$26 Million in Counterfeit Watches Seized

Image of counterfeit seized watches, source: CBP.gov

Back in mid-September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized 2,168 counterfeit designer watches with a MSRP of $57.84 million.

The shipment from Hong Kong and Turkey were destined for addresses in Florida and Michigan before they were inspected, detained and seized (1/4 of all counterfeit goods seized in the US originate from Hong Kong) The seizure included 21 counterfeit “Richard Mille” watches that would have been worth $25.56 million MSRP if authentic. The $25.26 million seized is only a fraction of the average $650 million of counterfeit watches and jewelry seized per year by CBP.

If you have had your shipment seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime to: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Nearly half million in counterfeit contacts seized.

Counterfeit contact lenses, source: CBP.gov

In late October, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigation special agents and FDA consumer safety officers seized nearly half a million dollars worth of nearly 26,000 pairs of counterfeit contact lenses. Contact lenses are regulated by the FDA and CBP is the enforcement mechanism.

The CBP media release further highlighted the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods to the American consumer. If you have had your goods seized on suspicion of being counterfeit, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

“Water pipes” or “Gravity Pipes” seized by CBP.

Image of one of the seized “water pipes”, source: CBP.gov

CBP officers at Dulles International Airport seized a shipment of 3,738 glass bongs from China in early October. The documentation listed the goods as “gravity pipes”. CBP officers detained the shipment and sent a sample and photo to the CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) that handles Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising. More than a month later, CBP import specialists seized the goods (appraised at $56,033) on the basis of drug paraphernalia.

If you or someone you know has had a seizure for goods suspected of being drug paraphernalia, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$23,641 in unreported currency seized.

Image of hidden currency found in couple heading to Ghana, source: CBP.gov

According to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – officers at Dulles airport seized unreported currency from a couple traveling to Ghana. While at Dulles airport, the couple declared to CBP they both had a combined $10,500. However, upon subsequent inspection, CBP officers seized $23,641 – more than double the initial claim amount.

According to the media release – the carry-on bag contained an envelope concealed behind the carry-on bag. CBP seized the currency for violations of the currency reporting laws, but did provide the couple with $641 in cash for “humanitarian relief”.

From my experience – it is a lot harder to get a return of seized property when the currency was concealed. In the instant seizure, CBP reports the cash was concealed behind the carry on bag’s liner. We also see travelers who try to place $100 bills between pages of a book or magazine – when this happens, it is a lot harder to prove to Customs the travelers were not trying to evade currency reporting guidelines.

If you have had your cash seized, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists seize tomato shipment from company subject to a Withhold Release Order.

Image of the seized tomatoes, source CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Pharr International Bridge detained a shipment of tomatoes from the company: Horticola Tom, S.A. de C.V., a company subject to a recent Withhold Release Order. The goods from Horticola Tom are suspected to have been produced using forced labor, and as such are barred from import to the US.

CBP Agriculture Specialists examined a shipment of tomatoes purported to be from a company not affected by recent WRO’s. However, when CBP reviewed the paperwork and compared the packaging of the tomatoes, CBP determined the tomatoes were from the grower, Horticola Tom.

As with all goods subject to a WRO, the tomatoes were re-exported back to Mexico.

If your company is subject to a WRO or your goods have been wrongfully detained, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your options moving forward.

TPP discusses UK membership.

united kingdom marching band
Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

According to the Kyodo news, the current 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began discussing the United Kingdom’s bid to join the trade pact. If approved, the UK will be the 12th member since the creation of the TPP in 2018. At the time of this post, China and Taiwan have also submitted applications to join the free trade agreement.

While typically known as the TPP, the official name is called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. The chair of the organization rotates and the current chair is Japan.

Entry to the CPTPP requires applicant countries to revise their domestic laws and regulations to meet TPP criteria. If approved, the UK will join Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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

US detains solar panel imports due to forced labor concerns.

black and silver solar panels
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Back in June of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection imposed a ban on solar panels from a company called Hoshine Silicon – a producer of raw materials used in the manufacturing of solar panels. The ban was instituted by CBP under the forced labor provisions – in which CBP can block goods believe to have been made using forced labor. Hoshine Silicon operates plants in China’s Xinjiang region and is suspected of using forced labor. Forced labor covers a broad range of actions by the employer and in the case of Hoshine, it is believed they intimidate workers and restrict their movements. Hoshine is also believed to be participating in state-sponsored employment programs targeted towards minorities in the Xinjiang region into factory jobs – forced labor in that there is no choice but to accept the jobs.

Hoshine plays a major role in the manufacturing of solar panels and the raw materials they sell are sold to at least 8 of the largest polysilicon manufacturers, also based in China. The polysilicon is then used to make solar panels. The largest solar manufacturing companies are based in China due to cheap electricity and other low manufacturing costs. Some human rights watchdogs claim the use of forced labor is another factor driving down the prices of Chinese solar panels.

If you have had your goods detained based on suspicion of being manufactured using forced labor – contact David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Another day, another seizure of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Pittsburgh seized 70 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards on September 7 that shipped from China and were destined to an address in Beaver County, Pa.
Source: CBP.gov. CBP seized 70 counterfeit COVID-19
vaccination cards shipped from China.

Must be a shortage of card stock in the US, as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release reports a seizure of 2 shipments of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in Pittsburgh in early September. CBP were able to determine the vaccination cards as counterfeit due to the low-quality appearance and the importer of record or consignee was not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Customs media release reminds readers of the illegality of buying, selling or using counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards.

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

Taiwan’s CPTPP application followed by China’s CPTPP application.

city during nighttime
Photo by Timo Volz on Pexels.com

According to a Reuters article, Taiwan’s economy minister, Mei-hua Wang, voiced concern last week after China’s “sudden” decision to apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) following Taiwan’s application.

In response, the Taiwan economy minister claims China’s current policies are counter to the principles of free trade and transparency expected by CPTPP members – such as China’s use of import bans and potential inability to meet the high standards required of CPTPP participating countries.

According to the Reuters article, one such motivation for China’s sudden application is because China views Taiwan as part of its territory and does not want Taiwan to join before they join.

The CPTPP was originally going to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but the trade agreement was drastically changed in 2017 when former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. This led to creation of the current CPTPP linking the following countries: Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Besides Taiwan and China, Britain is also applying for membership.

Lastly, Reuters writes Taiwan has been heartened by recent progress towards trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, which are both frustrated with China’s lack of progress in opening its economy and are keen to show their support for Taiwan’s democracy and much freer market policies.