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.

Highlights from CBP’s FY2017 Trade and Travel Report.

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Screenshot of the FY2017 CBP Trade and Travel Report

CBP released their “Trade and Travel” fiscal year 2017 report on February 13, 2018 and here are a few highlights from the report:

1. CBP officers processed more than 397.2 million travelers at the air, land, and sea ports of entry in 2017
2. Arriving air travelers has increased each year since FY2009 with 4.2 percent more air arrivals over FY2016
3. CBP collected $40.1 billion in duties, taxes and fees in FY2017
4. Automated processing at airports has increased from 3.3% in FY2013 to over 50% in FY2017
5. CBP processed $2.39 trillion in imports
6. CBP processed 33.2 million entries and more than 28.5 million cargo containers
7. Shipments violating intellectual property rights increased by 8% in FY2017 to 34,143 seizures
8. Establishment of the E-Commerce and Small Business Branch within the Office of Trade in FY2017

The full text of the report can be found here.

If you have any import, export, customs or trade law questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

What is a Customs “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)”?

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After your property is seized at an airport, border crossing or any of the other 400 ports of entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send you a “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)” by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address you provided to CBP at the time of the seizure.

DHS and CBP are required by law to send you the notice under 19 USC 1607 and 19 CFR 162.45. The notice tells you that DHS has seized the items and will intend to “forfeit and sell, or otherwise dispose of according to law”. The final disposition of your seized property ultimately depends on the item seized.

If you do not receive a notice by mail, you can still file a claim within 30 days from the date of the publication of the CBP “Official Notification” posted on the forfeiture.gov website.

If you have had currency, suspected trademarked goods, or any other property seized by Customs, call David Hsu, an experienced customs and trade law attorney who works for you to get your hard earned property and money back. Call or email anytime, 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Bassett Mirror Company to pay $10.5 million for allegations of evading customs duties.

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According to a January 16, 2018 Department of Justice press release – Virginia based home furniture company, Bassett Mirror Company (Bassett) will pay $10.5 million to resolve allegations that Bassett violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by “knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC)”.

Wooden bedroom furniture from the People’s Republic Of China is covered under case number: A-570-890 and the scope includes:


The product covered by the order is wooden bedroom furniture. Wooden bedroom furniture is generally, but not exclusively, designed, manufactured, and offered for sale in coordinated groups, or bedrooms, in which all of the individual pieces are of approximately the same style and approximately the same material and/or finish. The subject merchandise is made substantially of wood products, including both solid wood and also engineered wood products made from wood particles, fibers, or other wooden materials such as plywood, oriented strand board, particle board, and fiberboard, with or without wood veneers, wood overlays, or laminates, with or without non-wood components or trim such as metal, marble, leather, glass, plastic, or other resins, and whether or not assembled, completed, or finished.

Since 2004, imports of wooden beddroom furniture from China have been subject to dumping duties and the current PRC rate is 216 percent.

The US Department of Justice alleged that for a five year period (2009 to 2014), Bassett evaded payment of antidumping duties owed by misclassifying the furniture as non-bedroom furniture on import documents. By classifying imports as “non-bedroom furniture”, Bassett avoiding paying the duty rate of 216%.

In general, antidumping duties are imposed against foreign companies for “dumping” products into the US market at prices below cost. Most of the foreign companies are located in “non market economy” countries such as People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. By imposing anti dumping duties on goods, the US Department of Commerce is attempting to protect US businesses and “level the playing field” for domestically manufactured products.

Given the current administration in the White House, we can expect the Department of Justice, CBP, and Commerce to further strengthen their enforcement of antidumping duties for any and all goods entering the US.

If you are not sure whether your imports from China are considered “wooden bedroom furniture, or if you have been alleged to violate the false claims act by misclassifying imports, avoiding payment of duties or any other import and export related claim from the US government, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com immediately. There is no cost for the initial consultation and in most instances, time limits to take action are running – don’t miss your chance, contact us today.

Baltimore CBP and the CPSC Seize Children’s “Activity Cubes” due to Potential Choking Hazard.

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Above photo is a screengrab from the Customs website showing the seized children’s mini activity cubes.

As the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) functions as the USA’s border security agency – CBP enforces hundreds of laws from different agencies. For example, CBP may seize imported automotive parts that violate Department of Transportation regulations or CBP may seize counterfeit and tainted foods products that violate Food and Drug Administration rules.

On January 15th, CBP officers in Baltimore examined a shipment of toys valued at $5,600 from Hong Kong and submitted samples of the toys to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). CBP officers initially sent this sample to the CPSC because the toys appeared to contain potential choking hazards.

CPSC subsequently tested the activity cubes and determined the toys violated the small parts requirement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act [15 USC §1263]. A copy of the FHSA can be found at this link: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/fhsa.pdf

Unfortunately for this importer, they won’t be able to get their goods and may face further penalties from Customs. If you have had your imports seized by Customs due to DOT, CPSC, FDA or any of the other alphabet soup of government agency regulations, please call David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, free consultations.

As of 2/24/2018 – ACE will be the only authorized electronic data interchange system for processing drawback filings.

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According to a notice posted on the Federal Register, starting February 24, 2018, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will be the sole electronic data interchange (EDI) system authorized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for processing electronic drawback filings under NAFTA and non-TFTEA drawback.

After February 24, 2018, Automated Commercial System (ACS) will no longer be a CBP-authorized EDI for drawback filings.

The full notice can be found here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/18/2018-00803/automated-commercial-environment-ace-becoming-the-sole-cbp-authorized-electronic-data-interchange

If you have any questions regarding drawback or this Federal Register notice, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issues their 2017 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.

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On January 11, 2018, the USTR released their report on “notorious markets”. As the name suggests, the USTR issues annual reviews of cities, places or shopping areas (both physical and online) that are believed to be involved in large commercial-scale copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. In addition to financial losses, the USTR says copyright piracy and counterfeit goods undermine advantages to innovation, creativity of US workers while also posing risks to consumer health and safety.

The notorious market list (NML) maintained by the USTR highlights physical and online marketplaces that “reportedly engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy and counterfeiting”. The list includes 18 physical markets and over 20 online marketplaces. The USTR does note that the NML list does not make findings of legal violations nor reflects the US analysis of the IP protection and enforcement climate in the countries in which the listed markets are found.

The report focus this year is on “illicit streaming devices” that includes streaming, on-demand, and over-the-top media service providers or other piracy applications that allow users to stream content, download or otherwise access information. Such streaming devices include Amazon fire TV sticks that are “jailbroken” or have the “Kodi” application installed. Other lesser known manufacturers also sell and market such stream devices using keywords such as: mini tv, tv box, stream, kodi, internet media player, tv browser, android tv, or variations thereof. The USTR estimates pirated content viewed on these streaming devices cost up to $840 million in lost revenue in the US and over $4-5 billion a year to the entertainment industry.

The USTR report spends the remaining 35 pages of the report highlighting various websites and physical brick-and-morter markets worldwide that may contribute to the sale and distribution of counterfeit and intellectual property infringing products.

If you have had your imported goods seized by Customs due to suspected intellectual property and trademark violations, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Certain time limitations do apply and you need legal representation.

APHIS Recognizes Mexico as Free of Classical Swine Fever.

pig-alp-rona-furna-sow-63285.jpegClassical swine fever (CSF or sometimes referred to as hog cholera/swine fever/European swine fever) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. CSF used to be widespread but many countries had eradicated the disease until it was reintroduced in 1997-199 (CSF was eradicated in the US in the 1970’s). A 1997 outbreak of CSF in the Netherlands involved more than 400 herds and cost $2.3 billion dollars to eradicate with some 12 million pigs killed.

While eradicated in North America, the US is also not immune to the risk as CSF is still endemic in South and Central America. Because of this, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) previously classified imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products from Mexico as risky following a 2015 site review.

However, at the request of Mexico’s government, the USDA APHIS has now determined that the risk of CSF through Mexican imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products is very low. As such, these items can now be saefly imported into the US as long as the imports follow APHIS’ import regulations.

Importations of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products must (1) be accompanied by a certificate issued by a Mexican government veterinary officer, (2) must come from swine raised and slaughtered in regions APHIS considers CSF free.

If your company would like more information regarding importation of swine and swine products or other general USDA APHIS concerns, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

January 11, 2018 – Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews.

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As posted in the Federal Register here, the U.S. Department of Commerce is initiating administrative reviews on multiple antidumping and countervailing duty orders:

Antidumping Duty Proceedings:
India: Welded Stainless Pressure Pipe A-533-876
Indonesia: Monosodium Glutamate A-560-826
Mexico: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipes and Tubes A-201-805
Mexico: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar A-201-844
Republic of Korea: Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-580-809
Taiwan: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-583-814
The People’s Republic of China: Diamond Sawblades and Parts Thereof A-570-900
The People’s Republic of China: Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products A-570-865
The People’s Republic of China: Fresh Garlic A-570-831
The People’s Republic of China: Monosodium Glutamate A-570-992
The People’s Republic of China: Polyethlene Terephthalate (Pet) Film A-570-924
The People’s Republic of China: Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube A-570-964
United Arab Emirates: Polyethylene Terephthalate (Pet) Film A-520-803

Countervailing Duty Proceedings
India: Welded Stainless Pressure Pipe C-533-868
The People’s Republic of China: Certain Passenger Vehicle and Light Truck Tires 7 C-570-017
The People’s Republic of China: Chlorinated Isocyanurates C-570-991 1/1/16-12/31/16
Turkey: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar C-489-819

If you have any questions about administrative reviews or general antidumping and countervailing duty questions, feel free to call us at anytime: 832.896.6288 or contact us by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Preliminary Antidumping Duties On Chinese Solar Cells.

pexels-photo-371900.jpegYesterday I posted about countervailing duties on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells; today’s solar panel post is about the preliminary results of the antidumping review and preliminary duties on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People’s Republic of China.

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) conducted an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells), from the People’s Republic of China (China) and looked at imports from December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016 (Period of Review, POR).

The scope of the antidumping review covered “crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials. Merchandise covered by this order is classifiable under subheadings 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030, and 8501.31.8000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).”

Commerce typically covers multiple mandatory respondents. However, in the instant review, the administrative review covered only mandatory respondent, Trina Solar (Hefei) Science and Technology Co., Ltd (Trina). Commerce treated the various Trina entities: Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science and Technology Co., Ltd./Yancheng Trina Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd./Changzhou Trina Solar Yabang Energy Co., Ltd./Turpan Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Hubei Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., as one single entity.

As a result of their review, Commerce preliminary found that Trina sold subject merchandise in the United States at prices below normal value during the Period of Review and is therefore subject to a duty of 61.61%.

All other exporters of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells will be subject to the China-wide entity rate of 238.95%.

As the findings are preliminary, interested parties still have 30 days from January 9th, 2018 to submit case briefs.

The entity wide rate of 238.95% for imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China highlight why it is important for all manufacturers, producers, exporters, importers or other interested parties to enter an appearance with Commerce and request a review, file a separate rate application or certification, scope requests, or other actions to protect their interests.

The full notice from the Federal Register can be found here.

If you are a producer, importer, exporter of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and have any questions about how these preliminary ADD/CVD orders effect your company and business, call David Hsu’s office at 713.932.1540, mobile phone at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.