The opinions expressed are those of David Hsu and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its partners, or its clients. The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice on any subject. No recipient of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act on the basis of any content in this site without seeking the appropriate legal or professional advice based on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark detained a shipment of products and accessories made with human hair today from Xinjiang, China.
The shipment was seized because of a pending “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) on hair products made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. The WRO came into effect on June 17th, in which Customs instructs each port to detain all products from certain manufacturers (in this case Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.). The 13 tons of seized products were worth over $800k dollars. WRO’s are typically issued if Customs reasonably believes goods are manufactured using prison labor, forced labor, made under use of excessive overtime, withholding of wages and or the restriction of movement. CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.t. Prior to a WRO being issued, CBP will give the importer the burden of proof to show the merchandise is not manufactured using forced labor or any of the other issues previously written above.
If you are subject to a WRO, or if you are under audit for a potential WRO action – contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu immediately by mobile phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Detroit seized more than a half ton of “salmonella-laced Kratom” at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.
Author’s comment: the original headline was “CBP Seizes Half Ton of Salmonella-Laced Kratom“. Not sure why they used the word “laced” in the headline as lacing something is typically used to mean adding an ingredient to bulk up a drug. I am unsure how a kratom exporter can “lace” kratom with salmonella on purpose or if there would be a benefit to doing so. Additionally, the use of the word “lace” to describe kratom may also be an effort to associate kratom as dangerous as other illegal drugs that are frequently laced such as crack, heroin, PCP, etc.
The media release reports 1,200 pounds of contaminated powder (valued according to CBP at $405,000) was selected for further inspection due to an unusual description and classification discrepancies.
CBP said the kratom “which originated from China, were manifested as botanical soils from Canada, though Officers and specialists believed it to be consistent in appearance to bulk green tea”.
Author’s comment: this is the first time I have heard of kratom from China, maybe it was transhipped from Indonesia? CBP did not indicate the “classification discrepancy” or point out what HTSUS code was used to enter the kratom.
CBP took a sample of the power and sent it to the Food and Drug Administration for lab tests – which confirmed the shipment was kratom but also saw it was contaminated with salmonella. As a result, CBP seized the shipment “due to significant risk to public health and safety”.
Author’s comment: CBP does not specify the import alert on kratom as the basis for seizure. I have not seen the seizure notice (it will only be sent to the importer of record), but it was likely seized for not being described as kratom on the shipping documents.
In the last paragraph of the CBP media release, they write:
Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. Kratom is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the Drug Enforcement Administration currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.
It is interesting they do not mention the 2016 import alert regarding kratom. If you have had your shipment of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) seized by CBP, contact David Hsu, 24/7 by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.
The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.
CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Houston seaport seized over 2,000 solar panels from Turkey violating intellectual property rights. If authentic, the value of the solar panels would total over $658,125.
This is the fourth importation of counterfeit solar panels – with counterfeit panels entering Houston as early as February. CBP later verified with the trademark owner that confirmed the panels were counterfeit.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Branch detained (and subsequently seized) a package from China manifested as containing contents as industrial masks on May 30.
The shipment contained in 24 boxes with each box containing 10 3M brand, 8822 Plus Masks. CBP suspected the masks as counterfeit due to low value, poor quality and poor packaging.
After CBP detained the masks, samples were sent to 3M where the shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality. A subsequent 3M authenticator (didn’t know they had those) confirmed the masks were counterfeit – if real, the masks would have an MSRP of $813.
Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we will likely see more importations of counterfeit PPE, medicine and thermometers.
To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in San Juan seized counterfeit watches and jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If genuine, the value of the counterfeit products would total approximately $256,000. The above image from Customs shows a display of the fake Rolex brand watches seized.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you may face both criminal and civil penalties. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your options – feel free to also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to seize many shipments of counterfeit, unapproved or other COVID-19 products of questionable quality.
At the beginning of June 2020, CBP has seized the following COVID-19 related items:
107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents; 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents; 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.
In addition to the risk of using non-FDA approved drugs, CBP claims the sale of counterfeit COVID-19 goods benefit organized crime.
I previously posted on this blog back on May 23rd about seizure of $252k in cash that was marked in red Chinese letters with the words道具专用. Which is loosely translated as “for prop use only”. Earlier this week, CBP seized an additional $351,000 in prop currency from a shipment from Shanghai, China and headed to a residence in Milwaukee.
Upon further examination, Customs seized the counterfeit currency, noting the bills all were marked with the same serial number, lack of red and blue fibers and missing the embeded watermark. Customs also noted on the back were Chinese letters on back of bills in red.
CBP only posted the image above so I do not know for sure what Chinese characters were on the back, but the words were probably the standard 道具专用, meaning “for prop use only”. While labeled for prop use only (such as in movies), CBP considers these “foreign currency notes” as counterfeit and will destroy them. One such reason is because the prop money has been successful used in all major cities at multiple retailers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Dallas Fort Worth International Airport seized counterfeit purses, headphones, sunglasses and Yeti collers valued at over $108,000 if authentic. This seized shipment originated from Hong Kong – where 9 out of 10 seizure cases reported by Customs indicate as the source of the counterfeit goods. I believe the tech goods are likely made across the border in Shenzhen and the fashion items are also made cheaply across the border in Guangzhou.
The exact counterfeit items included Tiffany & Company rings, six Louis Vuitton handbags, seven pairs of Chanel and Guicci sunglasses, Beats headphones, seven Apple AirPod Pros and two Yeti coolers.
My guess is the Yeti coolers are made by one of the vendors on Aliexpress that sells same or similar type coolers, not sure why they would risk a seizure by using the Yeti name.
CBP officers intercepted a shipment and after reviewing the information in the shipping documents, selected it for examination. During the examination, officers discovered three Tiffany & Co rings, six Louis Vuitton handbags, seven pairs of Chanel and Gucci sunglasses, Powerbeats Beats by Dre headphones, seven Apple AirPod Pros and two Yeti coolers.
In general, seized goods suspected of being counterfeit will have samples sent to the CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise’s import specialists to determine their authenticity. At this CEE, the staff will examine the goods and discuss the items with the trademark owners. After examining the goods, import specialists determined the goods were counterfeit and seized the shipment.
If you receive a Notice of Seizure from Customs, you have 30 days to respond. Contact David Hsu for all your customs seizure needs at 832-896-6288, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Kentucky seized over 150 counterfeit Super Bowl championship rings arriving from China. It wasn’t mentioned in the article, but the seizure in Kentucky means it was likely shipped by DHL.
The shipment contained rings from various professional sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. If authentic, the rings would have an MSRP of $43,450. As the rings likely were not licnsed by the team or organization, they were seized for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations.
For suspected counterfeit goods, CBP will send an image to the property right holder – if the rights holder says the goods are not authentic, then Customs will seize the goods.
If you have had your good seized by Customs or have received a Notice of Seizure, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.