EU wants to participate in the US-China steel dispute at the WTO.

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As previously posted on this blog, China requested consultations with the WTO regarding the US import tariffs on steel and aluminum. Requesting a consultation with the WTO is the first stage in the dispute process with the WTO and now the EU asked on April 23rd to join the dispute.

It is important to note that one week from now, President Trump will decide whether these tariffs would apply to imports from the EU. A temporary exemption from the 25% duty on steel and 10% duty on aluminum was granted for the EU until May 1st. Temporary exemptions were also granted to Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. South Korean imports have been exempted indefinitely.

In addition to the EU, Hong Kong, Russia, India and Thailand have also filed requests to join the consultations. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

 

Just in time for Easter – CBP reminds travelers of their Holiday Easter Egg regulations.

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With Easter Sunday this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded travelers that Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are limited to 12 per passenger. The shells may be decorated, etched, or painted, but they must be clean, dry and free of any egg residue.

Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in an effort to reduce the spread of  Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells. HPAI is a contagious diseases fatal to bird species and effects their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. The virus infects chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons, and ostriches.

As Mexico is affected with Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), fresh eggs, raw chicken and live birds or poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry to the US.

If you or anyone you know has any customs or trade law issues, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Cargo Systems Messaging Service – Additional Duties on Imports of Steel and Aluminum under Section 232 – March 22, 2018.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released Cargo Systems Messaging Service Number 18-000240 with additional information regarding the imports of steel and aluminum under Section 232.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CSMS #18-000240

Title:
Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 Date: 3/22/2018 11:39:25 PM To: Automated Broker Interface, ACE Portal Accounts, ACE Reports, Air Manifest, New ACE Programming, Ocean Manifest, Partner Government Agencies, Rail Manifest, Trade Policy Updates, Truck Manifest  Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962

BACKGROUND:
On March 8, 2018, the President issued Proclamations 9704 and 9705 on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), providing for additional import duties for steel mill and aluminum articles, effective March 23, 2018.  See the Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018.  On March 22, 2018, the President issued Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

These duty requirements are effective with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

COMMODITY:
Steel mill and aluminum articles, as specified in the Presidential Proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018:  All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and  member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

As of May 1, 2018:  All countries of origin.

Please note this is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:
Steel Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapters 72 & 73 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty:9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products) Aluminum Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapter 76 of the HTS classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

Importers and filers failing to submit the required Chapter 99 HTS classifications with the entry summary information for imports under the specified Chapter 72, 73, and 76

HTS classifications for the covered countries of origin will receive the following reject messages:

E1 IQ10    LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09   QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05   BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note:  Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

Importers or filers receiving one of the reject messages above, who have researched their classification and dates to confirm the entry summaries were incorrectly rejected, should contact their assigned Client Representative with the results of their review.

Additional Information
Any steel or aluminum article subject to the Section 232 duties that is admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, must be admitted as “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, and will be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under the applicable HTSUS subheading.

Any steel or aluminum article that was admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones under “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, will likewise be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under applicable HTSUS subheadings imposed by the Proclamations.

The merchandise covered by the additional duties may also be subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.

CBP will issue additional guidance on entry requirements for any products excluded from these measures, as soon as information is available.  CBP will also issue updated guidance if there are any changes to these measures, including any changes to exempted countries and any new requirements, such as quota requirements.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:For more information, please refer to the Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018; and the March 22, 2018 Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

Questions related to Section 232 entry filing requirements should be emailed to adcvdissues-hq@cbp.dhs.gov.

Questions from the importing community concerning ACE rejections should be referred to their Client Representative.

Customs and Border Protection’s 2018 E-Commerce Strategy.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on March 8th, 2018 – CBP released their new strategy to deal with the increase in volume of e-commerce packages into the United States.

The media release is wordy and you are already to go back to Facebook – so here’s a quick cliff notes version of the media release:

1. More people are using the internet to buy direct from China, leading to more small packages entering the US.

2. The large increase in volume of small packages (commonly indicated as “e-packet delivery”) means there is a greater likelihood of things entering the country that should not enter.

3. CBP is worried about a greater entry of items that violate intellectual property rights (fake watches, counterfeit purfume, fake iphones, etc) will make it into the US.

Some highlights of the CBP e-commerce strategy:

1. Educate people to be aware of customs regulations. Not sure how easy it will be to make people aware of customs regulations when people can’t even follow traffic regulations!

2. Partnership with foreign governments

3. Improve data collection from CBP targeting systems and field personnel.

4. The media release includes a lot of buzzwords: “more agile, dynamic workforce that utilizes state-of-art techniques and technology to better target high-risk shipments, improving data collection from CBP targeting systems, and leveraging enforcement partnerships.”

My thoughts:

Personally, I do not believe methods 1-4 will be able to adequately address the increased flow of these small packages from China. I believe CBP has other methods that they are not publicizing, and rightly so. Notifying the public how CBP searches for items that violate IPR, are counterfeit or not allowed for entry into the US would be counter-intuitive and could only lead to foreign manufacturers creating work arounds.

If you are a manufacturer overseas and ship many small package items to the US and want to know how this can effect your business, call experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu, 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

Record Number of Intellectual Property Rights Seizures by Customs in 2017.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) released a report indicating they seized a record number of 34,143 shipments of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) in 2017. In comparison, 2016 saw about 30,000 shipments seized for counterfeit and pirated products. The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods in 2017 total approximately $1.2 billion.

Other interesting facts in the report:

-90% of the seized counterfeit and pirated goods in 2017 were in express carrier and international mail environments as opposed to containerized shipments.

-15% of the IPR seizures were related to wearing apparel

-48% of the IPR violation seizures were from China (16,538)

-39% of the IPR violation seizures were from Hong Kong

We can expect CBP and ICE to only increase their number of seizures for 2018 as CBP continues with their “The Truth Behind Counterfeits campaign” along with increased awareness of the CBP hotlines to report suspected fraud or illegal trade activity (1-800-BE-ALERT).

If you or anyone you know has had CBP or ICE detain your shipments, or if you received notice from DHL of a Customs seizure – call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Many importers do not contest the seizure because they feel the value of the shipment doesn’t justify speaking to an attorney – but CBP can and will issue civil penalties after the seizure, call today!

 

$233,000 Worth of Counterfeit Watches Seized by Customs.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on March 1st; CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 54 counterfeit designer brand watches.

CBP officers examined the parcel on January 23rd that was shipped from Hong Kong. The packing list indicated the shipment as containing “watch samples” and upon further inspection, CBP found watches bearing name brands such as Armani, Hublot, Omega,
Rado, Rolex and others. If authentic, the MSRP for the watches totaled $233,209.

As you may or may not know, CBP is tasked with enforcing the intellectual property laws of companies who register their brand with Customs. In this instance, CBP officers with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) inspected the watches, worked with the trademark holders and confirmed the watches were counterfeit.

Some of the tell-tale signs of counterfeit watches include but are not limited to: poor quality packaging of the watch, watch construction (weight, dial movement) and the origin of shipment (from Hong Kong).

CBP frequently seizes counterfeit goods and on a typical day in 2017, CBP seized $3.3 million worth of products for intellectual property rights violations.

If you or someone you know has had your import seized due to counterfeit or trademark violations, contact experienced Customs attorney, David Hsu. Customs can penalize importers civil and criminal penalties, and time there are certain time limitations – call  832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com today.

CBP in Georgia intercept “first-in-port” insects.

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Mottled tortoise beetle (Image via Wikipedia)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Savannah intercepted the pigeon tick, straight-snouted weevil and tortoise beetle in containers destined for Georgia.

These insects are known as “first-in-port” because the pests have never been encountered at a specific port of entry.

In January, CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of Savannah inspected tile and stone on shipments arriving from Turkey and Italy and discovered these potentially harmful insects.

This inspection was just one of the over 3.85 million twenty-foot container equivalent units of cargo processed yearly by the Port of Savannah, the second-largest on the East Coast.

If your imports have been seized due to containing pests, call experienced Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288, or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

What is a “US Purchaser Questionnaire” from the International Trade Commission?

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Many of our clients who have been in business for multiple decades call our office regarding their receipt of an “US Purchaser Questionnaire” from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

If you or your company receives this questionnaire (usually by email), it means the ITC is in the final phase of their anti-dumping/countervailing duty investigation. The responses from US Purchasers are then used to determine if the US industry is harmed or has the potential to be harmed by these importations.

It is important to respond to these questionnaires as the ITC has subpoena power and the ability to compel the submission of records and information for any purchaser who does not respond. To make replying more convenient, questionnaire responses can be sent back to the ITC online (usually through Dropbox).

If you or someone you know has received one of these questionnaires and has any questions about completing the questionnaire – or any questions about anti-dumping and countervailing duties, contact experienced attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal released.

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According to February 20th Reuters article, the remaining 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have finalized the trade pact set to be signed in Chile on March 8th. After signing, the trade deal provisions will take effect at the end of 2018 or the first half of 2019.

Reports indicate the final version removes or changed 20 provisions regarding intellectual property that were originally included by the United States. Also known as “TPP-11”, the remaining parties believe the trade pact will benefit all members economically across all job sectors. The 11 member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Check back here for more updates. If you have any trade or customs law questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Customs posts Interim ACE Drawback Guidance online.

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On February 5, 2018, Customs posted the draft version of the new “Drawback: Interim Guidance for Filing TFTEA Drawback Claims”.

Starting February 24, 2018, filing drawback claims can be done electronically within the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). The interim rules published on the Customs website here will be effective during the “interim period”, starting February 24, 2018 until February 23, 2019.

For the next one year period ending February 23, 2019, drawback claims can still be filed (1) manually, (2) Core-ACE or (3) TFTEA-Drawback.

However, after February 24, 2019, all TFTEA-Drawback claims must be filed electronically in ACE.

If you have any drawback questions or questions about how to file claims during the interim period, contact experienced customs attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.