CBP Seizes Counterfeit Beats Earphones.

Image of seized “Beats” earphones, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in New York seized a shipment of counterfeit Beats brand earphones. The July shipment was selected and examined by CBP. Officers found the earphones packed in zip lock bags and bearing a strong resemblance to Beats “Tour” earphones.

CBP suspected the earphones to be counterfeit due to the lack of labels, invoices, and packaging. As with all counterfeit goods, a sample was submitted to the Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise where it was determined the items were counterfeit and violated the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the Beats brand holder. If authentic, the seized shipment were worth a MSRP of $25,000.

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
Photo by Sorapong Chaipanya on Pexels.com

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.

TPP discusses UK membership.

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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.

US detains solar panel imports due to forced labor concerns.

black and silver solar panels
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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.

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.

Counterfeit auto parts seized by CBP.

Seized shipment of counterfeit auto parts; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Philadelphia seized counterfeit Chinese vehicle parts in June consisting of door locks, hinges, powered mirrors, steering wheel switches, headlights and taillights, grills, rear bumpers, and paint kits. As the goods from China were branded with “Mercedes-Benz”, CBP officers suspected the goods may have been counterfeit. CBP Officers confirmed with the trademark holder and seized the goods for being counterfeit. The estimated retail value of the goods, if authentic totals $295,052.

If your shipment of goods from China has been detained or seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com 24/7 for immediate assistance.