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.

Banned! Cotton from Xinjiang, China.

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In early December, the House and Senate unanimously passed a law banning the importation of products made from China’s Xinjiang region. The bill that passed both houses was signed on December 23rd by President Biden. The new bill requires suppliers to prove their products were not produced using forced labor. As previously posted on this blog – many products such as cotton and solar panels are imported from the Xinjiang region of China. In response, China has denied allegations of forced labor.

If you import any clothing from China, contact our office for a free consultation on how you can avoid any upcoming import compliance issues. Contact David Hsu anytime by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

Are CBD pipes “drug paraphernalia” and subject to Customs import seizure?

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Our clients have recently experienced an increase in seizures of glass pipes and water pipes (among other items) used for the sole purpose of smoking Cannabidiol-laden hemp (CBD). As you are aware, CBD was legalized by the Federal Government under the Farm Bill of 2018. Additionally, multiple states have also taken measures to legalize smoking of CBD and Congress has been silent on prohibiting smokable hemp.

If you have had a shipment of CBD goods seized for drug paraphernalia, we may be able to help – contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime 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.

Over $9 million worth of counterfeit designer goods seized in Texas.

CBP officers examining 1 of the 148 boxes, source: CBP.gov

Dallas CBP officers at the Dallas/Fort Worth port of entry seized a shipment of counterfeit designer merchandise for China and destined for an address in McKinney, Texas.

CBP claims in their media release their “experience” led them to a perform an examination on the shipment contained in 148 boxes.

CBP’s “experience” is more “common sense” – if your shipment is from China and mentions clothing, watches, shoes, phones, electronics – Customs will take a second look and assume everything with a brand is counterfeit.

Within the 148 boxes, Customs officials found goods bearing trademarks from Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yeezy among others. Customs look at the quality of the item and the poor packaging to determine the likelihood a good is counterfeit.

Besides visual confirmation a good is likely counterfeit, Customs may also send images or samples of the goods to the trademark holders to verify authenticity – and 10 out of 10 times the trademark holder will say the goods are counterfeit.

If you have had your goods detained or seized, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-288 or by email to: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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.

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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.

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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.