Earlier this week, I blogged about CBP’s issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that allows CBP to seize products produced “in whole or in part using forced labor”.
One of the products subject to detention are “Rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe; mined from forced labor“.
Earlier today, moneyweb.co.za (a Zimbabwe financial web publication) accused the US of lying about diamond mining at the Marange Diamond Fields using forced labor – calling the claim a “shameless lie”.
In support of their claim, the article cites the Kimberley Process (steps that are taken to ensure diamond mining isn’t used to fund conflicts) finding that there are no restrictions on trade in Zimbabwean diamonds. The Kimberley Process represents 81 countries and covers 99.8% of the global rough diamond production.
Zimbabwe’s deputy mines minister, Polite Kambamura is quoted as saying the “doors are open” if CBP wants to visit Marange and that “we are a responsible state miner that operates within the laws of the country and we observe strict adherence to critical tenets of corporate governance”.
Like Marange in Zimbabwe, if you feel your company has been wrongly placed on CBP’s WRO list, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Tell me more about the CHS FCPA violation:
In an August 31, 2018 Form 10-K filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CHS Inc. disclosed FCPA violations related to:
“a small number of reimbursements the Company made to Mexican customs agents in the 2014-2015 time period for payments the customs agents made to Mexican customs officials in connection with inspections of grain crossing the U.S.-Mexican border by railcar. We are fully cooperating with the government, including with the assistance of legal counsel, which assistance includes investigating other areas of potential interest to the government. We are unable at this time to predict when our or the government agencies’ review of these matters will be completed or what regulatory or other outcomes may result.”
The full 10-K filing can be found here (link opens in a new window).
Who is CHS?
CHS is a Fortune 100 business based in Minnesota and operates food processing and wholesale, farm supply, Cenex brand fuel, financial services, and retail businesses. CHS employs 12,000 people and are also large operators in grain, soybean and sunflower production and transport.
What is the FCPA?
In short – the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Payments, promises to pay or even authorization for payment is a violation and the definition of a foreign official is also very broad.
What does the FCPA have to do with importers and exporters?
Everything! The FCPA applies to all U.S. persons and many of our clients have FCPA risks without even knowing they do. FCPA violations and penalties are severe and individuals have also been found to be personally liable for violations that were committed by the company. The CHS FCPA violations highlight just some of the risks US based exporters face when doing business (exporting) overseas.
FCPA consultation and audit at no obligation or cost to you.
If you don’t have a FCPA compliance program in place or have not updated your compliance program – call experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FCPA penalties and compliance risk to you and your company is high, call David Hsu today.
According to a U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) news release – the Commerce Department announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan.
Commerce determined that exporters from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan sold fine denier polyester staple fiber in the United States at less than fair value. The dumping margins determined by Commerce are as follows:
China – 65.17 – 103.06 percent
India – 21.43 percent
Korea – 0 – 45.23 percent
Taiwan – 0 – 48.86 percent
With today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan based on the final rates, as appropriate.
I find it ironic, one of the petitioners is Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America – a company that previously imported fine denier polyester staple fiber.
One interested statistic in the Commerce release – the Trump administration has 114 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations since the beginning of the administration compared to the the 64 initiations in the last 489 days of the previous administration.
If you are an importer of fine denier polyster staple fiber from China, India, Korea or Taiwan and have questions how this decision may impact your business, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at email@example.com.
The The Bureau of Industry and Security, Outreach and Educational Services Division will hold a conference regarding “Complying with U.S. Export Controls”
Date: June 12-13, 2018
Location: Norris Conference Center, Houston, TX (City Centre)
About the program (from the BIS website):
Complying with U.S. Export Controls
The two-day program is led by BIS’s professional counseling staff and provides an in-depth examination of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The program will cover the information exporters need to know to comply with U.S. export control requirements on commercial goods. We will focus on what items and activities are subject to the EAR, steps to take to determine the export licensing requirements for your item, how to determine your export control classification number (ECCN), when you can export or reexport without applying for a license, export clearance procedures and record keeping requirements, and real life examples in applying this information. Presenters will conduct a number of “hands-on” exercises that will prepare you to apply the regulations to your own company’s export activities. This program is well suited for those who need a comprehensive understanding of their obligations under the EAR. Technical, policy, and enforcement professionals from BIS, as well as specialists from other agencies such as the Bureau of the Census, will participate.
About the Instructors
The instructors are experienced export policy specialists, engineers, and enforcement personnel from BIS’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and field offices, as well as representatives from other U.S. government agencies as appropriate. The instructors will be available throughout the seminar to answer your questions on how the export regulations affect the export activities of your organization or client.
The program will be held at Norris Conference Center located at 816 Town & Country Blvd. Suite 210, Houston, Texas 77024. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. on June 12, 2018. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m.
The registration fee for the Complying with U.S. Export Controls seminar is $525 per person before May 11, 2018 and $575 after. To register for both this program and the Technology Controls seminar on June 14, 2018, the fee is $775 before May 11 and $845 after. The fee includes continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches and materials for the entire seminar. Fee is not refundable after May 18, 2018. Substitutions may be made. To guarantee placement for the BIS seminar: Click here to register.
If you have any questions about BIS, export controls or customs law, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 713-932-1540 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a press release posted on Monday, April 9th – the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States and Bahrain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Trade in Food and Agriculture Products. One highlight of the MOU is the increase in certainty and enhanced cooperation on requirements for U.S. exports of food and agriculture products to Bahrain, and enables more opportunities for the United States and Bahrain to continue joint efforts to facilitate bilateral trade in food and agriculture products.
The MOU also says indicated that Bahrain will continue to accept existing U.S. export certifications for food and agricultural products. Accepting current export certifications will save U.S. exporters the cost of new certifications. The MOU also discussed increasing the export of food and agricultural products from the United States to Bahrain.
A full copy of the US-Bahrain MOU can be found here.
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 email@example.com.