CBP in Houston finds pests inside wood packaging materials.

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Photo of pests, source: cbp.gov

Earlier this week in Houston, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at the Houston Seaport found several wood packaging material shipments arriving to the Houston port from March 5 – March 12 containing timber pests that may cause damage to the forest and trees.

All 5 of shipments with the wood packaging material pests were immediately exported and unable to offload in Houston.  CBP along with the Department of Agriculture took samples of the pests and the pests were identified as a bark beetle from the wood wasp family.

All importers should be aware of any shipments in WPM used to brace, secure and support cargo.

If you have a wood packaging materials issue – you may not have to export, contact experienced wood packaging materials attorney – David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Children’s clothing seized by CBP for excessive lead levels and flammability risks.

Kids Pajamas CHM

Seized clothing, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized commercial shipments of girls clothing and pajamas. The shipment from China was tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and found to contain excessive amounts of lead, violating the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The other shipment contained pajamas also manufactured in China. Upon testing by the CPSC, Customs found the pajamas failed the flammability requirements under the Flammable Fabrics Act.

As a result of the violations, Customs seized the merchandise and will likely destroy the goods. I do not see any possibility the FPF paralegal would allow these goods to be entered into the US.

As I previously mentioned, CBP will first detain a shipment, have the shipment tested and then seize the shipment. After a seizure, Customs will send a Notice of Seizure to the importer of record for both shipments. Given the value of the shipment, $700 for the clothing and $1,500 for the pajamas, I don’t believe an importer of record will contest the seizures, much less hire an attorney to handle the seizure.

If you have had your goods seized for violating the CPSC regulations, Flammable Fabrics Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act or any other regulations from the alphabet soup of federal agencies, call experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

72,000 counterfeit vaping pods seized.

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Photo by Wildan Zainul Faki on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protections (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized over 72,000 counterfeit disposable flavored pods from Hong Kong mimicking the “Pop” brand Blue Razz Disposable Vaping Devices. If authentic, the value of the pod packets would be valued over $1.1 million.

No surprise on this seizure of vaping pods given the prior deaths of young individuals from vaping. The FDA is working to lower the number of illnesses and deaths related to vaping and no surprise Customs would seize these goods. CBP and FDA believe counterfeit pod vaping ingredients may not meet the stringent regulations set by the US FDA, resulting in a further increase in illnesses and death.

If you have had your good seized by Customs and you have received a seizure notice, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu to discuss your options. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP revoke withhold release order (WRO) on disposable rubber gloves.

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Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, yesterday, CBP revoked a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for rubber gloves imported by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.

Briefly, a WRO is issued by CBP and intended to prevent goods suspected to have been made with forced labor or in violation of labor standards from entering the US.

The WRO, which was initially put in place last September and revoked recently because CBP obtained information demonstrating the company no longer produces rubber gloves under forced labor conditions. The process to revoke a WRO required CBP becoming involved with the manufacturing and labor practices to ensure WRP complied with international and US labor standards.

While the media release made no mention of the corona virus, it is unusual to see a media release singling out a revocation of a withhold release order, especially a WRO on PPE goods  such as disposable rubber gloves.

If you are subject to a WRO and want to explore your options, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Taiwan customs officers seize exports of face masks.

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Photo by Timo Volz on Pexels.com

According to the Focus Taiwan website, airport officials seized 3,020 surgical face masks from a Taiwanese citizen heading to Singapore in late February – the largest seizure since export restrictions on face masks were put in plate in late January due to the corona virus.

Each Taiwanese citizen is permitted to export 250 masks per trip. After seizing the face masks, Customs returned 250 to the passenger. The seized masks will be sent for use by the government in their efforts to prevent the spread of the corona virus.

I usually don’t post about non-US customs seizures, but found this article interesting for several reasons:

  1. No mention of secondary inspections, no seizures followed by a letter from CBP with threats of a civil penalty, etc.
  2. Sounds like the seizure process in Taiwan is slightly more painful than in the US and it appears the traveler didn’t miss her flight. If this happened in the US and there was a restriction on the export of face masks, I’m sure she would have been detained, all her belongings searched and then held in detention until they missed their flight.
  3. While it seems like this would never happen in the US since it appears to lack due process for a taking by the government, and while I am usually very supportive of individuals who have their goods (especially currency) seized, this time I am siding with the Taiwanese government on this one.

Interesting to note, the Taiwan customs reported confiscating over 171,450 face masks over 851 seizures since the rule was passed on January 24th. Besides export control efforts at the airport, Taiwan Post (equivalent to our USPS), has also seized outbound shipments of surgical masks destined for overseas. The ban on exports ends on April 30th unless extended. I also read another article from Focus Taiwan that Taiwan is expected to ramp up production of face masks to about 13 million per day.

Anyways, interesting read and the first time I’ve heard of a customs seizure at an airport in a foreign country.

Questions about customs seizures? Give me a call or text, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

New CSMS message about importing personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis and to help facilitate the importation of personal protective equipment (PPE), the FDA issued new instructions for PPE and medical devices through the Cargo Systems Messaging Service. A copy and paste of the entire message is copied below:

 


CSMS #42124872 -Information for Filing Personal Protective Equipment and Medical Devices During COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is providing instruction to the import community regarding the submission of entry information for personal protective equipment and certain other devices. Following the instructions below will help facilitate the import process for all; especially for products related to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency. It is in the best interest of the U.S. to facilitate and expedite the importation of products into the U.S. market that address immediate, urgent public health needs.

For further information regarding entry submission requirements, see the FDA Supplemental Guidance for ACE at https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2020-Mar/FDA%20Supplemental%20Guide%20Release%202.5.1%202018%200410.pdf.

1. Non-FDA-regulated general purpose personal protective equipment (masks, respirators, gloves, etc.):

Personal protective equipment for general purpose or industrial use (that is, products that are not intended for use to prevent disease or illness) is not regulated by FDA.

For these types of products, entry information should not be transmitted to FDA. At the time of entry for these products, Importers should transmit entry information to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) using an appropriate HTS code with no FD Flag; or using an appropriate HTS code with an FD1 flag and do a ‘disclaim’ for FDA.

2. Products authorized for emergency use pursuant to an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

When importing such products, entry information should be submitted to FDA; however reduced FDA information is required for review.

At the time of entry, Importers should transmit an Intended Use Code of 940.000: Compassionate Use/Emergency Use, and an appropriate FDA product code.

Below is a list of products and the appropriate product codes that are currently authorized by an EUA:

• Diagnostic tests: QPK, OTG, QKO, QJR
• Masks/Respirators: NZJ

Questions regarding appropriate product coding can be submitted to FDA at: COVID19FDAIMPORTINQUIRIES@fda.hhs.gov.

Requests for Emergency Use Authorization can be submitted to FDA at: CDRH-EUA-Templates@fda.hhs.gov (for diagnostic devices) and CDRH-NonDiagnosticEUA-Templates@fda.hhs.gov (for non-diagnostic devices)

3. Products regulated by FDA as a device, not authorized by an EUA, but where an enforcement discretion policy has been published in guidance.

When importing such devices, entry information should be submitted to FDA.

At the time of entry, Importers should transmit an Intended Use Code of 081.006: Enforcement discretion per final guidance, and an appropriate FDA product code.

Below is a listing of guidance documents that have been issued for specific products related to COVID-19, which contain product codes within the scope of each guidance:

• Non-Invasive Remote Monitoring Devices
• Ventilators and Accessories and Other Respiratory Devices

A full list of all guidance documents related to COVID-19 is also available on FDA’s website.

All questions regarding these instructions, or to resolve entry issues for shipments can be submitted to FDA at: COVID19FDAIMPORTINQUIRIES@fda.hhs.gov or 301-796-0356.


 

If you import PPE and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Automation of Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality.

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Photo by Sascha Hormel on Pexels.com

On March 9, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that in the upcoming months, CBP will deploy an automated online application process to submit electronic manifest confidentiality requests.

Currently, mail or email requests take our clients about 60-90 days for processing. According to CBP’s announcement, the new electronic filing should be processed as soon as 24 hours.

The new benefit to the online platform for submission is the ability to input all name variations, enabling CBP to match names with names currently found in ACE (Automated Commercial Environment).

Contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com if you have any questions about manifest confidentiality requests or would like to file one.

ITC publishes final determination of no material injury by imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from China, Canada and Mexico.

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Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

About 30 minutes ago, the Federal Register published the final determination decision by the International Trade Commission finding no material injury by imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico. The Final Determination can be viewed here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-03-20/pdf/2020-05845.pdf

The petitioners have 30 days to file an appeal in court. If no appeal is filed, importers who paid duties may be eligible for a refund after the deadline to appeal expires.

If you want to learn more about getting a refund for your imports of fabricated structural steel from China, Canada or Mexico, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Port Houston closing two terminals due to corona virus.

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Photo by Nick Bee on Pexels.com

An employee working at two Port Houston terminals tested positive for the coronaviorus. The Port of Houston Authority reported an employee working at the Barbours Cut and Bayport container terminals tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result the public terminals are closed with operations temporarily suspended. The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the Barbours Cut Container Terminal and the Bayport Container Terminal.

The Houston ship channel and the other private terminals are still in operation. The Port Houston is one of the largest container ports in the Gulf of Mexico and handle approximately 70% of the containers moving through the gulf.

CBP seizes $850k in counterfeit goods.

Gucci Wallet

Counterfeit “Gucci” wallet, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, overnight CBP officers in Kentucky seized six packages containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations. In other words, the DHL hub for air shipments from China contained a lot of fake goods.

According to the media release, CBP officers found fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pokemon toys and Rolex watches. If authentic, the value of the goods totaled approximately $859,010.

If you have had your shipment seized for suspicion of counterfeit goods, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.