China General Nuclear Power Group added to BIS entity list.

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This past Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce added China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) to the BIS entity list. As a result, American companies are now prevented from selling any products to China’s largest state-owned nuclear company. If any American company or person does business with CGN (or any other listed entity), they would be violating the law and subject to persecution.

The U.S. Department of Commerce claims CGN its subsidiaries engaged in activity to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for use in the Chinese military.

China claims the real goal of placing CGN on the entity list is to limit China’s growth under China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative. Made in China 2025 is an effort by the Chinese government to increase the high tech capability and manufacturing of China. If successful, the “Made in China 2025” efforts will make China the a superpower in high technology in Asia.

If you have any questions about your company’s operations and want to ensure compliance with the new entity list addition, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

U.S. may ban cocoa imports from Ivory Coast due to potential use of child labor.

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Last week, Ivory Coast’s First Lady and US officials met to discuss a proposed US ban on Ivory Coast cocoa. Ivory coast is the world’s largest supplier of cooca (supplying 1/3 of all the world’s cocoa supply) and the Ivory Coast government is fighting every effort to block Ivorian cocoa from entering US ports.

The use of forced child labor to harvest cocoa has been an issue many chocolate wholesalers such as Mars, Nestle and Hershey have tried to eliminate, mostly through efforts such as monitoring supply chains and certification by third-party monitors. However, the recent report by two US Senators includes evidence of continued use of forced labor and the Washington Post reported earlier in June that 2 million children work in West African cocoa farms.

The Senators believe a new ban would further increase pressure on cocoa farmers and Customs officials are authorized to ban all products from entering the US if evidence indicates the products are or reasonably indicate they are produced with forced or indentured labor.

Will post more if the ban goes through, and if you want to avoid your company facing a ban due to any future customs issues, contact experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu, we can audit the supply chain process prior to importation to ensure compliance, call 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes toys without proper labels – won’t somebody think of the children?

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Image of the seized toys. Source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Champlain Port of Entry seized a shipment of toys valued at $28,747 due to a lack of a required tracking label and lack of a General Certificate of Conformity as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act.

What is a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC)?

  1. A GCC is required for products made overseas or by a US manufacturer of a domestically produced good.
  2. The certificate reflects the results of a test of each product.
  3. An extensive list of all non-children’s products requiring a test can be found here.
  4. The GCC is accompanied with a shipment and manufacturers/importers must provide GCC to a distributor or retailer.
  5. If a manufacturer or importer sells direct to consumers, then no GCC is necessary.
  6. If you would like a Sample GCC form, please email me.
  7. A GCC does not need to be filed with the Government.
  8. Electronic certificates are okay, with some manufacturers and importers posting their certificates online.
  9. A GCC is required for EACH shipment.
  10. A GCC does not need to be signed.
  11. Failure to provide a GCC could lead to civil and criminal penalties.

If you have any questions or want to be in compliance with the GCC requirements, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

GitHub blocks developers in countries facing US trade sanctions.

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GitHub (owned by Microsoft) is the world’s largest software development platform that provides hosting for software development version control using Git. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7.5 billion and has recently started blocking developers in countries facing US trade sanctions.

For example, last week Github restricted the account of Anatoliy Kashkin, a 21-year-old Russian citizen who lives in Crimea. He was told his GitHub account had been restricted “due to US trade controls”.

The correspondence from GitHub advised Kashkin of GitHub’s US trade control policy – listing Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria as countries facing US sanctions. In addition to his website now showing a 404 error, Kashkin also can’t access his previous work.

GitHub’s website does advise that “Users are responsible for ensuring that the content they develop and share on GitHub.com complies with the U.S. export control laws, including the EAR (Export Administration Regulations) and the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)” and that “The cloud-hosted service offering available at Github.com has not been designed to host data subject to the ITAR and does not currently offer the ability to restrict repository access by country. If you are looking to collaborate on ITAR- or other export-controlled data, we recommend you consider GitHub Enterprise Server, GitHub’s on-premises offering.”

Besides banning accounts for individuals in Crimea, GitHub has also restricted developers in Iran.

If you want to ensure your company is in compliance with the Export Administration Regulations and the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

“Ignorantia juris non excusat” and the need for export compliance in the wake of the Huawei ban.

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Huawei’s surprise placement on the BIS Entity List highlights the crucial need for your company to have a compliance program in place.

Many people believe export compliance programs only apply to the big guys – however, even the smallest business that sends their products to customers outside of the country are subject to the various export regulations and the steep penalties for export violations. as the saying goes, Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses not” and “ignorance of law excuses no one” respectively).

Small and medium sized company personnel may not know of these requirements until it is too late – fines for export violations can reach up to $1 million per violation in criminal cases and administrative cases can result in penalties amount to the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the transaction. Criminal violators may even face up to 20 years in jail time and punishment for administrative cases can include denial of export privileges – it’s a risk you can’t afford to take.

Here are a few quick tips to protect your company –

  1. Be sure your exported items do not require an export license.
  2. Determine if the destination country requires an export license.
  3. Know your customers – screen who is buying your goods and be sure a restricted party does not receive your goods.
  4. Red flags – does the destination country of your product meet a need for your product?
  5. Be sure you have a copy of all the required documentation – it is not enough to hire a freight forwarder to handle the export.

For more information and a no obligation consultation on creating an export compliance program – contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

General Tips for New Importers.

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Importing anything into the US is a trap for the unweary and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP or “Customs”) does not accept “I didn’t know that” as a valid excuse. CBP requires all importers and exporters to be aware of the law before they import or export and as the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”.

Here are a few tips –
1. You do not need an “import license” to import into the US.
2. You may need a license, certification or permit from other Federal agencies depending on what you want to import.
3. You need an Importer of Record number, typically your IRS business registration number.
4. If you don’t have an IRS business number, you can apply for a number from CBP through Form 5106 (after the shutdown).
5. Consult the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to see how your merchandise will be classified when entering the US.
6. You can get a ruling prior to an importation of merchandise through CBP to ensure proper classifcation and rate of duty.
7. Seek out the assistance of a Customs Broker licensed by CBP. You can find a list of Customs Brokers at your port through the CBP.gov website.

The seven tips above are just the tip of the iceberg of what CBP will require an importer to know. Feel free to give us a call before you begin importing – we’re here to help. Call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Givens and Johnston, PLLC at Breakbulk Americas 2018.

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Earlier this week, Givens and Johnston, PLLC attorneys – James Garland Hurst and David Hsu staffed the G&J booth at Breakbulk Americas 2018.

James and David were on hand to answer questions related to wood packaging materials and cost-effective solutions to deal with a “wood packaging material” notice from Customs. As you are aware, Customs vigorously inspects wood packaging material shipments entering the US for presence of invasive pests that damage the US ecosystem.

James and David also answered questions regarding ftz’s, bonded warehouses, import and export, compliance matters, Section 232 and 301 duties and the whole range related trade matters.

See you at Breakbulk Americas 2019! In the meantime, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for all your import, export and trade matters.

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APHIS Recognizes Mexico as Free of Classical Swine Fever.

pig-alp-rona-furna-sow-63285.jpegClassical swine fever (CSF or sometimes referred to as hog cholera/swine fever/European swine fever) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. CSF used to be widespread but many countries had eradicated the disease until it was reintroduced in 1997-199 (CSF was eradicated in the US in the 1970’s). A 1997 outbreak of CSF in the Netherlands involved more than 400 herds and cost $2.3 billion dollars to eradicate with some 12 million pigs killed.

While eradicated in North America, the US is also not immune to the risk as CSF is still endemic in South and Central America. Because of this, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) previously classified imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products from Mexico as risky following a 2015 site review.

However, at the request of Mexico’s government, the USDA APHIS has now determined that the risk of CSF through Mexican imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products is very low. As such, these items can now be saefly imported into the US as long as the imports follow APHIS’ import regulations.

Importations of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products must (1) be accompanied by a certificate issued by a Mexican government veterinary officer, (2) must come from swine raised and slaughtered in regions APHIS considers CSF free.

If your company would like more information regarding importation of swine and swine products or other general USDA APHIS concerns, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

What is the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act?

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Short Answer: The Global Magnitsky Act is a US effort to stop human rights abuses and corrupt actors by allowing President Trump to impose sanctions against parties involved in human rights violations and corruption around the world.

This Act sounds familiar, how is it different from the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (“Magnitsky Act”)? The Magnitsky Act was only targeting human rights abusers in Russia. The Global Magnitsky Act applies to human rights abusers and corrupt actors globally.

Long Answer: President Trump signed Executive Order 13818 titled “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuses or Corruption” on December 20, 2017 implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“Global Magnitsky Act”).

The passage of the Global Magnitsky Act authorizes President Trump to impose sanctions on individuals, governments or other entities who commit human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, torture, gross violations of human rights. Additionally, this act also applies to parties who are involved in significant corruption such as expropriation of assets for personal gain, corruption in government contracts, bribery or other acts of corruption.

In late December, OFAC also designated 52 new parties as SDN’s as part of the Global Magnitsky Act and the Executive Order. If you are in trade compliance, be sure to check out the new OFAC designated parties as the updated list includes parties from the following countries: The Gambia, South Sudan, Russia, Nicaragua, China, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

These designations are the first under the Global Magnitsky Act and won’t be the last.

Click the below link for the U.S. Department of Treasury sanction list and other OFAC information:

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx

If you have any questions about compliance with the new or old Magnitsky Act, OFAC, SDN or blocked persons or any general trade compliance matters, call 832.896.6288 or e-mail attorney.dave@yahoo.com

2018 Houston BIS Export Compliance Event – Register Now.

hall-congress-architecture-building-159213.jpegSave the date if you are in Houston and want to learn more about BIS export compliance.

The first two-day program session will be led by BIS staff and provide in depth information regarding Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Covered topics include EAR, how to determine export control classification numbers (ECCN); when to reexport without applying for a license, Export Management Compliance Program (EMCP) and more!

Additionally, session 2 on day three covers technology controls, specifically how to comply with U.S. export and reexport controls related to technology and software. Topics include export or reexport of technology, kinds of tech and software subject to EAR, license exceptions and more!

The 3-day seminar will be held at the Norris Conference Center in City Centre Houston near Beltway 8 and I-10 West.

For more details, click the link below:

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=qg6pm6iab&oeidk=a07eeqlbbsq77507f3b