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SOLAS (Weigh or Pay) – Enforcement as of July 1, 2016

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 6, 2016 0 comments

containter failureIf you are involved in international trade, then you’ve recently heard the buzzword SOLAS and an enforcement date of July 1, 2016. Below contains a summary of SOLAS and what to be prepared for.

What is SOLAS?

  • SOLAS,” an acronym made from The International Convention for theSafety of Life at Sea,” is an international treaty that governs the safe operation of all ships engaged in international maritime trade. The SOLAS Convention specifies the minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of merchant ships. The United States is a signatory to SOLAS.

Who is responsible?
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Build Your Own ‘People to People’ Mission & More Cuba Changes

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 16, 2016 3 Comments

Plane, United States and Cuba flags

If you have been following our Cuba updates, you’ll note we’ve been busy. A full listing of all of our posts to get you caught up are all the way at the bottom. Also, check out our new blog design and let me know what you think!

Here’s the Cliff Notes version:

  • On December 17, 2014, President Obama made a historic announcement: “Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.”
  • By January 16, 2015, both the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended its Cuban Assets Control Regulations, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations with a “Support for the Cuban People” license exception. Both OFAC and BIS’s new rules were effective as of January 16, 2015.
  • OFAC and BIS issued additional new rules on June 15, 2015, September 21, 2015, January 27, 2016 and again today!

As far as travel goes, the NY Times posted their travel tips, but, here are MY travel tips to you:

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Up to 110 Daily Flights from the U.S. to Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 23, 2016 8 Comments

Welcome to Cuba

If you are in aviation – commercial or private – there are potential new business opportunities in Cuba. The American government and our new friendly neighbor to the south, the Republic of Cuba last sat at the negotiation table to discuss Air Transportation agreements in 1957, as parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Nearly sixty years later, on February 16, 2016, the United States government and Cuba entered into an aviation agreement, the U.S.-Cuba Memorandum of Understanding of February 16, 2016, and intend to apply the basis of comity and reciprocity of the agreement.

Immediately after, Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez, Cuban Minister of Transportation and Colonel Alfredo Cordero Puig, President of the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute (IACC), Ministry of Transportation  signed the agreement, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) encouraged U.S. air carriers to apply for licensing and authorization to offer flights to Cuba.

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Top 10 Changes with Cuba as a Result of NEW Revised OFAC and BIS Regulations

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 23, 2016 0 comments

BIS and OFAC AND CUBAAs of January 27th, 2016, both OFAC and the BIS have amended their regulations again, and below details the top 10 changes as a result.  The last update was on September 21, 2015, and can be found here.  While the United States maintains its broad embargo on trade with Cuba, OFAC and BIS have released amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations designed to advance President Obama’s policy to engage and empower the Cuban people.  The new changes, which can be found here and here, expand the scope of authorized business and travel by U.S. person and companies inside of Cuba. These changes were put into place to help facilitate engagement between the U.S. and Cuba.  Click here to read FAQ’s related to Cuba from the OFAC.

Below we’ve providing you with a detailed summary of the top 10 significant changes:

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Freight Forwarder Pays $125,000 Mitigated Penalty – Avoid This & Learn 11 Steps to Exporting

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 28, 2014 0 comments

Aramex Emirates, LLC, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), agreed to pay a $125,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for the unlicensed export and reexport to Syria, via the U.A.E., of network devices and software without the required BIS licenses.

The Under Secretary of Commerce Eric L. Hirschhorn commented:

Today’s settlement shows the importance of compliance with U.S. law by foreign freight forwarders handling items subject to U.S. export controls.

The items in question could be used by the Syrian government to monitor Internet activity and block pro-democracy websites as part of its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people.

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Export Penalties Already Total $184 MILLION in 2014 – Want to Learn Who, What, Why & How to Stay Compliant?

posted by Jennifer Diaz April 23, 2014 0 comments
 
Within just the first nine weeks of 2014, almost $182 million dollars in penalties have been assessed against companies for OFAC and ITAR export violations.  Within those same nine weeks alone, companies have been ordered to pay the Department of Treasury almost $25 million dollars more than was ordered in all of 2013. Simply put, compliance is critical, and non-compliance is costly!
 
Don’t miss this update on export enforcement actions stemming from a busy 2013 and start of 2014. 
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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.  

 

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Careers for Women in Transportation

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 4, 2013 0 comments

"Be Bold! Women in Transportation" will feature prominent women in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management industry. The purpose of the event is to inform about career opportunities and attract women and minorities to the transportation industry. 

I’m thrilled to moderate this event where you’ll hear from top notch keynote speakers, Michelle Livingstone, VP of Supply Chain/Transportation at The Home Depot and Natalie Putnam, VP of Marketing at Ryder.

Join us to learn answers to the following questions:

  1. Why aren’t more women choosing Supply Chain/Transportation as a career?
  2. How will jobs in Supply Chain/Transportation evolve over the next few years?
  3. What does the logistics function look like within a manufacturing/distribution business? 
  4. How have energy prices affected the Transportation Industry?
  5. What impact does the changing demographics of the US have on opportunities for women in the supply chain field?

  6. What is the role of sales and marketing in supply chain, logistics and transportation?

  7. What is changing in business culture and what do  companies need to do to acquire talent?

  8. What are the skills needed to be successful in the field of logistics today?

  9. Why is a career in supply chain a good choice? 

The cost of luncheon is $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Click HERE to register. 

For more information contact Jorge Guerra.

 

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FREIGHT FORWARDERS ARRESTED IN MIAMI FOR SHIPPING SONY PLAYSTATIONS

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog March 12, 2010 0 comments

To the dismay of the local international trade community, three international freight forwarding companies and their owners are being criminally prosecuted for illegally exporting merchandise to a company in Paraguay. The company in Paraguay had been designated a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the United States Government.  Exporters and forwarding companies sending any cargo to such a company, even Sony PlayStation video games, would be in violation of the law.

In an Indictment dated October 1, 2009, Case No. 09-20852-CR-GOLD, the United States Attorneys’ Office in Miami charged three Miami freight forwarding companies and their owners with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., 18 U.S.C. 554 (fraudulently exporting from the United States), 18 U.S.C. 371 (conspiracy), and 13 U.S.C. 305 (knowingly submitting false Shippers Export Declarations or information through the Automated Export System (AES).

In summary, the Government has alleged that the Paraguay company paid an Ohio distributor of Sony PlayStations to ship those items to the freight forwarding companies in Miami. Once in Miami, according to the Indictment, the freight forwarders and their owners allegedly created documents falsely identifying the address of the company in Paraguay because they knew they could not ship the Sony PlayStations to the real address.  The real address of the company in Paraguay, according to the Indictment, had been designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.  The designated terrorist was Galeria Page, an office mall in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

The case was investigated by the Miami office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which issued a Press Release.  According to the Penalty Sheet filed with the Indictment, the maximum penalty for the individual owners of the freight forwarding companies who were arrested for the alleged violations is 20 years imprisonment.

To obtain a copy of the Indictment which was just unsealed on February 26, 2010, please contact me.