Counterfeit driver’s licenses continue to be imported (and seized).

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Image of seized ID’s, source: CBP.gov

In the past 18, Dallas CBP officers seized over 2000 counterfeit driver’s licenses from overseas, with 900 of the fake ID’s seized in the past 6 months. Most of the fake ID’s are hidden in contents of packages within larger items in the package. In an attempt to discourage the purchase of fake ID’s overseas, CBP officers noted that providing personal information to counterfeiters also carry a risk of the peron’s identity personal information being shared. From the media release, local law enforcement contacted the purchasers of the counterfeit ID cards and warned them of the risks of counterfeiters.

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In situations like this, the importer of record will not be getting these cards released and the case will likely be referred to HSI as part of a potential criminal case.

If you or someone you know receives a letter from CBP or Homeland Security Investigation, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Fake Roku streaming devices seized by Customs.

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Image of seized Roku remotes, source: CBP.gov

With shelter in place taking effect over larger parts of the US, people are streaming more than ever. Perhaps to capitalize upon this, one importer in Philadelphia had a shipment of 1,600 Roku remotes seized by CBP in late April.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Pittsburgh seized 1,600 counterfeit Roku remotes last week. If authentic, the remotes would have an approximate MSRP of $80,000. The media release claimed the remotes were made from “substandard materials that could easily break” and lacked the “full inventory of options or commands that an authentic remote offers”.

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Were these remotes really counterfeit? I’ve handled many cases from my clients who have had their goods seized. Especially my clients in the refurbishment business. Used or returned goods to a retailer are liquidated in bulk to wholesalers or other private companies who will repair the goods (refurbish) and then resell as used in various condition. Retailers frequently liquidate returned goods such as phones and other personal electronics.

As refurbishment costs are high in the United States, it is more economical to send the damaged goods overseas (typically to China) for repair and then sent back. The problem is upon shipment back to the US, CBP will detain the goods on suspicion of an IPR violation. CBP suspects the goods are counterfeit because (1) the repair process makes the goods appear new, and (2) the goods are shipped in non-oem packaging – typically in bubble wrap and bundled together to save on freight charges. In the photo above from CBP, you can see the remotes in bubble wrap and shipped without the typical Roku packaging. When CBP sees items such as these remotes, or typically repaired iphones or Samsung phones, they believe the goods are counterfeit even though the items were shipped to China for repair.

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What happens during a customs seizure? If you are an importer, CBP may detain your shipment first. While your shipment is detained, CBP sends a photo of the item to the intellectual property right (IPR) holder. The IPR holder will more likely than not tell CBP the goods are counterfeit. If so, CBP will seize the goods and issue a seizure notice.

You will be mailed a seizure notice by certified mail, return receipt requested (CMRRR). If you receive the notice, make a note of the letter date and add 30 days – write down the 30 days and be sure you respond before 30 days has expired.

If you receive a notice of seizure, do not ignore the seizure notice. If so, CBP may forfeit your goods and issue you a penalty. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

New Update – Port of Anchorage, Alaska closed.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

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.