CBP seizes $3 million in counterfeit jewelry and watches.

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Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

In the second major seizure for the month of May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Philadelphia seized 64 pieces on April 3rd from a shipment coming from Hong Kong. If authentic, this seizure and a prior March seizure result in a combined manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $3 million.

The packaging indicated the shipment contained bangles and arrived from Hong Kong. With the large amounts of shipments from overseas, CBP is unable to inspect every package – instead will focus on inspecting shipments sent from places known to counterfeit items. Upon inspection of these bangles, CBP also found the counterfeit jewelry would be in packaging of poor quality.

This time, CBP officers found the package containing bracelets, earrings and rings bearing the Cartier and Tiffany brands.

If you or anyone you know has had their shipment seized by Customs, contact experienced Customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Customs will seek civil and sometimes criminal penalties for importers that violate intellectual property rights – call today.

CBP seizes more than $1.5 million in counterfeit hangbags and belts.

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Credit: CBP.gov. CBP officers at the Port of Tacoma
seized merchandise that violated the
trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton,
Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) release, the Port of Tacoma seized counterfeit handbags and belts, among other high-end items totaling more than $1.5 million.

Without going into details, the press release indicated the counterfeit items were “of poor quality and violated the trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi”.

CBP enforces over 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations (such as trademark violations of the handbags) for the over 47 federal agencies with a goal of “protecting the U.S. economy and its consumers from harmful imports and unfair trade practices”.

If you or someone you know had their imports seized due to CBP’s belief the items are counterfeit, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com .

Colorado woman fined $500 by Customs for not declaring an apple.

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As has widely been reported, Colorado resident Crystal Tadlock was catching a connecting flight in Minnesota back to Colorado from a trip to France when CBP in Minnesota stopped her and fined her for not declaring an apple. At the time, CBP indicated they would fine her $500 for failure to declare the apple. Crystal claims she packed the apple (served as part of the in-flight meal service) in her carry-on and forgot about it until she was clearing Customs.

Customs has discretion to fine up to a $1,000 penalty for first time offenses of bringing in prohibited agricultural products and Crystal will likely receive a notice in her mail in about 30 days. Not sure if Crystal is a frequent traveler, however the other consequence of this seizure will be the loss of Global Entry Status.

If you or someone you know has had a Customs seizure and you have received a penalty notice from Customs – call experienced Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate help – 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Latest CBP Instructions on Section 232 Investigations (April 11, 2018)

Donghai Service Port

Photocredit: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

See below for the most recent instructions regarding the Section 232 Investigations. These instructions were released by the CBP, on April 11th. The original text can be found here.

Commodities: Unchanged and includes steel mill and aluminum articles as specified in proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018: All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

However, after May 1, 2018, all countries of origin.

Customs does make a note to remind readers that it is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:

Steel Products: importers shall use the HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to duty: 9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products)

Aluminum Products: importers shall use HTS classification: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

If the two above HTS numbers are not used for importers under Chapters 72, 73 and 76 for the covered countries of origin, these error messages will display:

E1 IQ10 LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09 QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05 BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note: Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

If importers or filers do not include the chapter 99 code with their Post Summary Corrections for imports under Chapters 72, 73 and 76, the above reject messages will also appear.

Importers may file a protest if they believe an entry was incorrectly liquidated.

Below are the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS from the CBP website copied for your convenience.

1. What is the timing of duty calculations on immediate transportation in bond entries subject to Section 232?

Pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations, duties are due on goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

19 CFR 141.69(b) states:

Merchandise which is not subject to a quantitative or tariff-rate quota and which is covered by an entry for immediate transportation made at the port of original importation, if entered for consumption at the port designated by the consignee or his agent in such transportation entry without having been taken into custody by the port director for general order under section 490, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended ( 19 U.S.C. 1490), shall be subject to the rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

For such entries covered by an entry for immediate transportation, and with a country of origin and Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification subject to the Presidential Proclamations, such entries shall be subject to the duty rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

Accordingly, entries of steel and aluminum articles covered by an entry for immediate transportation accepted at the port of original importation before March 23, may have been incorrectly rejected by CBP and/or incorrectly filed with a Chapter 99 steel or aluminum HTS classification.

CBP is working to address the incorrectly filed entries to alleviate the need for the trade to resubmit entry summaries, submit post summary corrections (PSC), or file protests. CBP is aware that some entry summaries incorrectly submitted with the Chapter 99 HTS classification may have a deadline approaching to pay the associated duties. CBP will fully consider the issues associated with these entries in enforcing the duty deadline and CBP will be addressing these entries promptly. Importers who incorrectly paid duties pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations on an AD/CVD entry, and want to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation, may file a PSC to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation.

2. Which Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) classifications under HTS 7616.99.51 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

Per the Presidential Proclamations, 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

 

If you have any questions, call customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Court of International Trade sides with Canadian textile importer and dismisses Customs $4.5 million penalty claim.

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In a just released decision by the the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT), the CIT dismissed U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) efforts to collect $4.5 million in penalties against Tricots Liesse 1983, Inc. (Tricots), a Candian textile company importing goods into the US. The full text of the CIT Slip Op. 18-29 can be found here.

In the instant case, Tricots tried to correct NAFTA rules of origin claims by filing a prior disclosure with CBP. CBP issued an administrative penalty and duty demand while not providing Tricots an opporutnity for oral hearings during the administrative proceedings. CBP then filed suit against Tricots in the CIT to collect $4.5 MM in penalties and duties. In response, Tricots filed a motion to dismiss the claims because CBP did not allow Tricots the opportunity to attempt administrative remedies.

In short, the CIT opinion faults CBP for not allowing Tricots a “reasonable opportunity” to make oral representations after issuing the penalty notice. This decision helps future importers by ensuring any importer has the opportunity to receive an administrative hearing before CBP imposes a penalty.

If you have received a penalty notice from Customs and need assistance, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Just in time for Easter – CBP reminds travelers of their Holiday Easter Egg regulations.

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With Easter Sunday this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded travelers that Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are limited to 12 per passenger. The shells may be decorated, etched, or painted, but they must be clean, dry and free of any egg residue.

Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in an effort to reduce the spread of  Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells. HPAI is a contagious diseases fatal to bird species and effects their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. The virus infects chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons, and ostriches.

As Mexico is affected with Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), fresh eggs, raw chicken and live birds or poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry to the US.

If you or anyone you know has any customs or trade law issues, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seize Over 6 Million Counterfeit Cigarettes.

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In mid March of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commercial fraud agents seized six million counterfeit cigarettes during a warehouse inspection.

The estimated retail price is $1.1 million. CBP import specialists with the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Miami reviewed 600 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes and found multiple trade name protection and trafficking counterfeit goods violations.

CBP cites many dangers to these counterfeit cigarettes – first criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods and second, counterfeit cigarettes pose a greater public health risk. CBP also indicates that trademark owners are also hurt and the government also is deprived of tax revenue.

If you or someone you know has had counterfeit cigarettes or any other goods seized by Customs for suspected IP violations or trademark violations – contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu. Customs holds importers liable for both civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Call 832-896-6288 or e-mail dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

Help! CBP seized our cash even though each of us only carried $6,000.

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We often hear from our clients that Customs seized their cash even though they were carrying less than $10,000. The typical scenario is a couple traveling overseas. The husband is carrying $6,000 in cash and the wife carries another $6,000 in cash. To most people, this appears to not violate the $10,000 reporting rule, right?

Unfortunately, it’s wrong. In the eyes of Customs, this is “structuring”. Structuring is when a person has divided more than $10,000 upon import or export of money or equivalent to avoid reporting. The law against structuring is found under 31 USC Section 5316.

We all know air travel is stressful, but next time, be sure to just report all the currency you have with you over $10,000. The cash is not taxed and reporting the money will ultimately save you time and stress. Cash seizures at airports will take several hours and you will more than likely miss your flight, or your connecting flight and the important events you have planned at your destination.

It is important to note that structuring still applies even if it is done over several days, weeks or months and structuring still applies regardless of the form of the money (whether it is in cash, travelers checks, or other monetary instruments).

So what are the penalties for currency seizures?
There are both civil and criminal penalties for structuring currency, it all depends on the circumstances of the seizure. The money can be seized, forfeited, and you may be  fined, or face additional criminal penalties if there is a pattern of illegal activity over a year long period.

Additionally, once you are in the Customs database and have a record for one currency seizure, each entry and exit to and from the US may result in heightened scrutiny from CBP.

NEED HELP?
If you or someone you know has faced a currency seizure for structuring or a cash seizure for failure to declare, contact experienced money seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

CBP in Georgia intercept “first-in-port” insects.

Deloyala_guttata_-_Mottled_Tortoise_Beetle

Mottled tortoise beetle (Image via Wikipedia)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Savannah intercepted the pigeon tick, straight-snouted weevil and tortoise beetle in containers destined for Georgia.

These insects are known as “first-in-port” because the pests have never been encountered at a specific port of entry.

In January, CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of Savannah inspected tile and stone on shipments arriving from Turkey and Italy and discovered these potentially harmful insects.

This inspection was just one of the over 3.85 million twenty-foot container equivalent units of cargo processed yearly by the Port of Savannah, the second-largest on the East Coast.

If your imports have been seized due to containing pests, call experienced Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288, or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.