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

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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.

Does my company need a Social Compliance program?

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Yes and Yes. While import and export compliance are the typical programs in place for importers and exporters – one often neglected compliance program importers must have is the social compliance program.

The social compliance program is necessary to ensure compliance with Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, prohibiting the importation of merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor – including forced child labor. Importers who import goods produced with forced labor may have their goods subject to exclusion, detention, seizure and may lead to a criminal investigation.

While many importers are confident their manufacturing supplier is not using forced labor, CBP also goes after importers who are downstream from the actual instance of forced labor. For example, even though you do not purchase goods from a company using forced labor – if the raw materials used in the production of the goods you import are made using forced labor – your goods are subject to detention. Even if the raw materials go through several manufacturers or companies before being incorporated into the final product you import – you as the importer of record are liable for any instances of forced labor at any stage of the supply chain.

A social compliance program is therefore a must to minimize the risk of a Customs detention on the basis of use of forced labor. Not only do importers need a social compliance program in place, they also need to adequately educate and train all key personnel on minimizing the importation of goods produced using forced labor.

If you want to minimize your detention risk of goods subject to a pending Withhold Release Order or have any questions about whether your goods may be subject to detention based on the multitude of outstanding WRO’s in place – call us for your free consultation. Our firm prepares and trains companies on forced labor compliance and are ready to help you. Call David Hsu on his cellphone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Trump administration eases regulations on exportation of small arms and ammunition.

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The Trump administration issued new rules related to the export licensing of firearms and ammunition products. Firearms and ammunition exports will now be managed by the Commerce Department and not the State Department.

In other words, small arms and ammunition shifts from the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arm’s Regulations US Munitions List to the US Department of Commerce’s Export Administration regulations.

ITAR concerns defense-related exports whereas EAR is “dual use” for commercial or military use, and therefore less strict export rules versus the State Department.

The new Trump administration rules also eliminates the $2,250 registration fee for gunsmiths and small companies who do not manufacture, or export firearms or ammunition.

The final rule will be published on January 23 rd and implemented 45 days later after formal publication.

If you have any questions how these new rules will impact your small arms or ammunition export business, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu by phone/text at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

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.