CBP Seizes $129k in counterfeit goods.

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Screenshot of seized goods. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized $129,000 worth of counterfeit consumer goods. The seizure occurred at Dulles International Airport in late December when someone picked up a shipment described as “shoes bags scars”.

CBP officers examined the shipment and found 90 items of designer brand name shoes, bags, purses, belts and scarves. The officers suspected the shipments to be counterfeit and detained the merchandise.

Typically – CBP will send photos to the trademark holder to verify authenticity.  And as expected, most (all) trademark holders will determine the items to be counterfeit.

If you have had a counterfeit seizure, currency seizure or other detention/seizure by Customs, contact experienced trade and seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

ISPM 15 violation? Call now.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasing enforcement against wood packaging material (WPM) violations.

In short, WPM violations occur when CBP finds wood-boring pets in packaging material. If wood-boring pests or other invasive species are found, CBP will issue an “Emergency Action Notice” for violations of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM-15).

The EAN will request re-export, however, we can help – call experienced WPM violation and wood-boring pest attorney, David Hsu immediately. We can help you, call anytime, 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

WPM violation cases are time sensitive, call now!

3 European countries create “Instex” to avoid US sanctions against Iran.

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As you are aware, after taking office, President Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by then-President Obama. Negating the deal also resulted in the imposition of banking sanctions Iran.

In order to continue doing business with Iran, European leaders from Britain, France and Germany created a new company called the “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” or Instex for short.

The Instex corporation was registered in France as a “special-purpose vehicle” on Thursday and will be run by a German banker.

As expected, the State Department issued a statement saying “entities that continue to engage in sanctionable activity involving Iran risk severe consequences that could include losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or U.S. companies”.

It will be interesting to see whether any companies take this risk and will post any Instex as it becomes available.

If you have any questions about the Iran sanctions or want to ensure your company is in compliance with export controls, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US Trade Commission reverses decision, finds the US tire market IS being harmed by truck and bus imports from China.

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Summary of what happened:
On January 30th, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) reversed their earlier decision, finding the US tire market is being harmed by truck and bus imports from China. In short – bus and truck imports from China will now be subject to tariffs. A tariff rate and timeline for imposition of duties was not reported by the USITC.

The USITC released a 62-page determination in response to an order of the U.S. Court of International Trade. Back in November 2018, the USITC remanded the ITC’s decision therefore requiring the ITC to re-evaluate their case.

What caused the reversal?
The five-members of the ITC had changed membership in 2017 when commissioner Scott Kieff left 3 years before the end of his term. President Trump later nominated and the Senate confirmed former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the commission – Jason Kearnes.

Jason Kearnes turned out to be the swing vote in the most recent reversal of the ITC decision on bus and truck tires.

Very brief history:
In January 2016, the US Steelworkers filed a complaint that tire imports from China was hurting US industry. After investigating, the ITC voted in February 2017 to NOT impose tariffs. This was a surprise because every other tire investigation led to imposition of duties.The US Steelworkers then appealed the decision to the Court of International Trade and in November 2018, the USITC was forced to re-evaluate their decision. Ultimately in their re-evaluation, the ITC found: “In sum, we find that the significant volume of subject imports, at prices that undersold the domestic like product and depressed domestic prices, adversely impacted the domestic industry. We consequently determine that the domestic industry is materially injured by reason of subject imports.”

Please contact our offices if you have questions on how the most recent ITC decision will effect your company’s imports of bus and truck tries from China. You can call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump maintains hardline on China trade.

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According to the Japan Times, the Trump administration has not softened their positions on requiring Beijing to make structural reforms to the way companies do business in China – specifically on issues of intellectual property and requiring American companies to share technology with Chinese joint venture partners when doing business in China.

On the other hand, China denies any theft of intellectual property and the accusation Chinese joint ventures steal technology from their American counterparts.

In about a month, the deadline of the trade truce ends and if no deal is reached, tariffs of 25% will be applied to $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. As the meetings are occurring in Washington, both sides seem far apart on reaching a consensus.

Check back for more updates on this week’s US/China trade talks.

CBP Officers Seize $1.0 million in currency in Juarez-Lincoln Bridge.

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Screengrab of the seized currency from the CBP website.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP officers at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge seized approximately $1.0 million in unreported currency hidden inside a passenger vehicle during an outbound examination.

A 2010 Nissan Maxima was driven by a female U.S. Citizen and selected for examination. CBP officers initially used a non-intrusive imaging system scan followed up by a physical examination of the vehicle where they found 53 bundles containing a total of $988,550 in unreported currency within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency and arrested the driver then turned the case over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.

If you or someone you know has had their hard-earned cash seized by Customs or ICE-HSI, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288. Call 24-hours or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CPTPP invites other nations to join.

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The 11 countries that are part of the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)” (formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), have agreed to expand the trade agreement and are seeking involvement of other Pacific nations.

Last week, the first meeting of the CPTPP was held in Tokyo where Ministers and Officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were in attendance.

The CPTPP issued a statement welcoming any new countries that can “meet CPTPP’s high standards and objectives”.

The CPTPP was enacted in December 2018 and proceeded after the Trump Administration removed the US from the deal. The next CPTPP meeting will be held in New Zealand and starting in 2020, each member nation will take turns hosting a meeting.

Contact our office if you have any questions how the trans-pacific partnership will impact your business. David Hsu, 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US/China trade talks amid new charges against Huawei.

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Earlier this week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his trade team arrived in the US to begin negotiations with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. At about the same time of Vice Premier Liu He’s arrival, the US Department of Justice announced charges against Huawei for violations of US sanctions against Iran and among other things, theft of US intellectual property from T-Mobile.

Negotiations are in progress to reach a deal that could prevent an additional 15% tariff (total 25%) on $200 billion worth of goods from China before the March 1st deadline.

Since the truce, China has increased their purchases of American exports, such as soy beans and have also taken steps to crackdown on intellectual property theft. However, the US government is also requesting China open its market and limit government direction for state-owned enterprises (SOE). A change to Beijing’s economic support of certain industries is likely something that will not change.

Check back for the latest news as it becomes available. If you have any export compliance questions or have concerns about compliance with US sanctions, contact trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US DOJ files criminal charges against Huawei.

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According to the BBC, the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) has filed criminal charges against Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The indictment alleges Huawei misrepresented its relationship with the US and a global bank to conduct business with Iran. US companies are currently not allowed to conduct business with Iran due to sanctions.

The other indictment claims Huawei stole technology from T-Mobile, obstructing justice and committing wire fraud. The USDOJ filed a combined 23 charges against Huawei.

Who is Huawei?
Huawei is the second largest smartphone manufacturer by volume (first is Samsung followed by Apple at number 3).

Who is Meng Wanzhou?
She is the daughter of Huawei’s founder.

Will post more news as it becomes available.

If you or your company is interested in avoiding sanctions violations for doing business with Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan or Cuba, give experienced export compliance attorney, David Hsu a call at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US/China Meeting Cancelled?

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According to CNBC, officials with the U.S. trade representative’s office were supposed to meet with their Chinese counterparts this week to try and resolve some trade differences before the March 1st deadline – but the meeting was cancelled.

An unnamed source claimed the trade planning meeting was cancelled as both sides continue to disagree over the enforcement of intellectual property rules.

As you are aware, one of the US goals with China is to ensure adequate IP protections for US companies operating in China. More specifically, US companies doing business in China are expected to turn over IP to a China joint venture as a condition to doing business in China. The US claims this has resulted in the involuntary transfer of IP that ultimately hurts the US company.

While an unnamed source said a meeting was cancelled, the White House economic advisor, Larry Kudlow claimed there was cancellation and a meeting set for next week is still on schedule.