Khapra Beetles intercepted by CBP in Houston.

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Back in August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists stopped Khapra beetles from entering the US at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). CBP found these invasive pests hidden among travelers arriving from Sudan, India and Turkey. The Khapra beetle and cast skin remains are known to be found in dry fava beans, dried coriander seeds and dried dates.

Khapra beetles are resilient bugs that can live without food for long periods of time and known to be resistant to insect sprays. They typically feed on grain and cereal but can eat other food products to survive – as such the introduction of the Khapra bettle would be damaging to US agriculture.

According to CBP – agricultural specialists intercept over 352 agricultural pests per day. If you have a pest issue or CBP sent you a notice regarding wood packaging materials – contact experienced customs and WPM/wasps attorneys at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Dangers of Wood Packaging Materials (WPM) to your supply chain.

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Wood packaging materials (WPM) and the presence of invasive species puts your supply chain at great risk. As you are aware, CBP has strict regulations regarding the use of WPM in shipping goods from overseas. The regulations are in place to stop the spread of non-US invasive species that may wreak having on the US domestic ecosystem if the species are introduced into the US.

CBP previously has a published tolerance of five WPM violations prior to issuance of a penalty. However, after November 1, 2017, responsible parties with WPM violations may be issued a penalty after only one violation!

Why stop invasive species?
As the name implies, exotic invasive species are frequently brought into the US through use of wood packing materials. Most frequently found are “wood boring” insects that are able to make holes in the wood to lay larve. The species threaten  agriculture, forestry and other ecosystems where there may exist no natural predators.

How does Customs regulate WPM?
Wood packaging materials imported into the US are required to be treated before importation. The WPM must display a visible mark certifying treatment  on at least 2 sides – the mark must also be approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.

Non-exempt wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at approved facilities at places of origin to kill harmful timber pests that may be present. The WPM must display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably on at least 2 sides of the article. The mark must be approved under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.

What if there is a WPM violation?
In the event of a WPM, CBP will issue a “Emergency Action Notification” (EAN) to the responsible party (party whose bond was obligated). The EAN will give the responsible party certain time to comply. Typically the solution may be to re-export the goods for fumigation and then re-import. Re-exporting the goods disrupts your supply chain and

What are the other penalties?
If a party fails to comply with the terms of EAN, CBP may issue a liquidated damages penalty.

Do you have any questions about WPM violations or have you been issued an Emergency Action Notification for WPM violations?

Call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com

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

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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!

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.

Change in Penalties for Wood Packaging Material (WPM) Violations.

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Under previous U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidelines, importers could have five (5) wood packaging material violations in one year before being penalized. Unfortunately, according to a Frequently Asked Questions page on the CBP website found here, as of November 1, 2017, any importer, carrier, or bonded custodian can now be liable for a penalty in the first instance of a wood packaging material violation.

If you are an importer, carrier, bonded custodian or any other responsible person who received an Emergency Action Notification (EAN), give our office a call first. We can discuss ways to mitigate the penalty and other methods to protect you. Call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free and private consultation.