New Update – Port of Anchorage, Alaska closed.

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I earlier posted about CSMS #42243866, in which the Port of Anchorage was closed Thursday and Friday due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. However, CBP subsequently released CSMS #42247648 in which they announced the Federal Building at 605 West 4th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska that houses the CBP Area Port office (3126) is now closed for at least 14 days.

The CSMS further announces any documents (entry packages, FP&F payments, petitions, etc.) that would be sent to the 605 West 4th Avenue address should be submitted to: CBP Cargo Office at Ted Stevens International Airport (4600 Postmark Drive, Room NA207, Anchorage, Alaska, 99502).

The Anchorage Seaport and Cargo operations are still running and business as usual.

Hope the employee has a quick and speedy recovery!

CBP in Houston finds pests inside wood packaging materials.

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Photo of pests, source: cbp.gov

Earlier this week in Houston, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at the Houston Seaport found several wood packaging material shipments arriving to the Houston port from March 5 – March 12 containing timber pests that may cause damage to the forest and trees.

All 5 of shipments with the wood packaging material pests were immediately exported and unable to offload in Houston.  CBP along with the Department of Agriculture took samples of the pests and the pests were identified as a bark beetle from the wood wasp family.

All importers should be aware of any shipments in WPM used to brace, secure and support cargo.

If you have a wood packaging materials issue – you may not have to export, contact experienced wood packaging materials attorney – David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

What is a Customs Form 28 (CF-28)(CBP Form 28) Request for Information?

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Image of the CF-28, source: CBP.gov

If you are an importer, you may have received a Customs Form 29 (CF-29) or CBP Form 28. This form is an official request for information from Customs.

Why did I receive a CBP Form 28?
Upon importation of your goods, if Customs finds incomplete, inaccurate or insufficient information, they will send a CF 28 to your office.

What does Customs ask for?
Customs will ask for different things depending on what you imported. They could ask for more information or ask for a sample, or any additional information related the specific goods you imported.

What are some common reasons to receive a CF-28?
Most common issues relate to HTS code classification, intellectual property rights, antidumping and countervailing duty and more.

Do I need to respond?
Yes, you need to respond honestly to the CF-28 wihtin the time specified on the letter. A response is due 30 days from the date of the request (the Date of Request is located in box #1 at the top left corner of page 1).

What do I do if I receive a CF-28?
1. Make a note of the due date.
2. Try to respond as quickly as possible.
3. Answer all questions, be sure to look at box 14 to see if there are any additional items you are asked to provide.
4. Talk to your Customs broker if you need copies of any documents.
5. Respond to all questions honestly

Feel free to reach out to Customs if you have questions. The CF-28 will contain the name, email and telephone number of the CBP Official in boxes 17-21 at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions on how to respond to the CF-28, contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

15,000 invasive mitten crabs seized since September 2019.

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Image of seized mitten crabs, source: CBP.gov

According to a US Customs and Border Protection media release, Customs agents in Cincinnati have seized 3,700 mitten crabs from China and Hong Kong in the past 4 months.

Over the past 4 months, 3,700 mitten crabs have been found in 51 shipments and were set to be delivered to New York. The shipments were labeled as “tools and various clothing articles”. Nationwide, Customs has seized over 15,000 mitten crabs since September 2019. The mitten crabs are considered a delicacy in Asia.

Here in the US, mitten crabs are an invasive species because they are omnivores and eat anything, impacting the food supply to aquatic plants, fish, algae, other crabs and all living organisms in the water. Mitten crabs are also especially invasive as they are found in fresh water when young and salty water in adult life. Mitten crabs also tend to burrow furthering land erosion and weakening levees and flood control measures.

If you have received a letter from Customs regarding the wrongful importation of invasive species or if you have questions about the exportation of foods that may be subject to Fish and Wildlife regulations, contact experienced Customs and seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $90,000 in counterfeit goods from Hong Kong.

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Image of seized goods. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers seized two shipments of counterfeit products arriving at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The first shipment’s manifest indicated the package contained men’s casual shoes. Upon inspection, CBP found a Rolex watch, LV bracelet, Christian Loubouton shoes, par of Amiri jeans, Gucci jacket and a LV sweatshirt. If authentic, the merchandise would have a manufacturer suggested retail price of $90,798.

In the second shipment, the packing list indicated phones cases – but instead contained designer brand charms and jewelry.

As is the case in most counterfeit seizures, poor quality of items and lack of authentic packaging were common indications of counterfeit merchandise.

CEE?
In all counterfeit seizure cases, CBP typically sends the counterfeited items to the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE for short). The CEE center is sort of a misnomer, as the CEE offices are located throughout the US and not in a centralized location. The CEE center then verifies the authenticity of the goods with the trademark holders. In all cases, the trademark holder will claim the seized goods are counterfeit.

So what happens after a seizure?
The importer of record (person who will receive the package) will receive a seizure notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. The importer of recorder can then either abandon the items, file a petition, offer in compromise or refer to court action.

If you have had a shipment seized by Customs for alleged counterfeit violations or if you have received a notice of seizure, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

WCO accepts 2022 Edition of the Harmonized System.

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Looking forward to 2022, the World Customs Organization has already accepted the 2022 Edition of the Harmonized System ready to take effect on January 1, 2022.

Known as “HS 2022”, the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) will be the latest revision to the uniform classifying of goods traded internationally around the globe.

As you are aware, the HS number is frequently referred to for Customs tariffs and used to track international trade statistics among the over 200+ economies actively participating in international commerce.

Upcoming changes include:

  1. e-waste product class
  2. new provisions for various novelty tobacco and nicotine products
  3. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) and drones will have their own specific provision instead of being grouped as “aircraft”
  4. smart phones will also receive their own subheading instead of being listed as “multifunctional devices”
  5. changes to subheadings for glass fibers and articles there of under heading 70.19
  6. changes to subheadings for metal forming machinery under heading 84.62 to reflect changing technologies

and many more changes. The WCO has not indicated all changes but will publish their “Recommendation” soon for a further introduction of upcoming changes.

If you have any questions regarding classification or want to be sure your goods are being entered correctly, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP inspects agriculture shipments for pests and diseases.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, Agriculture Specialist have inspected thousands of fresh cut Christmas trees, which are imported from Canada since last October continuing all the way to December. Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas holiday celebration in the World and trees are imported from November into mid-January.

Christmas Tree shipments to Puerto Rico were inspected by the US Department of Agriculture, which may require them be treated to remove harmful insects, diseases or pest that can spread and contaminate other trees or crops.

Some of the invasive species identified by CBP Agricultural Specialists have determined to be invasive pests include: Altica sp. (Chrysomelidae), Aphalara cathae (Linnaeus), Arion sp. (Arionidae), Caloptilla sp. (Gracillariidae), Cepaea sp. (Helicidae), Cinara sp. (Aphididae), Deroceras reticulatum (Muller), Galerucini Hylobius sp. (Curculionidae), Hylobius sp. (Curculionidae), Insecta Otiohynchus singularia (Linnaeus), Paria sp. (Chrysomelidae), Pubillia sp. (Membracidae), Pyrrharctia Isabella (Erebidae), and Xyleborus sp. (Curculionidae).

If your shipment has been seized by customs for containing invasive pests or if you have had a wood packaging/pest issue – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by text/phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP prohibits invasive pests from importation to the US.

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Image of invasive pests, source: CBP.gov

As we enter the holiday season, Agriculture Specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were busy conducting searches of trucks containing Christmas tree and greenery shipments. Over 200 trucks and 170,000 plant units were inspected, resulting in the interception of more than 350 invasive pests. Two of the invasive pests can be seen in the photo above.

Mid-November to early-December are the busiest times for the importation of trees and greenery used around the holidays. Without the help of CBP Agriculture Specialists, some of those pests may have arrived to certain parts of the US where they do not have any natural predators, resulting in millions of dollars in damage and the loss of large numbers of trees.

Typically if your imported items contain invasive pests, the items will be destroyed and not allowed into the stream of commerce. Our clients frequently encounter invasive pests (such as the wood-boring wasp) and their larve in wood packaging materials (WPM) used in the shipment of breakbulk and other containerized shipping to the US.

If you or anyone you know has had an invasive pest issue with WPM or your shipment is being denied entry into the US due to invasive pests, contact experienced WPM attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Importer pays $3+ million civil penalty to Customs.

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According to an U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, a company named Satisloh paid $3,320,425 for customs violations.

Satisloh imported machinery used to produce optical lenses but was hit with penalties for violation §19 U.S.C. 1592. Section 1592 allows Customs to issue penalties against importers who enter goods into the US by “false statements” or “omissions”.

We see many importers violate section 1592 because a false statement or omission can occur when describing a good for import, classifying a good by product number (HTSUS number) or providing false information on entry paperwork.

After a violation of section 1592, customs may issue a civil penalty, from there, the importer of record can try to submit an offer in compromise to customs to settle any claims. In this instance, Satisloh settled with Customs for $3,320,425.

If you have received a penalty notice, or notice of seizure or any other Customs action or Form. Contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Counterfeit Botox shipments seized.

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Seized counterfeit Botox, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Cincinnati’s express consignment facility recently seized multiple shipments of counterfeit Botox injections. The shipments were sent from Shenzhen and labeled as “leggings” and “facial gift”. The shipments were to be sent to individuals in Alabama, Texas and Utah.

Botox (botulinum toxin) is restricted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and cannot be imported into the U.S. without proper documentation. Pharmaceutical companies that produce legitimate botulinum toxin products can import them into the US and CBP has issued an informed compliance publication detailing how these products can legally be imported into the U.S.

While the Customs media release designates these Botox as counterfeit, I believe these Botox injections are an example of what is known as “parallel importation”. In parallel importation, individuals import drugs from countries where the government regulates the cost of pharmaceuticals. These countries that regulate the cost of pharmaceuticals include the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Canada. In the CBP media release, the seized Botox appears to be labeled in German. Most likely the shipper in Shenzhen buys the Botox from the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and exports to the US at a lower cost than Botox in the US.

If you or someone you know has had their shipment over pharmaceutical drugs shipped from overseas seized in the US, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.