pieces are of approximately the same style and approximately the same material and/or finish. The subject merchandise is made substantially of wood products, including both solid wood and also engineered wood products made from wood particles, fibers, or other wooden materials such as plywood, oriented strand board, particle board, and fiberboard, with or without wood veneers, wood overlays, or laminates, with or without non-wood components or trim such as metal, marble, leather, glass, plastic, or other resins, and whether or not assembled, completed, or finished.

Since 2004, imports of wooden beddroom furniture from China have been subject to dumping duties and the current PRC rate is 216 percent.

The US Department of Justice alleged that for a five year period (2009 to 2014), Bassett evaded payment of antidumping duties owed by misclassifying the furniture as non-bedroom furniture on import documents. By classifying imports as “non-bedroom furniture”, Bassett avoiding paying the duty rate of 216%.

In general, antidumping duties are imposed against foreign companies for “dumping” products into the US market at prices below cost. Most of the foreign companies are located in “non market economy” countries such as People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. By imposing anti dumping duties on goods, the US Department of Commerce is attempting to protect US businesses and “level the playing field” for domestically manufactured products.

Given the current administration in the White House, we can expect the Department of Justice, CBP, and Commerce to further strengthen their enforcement of antidumping duties for any and all goods entering the US.

If you are not sure whether your imports from China are considered “wooden bedroom furniture, or if you have been alleged to violate the false claims act by misclassifying imports, avoiding payment of duties or any other import and export related claim from the US government, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com immediately. There is no cost for the initial consultation and in most instances, time limits to take action are running – don’t miss your chance, contact us today.

CBP agriculture specialists intercept pest found in used vehicles from Germany.

Agriculture

Photo of the moth from the CBP media release.

The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists in Florida found a potentially destructive pest while inspecting a shipment of used vehicles from Germany.

This is the first time CBP has intercepted this pest in the United States. The pest found was the Tortricidae moth, also commonly known as the tortrix moth or leafroller moth.

CBP considers the Tortricidae moth to be a serious pest because the moth often feeds on fruits of apple and peach crops.

This interception was just one of the tens of thousands of actional pests seized by CBP agriculture specialists.

If Customs has seized any of your imports or you received a letter from any of the US agencies regarding seized property, call David Hsu, we work hard to get you your items back, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

Baltimore CBP and the CPSC Seize Children’s “Activity Cubes” due to Potential Choking Hazard.

ToyScreengrab

Above photo is a screengrab from the Customs website showing the seized children’s mini activity cubes.

As the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) functions as the USA’s border security agency – CBP enforces hundreds of laws from different agencies. For example, CBP may seize imported automotive parts that violate Department of Transportation regulations or CBP may seize counterfeit and tainted foods products that violate Food and Drug Administration rules.

On January 15th, CBP officers in Baltimore examined a shipment of toys valued at $5,600 from Hong Kong and submitted samples of the toys to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). CBP officers initially sent this sample to the CPSC because the toys appeared to contain potential choking hazards.

CPSC subsequently tested the activity cubes and determined the toys violated the small parts requirement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act [15 USC §1263]. A copy of the FHSA can be found at this link: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/fhsa.pdf

Unfortunately for this importer, they won’t be able to get their goods and may face further penalties from Customs. If you have had your imports seized by Customs due to DOT, CPSC, FDA or any of the other alphabet soup of government agency regulations, please call David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, free consultations.

Dulles CBP seizes over $143k in currency from travelers to and from Ghana.

pexels-photo-259191.jpeg

 

According to a January 18, 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $143,968.00 in unreported currency. The seizure occurred at Washington Dulles International Airport and reflected the combined total of currency seized during three separate incidents from travelers departing and arriving from Ghana.

On Sunday, a man arriving from Ghana reported possessing $10,000 in currency. Upon subsequent inspection CBP found an additional $10,000 wrapped in a t-shirt in the man’s carryon baggage.

Also on Sunday, CBP seized over $100,000 in cash from a man heading to Ghana who initially claimed to carry $2,000. Subsequent search by CBP found $10,000 each in 10 bank envelopes in the man’s carryon backpack.

The day before, CBP seized over $23,000 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted CBP officers to the traveler’s carryon baggage.

On Saturday, CBP officers seized $23,826 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted to his carry-on bag. The man initially reported that he possessed $5,000. A baggage exam revealed $23,826 in a suit jacket and camera bag.

Unfortunately for these travelers, CBP seized the entire funds, and only providing about $1,000 to each traveler as a “humanitarian monetary release”.

If you have had a currency seizure at Dulles, IAH, LAX or any other port of entry to the US, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com at anytime for a free consultation. We work hard to get your money back.