CBP seizes over $50,000 in currency from travelers.

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Source: CBP.gov

According to a Customs media release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Dulles seized currency from two different travelers as they left the US.

In the first instance, a Cameroon man boarding a flight to Belgium was detained by CBP. The traveler first reported he had $26,000 in cash but a subsequent search of the traveler’s backpack and carry-on revealed a combined $35,688 dollars. CBP is allowed to return some of the seized money for “humanitarian purpose” and in this instance returned $1,688 to the traveler.

In the second seizure, CBP seized $17,122 from a family headed to Sudan. The family first reported they had $11,000 until a subsequent search found $16,500. Oddly, CBP only released $621.00 to the family whereas they returned $1,688 to the lone traveler in the first instance.

CBP allows you to carry as much cash or monetary instruments – the only caveat being the entire amount must be declared. Many travelers do not know, but you would have to declare this amount regardless of whether you are leaving or entering the US or even if you are transiting through the airport.

If you are ever asked by CBP how much cash or monetary instruments – it is best to report and declare everything. Be sure to write the correct amount if presented with a “FinCen” form.

If you or anyone you know has had currency seized at the airport – contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US Trade Representative Lighthizer will meet with tech CEOs.

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According to anonymous sources, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with CEO’s from Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Oracle today in Silicon Valley.

The topics likely center around intellectual property protections, the ongoing trade war, reports of bias in news searches, emerging technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics.

Other topics could include the Trump Administration’s plan to increase restrictions on exports of new technologies to China due to national security concerns. The new technologies include AI, quantum computing, and speech recognition.

Check back for more news as they become available.

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

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According to Bloomberg – Huawei’s CFO, Wanzhou “Sabrina” Weng was arrested in Canada on December 1st over Huawei’s potential violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Sabrina Weng is the deputy chairwoman and daughter of Huawei founder Zhengfei Ren.

The arrest prompted China’s embassy in Canada to demand Sabrina be released and for the US and Canada to “rectify wrongdoings” and to “to clarify the grounds for the detention, to release the detainee and earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the person involved”.

It is not known when or if Sabrina will be expedited to the US.

Check back for more updates as they are available. If you have any questions about your company’s compliance with US export controls and or want to ensure your company is in compliance with all the sanctions and laws regarding exporting, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Trump may end special trade status with Hong Kong

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According to Bloomberg – the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended Congress to reassess Hong Kong’s special trading status for sensitive US technology imports. Since 1992, the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 treats Hong Kong as fully autonomous for trade and economic matters even after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. As such, Hong Kong has not been impacted by the current China tariffs and is also supported by the US in the WTO.

The report indicated that Beijing’s actions toward Hong Kong “continue to run counter to China’s promise to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy”. The report further states that President Trump could issue an executive order suspending these privileges to Hong Kong if he believes Hong Kong is not autonomous from Beijing.

If President Trump were to revoke the special trade status with Hong Kong regarding exports of dual-use technology (technology that can be used by consumers and the military) to Hong Kong.

The Bloomberg article quoted Hong Kong legislature member, Felix Chung: “The Western community would look at Hong Kong with different eyes and may not even trust Hong Kong. The business sector cannot take this kind of risk.”

Will follow up with more updates if and when available.

$1.7 million in fake Nike shoes seized by CBP.

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According to the CBP media release, CBP officers in New York/Newark seized nearly 9,024 pairs of counterfeit Nike speakers. If genuine Nike products, the total value of the shipment equaled almost $1.7 million dollars.

The shipment of sneakers was from Dongguan City. Dongguan is a city in Guangdong (Canton) Province and borders Shenzhen and Hong Kong. When CBP suspects goods to be counterfeit, CBP will take photos and submit the photos or samples to the trademark holder. In this case CBP’s Apparel Footwear and Textiles Center for Excellence and Expertise sent the images to Nike where the images were determined to represent fake shoes.

The rest of the news release mentions ICE and Homeland Security Investigations will continue to investigate and look into the destination address in Chino, California. Given the value of the funds and the referral to ICE and HSI, it is likely CBP will look further into this shipment and may involve criminal charges for the importer of record.

If you have had your shipment seized on the basis of suspected counterfeit goods, or if you receive a penalty notice or seizure notice, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.comdhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

 

 

CBP finds invasive Egyptian Locusts from Italy.

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Screenshot of the Egyptian tree locust. Source: cbp.gov

In mid-November, agriculture specialists from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered the Egyptian tree locust in the port of Baltimore. The locusts were found in a shipment of Italian wine. As a result of the finding, CBP had the shipment re-exported back to Italy.

The Anacridium aegyptium, or commonly known as the Egyptian tree locust is a leaf feeder and pest to grapevines, citrus, fruit and other vegetable. While the Egyptian tree locust is common in Europe, it is considered an invasive species in the US.

In addition to invasive pests, CBP’s agriculture specialists also work hard to stop noxious weeds and prevent foreign plant and animal diseases from entering the US.

If CBP finds the presence of invasive species in your shipment – you will receive an EAN (Emergency Action Notification) typically requiring you to re-export the shipment and contents. If you have received an EAN, contact experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6822 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

USMCA Signed at G20 Summit.

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As expected, the USMCA was signed by President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a replacement for the NAFTA agreement entered in 1994 between the 3 countries.

While the agreement was signed today, each of the legislatures from the three countries will still need to ratify the agreement before it takes effect.

A full text of the agreement can be viewed here.

If you have any questions how the USMCA may impact your business, call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US House of Representative Conservatives protest LGBT protections specified in the USMCA.

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According to the Politico, US House of Representative members Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Mark Meadows, and Rep. Diane Black along with 37 other conservative house members sent a letter today (Friday, November 16, 2018) to the Trump administration expressing their concerns of the LGBT protections in the USCMA agreement. The letter indicates that the LGBT protections may cause some of the signatories to the letter to not support the agreement.

In short, chapter 23 of the USMCA has requirements that workers be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. These LGBT protections were a priority for Canada and the Trudeau government.

The US, Canada and Mexico are expected to sign the USMCA at the G20 summit on November 30th in Argentina.

Democrats demand changes to USMCA.

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According to Bloomberg – several Democrat lawmakers demand changes be made to the USMCA before they will support the new agreement to replace NAFTA. These changes will likely need to be negotiated if approval can occur as Democrats have new clout after seizing control of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections earlier this month.

The new USMCA agreement was reached at the end of September and one part of the agreement strengthens independent unions but some Democrats say the method to enforce the rules is inadequate.

Other terms of the agreement require at least 40% of car production to come from factors paying a way of $16 per hour or higher while also allowing the US greater access to Canada’s dairy market.

Bloomberg cites that Democrats may not want to give Trump a deal leading into the 2020 elections while Trump could withdraw the US from NAFTA if the Democrats do not work with him. Check back for more details as they become available.

Feel free to contact David Hsu to see how the new USMCA may impact your business: (832) 896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Customs seizes undeclared currency hidden in traveler’s underwear.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s media release – CBP officers at Logan International Airport in Boston questioned two Indonesian nationals arriving on a flight from Doha, Qatar.

During a more thorough secondary inspection, CBP asked the travelers to declare any currency they were carrying. The travelers declared they had approximately $12,000. However, a search of the passengers revealed $4,900 sewn into the passenger’s underwear. CBP officers also found $20,000 in US currency and $2,000 in Canadian currency among their belongings – bringing the total seizure amount to $27,000.

This incident that occurred in early November is just a portion of the over $265,000 in undeclared currency seized daily by CBP.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs at the airport while leaving or entering the US, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 for immediate assistance.

After your currency has been seized, there are certain timelines and documents that need to be filed with Customs, don’t delay.

We represent travelers locally, nationwide and world wide and will work hard to get you your money back. Call or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com today!