Co Authored by Michael DeBiase.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has published a final rule (the “Rule”) providing CBP with the ability to publish seizure and forfeiture notices on the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) forfeiture website. CBP believes that such notices will reach a broader range of the public, at less cost, than the current local print publications or customhouse postings.
You know what? CBP is right, and kudos to them for this added efficiency that goes into effect on February 28 of this year.
Pursuant to the Rule, CBP will post all seizure and forfeiture notices for thirty (30) consecutive days on the DOJ’s site. Thereafter, CBP may still publish notice in print form when it deems such additional outreach appropriate.
The beauty of the Rule is that it provides a vehicle by which both the government and the party interested in the seized goods to share in the greater efficiency, streamlined procedures, and reduction in costs offered by giving electronic notice. This will also make it easier for the interested parties to assert claims for the seized property.
This is a change that needed to happen, and although the process and site will surely experience “growing pains”, the efficiency and cost savings should prove well worth it.
If you do receive a seizure notice, remember, you must file a Petition within 30 days of the seizure notice or, if seeking judicial review of the seizure, file a claim and cost bond equal to 10% of the value of the seized merchandise, up to a maximum of $5,000.
For a summary of the seizure process, review our blog "U.S. Customs Seized My Merchandise, Now What?"
We leave you with our top 3 tips:
- Perform Pre-Compliance PRIOR to importing merchandise into the U.S. Assure the merchandise you will import is compliant with applicable laws/regulations.
- If CBP detains your products, contact a knowledgeable customs attorney or customs broker to actively demonstrate that there is no violation. Getting the case resolved in the detention phase is essential. Otherwise, the seizure case will be much more costly and timely.
- If CBP seizes your products, make sure your customs attorney knows the policies, procedures, and practices of CBP to effectively pursue the release of the merchandise.