Hong Kong could lose special status and trade benefits.

Last year, the US passed a law that requires Hong Kong to retain independence to qualify for the continued favorable trading terms with the US. I mentioned this in my blog post on June 15th, 2019 here.

The bill requires the US Secretary of State to certify each year that Hong Kong remains autonomous from China. If Hong Kong does not pass the certification of independence from China, then Hong Kong would lose trade privileges with the US (goods from Hong Kong will now be subject to duties on goods from China).

Fast forward almost a year later – where in late May China’s central government passed a national security law to apply to Hong Kong (as Hong Kong has not been able to pass such a law since they were handed back to China in 1997). The new security law would ban secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, foreign intervention and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in the city.

After passage of the security law, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that Hong Kong was no longer independent from China – signaling a potential move towards Hong Kong not passing certification.

If Hong Kong loses it’s special status a big impact would be on tariffs on goods from Hong Kong would now apply. This would impact over $66 billion in trade according to 2018 trade numbers. In 2018, Hong Kong was America’s third-largest market for wine, 4th largest for been and seventh largest for agricultural products.

If you have any questions how your imports or exports to and from Hong Kong may be impacted, contact David Hsu 24/7 by phone/text to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

15,000 invasive mitten crabs seized since September 2019.

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Image of seized mitten crabs, source: CBP.gov

According to a US Customs and Border Protection media release, Customs agents in Cincinnati have seized 3,700 mitten crabs from China and Hong Kong in the past 4 months.

Over the past 4 months, 3,700 mitten crabs have been found in 51 shipments and were set to be delivered to New York. The shipments were labeled as “tools and various clothing articles”. Nationwide, Customs has seized over 15,000 mitten crabs since September 2019. The mitten crabs are considered a delicacy in Asia.

Here in the US, mitten crabs are an invasive species because they are omnivores and eat anything, impacting the food supply to aquatic plants, fish, algae, other crabs and all living organisms in the water. Mitten crabs are also especially invasive as they are found in fresh water when young and salty water in adult life. Mitten crabs also tend to burrow furthering land erosion and weakening levees and flood control measures.

If you have received a letter from Customs regarding the wrongful importation of invasive species or if you have questions about the exportation of foods that may be subject to Fish and Wildlife regulations, contact experienced Customs and seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $90,000 in counterfeit goods from Hong Kong.

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Image of seized goods. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers seized two shipments of counterfeit products arriving at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The first shipment’s manifest indicated the package contained men’s casual shoes. Upon inspection, CBP found a Rolex watch, LV bracelet, Christian Loubouton shoes, par of Amiri jeans, Gucci jacket and a LV sweatshirt. If authentic, the merchandise would have a manufacturer suggested retail price of $90,798.

In the second shipment, the packing list indicated phones cases – but instead contained designer brand charms and jewelry.

As is the case in most counterfeit seizures, poor quality of items and lack of authentic packaging were common indications of counterfeit merchandise.

CEE?
In all counterfeit seizure cases, CBP typically sends the counterfeited items to the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE for short). The CEE center is sort of a misnomer, as the CEE offices are located throughout the US and not in a centralized location. The CEE center then verifies the authenticity of the goods with the trademark holders. In all cases, the trademark holder will claim the seized goods are counterfeit.

So what happens after a seizure?
The importer of record (person who will receive the package) will receive a seizure notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. The importer of recorder can then either abandon the items, file a petition, offer in compromise or refer to court action.

If you have had a shipment seized by Customs for alleged counterfeit violations or if you have received a notice of seizure, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Counterfeit Nike shoes seized by Customs.

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Image of the seized shoes, source: cbp.gov

According a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Mississippi seized more than $4,000 worth of counterfeit Nike Air Max, Nike Air Jordan’s, and Balenciaga shoes from Hong Kong.

The shoes were shipped in separate packages and described as “casual shoes”. Counterfeit goods entering the US are typically seized under 19 USC 1526 (e) for bearing the counterfeit trademarks.

If you or someone you know has had a shipment of good seized by Customs, there are steps you can take – contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit Cartier products valued over $2.6 million.

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Counterfeit Cartier bracelets, source: cbp.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisiana intercepted 180 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If authentic Cartier, the bracelets would hold a MSRP of more than $2.6 million.

CBP officers inspected the parcel with a packing list specifying “jewelry accessory”. Upon inspection, they found bracelets packaged in Cartier boxes and determined the poor quality bracelets were counterfeit.

As have been previously posted on this blog, Hong Kong is commonly known by CBP to frequently ship counterfeit jewelry such as watches and accessories such as hats. This seizure is the largest (in terms of dollar value) for the entire year.

 

Hong Kong Customs seizes fake Apple and Samsung parts at a repair facility.

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Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

According to a South China Morning Post article, Hong Kong Customs officials investigated and ultimately raided a cell phone repair shop after receiving complaints from a trademark holder (not specified whether Apple or Samsung complained).

The article claimed the repair shop refurbished devices for clients in the US, UK and Australia that sent second-hand phones for repair at 1/3 the typical rate of an authorized repair facility. The repairs typically included replacing the screen or housing.

HK Customs officials claimed the repair shop used counterfeit parts to repair damaged iPhones, and seized over $120,000 worth of fake goods.

Based on the article, I’m pretty sure Apple complained about the IP violations since most Samsung phones do not have the housing replaced when being refurbished. While not listed in the article, the IP violations probably were for the wordmark “iPhone” or the trademark Apple logo found on the back housing. The iPhone replacement glass do not have any IP marks, so the seized goods were most likely the housings.

If you have any cell phone seizures, contact experienced cell phone seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Trump may end special trade status with Hong Kong

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Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

According to Bloomberg – the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended Congress to reassess Hong Kong’s special trading status for sensitive US technology imports. Since 1992, the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 treats Hong Kong as fully autonomous for trade and economic matters even after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. As such, Hong Kong has not been impacted by the current China tariffs and is also supported by the US in the WTO.

The report indicated that Beijing’s actions toward Hong Kong “continue to run counter to China’s promise to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy”. The report further states that President Trump could issue an executive order suspending these privileges to Hong Kong if he believes Hong Kong is not autonomous from Beijing.

If President Trump were to revoke the special trade status with Hong Kong regarding exports of dual-use technology (technology that can be used by consumers and the military) to Hong Kong.

The Bloomberg article quoted Hong Kong legislature member, Felix Chung: “The Western community would look at Hong Kong with different eyes and may not even trust Hong Kong. The business sector cannot take this kind of risk.”

Will follow up with more updates if and when available.