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.

Does my company need a Social Compliance program?

architecture barge bay beach
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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.

Louisville CBP seizes fake shoes, handbags and clothes.

Counterfeit goods seized, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville seized a shipment described as “women’s clothes”. Upon further examination, CBP officers found designer shoes, handbags and clothes. Based off the appearance of the goods, a CBP import specialist examined the goods and determined 95 items were counterfeit and therefore seized. If authentic, the shipment from Vietnam destined to California was valued at $193,740.

If Customs has seized your goods and issued you a penalty notice for importing counterfeit goods, contact David Hsu for your options – call/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$1.1 million in counterfeit goods seized in Kentucky.

Counterfeit goods seized, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville seized five shipments containing counterfeit goods, if authentic would be worth more than $1.1 million.

On that day, CBP seized multiple shipments, with 5 separate shipments containing: 30 “Louis Vuitton” toes, 4 “Dior” handbags, 2 “Gucci” handbags, 200 “YSL” purses and another 366 “LV” bags. The last shipment contained a box with Louis Vuitton wallets.

When Customs detains goods for suspicion of counterfeit goods, CBP will submit photos or send samples to the trademark or other intellectual property rights holder. Almost 100% of the time the trademark holder will notify Customs the importer of record does not have a right to import the covered goods. If so, then Customs will seize the goods and send a “Notice of Sezizure” to the importer of record.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, call David Hsu or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Zimbabwe claims CBP’s accusation of use of forced labor in their diamond mine is a “shameless lie”.

photo of diamond ring

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Earlier this week, I blogged about CBP’s issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that allows CBP to seize products produced “in whole or in part using forced labor”.

One of the products subject to detention are “Rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe; mined from forced labor.

Earlier today, moneyweb.co.za (a Zimbabwe financial web publication) accused the US of lying about diamond mining at the Marange Diamond Fields using forced labor – calling the claim a “shameless lie”.

In support of their claim, the article cites the Kimberley Process (steps that are taken to ensure diamond mining isn’t used to fund conflicts) finding that there are no restrictions on trade in Zimbabwean diamonds. The Kimberley Process represents 81 countries and covers 99.8% of the global rough diamond production.

Zimbabwe’s deputy mines minister, Polite Kambamura is quoted as saying the “doors are open” if CBP wants to visit Marange and that “we are a responsible state miner that operates within the laws of the country and we observe strict adherence to critical tenets of corporate governance”.

Like Marange in Zimbabwe, if you feel your company has been wrongly placed on CBP’s WRO list, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.