Monthly Archives

July 2013

Best PracticesEvents

Jen Diaz Honored as Rising Star by DBR

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 19, 2013 0 comments

On July 18, 2013, the Daily Business Review (DBR) announced the 40 young Florida lawyers chosen as 2013 Rising Stars by a panel of DBR judges. I’m proud to announce I have been selected as one of the 40 Rising Stars!

The article stated:

Our panel carefully reviewed more than 125 nominations of attorneys 40 years old and under who have established themselves as top contributors to the practice of law and their communities, and are in a position to become tomorrow’s top lawyers and leaders.

See the list of the 40 Rising Star honorees.

Profiles of all the Rising Stars will appear in a DBR special section on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and an event honoring their accomplishments will be held that night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Bankers Club in downtown Miami, One Biscayne Tower, Biscayne Room, 14th Floor.

For those who wish to attend the event to honor the Rising Stars, please contact Andre Sutton at asutton@alm.com or (757) 721-9020. The event’s main sponsor is Ice Legal.

Congratulations to the 2013 Rising Stars.

-David Lyons, Editor in Chief
-Chris Mobley, Publisher

I’m honored to have been selected and invite you to join me as we celebrate on September 18th at the Bankers Club.
 

CBPCustoms BrokerImport

BEWARE – Liquidated Damages WILL be Imposed for 10+2 Violations

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 18, 2013 0 comments

For those who thought CBP’s “measured and commonsense” approach for those that weren’t fully complying with the Importer Security Filing (ISF or 10+2) rules would last forever, think again!

Effective, July 9, 2013, CBP advised it would start the liquidated damages phase of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) enforcement process. CBP will now make use of the newly activated cargo holds in the Automated Cargo Environment (ACE) system to address non-compliance with the ISF rule. CBP may also withhold the release or transfer of non-compliant ISF shipments at the terminal until the required ISF is filed. For carrier violations of the vessel stow plan requirement, CBP may refuse to grant a permit to unlade the merchandise. Once the ISF data is received and a security assessment is made, additional enforcement actions including a Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) and/or intrusive exams may be initiated.

Liquidated Damages

CBP may also assess liquidated damages of up to $5,000 per violation for the submission of an inaccurate, incomplete or untimely filing. CBP Dec. 09-26 discusses “Guidelines for the Assessment and Cancellation of Claims for Liquidated Damages for Failure to Comply with the Vessel Stow Plan, Container Status Message, and Importer Security Filing Requirements.”  First violations may be mitigated to $1,000-$2,000 – depending on the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors.  Some mitigating factors for the failure to file a complete, accurate and timely ISF include evidence of progress in the implementation of ISF during the “flexible enforcement period,” small number of violations compared to number of shipments, Tier 2 and 3 C-TPAT status, remedial action….  CBP has advised that “no relief will be granted if CBP determines that law enforcement goals were compromised by the violation.”  Aggravating factors include multiple errors on your ISF!  If you do receive a Liquidated Damages claim, it is important you consult with an expert to file a timely, persuasive Petition to CBP and address all relevant mitigating factors to assure you receive the maximum reduction possible.

What’s ISF Again?

The ISF rules require importers and vessel-operating carriers to provide additional advance trade data on cargo shipments to CBP 24 hours prior to vessel lading, pursuant to Section 203 of the Security and Accountability for Every Port (SAFE Port Act) of 2006.

Importers must report the following 10 data elements on each ISF:

  1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  2. Seller (or owner) name and address
  3. Buyer (or owner) name and address
  4. Ship-to name and address
  5. Container stuffing location
  6. Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  7. Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  8. Consignee number(s)
  9. Country of origin
  10. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number

From the carrier, 2 data elements are required:

  1. Vessel stow plan – required for arriving vessels with containers.
  2. Container status messages – required for containers arriving via vessel.

Hence, 10+2!

For shipments consisting entirely of freight remaining on board (FROB) cargo or goods intended to be transported in-bond as an immediate entry or transportation and exportation entry, the following 5 data elements are required:

  1. Booking party name and address
  2. Ship-to name and address
  3. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number
  4. Foreign Port of Unlading
  5. Place of delivery

In order to avoid liquidated damages and untimely delays with your cargo, full ISF compliance is now required.  Since we’re talking compliance, do you have your pre-compliance plan established?  If not… Let’s talk!

If you have any questions on the listed requirements, need assistance with cargo detained as a result of this new enforcement phase, getting your C-TPAT application in ASAP (and getting to Tier 2 quickly!), or any other compliance or enforcement question, please feel free to contact Diaz Trade Law at info@diaztradelaw.com and we would be happy to assist you!

CBPFTAU.S.Customs

Say Goodbye to GSP, ATPA and ATPDEA

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 12, 2013 0 comments

The question of the day… Will GSP be extended?  Yes, no, maybe??

July 31, 2013 is the date when the expiration of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), Andean Trade Preference and Act  (ATPA) and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) will take place.

Read on to ensure that you get your refunds expeditiously when/if GSP is renewed, likely after July 31, 2013.

CBP’s notice today states:

Barring Congressional action, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), special program indicator (SPI) “A” and “A+,” the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), SPI “J,” and the associated Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), SPI “J+,” are due to expire for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse after midnight, July 31, 2013.

Special Procedures for GSP-Eligible Goods:

  • Importers should pay the normal trade relations (column 1) duty rate but continue to flag GSP-eligible importations with the applicable SPI (“A” or “A+” until further notice. If the program is renewed with a retroactive clause, use of the SPI will allow CBP to process automatic duty refunds. No corresponding procedure is available for the ATPA or ATPDEA programs. [MAKE SURE YOU DISCUSS THIS WITH YOUR BROKER AND DO SO!]

Clarification for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Eligible Goods:

  • Goods eligible for preference under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) may continue to receive preference on tariff items displaying SPI “A,” “A+” or “D” in the “Special” column of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

To receive AGOA preference on a good with SPI “D” in the “Special” column of the HTSUS, the importer will continue to file the entry summary with SPI “D” and without duty. To receive AGOA preference on a tariff item with the SPI “A” or “A+” in the “Special” column of the HTSUS (and thus no “D”), the importer will file the entry summary with the SPI “A” but without duty.

Impact on the Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF): 

  • The expiration of GSP has no impact on the payment/non-payment of the merchandise processing fee (MPF).

Best PracticesExportFreight Forwarding

OTI’s – July 31 is Deadline to Voice Opinion on FMC’s Proposed Changes

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 5, 2013 0 comments

Now’s the time to apply to become a non vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) and/or ocean freight forwarder (OFF).  FMC has proposed major changes to its regulations and application requirements for Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs).   Get your application in now to avoid those changes, and/or, learn the changes and spend the time to comment on them while you can.  Detailed summaries of those changes are below.  July 31, 2013 is the cutoff to have your voice heard!

FMC issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that would significantly amend the regulations governing the licensing, bonding and duties of NVOCCs and ocean freight forwarders. The ANPRM is 117 pages long!! You can review the ANPRM in FMC’s Docket No. 13-05, Amendments to Regulations Governing Ocean Transportation Intermediary Licensing and Financial Responsibility Requirements, and General Duties. 

The major changes are:

  • Qualifying Individual (QI) Changes – Included in the proposed changes are changes to many definitions – this one impacts what it will take to become a QI.  The standards will be tougher.  For one, the QI’s 3 years of relevant experience will only qualify if one has worked for a licensed, bonded, registered OTI. Experience obtained while the individual was employed by a licensed domestic OTI, a vessel operator, or a registered foreign-based NVOCC would be acceptable.
  • All Owners will now be Vetted – Background checks will now not be limited to the QI, all owners will go through background checks (and my two cents, your application will take that much longer to be processed with every additional owner)..
  • All Licenses will now be Online – FMC proposes to go green in its application process.  Application fees are much cheaper online, $250 vs. the paper application fee of $850.   
  • License Renewal Every 2 Years! – All licenses, both forwarder and NVOCC, be renewed every two years, regardless of how long a company has held a license. As part of that renewal process, the licensee would be required to pay a filing fee in an amount yet to be determined. As proposed, the information to be provided would include the name of the current Qualifying Individual, all shareholders, officers and directors (and, their social security numbers), and require the production of corporate good standing certificates. Each company would be required to submit an application for renewal at least 60 days prior to the scheduled expiration dateof its current license. 
  • Suspension/Revocation of Licenses – Under the current regulations, a license can be suspended or revoked for failing to respond to a lawful order, making materially false or misleading statements, or failing to have a current tariff or bond. The ANPRM now proposes to also subject licenses to revocation if the OTI “knowingly and willfully accepts cargo from, processes, books, or transports cargo” for, an NVOCC that is either unlicensed or fails to have the required bond. The Commission also proposes tostreamline” the appeals process for any revocation of licenses by eliminating an OTI’s right for a full evidentiary hearing. Indicating that such proceedings are “often lengthy and expensive,” the ANPRM proposes to establish a procedure by which appeals could be handled by a hearing officer on a written record, without any apparent right of discovery concerning matters that may be in the Commission’s files.
  • Foreign Registered NVOCCs – The ANPRM would require foreign registered NVOCCs to submit a detailed registration form and a filing fee, with those registrations only valid for a period of two years. Under current regulations, and as is the case with existing OTI licenses, registrations are valid for an indefinite period. The foreign NVOs would be required, in their registration forms, to provide their legal name, any trade names, their principal business address with contact information, a contact person with an email address, and their U.S. resident legal agent.
  • Increase Bond Requirements – Citing incidents in which two NVOCCs went out of business owing significantly more than the $75,000 bond, which meant that claimants were unable to recover all monies owed, the ANPRM proposes to increase all OTI bonds as follows: Ocean Forwarder $50,000 $75,000, Licensed NVOCC $75,000 $100,000, Registered NVOCC $150,000 $200,000, Group Bond $3 Million $4 Million
  • Tiers for Claims on Bonds – The ANPRM would establish three tiers of payment priorities for claims against the bond.
  • FMC Website Publication of Claims – The Commission would publish these notices and claims on its website, which would be available to the general public as well as the various sureties. 
  • Prohibit Surety From Payment of 20%+ of Bond – Another proposal would prohibit the surety from paying any claims that amount to more than 20 percent of the face amount of the bond for a period of at least five months after the date the claim is received.
  • License Revocation when Bond Termination Occurs – In this proposed rule, FMC licenses and registrations could be revoked “without hearing or other proceeding” in the event the required bond is terminated.
  • New Class of NVOCCs for Household GoodsThe commission seeks comments on such a change, not an actual proposal at this time.

How do you feel about these changes?  Think they are fair?  Want to comment to the FMC?  Make sure you speak up before July 31! Ready to submit your application? Contact me today at jdiaz@becker-poliakoff.com.