COVID and Counterfeits.

As the year ends, the 2020 COVID lockdowns has resulted in increased seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of face masks, un approved testing kits, unlabeled medicine, non-FDA approved treatments, etc.

COVID-19 Test Kit
Image of non-FDA approved COVID-19 test kits, source CBP.gov

In the past month, CBP has seized:

  1. 6,080 counterfeit 3M masks in Cincinnati labeled as “3M Disposable Respirators Model 8210”. The shipment from Hong Kong was scrutinized by CBP because the country of origin marking on the outside of the box was labeled as “Made in the USA”. CBP officers determined the 3M masks were counterfeit and seized the goods before they were to be sent to Kingston, Jamaica.
  2. CBP officers in San Diego seized a shipment containing 251 non-FDA approved COVID-19 test kits from Mexico. The shipment caught the attention of CBP because the kits were manifested as plastic cards. Over 251 test kits divided among two packages were seized and likely to be destroyed.
  3. In another shipment, CBP officers in El Paso seized more than 100,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks for use by hospital workers. If authentic, the N95 surgical masks carried an MSRP of $600,480.

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

ICE HSI special agents determined the masks were counterfeit after working with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and 3M Company.

“The seizure of these counterfeit surgical masks not only ensures the health and safety of our frontline health care workers by preventing them from receiving inferior personal protective equipment, it also protects the integrity of the American economy.  We will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain.” said Erik P. Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI El Paso.

“HSI and CBP will continue to collaborate to prevent unauthorized and counterfeit products from getting to U.S. consumers to protect the health and safety of the American public and the American economy,” said Ysleta Port Director Arnoldo Gomez. “This large seizure of counterfeit surgical masks, destined for frontline medical workers, demonstrates the great collaborative effort between CBP and HSI. Counterfeit surgical masks pose a great risk to our medical community, and any individual who may use them.” 

This shipment is in violation of Importation, Removal and Contrary to Law (19 U.S.C. 1595a(c)(2)(A)) and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. ICE HSI El Paso is investigating the seizure with assistance from CBP.

ICE HSI launched Operation Stolen Promise in April 2020 to protect U.S. consumers from the increasing and evolving threat posed by the pandemic. The operation involves various federal agencies, including CBP, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and multiple private sector partners, including Pfizer, 3M, Amazon and others.

Operation Stolen Promise combines ICE HSI’s expertise in global trade, financial fraud, international operations and cybercrime to investigate financial fraud schemes, the importation of prohibited pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, offending e-commerce schemes, and any other illicit criminal activities associated with the COVID-19 virus that may compromise legitimate trade, financial systems and/or endangers the public. 

For more information or to report COVID

Counterfeit COVID test kits, medication and facemasks seized by CBP.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Baltimore and Pittsburgh seized shipments of unapproved or counterfeit COVID-19 medications, facemasks and testing kits.

The seizure included more than 58,000 face masks with designs violating trademarks of several designer consumer brands, professional sports teams, car manufacturers and cartoon characters. See below for a sampling of the various designs violating protected marks.

In addition to the facemasks, CBP officers also seized products claiming to be medication for COVID infected persons and more than 130 test kits not on the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) list. Due to the non-compliance with FDA rules, the goods were seized and deemed inadmissible.

If you have had your good seized by Customs for violating FDA rules, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Images of seized test kits, source: CBP.gov

Unauthorized COVID medicine seized.

COVID-19 treatment bills – source: CBP.gov

Since July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Seattle have seized 8 shipments totaling over 2,400 pills of unauthorized influenza treatments for COVID-19. Working with the FDA, CBP prevents unauthorized medicines that may mislead consumers by falsely claiming to treat or prevent diseases.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs and want to explore your options contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes unapproved disinfectant wipes.

Image of seized disinfecting wipes, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Alabama seized over $120,000 worth of disinfecting wipes that were mislabeled and unregistered. The 843 boxes contained 20,016 bottles of disinfectant wipes with no approved markings from the FDA or EPA.

Since June of this year, CBP has seized over 120,000 COVID-19 test kits, 10 million counterfeit face masks, 20,000 chloroquine tablets and over 4,000 tablets of antibiotics.

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 and counterfeit goods seized by Customs.

Counterfeit COVID medications, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Baltimore seized unapproved COVID-19 medications, facemasks and test kits earlier this month.

The seized goods included 1,200 pills of COVID medicines, including Hydroxycholorquine sulfate, 2,000 pills of various anti-COVID drugs not approved by the FDA, and 100 unapproved test kids. Besides unapproved drugs and test kits, CBP also seized face masks with registered trademarked logos such as Nike, Adidas, Fila and even Manchester City football club.

This most recent seizure is just one of many seizures of test kits, diagnostic kits, respirators and even unapproved face masks.

If your goods have been seized by Customs, contact customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit 3M masks seized by CBP.

Fake Masks
Image of seized masks, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Branch detained (and subsequently seized) a package from China manifested as containing contents as industrial masks on May 30.

The shipment contained in 24 boxes with each box containing 10 3M brand, 8822 Plus Masks. CBP suspected the masks as counterfeit due to low value, poor quality and poor packaging.

After CBP detained the masks, samples were sent to 3M where the shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality. A subsequent 3M authenticator (didn’t know they had those) confirmed the masks were counterfeit – if real, the masks would have an MSRP of $813.

Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we will likely see more importations of counterfeit PPE, medicine and thermometers.

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

To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.

Britain confirmed to quit Huawei in its 5G network.

Photo by Maël BALLAND on Pexels.com

According to the Voice of America quoting a British political insider – the British government will quit plans to use Huawei technology in its 5G network, with an announcement coming soon. The announcement will also discuss the gradual removal of the current Huawei technology in place. Part of the decision is due to the COVID-19 crisis and public disillusionment with Beijing along with strong opposition to Huawei from senior members.

The VOA article stated initial public support for Huawei changed due to China’s handling of the coronavirus and the situation over Hong Kong. Lastly, the article mentions Britain’s Prime Minister Johnson’s fight against COVID-19 also likely resulted in a tougher view towards China.

In response, Huawei launched an advertising campaign reminding the British public of their 20 year involvement in the UK and their “commitment to helping bring fast reliable mobile and full fiber broadband networks to every part [of] the country.”

The United States will likely welcome the news as they have been lobbying the UK government and according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “The United States stands with our allies and partners” and “stands ready to assist our friends in the U.K. with any needs they have, from building secure and reliable nuclear power plants to developing trusted 5G solutions that protect their citizens’ privacy,” Pompeo said.

It will be interesting to see whether Nokia or Ericcson are picked to replace Huawei in England. Will post more as news becomes available.

Birmingham CBP seizes unapproved thermometers.

Image of seized thermometers, source: CBP.gov

CBP officers in Birmmingham seized 500 unregistered non-contact and infrared thermometers with country of origin as Malaysia or China. If genuine articles, the value of the shipment would have totaled $21,400.

The thermometers did contain the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) markings on the packaging and the devices, but the shipment was still seized as the shipping company was not registered with the FDA when the thermometers were imported. The registration of the shipping company is required as part of the pre-market notification process under section 510(k) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

According to CBP, so far this year they have seized 107,000 illegal COVID-19 test kits, 11,000 doses of chloroquine and more than 750,000 counterfeit masks. Given the current increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, CBP will likely be seizing more thermometers, face masks and chloroquine in the near future.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu to discuss your options anytime by mobile phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

New trade war? China advises its citizens to not visit Australia.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

According to the Japan Times website today, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism advised China’s citizens not to visit Australia due to racial discrimination and violence against Asians due to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Australia believes Friday’s travel advisory is in retaliation for Australia advocating an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. A claim verified when Chinese Ambassador to Australia – Cheng Jingye told Australian media that the country might face a Chinese boycott of its tourism and exports of wine, beef and other goods if the government pressed for a corona virus inquiry.

This travel advisory is in addition to the 80% tariffs China has placed on the import of Australian barley and a beef ban on Australian beef suppliers due to labeling issues. Australia argues they do not want a trade war and that no evidence supports dumping of Australian barley or errors in beef labeling.

If you have any trade, import, export, or compliance questions – feel free to contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit and unapproved COVID-19 products continue to be seized by CBP.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to seize many shipments of counterfeit, unapproved or other COVID-19 products of questionable quality.

At the beginning of June 2020, CBP has seized the following COVID-19 related items:

107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents;
750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents;
2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and
11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.

In addition to the risk of using non-FDA approved drugs, CBP claims the sale of counterfeit COVID-19 goods benefit organized crime.

If you have had your shipment seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime to 832-896-6288 or contact us by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.