COVID and Counterfeits.

As the year ends, the 2020 COVID lockdowns has resulted in increased seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of face masks, un approved testing kits, unlabeled medicine, non-FDA approved treatments, etc.

COVID-19 Test Kit
Image of non-FDA approved COVID-19 test kits, source CBP.gov

In the past month, CBP has seized:

  1. 6,080 counterfeit 3M masks in Cincinnati labeled as “3M Disposable Respirators Model 8210”. The shipment from Hong Kong was scrutinized by CBP because the country of origin marking on the outside of the box was labeled as “Made in the USA”. CBP officers determined the 3M masks were counterfeit and seized the goods before they were to be sent to Kingston, Jamaica.
  2. CBP officers in San Diego seized a shipment containing 251 non-FDA approved COVID-19 test kits from Mexico. The shipment caught the attention of CBP because the kits were manifested as plastic cards. Over 251 test kits divided among two packages were seized and likely to be destroyed.
  3. In another shipment, CBP officers in El Paso seized more than 100,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks for use by hospital workers. If authentic, the N95 surgical masks carried an MSRP of $600,480.

If you have had your COVID-related goods seized by Customs, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

ICE HSI special agents determined the masks were counterfeit after working with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and 3M Company.

“The seizure of these counterfeit surgical masks not only ensures the health and safety of our frontline health care workers by preventing them from receiving inferior personal protective equipment, it also protects the integrity of the American economy.  We will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain.” said Erik P. Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI El Paso.

“HSI and CBP will continue to collaborate to prevent unauthorized and counterfeit products from getting to U.S. consumers to protect the health and safety of the American public and the American economy,” said Ysleta Port Director Arnoldo Gomez. “This large seizure of counterfeit surgical masks, destined for frontline medical workers, demonstrates the great collaborative effort between CBP and HSI. Counterfeit surgical masks pose a great risk to our medical community, and any individual who may use them.” 

This shipment is in violation of Importation, Removal and Contrary to Law (19 U.S.C. 1595a(c)(2)(A)) and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. ICE HSI El Paso is investigating the seizure with assistance from CBP.

ICE HSI launched Operation Stolen Promise in April 2020 to protect U.S. consumers from the increasing and evolving threat posed by the pandemic. The operation involves various federal agencies, including CBP, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and multiple private sector partners, including Pfizer, 3M, Amazon and others.

Operation Stolen Promise combines ICE HSI’s expertise in global trade, financial fraud, international operations and cybercrime to investigate financial fraud schemes, the importation of prohibited pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, offending e-commerce schemes, and any other illicit criminal activities associated with the COVID-19 virus that may compromise legitimate trade, financial systems and/or endangers the public. 

For more information or to report COVID

Counterfeit sports memorabilia seized by Customs.

Image of seized jerseys, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Cincinnati seized 200 counterfeit sports jerseys bearing the autograph of various athletes – including Jason Witten, Dwayne Haskins, Rod Carew and Minkah Fitzpatrick. If authentic, the value of the jerseys would have been worth over $42,000. This shipment was sent from the Philippines to Nashville, Tennessee.

“Counterfeiters only care about making a profit,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “They don’t care about the effect their fake product has on you, your family, or your job. Our officers are well-trained to find seizures like these, to continue our mission of protecting the American public and the American economy”

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments of counterfeit goods worth nearly $1.3 billion had the goods been genuine. Most of these seizures were of apparel and accessories, but fake medical supplies played a significant role as well. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP has seized more than 13.5 million counterfeit face masks, and more than 177,000 unapproved COVID-19 test kits.

CBP encourages consumers to be aware of counterfeit and pirated goods when shopping this holiday season, particularly when purchasing online. CBP has also established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers associated with purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods online or in stores. More information about that initiative is available at http://www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.

San Ysidro CBP officers seize $1 million in currency bound for Mexico.

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Photo by John Guccione http://www.advergroup.com on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release – on December 9th, CBP officers stopped a vehicle traveling to Mexico for further inspection. During the inspection by the CBP canine team, the dog alerted CBP to the driver’s side quarter panel of the car.

Further inspection by CBP officers found many wrapped packages containing unreported US currency in the quarter panels, under the rear seat of the third row and the cargo area.

The media release doesn’t go into further details other than writing the cash was seized.

Typically, US media releases would mention the case was referred to Homeland Security Investigations – the criminal investigation arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, call David Hsu now at 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate help. You typically only have 30 days to respond to a currency seizure.

$25 million in fake watches seized by Customs.

Image of seized Rolex watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 1,280 “Rolex” watches, if authentic, would be worth an estimated $25.2 million dollars. The shipment from Hong Kong arrived in four shipments to Louisville, Kentucky ultimately destined for Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are wondering why the seizures usually occur in Louisville, it is because that is where DHL/FedEx/UPS have their hub for shipments from China.

The Customs media release claims the watches were mis-manifested (wrongly described on the entry paperwork, packing list, or invoice). As an aside – Customs at their discretion seize goods that are mis-identfied.

Customs seized the watches and sent either sample photos or a sample seized watch to Rolex to confirm authenticity. As Rolex (and any property rights holder) denied the authenticity, the watches were seized and will be forfeited (destroyed by Customs).

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Withhold Release Order issued for Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

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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.

Over $9 million worth of counterfeit designer goods seized in Texas.

CBP officers examining 1 of the 148 boxes, source: CBP.gov

Dallas CBP officers at the Dallas/Fort Worth port of entry seized a shipment of counterfeit designer merchandise for China and destined for an address in McKinney, Texas.

CBP claims in their media release their “experience” led them to a perform an examination on the shipment contained in 148 boxes.

CBP’s “experience” is more “common sense” – if your shipment is from China and mentions clothing, watches, shoes, phones, electronics – Customs will take a second look and assume everything with a brand is counterfeit.

Within the 148 boxes, Customs officials found goods bearing trademarks from Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yeezy among others. Customs look at the quality of the item and the poor packaging to determine the likelihood a good is counterfeit.

Besides visual confirmation a good is likely counterfeit, Customs may also send images or samples of the goods to the trademark holders to verify authenticity – and 10 out of 10 times the trademark holder will say the goods are counterfeit.

If you have had your goods detained or seized, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-288 or by email to: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$1.3 million of counterfeit currency seized in Chicago.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Chicago International Mail Facility seized a shipment from the Ukraine containing more than $1.3 million in funny money. The exporters from the Ukraine labeled the shipment of 13,957 $100 bills as “prop money”.

While many importers believe the words or marking of currency as “prop money” means they can be imported – CBP considers any counterfeit of US currency a violation of the federal law prohibiting the reproduction of currency. CBP then turned over the money to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) for investigation.

In general, if CBP turns a case over to HSI and/or the USSS, then the importer is likely subject to criminal penalties instead of the usual civil penalties.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP finds Asian Gypsy Moths (AGM) in Portland.

AGM egg mass, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Portland, Oregon found three Asian gypsy moth egg masses in mid-October. The egg masses typically contain hundreds of eggs that will hatch. The issue is AGM are an invasive species that are highly mobile – being capable of flying up to 25 miles and eat the leaves of more than 500 different species of trees.

The AGM egg masses were found on a foreign flag merchant vessel coming from an area known to be a high risk for AGM. CBP will typically remove the egg mass and then the entire vessel was treated with a pesticide. After fumigation, CBP will then re-inspect the vessel and approve whether or not to process the cargo.

If you have had your shipment detained by Customs for AGM or other pests found in wood packaging materials contact David Hsu immediately. Time is of the essence in WPM/pest cases as CBP will ask the importer or shipper to re-export immediately. Contact David Hsu by phone/text immediately at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US paying Brasil to not use Huawei?

people having a party holding yellow and green flag
Photo by Anna Kapustina on Pexels.com

According to Reuters on October 20th, a US trade delegation visited Brazilian President Bolsonaro to offer financing to telecommunications companies that purchase network equipment from suppliers other than Huawei.

China is Brazil’s biggest trading partner and Huawei currently supplies equipment to telecommunications companies. Brazil plans to auction the 5G spectrum next year and this effort may be an attempt to convince Brazilian authorities to look at other 5G suppliers.

If successful, Brazil would join the US, UK, Australia, Sweden and Japan as countries already taking a position on banning Huawei into their 5G network.

Do you supply Huawei equipment or parts to Huawei and have questions about the export control ban? If so, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Huawei Docs to replace Office, Google Docs and iCloud?

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Photo by Zana Latif on Pexels.com

2 days ago, Huawei announced “Huawei Docs”, an office productivity software suite with individual software titles: Document, Spreadsheet and Presentation – clear alternatives to Microsoft’s Word, Excel and Power Point. Take a page from Google, Huawei Docs claims to support over 50 types of file formats and “Huawei Drive” allows users to save changes to the same document across all devices using their “Huawei ID.”

For Huawei users, Huawei Docs is avialable on all Huawei Mate 40 devices worldwide. While Huawei is number one in the world for most phones shipped, this new office productivity software can only increase sales.

Ultimately, I believe this move by Huawei is a result of the export ban on Huawei – preventing Huawei from accessing Google software and or Microsoft apps found on the Google play store.

Do you supply goods to Huawei and want to know if you are in compliance with the current export regulations? Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a no-cost consultation.