US Customs agents ensure pest-free flowers just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Customs VDay

Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, Customs’ agriculture specialists are working hard to examine the hundreds of millions of cut flower stems arriving into the US in time for Valentine’s Day later this week. CBP will especially exam cut flower stems to look for plant diseases and plant pests before they enter the United States.

While it is okay to bring flowers and floral arrangements into the US, there are some prohibited plant species that will be used in the arrangement and that all agricultural products are declared.

CBP officers at the Laredo filed office processed 11.3 million cut flower stems from January to February 14th and ranks fifth largest office by volume for cut flower importations nationwide.

If you  have received a notice from Customs or have any further questions, call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.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 dhsu@givensjohnston.com