Yesterday we at DTL had the pleasure of hosting Part 1 of 2 of our Seminar Series for Compliance Professionals. In celebration of #WorldTradeMonth the first seminar concentrated on Antidumping Duties and Countervailing Duties (AD/CVD) with expert speakers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While we had a packed room, we have received requests from industry members who were not able to attend asking for a re-cap. You asked so we delivered!
Here is our re-cap:
The morning kicked off with a networking breakfast where experienced and novice custom brokers, legal counsel, trade consultants, and others were able to engage in meaningful dialogue about overlapping issues they experience in their respective workplaces in dealing with the topic of AD/CVD.
The seminar promptly began at 9:00 am with introductory remarks by our own President, Jennifer Diaz. We had all attendees introduce themselves and include why this seminar was important to attend. We were glad to hear from majority of attendees that their reason for participating was to further their trade education, and CBP wanted to ensure they performed “informed compliance” with the trade community. One attendee commented with “I’m here to continue to learn as that’s what we [customer brokers] are required to do.”
Next, representatives of Miami Free Zone explained their role in international business solutions as they provides users and visitors with convenient international business resources including turnkey FTZ solutions for distribution; a wholesale marketplace; an international business center environment; and premium showroom, office, and warehouse spaces. As well as providing FTZ users with flexible control over their domestic and foreign inventory, duty elimination and deferment, and high security standards for their businesses and valuable merchandise.
The first speaker was Zeidy Lozoya, an Import Specialist with CBP. She started her career as an Intern in 2004 in Nogales, AZ and became an Import Specialist in 2006. Zeidy has been a part of different commodity specialist teams throughout her career including the Electronics, Textiles and Apparel, and Agriculture teams. In 2014 she held the position of Acting Senior Import Specialist for the Electronics and Textile team. She is currently part of an enforcement team with the Automotive and Aerospace CEE. Ms. Lozoya provided insight on the role of Import Specialists in assisting CBP in determining whether merchandise was correctly imported into the United States (U.S) and finding discrepancies in entries that may lead to an investigation on AD/CVD. She also provided a historical overview of the Agency and highlighted that both the Customs Modernization Act and Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) are extremely relevant to CBP. Ms. Lozoya underscored the importance of the working with the applicable Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) prior to importing a commodity. The CEEs “transform the way CBP approaches trade operations and works with the international trade community. The Centers represent CBP’s expanded focus on “Trade in the 21st Century.” More information on the CEE are available here. Some helpful tips from her presentation included:
- Highlights of top Trade Priority Issues: No. 1 on the lists is AD/CVD.
- Good way to avoid Request for Information (28’s) is by providing CBP an invoice with good descriptions.
- Import Specialists often go to ports to inspect products themselves.
Jim Schultz followed Ms. Lozoya’s presentation. Mr. Schultz is a Supervisory Import Specialist with CBP. He has been an Import Specialist since beginning work with the agency in 2005. Jim has supervised commodity teams at the Port of Chicago and the Machinery Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE), where he was the Trade Enforcement Coordinator and supervisor of the CEE’s trade enforcement team. Jim is currently supervising an enforcement team with the Automotive and Aerospace CEE. Mr. Schultz dove directly into the hot topic of AD/CVD. There were questions and answers during his presentation as the attendees had submitted questions prior to the seminar. He underscored that all opinions or responses from Import Specialist are extremely fact specific and issued on a case by case basis. Here are highlights from the discussion:
- Countervailing occurs when a foreign government offers subsidies to their citizens to manufacture or produce a product and that product is then sold it at a lower rate in order to make a higher profit margin which in turn materially injures the American market as the fair competition is disrupted.
- The trade industry has the responsibility to ask and to continue to ask…“if you don’t know, ASK!”
- He explained the partnership with the Dept. of Commerce and CBP. To that extent, Commerce is a regulating agency that instructs CBP how to take action and CBP’s role is ministerial in nature.
- It is an expensive process to get an Antidumping Order. Contact an Import Specialist, law firms and other resources to learn whether a commodity is subject to a Scope Ruling.
- Importers/Customs Brokers should keep records when dealing with AD/CVD issues BEYOND THE 5 YEAR REQUIREMENT (a safe rule of thumb is one year past liquidation)!
- HTS Codes listed on Scope ruling are instructive, but not controlling.
- The President’s Executive Order required that the Secretary of Homeland Security develop a plan to address certain importers who pose a significant antidumping/countervailing risk within 90 days.
- The order arose from growing number of shell companies, non-resident importers, and underpayment of AD/CVD.
- CBP advised if importers identify problems in the documents previously submitted to CBP, to consider the following options:
- Prior Disclosure
- Have Conversation with Import Specialist
- Seek Administrative Avenues
- (*DTL Recommendation, SEEK COUNSEL PRIOR to communicating any errors to CBP).
- Some Red Flags indicating possible AD/CVD issues:
- Case mismatches – (using the correct AD/CVD case numbers)
- Failure to file entries as 03 (or AD/CVD entries).
- The importer doesn’t have a “right to make entry”
- Other topics discussed:
- AD/CVD still apply to Foreign Trade Zones.
Jennifer Diaz concluded the seminar with a detailed explanation of the overtly burdensome process of obtaining a Scope Ruling from the Department of Commerce and provided resources for attendees to use. For more information on how we can help you through the labyrinth of Scope Rulings email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thanks to all our prize winners for participating during the seminar. We appreciate your involvement and interest! Especially those who provide great feedback on the seminar. Here are some commentaries:
- “It was very informative session could hear directly from professionals.” – Attendee
- “It’s always great to attend one of your seminars. Thanks for all the knowledge and help.” – Attendee
- “You have no option to get bored. Presentations were really focused, short and to the point. Great job.” – Attendee
- “Great use of my morning. Lots of information, thank you.” – Attendee
- “Loved the ‘Top 10 Tips'” – Attendee
- “The event facilitated by Attorney Diaz and staff epitomizes the meaning of true networking on importing/exporting” – Attendee
- “Have attended 3 presentations by Diaz Trade Law and enjoy all of them because how well organized and informative + Jennifer makes them SUPER fun. Thank you!!” – Attendee