CBP agriculture specialists intercept moth egg mass.

Mass of egg moths, source: CBP.gov

Brownsville U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercept egg masses belonging to the Euproctis sp. (Erebidae) moth – a “first in port” of this pest. When initially discovered in late July, CBP agriculture specialists were unaware of the species and submitted a sample to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for identification.

The Euproctis sp. (Erebidae) months are found in Europe and Asia, it is believed the caterpillars are serious pests to agricultural crops and forests.

If your vessel has been seized by Customs or if you receive a notice of action for pests found on your shipment, contact invasive pests attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Advance rulings: limiting your USMCA import liability.

business commerce container export
Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Every importer of record needs to make declarations to Customs regarding tariff classification, valuation, origin of imported goods and more. Incorrect declarations can potentially lead to long term and expensive problems for the importer.

The NAFTA rules provided a method in which importers could seek guidance from Customs through an advance ruling to predetermine tariff classification, valuation, regional value issues, questions on qualifications of originating good, country of origin marking requirements, and more. NAFTA limited requests for guidance to only importers in the US and exporters and producers in Canada and Mexico who exported their goods to the US.

Fortunately, the new USMCA implemented several key changes. First, the USMCA not only allows an importer, but also allows an exporter, producer or anyone related to the trade transaction to request an advance ruling. Advance ruling requests are no longer limited to domestic residents.

Secondly, the USMCA agreement requires Customs to make a decision within 120 days – increasing transparency and predictability to the advance ruling process. Additionally, the USMCA also identifies the subjects that can be decided through ruling requests – tariff classification, customs valuation, origin of goods, quotas or “other issues agreed upon”.

Lastly, the USMCA offers increased protection in the event of customs modifying or revoking an advance ruling. Under the USMCA, an advance ruling cannot be revoked or modified if doing so will hurt the original ruling requester – unless the requester did not follow the advance ruling or the ruling was based on false information provided by the requester.

The best way to limit your USMCA import liability is to request an advance ruling – taking out the guesswork before the goods are shipped or entered into the US. Please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit footwear valued over $270k seized in Kentucky.

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton, source: CBP.gov

In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.

The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.

CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.

Contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com anytime for immediate help.

Over 10,000 assault weapons parts seized by Customs.

Image of seized parts, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a shipment from China containing over 10,000 assault weapons parts being smuggled into the country. The shipment from Shenzhen, China was to be sent to a home in Florida and valued at approximately $129,600.

According to the media release, the packing list listed the items as “100 Steel Pin Samples”. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and importers of any firearms, ammunition or parts must be a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer.

If you would like to be a licensed importer with ATF, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China blocks imports of Australian beef in response to Australian inquiry to the origin of the corona virus.

pexels-photo-68704

Photo by Catarina Sousa on Pexels.com

According to theweek.in, an India news publication – Beijing is blocking imports of Australian beef after the Australian goverment asked for an inquiry into the source of the origin of the corona virus. However, China’s foreign ministry claims the suspension of beef imports is to protect Chinese consumers after violations of inspection and quarantine requirements by Australian companies.

The article highlights other instances of Beijing restricting imports:
1. China blocks imports of Norwegian salmon after a human rights prisoner was awarded the nobel prize
2. China blocks imports of canola from Canada to pressure Canada to release Huawei executive
3. China blocks imports of Philippine bananas in response to dispute over territory in the South China Sea

However, the article notes this is the first time Beijing has used banning imports in response to criticism over the corona virus. In response to the ban on Australian beef, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia draws clear lines on certain issues And those things are not to be traded.

This isn’t the first time China has blocked imports of Australian goods – in 2019, China suspended imports of Australian coal in response to Australia’s government recision of a visa for a Chinese businessman.

Will be interested to see what happens to the status of Australian beef imports to China.

Corona virus’ January and February impact on trade.

birds eye view photo of freight containers

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

According to the Financial Times, global trade dropped 2.6 percent in February compared to the same time in 2019. This February drop also follows a 1.5 percent drop from January 2020. Specifically, China had a 7.3 percent fall in imports in January 2020 due to parts of the country shutting down in response to the Corona virus. For February, China had another 3.2 percent drop for the month.

The US did not show any impact in trade volume while the EU trade volume dropped 1.5 percent for February 2020. Will be interesting to see March and April numbers when reported.

General importing/exporting questions? Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Port Laredo #1 in two-way trade.

pexels-photo-764998

Photo by Yigithan Bal on Pexels.com

They say everything is bigger in Texas and Port Laredo is no exception.

According to census data analysis by WorldCity, for the second time in a year, Port Laredo has occupied the number 1 spot out of 450 international gateways, with a recorded 18.6 billion in two-way trade for the month of February. At the number 2 spot for recorded trade of $17.2 billion, the Port of Los Angeles. Port Laredo also surpassed the Port of Los Angeles in March 2918.

World City attributed LA’s second place ranking to the US-China trade war and corona virus pandemic impacting LA and the state of California.

Port Laredo is located in South Texas along the U.S. Mexico border and includes four vehicle bridges, international rail bridge and an international airport. World City expects Port Laredo to continue holding the lead as the Port of Los Angeles seaport will be impacted by the corona virus and ongoing trade war.

Questions about importing/exporting? Contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 for a no cost or obligation consultation. Email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit 3M masks.

3MMasks

Image of seized “3M” masks, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Cincinnati examined a package from China with its contents manifested as “mask” on April 3rd. Upon examination, CBP officers discovered 2,000 counterfeit masks branded as 3M. If authentic, the value of the masks would have been approximately $7,000. The package was destined to an individual residence in Austin, Texas.
*****
If CBP seizes your goods for violating intellectual property rights, such as importing facemasks using the “3M” mark, you will receive a Notice of Seizure or Seizure Notice in the mail. The notice will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested (CMRRR) and will be sent to the address on the package or the listed importer of record.
From 30 days of the date of notice (and not the day you receive it), you will need to file a response. The options are: forfeit the items, offer in compromise, refer to court or file a seiure petition.
What if you do nothing? Then after 30 days, CBP will begin forfeiture of the seized goods – ie, CBP will take and destroy the items.
And then? Then you (importer of record) may receive a civil penalty notice (ie, a fine) for importing goods that violate a trademark registered with Customs.
If you have had your shipment seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Unlabeled hand sanitizer seized by Customs.

sanitizer1

Actual image of the seized hand sanitizer, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing seized a shipment of unlabeled gel product April 15 that was claimed to be hand sanitizer.

The U.S. citizen was driving a car from Mexico and declared they had personal use quantity of hand sanitizer. During a secondary evaluation, CBP offers found 2,205 unlabeled bottles in the vehicle along with 1,000 unmarked masks. CBP officers declared the shipment a “commercial quantity”.

If you have had a shipment of personal protective equipment or hand sanitizing products seized by CBP during the coronavirus pandemic, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Port Houston closing two terminals due to corona virus.

pexels-photo-1314567

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.