$30+ Billion in Trade Stuck at US Ports in mid-July.

intermodal container stacked on port
Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com

According to multiple sources, over $30+ billion dollars in trade are stuck at the port or stuck at sea due to port congestion in the United States. MarineTraffic estimates there are over 460,000 twenty-foot container equivalent units (TEU’s) on vessels waiting off the East Coast and 180,000 TEU’s off the West Coast. MDS Transmodal estimates the total value of the value of trade stuck on the water is over $30+ billion.

In addition to vessels stuck on the water, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach highlight congestion on land – with 33,484 rail containers waiting nine days or longer at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach combined.

Do you have an import, export, trade or compliance related problems, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes $46,000 in currency from outbound travelers.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers at Dulles airport seived more than $45,000 during two separate currency seizures from individuals leaving the country. The first traveler was a U.S. citizen traveling to Ghana. This traveler initially reported $14,000, but closer inspection revealed over $20,404. In this instance, CBP returned $404 in “humanitarian relief” and released the traveler. The other seizure occurred when a dog alerted officials to a couple traveling to Egypt. The couple reported $15,000, but a subsequent search discovered over $26,403 – $1,043 of that which was returned to the couple as “humanitarian relief”.

Humanitarian relief is an amount CBP can return to the travelers, but is not required to do. The amount can vary and depends on the circumstances – such as the amount seized and the number of travelers.

If you or anyone you know has had their currency seized by Customs, contact David Hsu anytime by phone/text/email at: 832-896-6288, attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Don’t wait as time may run out on your ability to file a claim.

New Indo-Pacific Economic Framework?

green palm tree near sea
Photo by Jess Loiterton on Pexels.com

Last week, the United States launched the creation of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an effort by the current administration to improve U.S. ties with the region which the White House said aims to strengthen U.S. ties in the Asia-Pacific region. The IPEF effort is to also limit China’s influence in the region as China has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The initial IPEF members include: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. While Taiwan is absent from the initial 12 member list, the U.S. claims they will work on a separate bilateral agreement with Taiwan on trade and economic affairs.

According to the press release, the goals and purpose of the IPEF include:

  • digital economy and e-commerce, including cross-border data flows, data localization, online privacy, and discriminatory and unethical use of artificial intelligence
  • labor and environment issues and corporate accountability
  • supply chain resiliency, including establishing an early warning system, eliminating bottlenecks in critical mineral supply chains, improving traceability in key sectors, and coordinating on diversification efforts
  • accelerated implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
  • facilitating agricultural trade through science-based decision-making and sound, transparent regulatory practices
  • clean energy, decarbonization, energy efficiency standards, infrastructure, and methane emissions
  • enforcement of effective tax, anti-money laundering, and anti-bribery regimes that include provisions on the exchange of tax information, criminalization of bribery in accordance with UN standards, and effective implementation of beneficial ownership recommendations

The participants will meet later in June to work out the details that will ultimately need Congressional vote and approval. More information about the IPEF will be posted as they become available.

If you have any trade, customs, import, export or compliance questions – please contact David Hsu by phone/text/email, anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes $46,000 in cash from airport traveler.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $46,628 in unreported currency from a U.S. citizen traveling to Cameroon on September 27, 2021.
Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), CBP officers at Dulles airport seized about $46,628 in unreported currency from a man traveling to Cameroon. The random inspection occurred on outbound passengers on a flight to Brussels. CBP officers asked the individual how much money he was carrying – the traveler told Customs he had $30,000 and completed and signed a U.S. Treasury Department form (FINCEN 105).

Upon further inspection, CBP officers found a total of $46,628.00 and seized the entire amount. As you are aware, there is no limit how much cash you are bringing into or out of the US, the only requirement is for travelers to report currency $10,000 or greater.

According to the media release, the traveler “was not criminally charged”. This means CBP did not involve Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). If CBP brings involves HSI, then they believe your currency is related to criminal activity and you may need criminal counsel in addition to customs counsel.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at anytime at 832-896-6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $46,628 in unreported currency from a U.S. citizen traveling to Cameroon on September 27, 2021.
CBP seized $46,628 in unreported
currency from Cameroon-bound man.
Source: CBP.gov

Over $300,000 in unreported currency seized in P.R

Image of seized funds in PR, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Puerto Rico seized $348,940 in undeclared currency hidden inside wooden tables and a sink found inside a 1989 Ford cargo truck. The shipment was destined to an address in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In general, there is no limit to how much currency (cash, checks, traveler’s checks, foreign currency) can be importer or exported by travelers. However, any amount over $10,000, however federal law requires travelers to report to CBP any amount exceeding $10,000 in US dollars or the equivalent in foreign currency. When the funds over $10,000 are not reported or are under-reported, CBP may seize the currency and may lead to an arrest.

If you have any questions about what to do BEFORE you travel and are carrying over $10,000, give David Hsu a call, or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$47,000 in currency seized by Customs.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Dulles International Airport asked a female traveler heading to the Netherlands how much currency she was carrying. The Netherlands-bound traveler reported she was carrying $10,000 and also produced a completed FINCEN-105 form.

CBP officers asked her if she had additional and she responded she did not. However, upon a subsequent inspection, officers found a total of more than $47,000. Officers returned her $1,740 for humanitarian purposes and she continued on her trip.

Pro Tips for travelers:

  1. If Customs ask if you are carrying over $10,000 in currency, it is because they already know you are carrying more than $10,000 in currency.
  2. Be honest with Customs, you can carry more than $10,000, you just have to report it.
  3. Don’t sign the FINCEN 105 form before you count the amount of currency you have. Count first, then sign.
  4. If you get your currency seized, you have about 30 days, if you will be overseas – be sure someone will be able to access your physical mail to receive the “Notice of Seizure”

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text for immediate help: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram at @dfobaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos.

Who’s at fault – the importer or the manufacturer who used “Samsung” batteries in the toys?

batteries lot
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on Pexels.com

I receive at least one call a week from importers who have had their goods seized by Customs for trademark violations, and one very common seizure is for “Samsung” batteries (or any other brand name) contained within toys such as hoverboards or RC vehicles.

As you are aware, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the hall monitor of the multiple government agencies and CBP is tasked with the enforcement of all rules and regulations established by the various agencies – for example, CBP enforces trademarks, enforces FDA import alerts, enforces US Fish and Wildlife restrictions on shark fins and all of the tens of thousands of rules from every agency.

In regards to trademarks, CBP must enforce trademarks if the intellectual property holder registered the trademark with Customs. Unfortunately for importers, Samsung has registered many trademarks and anything found to contain the “Samsung” trademark is easy picking for Customs to detain.

Typically, CBP has the ability to detain goods for 5 days – and longer if the detention is because the goods are suspected of violating intellectual property rights.

Once CBP detains a shipment – they notify the importer of record (IOR) or customs broker the shipment has been detained and will be released pending proof the IOR has authorization from the trademark holder to import the trademarked goods.

Unfortunately, 10 out of 10 times the trademark holder will respond to Customs the IOR does not have authority to import the trademarked good. Once that happens, CBP will officially seize the goods and issue a Notice of Seizure to the IOR by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The importer of record then has 30 days to respond to the seizure. According to the Election of Proceedings form on the last page of the seizure notice, there are 4 options – (1) file a petition, (2) forfeit the goods, (3) refer to court action or offer in compromise.

Going back to the original question – who is at fault for the seizure, the manufacturer that used “Samsung” batteries or the importer of record? And as you can guess from the above – CBP will ultimately find the Importer of Record responsible for trademark violations. While this answer seems unfair, it makes sense as CBP has no authority outside of the United States and no mechanism to go after the manufacturer. The only party CBP can find liable is the importer of record.

If you have had your good seized for any reason – contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Withhold Release Order issued for Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

white flowers in tilt shift lenswhite flowers in tilt shift lens

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the over 400 ports of entry into the US will detain all shipments from Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).

The Withhold Release Order (WRO) was issued for XPCC based on information that reasonably indicates XPCC uses forced and convict labor in their cotton and cotton products.

The recent WRO is the sixth issued by CBP against goods manufactured by forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Under a WRO, importers have two options,

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. This WRO will require detention at all U.S. ports of entry of all cotton products produced by the XPCC and any similar products that the XPCC produces. Importers of detained shipments have two options – export the shipment or demonstrate the merchandise was not producd with forced labor.

If you have had your shipment detained for a violation of an active WRO – contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone or email at 832-896-6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Syringes with unapproved drugs seized by FDA.

Seized syringes: source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release – officers seized a shipment of pre-filled syringes containing 200 Sodium Hyaluronate from Seoul, South Korea. Sodium Hyaluronate is used to treat osteoarthritis and seized for violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibiting the importation of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigation seized the shipment that would be worth $10,666 if authentic. Typical FDA seizures are due to unapproved prescriptions containing manufactured using incorrect or harmful ingredients.

If you have had your shipment seized by Customs for FDA violations, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288.

3,200+ importers file cases with the CIT!

white concrete pillar in grayscale photography
Photo by Anna Romanova on Pexels.com

As you are aware, the HMTX Industries LLC, et al., v. U.S., action initiated Sept. 10, 2020, in the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) alleges the U.S. failed to comply with applicable law when it imposed the additional “List 3” and “List 4a” duties on certain imports from China. Since the filing, over 3,200+ importers have filed their own “piggyback” actions in the CIT.

As the 2-year limitations period likely expires this upcoming Thursday, September 24th, I expect many more importers to file additional cases.

If you paid 25% duties under the Section 301 List 3 and List 4A duties and want to also preserve your opportunity to receive a future refund – contact David Hsu immediately by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.