Monthly Archives

June 2010

EPA

Pep Boys Paid $5 Million to Settle Case with EPA for Illegal Importation of Motor Vehicles and Generators

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog June 18, 2010 0 comments

Now that summer is here, air conditioners and generators are on our minds.  It is likely the AC unit or generator that was installed in your home or office was imported into the United States, and made in China.  The EPA has very specific requirements regarding the importation of generators and  motor vehicle engines, including ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and anything else with a non-road spark ignition engine.  EPA is concerned about enforcing emissions standards under the Clean Air Act, and so should you.

EPA regulations regarding the importation of motor vehicles are enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which will stop, examine, and seize any engine not exactly complying with detailed EPA requirements, including proper labels displayed on the engine part.  All such importers should be aware of, and timely, accurately and completely submit EPA Form 3520-21 (EPA Declaration Form for Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Air Pollution Regulations).  Failure to do so will result in the seizure of the imported merchandise by U.S. Customs, and penalties against the importer up to $37,500 per vehicle/engine in violation.  Seizures are resolved by filing a Petition with the appropriate U.S. Customs’ Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office, and by negotiating and then signing an Administrative Settlement Agreement with the Air Enforcement Division of the EPA.

The aggressive enforcement of EPA’s regulations of 40 CFR Parts 86 and 90 were demonstrated in the recent settlement by Pep Boys which has agreed to pay the EPA $5 million, implement a corporate compliance program, and export over 15,000 non compliant vehicles and generators.

U.S.Customs

U.S. Customs Commissioner Bersin Gave a Great Speech at AAEI

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog June 9, 2010 1 Comment

Alan Bersin, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, gave a rousing speech to the international trade community attending the AAEI Annual Conference on  June 7, 2010 in New York City.  Instead of focusing on the typical law enforcement concepts of counter-terrorism and national security, Commissioner Bersin enthralled the audience with more business savvy concepts such as "risk management" and "improved trade facilitation."

Mr. Bersin was appointed on March 27, 2010, by President Obama, as Commissioner for one year under a recess appointment. His former position was as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Border Czar”. Commissioner Bersin is still awaiting confirmation by the Senate Finance Committee.

As stated in the Journal of Commerce regarding Commissioner Bersin’s speech:

If 10 percent of shippers cause 90 percent of the security threats, Bersin said, ‘We should not be spending 90 percent of our time on the 90 percent of the trade in which we have confidence …. It is only by expediting the movement of the trusted shipper and the trusted traveler that we can actually attack and find the needle in the haystack.’

Commissioner Bersin stated that CBP needs to “stop acting first and listening second,” and he renewed his pledge of increasing the sense of partnership between CBP and the private sector. 

As summarized best in Global Trade News, the Commissioner outlined 3 specific points he has for advancing CBP’s objective to improve trade facilitation:

  • Increase participation in C-TPAT, Global Entry, and other trusted trade and traveler programs to, as he put it, “perform segmentation of customers” and focus on high risk “needle in the hay stack;”;
  • Stop looking at borders as lines of demarcation or barriers and start treating them like dynamic flow of goods and people; and
  • Improve targeting to not only provide security but also to offer the benefit of improved trade facilitation and show value to the trade for their effort in providing more data earlier in the supply chain.

I’m not yet ready to say Commissioner Bersin is my hero, however, I am saying welcome to our new leader at U.S. Customs.