CBP and Otter Products form partnership to prevent importation of counterfeit phone cases.

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On June 27th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a partnership with Otter Products, makers of the OtterBox and Lifeproof brand phone cases. OtterBox will provide phone cases to CBP under the “Donations Acceptance Program” (DAP) previously discussed on my blog here.

The donated cell phone cases will be for CBP’s use in verifying and comparing the authenticity of suspected counterfeit items.

The Donations Acceptance Program allows CBP to accept donations of real and personal property, money and non-personal services from the public and private sector entities in support of CBP operations. Authorized uses for donations include entry construction, alterations, operations and maintenance activities. More information can be found at: www.CBP.gov/DAP.

Not sure why someone would want to purchase OtterBox or OtterBox counterfeits – other cell phone case brands such as “Spigen”, “Caseology” and “Sup Case” make highly rated cases that are sold on Amazon and offer the same protection as an Otterbox.

CBP encounters first-in-US wood-boring wasp species.

landscape view of greece during day time

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This past Thursday, agriculture specialists at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Baltimore found a first-in-the-US species of wood-boring wasps – the Urocerus augur Klug (Siricidae).

These wood-boring wasps are known to bore holes in trees and lay their eggs. From your author’s experience on wood-boring wasps, the wasps usually bore holes in dead or dying trees. However, when these wood-boring wasps are in the US, they tend to bore holes in living trees and then laying eggs, which eventually causes the tree to die.

In Baltimore, CBP/agriculture specialists were inspecting a shipment of aluminum coils from Greece and discovered the wasps and boring holes in the wood packaging material (WPM). A sample was sent to USDA entomologists for identification.

In general, WPM with invasive pests are required to be re-exported. If you or someone you know has had an issue with WPM certification or re-exportation of goods due to pests, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Before you re-export, contact David Hsu, there may be some alternatives to re-exporting that will save you time and money!

CBP seizes $10 million in counterfeit luxury watches.

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This past Thursday (June 28th), Philadelphia U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 699 luxury watches with a MSRP of nearly $10 million (if authentic).

The shipment was from Hong Kong, China and labeled as “lithium batteries”. Upon inspection, CBP officers found watches bearing luxury watch names such as: Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, and Fossil among others.

CBP probably questioned the shipment as luxury watches that are authentic are usually not sent from Hong Kong. In the media release, CBP officers also claimed the watch quality and packaging was poor – a typical dead give away for counterfeit goods.

If you have had any good seized by CBP on suspicion of being counterfeit, there are things we can do – call David Hsu, experienced trade and customs attorney for a free consultation and the next steps: 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit mermaid and fashion dolls.

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As reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media relations office – CBP agents at the International Falls Port of Entry in Minnesota inspected a rail container and found merchandise that violated intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations.

As you are aware, CBP enforces the intellectual property rights and trademark rights of companies that register their mark with CBP. When goods are suspected of violating IPR – CBP will send photos or a sample to the property rights holder for verification. More often than not, the rights holder will notify CBP that the goods are counterfeit.

Specifically, CBP seized 60,180 mermaid and fashion dolls that contained copyright protected markings. If protected markings are found, even on a small doll accessory or only one doll, CBP will seize items as they had in this case. CBP calculates the seizure value based on the total MSRP if the items were authentic. Here, CBP in Minnesota claims the seized goods total approximately $601,198.

While the CBP media release doesn’t specifically mention the brand name, based on 60,180 dolls having a combined value of $601,198 and based on my experience as a parent to a daughter who loves Barbie – the seized dolls are counterfeit of the standard grocery store Barbie doll for about $10.

So what happens after a seizure? CBP will seize the goods and give the importer of record several options. CBP may also access civil penalties to the IOR.

If you or anyone you know has had items seized by CBP for IPR violations, or if you have any trade and customs law questions – contact experienced customs attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

 

German metal producer claims CBP violated due process.

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This past Sunday, German metal manufacturer (Andritz Sundwig GMHB) claims the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of violating its due process rights when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ordered the export of the company’s bug-infested cargo instead of allowing the shipment to be fumigated.

In an emergency complaint filed with the U.S. Court of International Trade, Andritz’s legal counsel (Scott Johnston and James Hurst of Givens & Johnston PLLC and Stacey L.Barnes of Kearney, McWilliams & Davis PLLC) claims CBP’s decision to require the cargo to be exported does not allow Andritz any administrative remedies or opportunities to appeal.

The filing with the CIT claims CBP denied Andritz’s request to fumigate its cargo after horntailed wasps were found in the wood packaging materials (WPM).

Upon notice of a pest infestation, Andrtiz hired fumigators and requested last Friday for CBP authorization to fumigate and separate the infested WPM. Unfortunately, CBP denied those requests and requested exportation of the cargo on Sunday.  In response, Andritz filed a temporary restraining order in addition to a request for declaratory relief along with a temporary protective order on Monday.

More updates will be posted as available.

If you have received an “Emergency Action Notification” from Customs regarding wood packaging materials and or pest infestation, contact attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance at 832-896-6288. Time is of the essence when an EAN is received, call or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com as soon as possible.

White House imposes tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

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As expected, the administration announced Section 301 tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with two purposes: (1) balance the trade relationship between the US and China and (2) prevent the transfer of American technology and intellectual property to China when US businesses operate in China.

After the announcement this morning, China responded by issuing their own tariffs on 659 types of goods from the US starting on July 6th. When announcing the initial $50 billion in tariffs, Trump also indicated any Chinese retalation will also be met with additional US tariffs.

Cliff Notes version of today’s developments:

  1. 2/3rds of the US duties on 1,102 types of goods begins July 6th.
  2. The goods announced on Friday will apply later after a review period ends.
  3. The US imposed these tariffs to limit the transfer of technology to China.
  4. Some lawmakers say these tariffs will only impact the average American due to higher prices.
  5. The first list of goods subject to tariffs can be found here.
  6. The second list of goods subject to tariffs can be found here:

Whether or not these announcements are posturing on both sides, check back for more details.

If you have any questions on how these new tariffs will impact your import or export business, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping of Imports of Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan.

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Image of denier polyester staple fiber courtesy of the Tianjin Glory Tang Technology Co., Ltd.

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 dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Commerce Department issues affirmative final circumvention ruling on steel from Vietnam.

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According to a May 21, 2018 news release on the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) website – the Commerce department announced an affirmative ruling on corrosion-resistant steel (CORE) and certain cold-rolled steel flat products (cold-rolled steel) imported from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) produced from substrate originating in the People’s Republic of China (China) are circumventing the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on CORE and cold-rolled steel imported from China.

In order to avoid payment of duties, some manufacturers ship goods to another country not subject to duties, and from there send the goods to the United States. This practice is known as “transshipment” and we will likely hear more reports of transshipment as manufacturers look for ways to avoid the steel and aluminum duties.

While the steel here is produced in Vietnam, Commerce found circumvention of AD/CVD orders did occur because the subject merchandise is the same class or kind of merchandise subject to existing orders and completed or assembled in a third party country prior to importation to the US.

Commerce will notify Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue collecting cash deposits on imports of CORE and cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin materials at an AD rate of 199.43 percent and CVD rate of 39.05 percent.

CBP will also collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin substrate at rates of 199.76 percent and 256.44 percent, respectively.

If you have any questions about this or any other AD/CVD order, call experienced antidumping attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes prohibited ivory products in Seattle.

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CBP agriculture specialists at Sea-Tac
found ivory in the luggage of a couple
arriving from the Philippines on May 11. Photo Credit: CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release dated May 22nd, Agriculture Specialists at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered a variety of prohibited ivory products (carved tusks) in the luggage of a husband and wife who arrived on a flight from the Philippines on May 11.

An x-ray and search of the traveler’s belongings revealed 34 pieces of carved elephant ivory, two carved hippopotamus tusks and two carved warthog tusks. The agriculture specialists contacted inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who inspected and seized the items. The couple also received a $500 fine for transporting the items in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

If you or anyone you know has had a CBP seizure, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP issues new withhold release order against cotton from Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan-map

Map of Turkmenistan from Wikipedia.

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new withhold release order for goods suspected of being made by forced labor.

This time, a detention order (withhold release order) was issued against cotton from Turkmenistan. The May 18, 2018 WRO includes “all Turkmenistan Cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton”.

Importers are expected by CBP to be informed whether the goods they import are subjec to WRO’s. A full list of current imports subject to WRO’s can be found here.

Background regarding CBP’s efforts against forced labor:
Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) bans the importing of merchandise that is mined, produced or manufactured, in whole or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor/child labor. Such merchandise is subject to seizure or excluded from importation into the US.

When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that subject merchandise is being imported, Customs may issue withhold release orders pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 12.42(e). If the Commissioner is provided with information sufficient to make a determination that the goods in question are subject to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. § 1307, the Commissioner will publish a formal finding in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register.

A withhold release order will require detention at all US ports of entry of any such merchandise manufactured by these companies. Withhold release orders are usually issued against types of goods and specific producers from specific countries.

If you have had issues regarding importation of good subject to a withhold release order, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.