China’s WTO victory: China can levy duties on $645 million in US imports.

cargo ship near port
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This week, an arbitrator with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body in Geneva ruled in favor of China – permitting China to levy duties on approximately $645 million worth of US imports each year.

While this action may appear in response to the Trump-era 301 duties, this past week’s decision has its beginnings during the Obama administration – when in 2012 the WTO established a panel to address Chinese complaints about unfair duties imposed by the United States on products such as paper, tires and solar panels. At that time, the U.S. argued the duties were necessary to counteract the alleged “dumping” of Chinese-made goods in the US market. 2 years later, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body sided with China when they permitted China to place tariffs on $2.4 billion in US goods.

WTO siding with China is nothing new, in 2019, another WTO arbitrator allowed China to levy duties on $3.6 billion worth of US imports.

Since China’s entry into the WTO, the US government has complained about the US’ unfair treatment in the WTO dispute settlement system. It was former President Donald Trump who stopped the WTO Appellate Body from hearing cases when the Trump administration blocked appointment of new Judges. Ironically, after the Biden administration took office, new Judges were appointed and cases were heard – leading to this current win for China.

“Pop” Toys Seized by CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in New Orleans seized a shipment of popular fidget toys that “pop”. You may not know the name but you have probably seen school kids talk about “pop-its”. Pop-it’s are a new-ish fad replacing the fidget spinners from a few years back. Most pop-its are in various bright colors and shapes varying in “2×2” configuration with a keychain or up to “20×20” and larger.

The pop-it’s mimic the bubble wrap used to protect items in transit – but unlike bubble wrap – can be reused by turning over the pop-it.

While most pop-its are in basic geometric shapes, some manufacturers overseas (China), are importing pop-its in the shape and or image of counterfeit trademark items such as Star Wars characters, Marvel characters, clothing brands and even Simpsons characters (see sample images below from Customs of the counterfeit goods):

Counterfeit “Bart Simpson” pop-it; source: CBP.gov
“Yoda” pop-it; source: CBP.gov

The above images were seized by CBP in New Orleans and were discovered in a large shipment from Shenzhen, China. As expected, CBP seized the goods due to their counterfeit nature.

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

I import clothes from China, will the clothes be banned?

colorful cargo containers on ship near pier
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According to Reuters, China’s Ministry of Commerce claims the US’s recent legislation banning imports of goods from the Xinjiang region as “economic bullying”. The Xinjiang region in China is a large manufacturer of cotton and solar panels and last week’s signing of the import ban will heavily impact US imports of clothing from China.

If you are an importer of any type of clothing or goods made from cotton shipped from China, you may be wondering whether the ban will impact you.

The short answer is: YES.

While the ban specifically mentions the Xinjiang region, enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) will apply to goods manufactured elsewhere in China and shipped to the US. From our experience – Customs will ask importer of records who import textiles to prove the cotton is not from the Xinjiang region.

Good shipped from any port in China will be subject to the same scrutiny and it is important to take action now to limit any Customs delay will have on your import (and your business).

If you are an importer of record, I strongly suggest the following:

  1. Email the manufacturer and ask about the supply chain and sourcing of materials.
  2. Ask your supplier where the cotton is from, is it from Xinjiang?
  3. Ask your supplier for proof and documentation of where they source the cotton.
  4. Ask for something in writing (affidavit/certification/etc.) that you can provide in the event CBP sends a CF-29 or detains/seizes your merchandise.

If you want to get an import compliance manual in place – or have any questions about maintaining import compliance with respect to the most recent ban, or any other import risks – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

Banned! Cotton from Xinjiang, China.

stylish collection of multicolored clothes on hangers in boutique
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In early December, the House and Senate unanimously passed a law banning the importation of products made from China’s Xinjiang region. The bill that passed both houses was signed on December 23rd by President Biden. The new bill requires suppliers to prove their products were not produced using forced labor. As previously posted on this blog – many products such as cotton and solar panels are imported from the Xinjiang region of China. In response, China has denied allegations of forced labor.

If you import any clothing from China, contact our office for a free consultation on how you can avoid any upcoming import compliance issues. Contact David Hsu anytime by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

CBP seizes over $30 million in fake designer goods.

Image of seized goods, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release, CBP officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized over 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving from a shipment from China.

For goods suspected of being counterfeit, CBP officers will work with a Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) – in the instance of goods suspected to be counterfeit – CBP will work with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM) CEE.

The CEE will typically send images or samples of detained merchandise to the trademark or intellectual property rights holder for verification whether the goods are authentic or not. In 99.99% of the time, the trademark holder will tell CBP/CEE the goods are not authentic.

In the instant seizure, the counterfeit goods included handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants displaying brand names such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL and Louis Vuitton. If genuine, the seized goods would have a combined MSRP of approximately $30,473,775.

CBP officers examining a detained purse, source: CBP.gov

Typically after a seizure, CBP will issue a seizure notice to the Importer of Record. This seizure notice will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you have received a seizure notice, contact David Hsu for immediate assistance by phone or text at 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

$57 million in designer watches seized by Customs.

Counterfeit watches, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized a shipment last Saturday of 32 separate shipments containing counterfeit designer watches valued at $57.84 million dollars, if authentic. Some of the counterfeits were branded Rolex and Richard Mille.

The 32 separate shipments contained 2,168 watches that were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s experts at the various CEE departments. The watches were from Hong Kong where approximately 25% of the counterfeit goods seized originate.

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

“Cartier” jewelry seized by CBP totaling $5.2 million.

Counterfeit Cartier goods; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Ohio seized two shipments containing 500 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry from China and Hong Kong. While the importer did not pay a combined $5.2 million for the 500 pieces, CBP values the shipments seized based on the value of the goods, if authentic.

The two shipments contained mostly bracelets and rings and were destined to an address in Florida and Mississippi.

On August 16, officers inspected the first shipment containing 450 Cartier Love bracelets and rings. The bracelets and rings were mixed in with other jewelry that did not violate Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The shipment was from China and headed to a residence in Aventura, Florida.

When Customs seizes goods suspected of being counterfeit, samples (either photos or actual goods) will be sent to a CBP Centers for Excellence and Expertise, known as a (CEE, pronounced “see”). The CEE will verify with the trademark holders the authenticity of the goods. In general, the trademark holders will never say the goods are authentic.

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

Counterfeit COVID vaccination cards seized.

Fake COVID vaccination cards, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Memphis, Tennessee seized a shipment from China containing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards. The shipment from Shenzhen was labeled as “PAPER CARD, PAPER” and CBP officers knew the inside contents as this was the 15th shipment for the night.

CBP knew the cards were counterfeit because of typos, incomplete words and the Spanish translation was incorrect. You are probably thinking why the counterfeiters didn’t simply photocopy an actual vaccination card posted on social media. I don’t know why either.

CBP has so far seized 3,017 vaccination cards in over 121 shipments. Fake vaccination cards are illegal under 18 USC Section 1017.

If you have had your shipment seized (except counterfeit vaccination cards) by Customs, contact David Hsu by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or phone/text 832-896-6288.

Are CBD pipes “drug paraphernalia” and subject to Customs import seizure?

photo of marijuana edibles on dark background
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Our clients have recently experienced an increase in seizures of glass pipes and water pipes (among other items) used for the sole purpose of smoking Cannabidiol-laden hemp (CBD). As you are aware, CBD was legalized by the Federal Government under the Farm Bill of 2018. Additionally, multiple states have also taken measures to legalize smoking of CBD and Congress has been silent on prohibiting smokable hemp.

If you have had a shipment of CBD goods seized for drug paraphernalia, we may be able to help – contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com; DH@GJATradeLaw.com.