CBP seizes ancient artifacts for repatriation.

pexels-photo-122164.jpeg

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers at Miami International Airport (MIA) seized two shipments containing suspected ancient artifacts.

The first shipment from the United Kingdom was a wooden cargo container with a manifest indicating a value of $252,000. When CBP opened the container they found a helmet appearing to be an ancient artifact. An expert appraiser determined the helmet to be an authentic “Corinthian Helmet” dating back to 100-500 B.C.

The second seizure was from El Salvador containing 13 artifacts of Mayan origin.

While not frequently mentioned in the press, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their country of origin. CBP works with ICE to ensure the repatriation rules are followed.

If you or someone you know has had artifacts seized, call experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free consultation.

Customs posts Interim ACE Drawback Guidance online.

pexels-photo.jpg

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.

What is the Customs and Border Protection “Donations Acceptance Program”?

clinic-doctor-health-hospital.jpg

Short answer – a change to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 allowed CBP and the US General Services Administration to accept real and personal property, money and non-personal services from the private and public sectors. Accepted donations may be used for port of entry construction, alternations, operations and maintenance activities.

According to a February 15, 2018 Customs media release, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) will donate testing devices to CBP officers and trade specialists to assist in determining the legitimacy of the P&G product in an attempt to reduce counterfeit goods entering the US marketplace.

The media release did not specify the type of testing device; however, the testing devices may be related to a 2014 patent filed by P&G for a chemical test kit to test for the presence of active components and qualities of the product that may be missing from counterfeits.

The DAP from P&G may be related to last year’s counterfeit Tide laundry detergent being sold in Austin, Texas at a price far below retail value. The low cost of the product and packaging written in Vietnamese may have been indications of the counterfeit nature of the Tide detergent.

If your imported P&G products have been seized by Customs, contact your experienced customs seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes a combined total of $124k in unreported currency from travelers at Dulles airport.

pexels-photo-259132.jpeg

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizure of three currency reporting violations resulted in a total seizure of over $124,000. The three violations included:

1. CBP seizure of $83,093 from a traveler to Ghana
2. CBP seizure of $23,082 from travelers arriving from Colombia
3. CBP seizure of $18,519 from a traveler to Pakistan

As you may or may not know, any traveler entering or departing the US must declare $10,000 or more in currency or monetary instruments. A common misconception among travelers is any declared value will be taxed – however, CBP will NOT tax any money reported. CBP will however, seize all unreported currency or monetary instruments over $10,000.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by customs while entering or departing the United States, call experienced money seizure attorney, David Hsu for immediate help – 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Highlights from CBP’s FY2017 Trade and Travel Report.

CBP FY2017 Trade Travel Report

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

CBP seizes fake perfume valued over $31 million.

woman-girl-young-beauty.jpg

In the past few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in the seaport at Los Angeles have seized over 475,000 bottles of imported perfume bearing counterfeit trademarks. While the cost of the counterfeit perfumes may be low, if genuine, CBP estimates the MSRP of the seized perfumes to retail over $31 million.

CBP’s fiscal year starts October 1, 2017 and since then, CBP officials in Los Angeles have seized 11 shipments with suspected counterfeit marks along with confusingly similar fragrances. As you are aware, CBP enforces the trademarks for companies registered with CBP. The seizues included violations of trademarks belonging to over 34 perfume brands.

According to the CBP news release, the “counterfeit brands included Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Victoria Secret, and Perry Ellis among others.”

As a general rule, if you purchase perfume at prices “too good to be true”, it is likely the item is counterfeit. The news release indicates the counterfeit perfumes were packaged in boxes and colors resembling the genuine items with fake country of origin markings (“Made in France”) even though the port of origin was China.

CBP is especially vigilent in seizing suspected counterfeit perfumes as these items are placed on the skin and absorbed by the body – counterfeit perfumes may be composed of chemicals harmful to the body and may be made and sold without any product testing.

In FY 2016, CBP seized over $1.4 billion worth of counterfeit goods – if you have had your imports seized and want to speak to an experienced attorney, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

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

stairs-people-airport-escalators.jpg

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.

 

CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists Ensure Valentine’s Day Bouquets are Free from Pests and Disease.

pexels-photo-247295.jpeg

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is important to remember that certain flowers, flower arrangements and potted plants are prohibited from entering the US.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and their agriculture specialists are busy at US ports making sure flowers from travelers are free from pests, diseases and insects that may cause harm to US agricultural and floral industries.

Travelers from Mexico commonly carry two prohibited items found in flower arrangements – chrysanthemums and orange jasmine. CBP is trying to prevent “chrysanthemum white rest”, pests, and other diseases from entering through bouquet arrangements.

With the current restrictions, CBP is trying to prevent funguses, such as “Chrysanthemum White Rust” from entering the U.S. Additionally, some cut greenery, which are the plants used to fill a bouquet, may have pests or diseases. For example, Murraya (common name “orange jasmine”) is a host for Asian citrus psyllid, a dangerous pest of citrus. If any portion of a bouquet has pests, the entire bouquet will be confiscated.

Customs advises travelers to declare all bouquets, flowers, and plants in order to avoid possible penalties. If you are currently facing CBP penalties after an agriculture specialist inspected your flowers or plants, contact David Hsu immediately at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Dulles CBP seizes $11k from couple traveling to Vietnam.

pexels-photo-259132.jpeg

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $11,882 from a couple traveling out of Dulles on February 6, 2018.

During inspections of travelers leaving the US, CBP stopped a couple boarding a flight to Vietnam. When stopped by CBP, the couple initially told CBP they had $4,000. CBP officers then read the reporting requirements to the travelers who then claimed they possessed $7,000. Upon further questioning, the travelers wrote down they had $9,000. After searching the traveler’s belongings, CBP found additional currency in the male passenger’s pants and and a purse belonging to the female traveler. A total of $11,882 was seized by CBP.

CBP does not limit how much money travelers can carry, however, CBP does require reporting of any currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more. A common misconception we hear at our law office is that the amount of money being carried will somehow be subject to a tax, which is not true.

As the couple was traveling to Vietnam at the start of February, I believe the large amount of cash was to be used during the celebration of Tet which falls on Friday, February 16th this year. Hopefully the couple will return in time to respond to the seizure notice that will inevitably be mailed to their address on file.

If your hard-earned money was taken as part of the $289,000 seized on average by CBP daily,  call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, we are here for you!

 

 

 

Importing Refurbished Cell Phones and Customs Seizures.

iPhone Housing

Today’s blog post is in response to our firm seeing an increase in the number of importers having their Samsung or Apple phones seized by Customs.

Typically, our client is a company in the United States that purchases used Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones from the US. The used phones vary anywhere from A to C stock and may have broken screens, defective home buttons, scratched, dented or damaged housing or cracked camera lens. Some phones are store demos with burn-in on the screens, customer returns or old, new stock. The phones are packaged and then sent to China for repair and refurbishing. The fixed phones are then sent back to the US for sale through wholesalers and distributors.

However, as the phones are shipped back to the company in the US, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detains shipments to review whether or not the cell phones violate any intellectual property rights (IPR).

CBP will first detain the phones and has 30-days to speak to the trademark or IPR holder to determine the authenticity of the trademark or IPR. The trademark could be the “Samsung” logo, the “Apple” logo or even the “iPhone” trademark printed in text on the back of the phones. More often than not, the shipped phones change from being “detained” to being “seized”.

The majority of the seizures are due to trademarks found on the rear housing of the phones. As most importers cannot provide authorization by the trademark or IPR holder the right to use the mark, CBP considers the importer phones to be counterfeit and are then subsequently seized.

If you have had your refurbished iPhone or Samsung phone seized by Customs, call experienced cell phone seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. There are certain time limitations after a seizure has occurred so contact David Hsu today.