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.

Counterfeit designer bags seized from Turkey.

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Image of seized purses, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized a shipment of 32 counterfeit designer brand purses from Turkey. If authentic, the handbags would have a retail price of $113,683.

This is the second significant shipment of designer brand handbags that CBP officers recently seized in Philadelphia, following the $317,080 in counterfeit designer brand products officers seized February 24.

According to the media release, CBP suspected the goods were counterfeit because of the poor quality and packaging.

What happens next?
The importer of record in Atlanta will receive a seizure notice (Notice of Seizure). The IOR can then petition for release, refer to court, abandon the goods or offer in compromise.

If you have been suspected of importing counterfeit goods, don’t risk the civil penalty by Customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Costco approved as FDA’s first Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) company.

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Costco Wholesale was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first company in the FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP).

The VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program ($16,681 FY2020) that helps expedite the review and importation of foods into the US. One main requirement is for importers to demonstrate they maintain control over the safety and security of the supply chain. As the supply chain reaches overseas, most food importers such as Costco need to ensure the locations of their foreign suppliers are certified by the FDA’s third-party certification program.

If you are a food importer and want to take advantage of benefits offered by being a VQIP, contact experienced customs and trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seize human brain in shipment from Canada Post.

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Photo of the actual brain seized by Customs, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a human brain at the Area Port of Port Huron during a routine examination of a Canadian mail truck.

The outer packaging labeled the shipment as an “Antique Teaching Specimen” and was opened by CBP. Inside CBP found the human brain in a jar (actual seized item image above), without any appropriate paperwork as required by the Centers for Disease Control.

Shipments containing body parts do need the required approval from the CDC – if you have any questions or need  help applying for this permit, contact experienced import seizure attorney David Hsu by phone at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Whistleblower against clothing importer awarded $170,000.

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Earlier this year, a whistleblower was awarded $170,00 for helping the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York recover $1 million from Notations, Inc., a garment wholesaler from Warminster, Pennsylvania. Starting in 2017, Notations admitted to ignoring signs of import duty evasion by Yingshun Garments. Yingsun Garments imported clothing from China and submitted false invoices to CBP. The submission of false imports was at a 75% discount and designed to lower the amount of customs duties to be paid.

Unlike the usual customs false claims cases, the government did not go after the importer, but instead went after the reseller and purchaser instead of the usual foreign manufacturer and importer. Additionally, the whistleblower also received an award eevn though the whistleblower did not specifically mention Notations – instead the whistleblower’s report opened the door leading to an investigation of Novations.

The whistleblower learned through a family member of Yingshun and filed a qui tam law suit under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, qualifying the whistleblower as a relator to a lawsuit with a potential of an award ranging between 15% to 25% of any funds recovered.

If you or someone you know is aware of any false claims activity that may allow a company to under report the duties paid, contact experienced qui tam attorney David Hsu by phone/text directly at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Trump will decide tariffs on auto imports “soon”.

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Today’s November 14th deadline on whether to impose tariffs (duties) on cars and auto parts imported into the US will likely result in President Trump extending the time to make a decision.

These additional tariffs on vehicles and parts are part of the “Section 232” national security tariffs enacted during the Cold-War that could see tariffs as high as 25% on vehicles and parts from the European Union, South Korea, and Japan.

A delay would likely result in a 6-month extension and allow for negotiators from all sides attempt to reach an agreement.

If you are an importer of car parts or vehicles and want to know what you can do, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Huawei admits they are impacted by US blacklist.

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According to a recent Forbes article, Huawei has confirmed the U.S. blacklist in place since May is impacting their ability to offer Google software onto their mobile phones. The Forbes article also says Huawei has not finished their in house operating system.
The black list that took effect in May restricts Huawei from access to the US supply chain for software and hardware. While Huawei has been able to source non US goods for the hardware, they have not been able to replace Google’s Android software.
While our blog earlier indicated Huawei would be launching their own in-house operating system, it is not yet ready for smart phones. Huawei has launched their Harmony OS, but that software is limited to smart TVs.
While not mentioned in the article, without Google’s Play Store, Huawei users will likely have to download APK files from online if they want to install their aps onto a new Huawei phone.
Things for Huawei will also get worse next month – this November marks the expiration of a temporary exemption on certain suppliers.
If you  have any questions how your company may be impacted by the trade restrictions with Huawei, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu by text/phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China reduces penalties for importation of unapproved drugs – improving access for its citizens.

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In late August, the Chinese government said they would reduce the penalties for the sale and import of unapproved drugs, thereby improving access to cheaper generic pharmaceuticals from other countries. This action was taken to allow greater affordable drugs for chronic diseases increasingly impacting the Chinese population.

The reduction in penalties is set to take effect on December 1st. Current penalties for people selling drugs that are not approved by the National Medical Products Administration could result in a fine and criminal prosecution with jail sentences up to 3 years.

For example, under the new law, cheaper generic drugs made outside of China could be imported and sold in China. One drug cited in the article was the Indian version of the lung-cancer drug Iressa cost $10 a day in 2016, compared with $100 a day for the patented drug in China. He said generic drugs cost, on average, 97 percent less than patented drugs sold in China.

If you want to be sure you are compliance with US FDA regulations, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes goods for lead in paint.

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Image of seized brushes, source: cbp.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Baltimore seized 790 children’s hair brushes from China. The children’s folding hair brushes contained a mirror and were included in a shipment which included “hats, gloves, hookah”. A sample of the shipment was sent to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to conduct a chemical analysis.

The CPSC advised CBP that the brushes contained excessive lead levels – more than 2,500 parts per million. In general, all children’s products made or imported into the US must not contain more than 100 parts per million of total lead content in “accessible parts”.

The appraised value of the seized goods carry a suggested retail price (MSRP) of $5,522. As the lead content is hazardous to children, the brushes will be destroyed by CBP.

While America took had the lead paint abatement initiative starting in the 70’s, the rest of the world is yet to fully rid the use of lead in many paints. Excessive amounts of lead are harmful to children if the accessible parts are placed in their mouths. Lead in paint causes illness and excessive levels further damage the a child’s development.

If you have any import/export questions, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Canadian sofa bed manufacturer no longer shipping to US due to 1,732% duties on Chinese mattresses.

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According to a news article from the vancouverisawesome.com webasite, a Vancouver-based company has cancelled shipping their sofa beds into the US due to the 1,732% antidumping duty on Chinese mattresses that are used in their sofa beds. The U.S. Department of Commerce in May dumping rates of 34% to 75% for some Chinese manufacturers with an “all others” rate of 1,732%.

The company claims their sofa beds costing $600 will cost $113,000 due to the tariffs because the sofa beds include the mattress.

Fortunately the company does not only sell beds, and can rely on their Canadian made products. In fact, being made in Canada will probably make this company more competitive than their competitors who rely on Chinese imports for other goods that are likely covered under Lists 1-3 and a potential List 4.

The Commerce Department has set October 11, 2019 as the announcement date for their final decision on antidumping duties for mattresses imported from China.

If you have questions on how this or any other antidumping duty or countervailing duty will impact you and your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.