CBP seizes undervalued Range Rovers prior to export to Nigeria

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Seized Range Rover, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Delaware seized a 2016 Land Rover Range Rover prior to export to Lagos, Nigeria.

The vehicle worth approximately $55,000 was undervalued in export documents with a value of $13,000. Customs seized the vehicle for violation of 13 USC 305 which is submission of filing a false export declaration and undervaluing an export. 13 USC 305 is fairly broad and used often as a basis for export seizures.

This seizure in Delaware is just one of the many reasons Customs will seize vehicles prior to export – if you have had your vehicle detained or seized by Customs prior to export overseas to places such as Nigeria, the UAE, China, etc, contact experienced vehicle seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Huawei 5G technology coming to the US?

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As Huawei is on the US Commerce Department’s Entity List, Huawei is prevented from doing business with US companies without permission (ie without a license from BIS).
However, media outlets report that Huawei is discussing licensing of their 5G technology to unnamed American companies who have shown interest in long term and one-time transfers. Even a license to an American company may be a violation even if no goods exchange hands.
The Huawei inclusion on the entity list is part of an effort to prevent suspected Chinese government surveillance onto their communications equipment.
If you or your company is interested in doing any business with Huawei – contact experienced BIS/trade compliance attorney David Hsu by text/phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Huawei admits they are impacted by US blacklist.

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According to a recent Forbes article, Huawei has confirmed the U.S. blacklist in place since May is impacting their ability to offer Google software onto their mobile phones. The Forbes article also says Huawei has not finished their in house operating system.
The black list that took effect in May restricts Huawei from access to the US supply chain for software and hardware. While Huawei has been able to source non US goods for the hardware, they have not been able to replace Google’s Android software.
While our blog earlier indicated Huawei would be launching their own in-house operating system, it is not yet ready for smart phones. Huawei has launched their Harmony OS, but that software is limited to smart TVs.
While not mentioned in the article, without Google’s Play Store, Huawei users will likely have to download APK files from online if they want to install their aps onto a new Huawei phone.
Things for Huawei will also get worse next month – this November marks the expiration of a temporary exemption on certain suppliers.
If you  have any questions how your company may be impacted by the trade restrictions with Huawei, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu by text/phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China General Nuclear Power Group added to BIS entity list.

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This past Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce added China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) to the BIS entity list. As a result, American companies are now prevented from selling any products to China’s largest state-owned nuclear company. If any American company or person does business with CGN (or any other listed entity), they would be violating the law and subject to persecution.

The U.S. Department of Commerce claims CGN its subsidiaries engaged in activity to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for use in the Chinese military.

China claims the real goal of placing CGN on the entity list is to limit China’s growth under China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative. Made in China 2025 is an effort by the Chinese government to increase the high tech capability and manufacturing of China. If successful, the “Made in China 2025” efforts will make China the a superpower in high technology in Asia.

If you have any questions about your company’s operations and want to ensure compliance with the new entity list addition, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Intel has begun selling to Huawei as US loosens restrictions.

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Since the US eased restrictions on supplying components to Huawei, the largest US chimpaker, Intel, said they have begun selling products to Huawei “within the rules of the law”. Additionally, Intel says they are also requesting an export license to sell “general purpose computing” chips to Huawei that do not pose a national security risk.

As you are aware, the Trump administration raised concerns regarding the use of Huawei technology may contain backdoors that would allow the Chinese government to spy on users, posing a national security risk. As a result, the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to their entity list this past May. Inclusion on the entity list precluded Huawei from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval (an export license).

However, after the Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last month, President Trump said that US firms can resume selling equipment to Huawei.

Additionally, earlier in July, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced an easing of restrictions against the Chinese company in line with Trump’s statements after the G20 summit, stating that the US would issue licenses to US companies looking to sell to Huawei as long as the sales do not pose a threat to national security. An export license would still be required as Huawei has not been removed from the entity list.

If you have any questions whether your company can continue to do business with Huawei, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US announces clarification of Huawei ban.

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Wilbur Ross, Official Portrait

At the G-20 summit, President Trump announced that US companies could sell to Huawei. Today, the Trump administration filled in the rest of the details by announcing a relaxation of the restrictions against selling to Huawei – limited the ban only to products that are related to national security.

Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that that licenses would be issued to companies to sell their products to Huawei under certain conditions.

On Tuesday Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, said that Washington would issue licences to companies to sell their products to the Chinese telecoms equipment maker under certain conditions. The main condition being “no threat to US national security”. As Huawei is still on the BIS entity list, companies that sell products not harmful to US national security will still need to apply for a license.

If you have questions about the Huawei ban or would like to apply for an export license, contact export compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

“Ignorantia juris non excusat” and the need for export compliance in the wake of the Huawei ban.

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Huawei’s surprise placement on the BIS Entity List highlights the crucial need for your company to have a compliance program in place.

Many people believe export compliance programs only apply to the big guys – however, even the smallest business that sends their products to customers outside of the country are subject to the various export regulations and the steep penalties for export violations. as the saying goes, Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses not” and “ignorance of law excuses no one” respectively).

Small and medium sized company personnel may not know of these requirements until it is too late – fines for export violations can reach up to $1 million per violation in criminal cases and administrative cases can result in penalties amount to the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the transaction. Criminal violators may even face up to 20 years in jail time and punishment for administrative cases can include denial of export privileges – it’s a risk you can’t afford to take.

Here are a few quick tips to protect your company –

  1. Be sure your exported items do not require an export license.
  2. Determine if the destination country requires an export license.
  3. Know your customers – screen who is buying your goods and be sure a restricted party does not receive your goods.
  4. Red flags – does the destination country of your product meet a need for your product?
  5. Be sure you have a copy of all the required documentation – it is not enough to hire a freight forwarder to handle the export.

For more information and a no obligation consultation on creating an export compliance program – contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CHS Inc. SEC filing discloses FCPA violations.

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Tell me more about the CHS FCPA violation:
In an August 31, 2018 Form 10-K filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CHS Inc. disclosed FCPA violations related to:

“a small number of reimbursements the Company made to Mexican customs agents in the 2014-2015 time period for payments the customs agents made to Mexican customs officials in connection with inspections of grain crossing the U.S.-Mexican border by railcar. We are fully cooperating with the government, including with the assistance of legal counsel, which assistance includes investigating other areas of potential interest to the government. We are unable at this time to predict when our or the government agencies’ review of these matters will be completed or what regulatory or other outcomes may result.”

The full 10-K filing can be found here (link opens in a new window).

Who is CHS?
CHS is a Fortune 100 business based in Minnesota and operates food processing and wholesale, farm supply, Cenex brand fuel, financial services, and retail businesses. CHS employs 12,000 people and are also large operators in grain, soybean and sunflower production and transport.

What is the FCPA?
In short – the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Payments, promises to pay or even authorization for payment is a violation and the definition of a foreign official is also very broad.

What does the FCPA have to do with importers and exporters?
Everything! The FCPA applies to all U.S. persons and many of our clients have FCPA risks without even knowing they do. FCPA violations and penalties are severe and individuals have also been found to be personally liable for violations that were committed by the company. The CHS FCPA violations highlight just some of the risks US based exporters face when doing business (exporting) overseas.

FCPA consultation and audit at no obligation or cost to you.
If you don’t have a FCPA compliance program in place or have not updated your compliance program – call experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

The FCPA penalties and compliance risk to you and your company is high, call David Hsu today.

 

 

“Never Trump” letter denies Covington Partner of ZTE Monitorship

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As reported by the National Law Journal – Peter Lichtenbaum, co-chair of Covington & Burling’s international trade and finance practice was originally set to become the compliance monitor overseeing the US settlement with ZTE Corporation. However, federal officials rescinded the offer arter learning Mr. Lichtenbaum signed a “Never Trump” letter prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Instead, Roscoe Howard, former U.S. attorney in Washington and now a white-collar defense partner at Barnes & Thornburg will be compliance monitor.

As part of ZTE’s settlement with the US government, ZTE is required to retain a team of compliance coordinators monitored by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security for a period of 10 years.

How you can protect your company in light of the new China tariffs.

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Since “List 1” of the tariffs on Chinese goods became effective on July 6th, we’ve had many calls from importers, forwarders and brokers on the best practices moving forward. Here’s a quick summary of what any importer should do regarding their imports of Chinese goods –

  1. Apply for a company-specific exclusion from the tariffs. The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has published procedures for doing so on their website. The current approved exclusions are from steel tariffs with more exclusions to follow as Lists 2 and 3 take effect likely later this year.
  2. Review your classifications of imported merchandise. There may be more appropriate HTSUS numbers that your merchandise can be entered under and not subject to duties.
  3. Companies can also use the rules of origin to see if imported merchandise can be from another country other than China. This could result from moving the manufacture location, or moving the location of the “substantial transformation” of those goods.
  4. Adjust the valuation of the merchandise. See if the imported goods are properly valued.
  5. If merchandise is imported to the US for export out of the US, be sure property TIB, IT, T&E bonds are filed.
  6. No one likes surprises – it is best for importers, compliance, supply chain, sales and accounting to notify company management of potential tariff changes and the economic impact these new tariffs will have on profit and costs.

If you have any questions or want to know how your company can protect itself from these new duties, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.