Last week concluded World Trade Center Miami’s International Trade Weeks Webinars. The two weeks of webinars coincided with World Trade Month and included online presentations from U.S. federal agencies on current federal regulations and updates, classification, and essential import and export information.

The series included sessions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Headquarters Offices, CTPAT, Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures, and Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers). Webinar topics encompassed CTPAT, Forced Labor Enforcement Overview, E-Commerce, Broker Regulatory Updates, IPR & Trademark Policy, U.S. Plant Pest Pressures, Importing Alcoholic Beverages into the United States and many more.

Partner government agencies included:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) 
  • Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)

Participating Centers of Excellence and Expertise included:

  • Agriculture & Prepared Products: Managed by the Miami Field Office, specializes in agriculture, aquaculture, animal products, vegetable products, prepared foods, beverages, alcohol, tobacco or similar industries.
  • Apparel, Footwear & Textiles: Managed by the San Francisco Field Office, specializes in wearing apparel, footwear, textile mill products, or similar industries.
  • Automotive & Aerospace: Managed by the Detroit Field Office, specializes in automotive, aerospace, or other transportation equipment and related parts industries. 
  • Base Metals: Managed by the Chicago Field Office, specializes in steel, steel mill products, ferrous and nonferrous metal, or similar industries. 
  • Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising: managed by the Atlanta Field Office, specializes in household goods, consumer products, or similar industries and mass merchandisers of products typically sold for home use.
  • Electronics: Managed by the Los Angeles Field Office, specializes in information technology, integrated circuits, automated data processing equipment, and consumer electronics.
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Materials: Managed by the Buffalo Field Office, specializes in plastics, polymers, rubber, leather, wood, paper, stone, glass, precious stones and precious metals, or similar industries. 
  • Machinery: Managed by the Laredo Field Office, specializes in tools, machine tools, production equipment, instruments, or similar industries.
  • Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals: Managed by the New York Field Office, specializes in pharmaceuticals, health-related equipment, and products of the chemical and allied industries. 

Session summaries:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)   

Ned Torres, an investigator with the TTB discussed importing alcoholic beverages into the United States

  • The TTB is a bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury that regulates and collects taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. It oversees the production, distribution, and labeling of alcoholic beverages in the United States. 
  • Importing alcoholic beverages into the United States requires compliance with federal laws and regulations, as well as state-specific rules. The TTB is responsible for enforcing these rules for imported alcohol products. 
  • Importers of alcoholic beverages must obtain permits from the TTB and pay taxes on their products. They also need to submit labels for TTB approval before selling their products in the U.S. 
  • The TTB investigates violations of federal laws related to alcohol production, distribution, and labeling. These can include false advertising, misbranding, illegal bottling, and other violations. 

CBP – Industrial & Manufacturing Materials (IMM) Center 

Nicholas Bishop (Long Beach, Ca) and Allysha Allen (Memphis, TN)  Discussed CEE functions, priority trade issues, the difference between antidumping and countervailing, and the responsibilities of the importing community.

  • It is often difficult to ascertain whether your product is or is not subject to AD/CVD
  • Importers should be reviewing/monitoring federal register notices, ensuring the correct entry type and AD/CVD case numbers are used, proactively reviewing and calculating correct bond amounts, submitting non-reimbursement certificates to CBP 
  • IMM Center staff stressed the importance of knowing your commodity, knowing your supply chain, and knowing how your product was made 
  • It is important to accurately identify manufacturer (incorrect MID) / exporter in 7501 

CBP – Machinery Center

Todd Turner discussed the machinery center’s staff structure, key partner government agencies, how to determine whether an item is a part or an accessory, and CTPAT benefits.

  • Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Trade Compliance Act benefits:
    • Reduces examination rates 
    • Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes 
    • Penalty mitigation 
    • Expedited rulings 
    • National account manager 
    • Prior disclosures  
    • Front of the line benefits 
  • What every member go the trade community should know about:  
    • Check the informed compliance publication  
    • Items often misclassified as parts or accessories of machine tools: drill bits, milling cutters, dies, knives, blades, grinding wheels, spindle shafts, gas, fixtures, moldings, springs 

CBP Headquarters – e-Commerce 

Christine Hogue, eCommerce & Small Business Branch Chief, Office of Trade presented on the de minimis exception, 86 test, 321 pilot, and the future of de minimis.  

  • 19 U.S.C. §1321(a)(2)(c) enables CBP to admit qualifying merchandise duty and tax-free provided that the merchandise is:
    • Imported by one person
    • On one day; and
    • Has a total fair retail value in the country of shipment of $800 or less
  • The type 86 entry test allows customs brokers and self-filers to electronically submit de minimis entries through the Automated Broker Interface allowing for quicker clearance times
  • Section 321 Data pilot was launched in 2019 to allow CBP to find out more about the movements of goods and what exactly is in each box.
  • In the future, CBP hopes to integrate results from the 321 Data Pilot and the Type 86 Test into a new 321 entry type process

CBP – Apparel, Footwear & Textiles (AFT) Center 

Customs Entry Officer Andrew Vaz presented on the broker licensing process from the application form to licensing to permits and the broker management team.

  • How to become a broker
    • Brokers must pass the written Customs Broker License Examination, submit an application for an individual license, and be a citizen of the U.S. and 21 years of age
  • CBP also issues broker licenses for corporations, partnerships, and associations
  • Brokers are responsible to maintain compliance on their licenses and permits with CBP

CBP – Base Metals Center 

Intake specialist Cesar Salgado gave an overview of the base metals center. 

  • The Base Metals CEE, managed out of the Chicago Field Office, specializes in steel, steel mill products, and ferrous and nonferrous metals.
  • BMC imports account for approximately $100 billion of U.S. imports annually
  • The Base Metals CEE has three branches: enforcement branch, partnership branch, validation and compliance branch.
  • The goals of the Center are to increase industry-based knowledge within CBP, facilitate legitimate trade through effective risk segmentation, and enhance enforcement and address industry risks.

CBP – Automotive & Aerospace (AA) Center

Import Specialist Christopher A. Hughes spoke on tire designations and requirements and AD/CVD cases for tires. 

  • Tires and rims are classified in the Tire and Rim Association Year Book (“TRA Year Book”) which is published annually. 
    • The book contains tire size designations and load and inflation limits for tires in different categories.
  • Designations help determine if the tire is in scope or meets exclusion requirements.
  • DOT requires a tire identification number for all tires.

CBP Headquarters – Forced Labor Division

Gregory H. Newton, Branch Chief, and Jeffrey Franz, International Trade Analyst of the Forced Labor Division, Office of Trade gave an overview of forced labor enforcement and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

  • Global trends in forced labor are creating an urgent convergence of issues around security, policy, and the degradation of the environment.
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) indicators of forced labor include deception, isolation, violence, intimidation, debt bon dance, abusive working conditions, and more.
  • Forced labor enforcement tools include withheld release orders (WRO), finding, and penalties.

CBP Headquarters – Trade Policy & Programs

Kim Mack, International Trade Specialist of the Broker Management Branch presented on 19 CFR 11 (broker regulatory requirements) updates.

  • 19 CFR 111 refers to the regulations that govern the licensing and operations of customs brokers. 
  • Recent Regulatory Updates: 
    • Licensing Requirements: There have been recent updates to criteria for obtaining a license, maintaining license validity, or any additional documentation or certifications needed. 
    • Recordkeeping Obligations: Ms. Mack discussed the importance of proper recordkeeping for customs brokers. Participants were provided with guidance on the required documentation, maintenance period, and record retention policies. 
    • Compliance and Audits: Participants were informed about the potential consequences of non-compliance and the increased likelihood of audits. 

CBP – Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) Office

Lorena Silva and Sonia Hedditch, Paralegal Specialists from the FP&F Miami office gave an intro to FP&F presentation.

  • FP&F adjudicates civil liabilities originating from seizures, penalties, and claims for liquidated damages. They also provide guidance, ensure due process, and maintain custody of seized property.
  • The most common liquidated damages violations are no file, late file, reconciliation issues, inbound violations, and redelivery issues.
  • The presenters gave an overview of penalties, petitions for relief, offer in compromises, and prior disclosures.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Compliance Officer Coral del Mar Lopez gave an overview of the FSVP, exceptions, and requirements for importers.

  • The Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) requires importers of food in the United States to perform risk-based foreign supplier verification activities
  • FSVP exceptions: fish, fishery products are required to comply with other requirements, raw materials that are imported for use in manufacturing or processing of juice, food imported for research, food imported for personal consumption, alcoholic beverages, certain meat, poultry and egg food products.
  • 6 main elements that an FSVP has to comply with:
    • Written hazard analysis
    • Foreign supplier evaluation
    • Foreign supplier verification
    • Foreign supplier verification activities
    • Corrective actions
    • Record maintenance

CBP – Miami CTPAT Field Office

Supervisory Supply Chain Security Specialist Raymond Monzon spoke on the state of the CTPAT program, benefits, and return on investment.

  • CTPAT participation has gone down because it was impacted by COVID – not all participants remained in business
  • Officers are now back to doing validations in person – most of them were virtual during COVID
  • CTPAT benefits:
    • Companies save tens of thousands of dollars 
    • Dedicated CBP partner to help you with questions – these partners have done hundreds of validations and have invaluable operations insights that they can share with you
  • 98% compliance rate, but do have suspension and removal processes – office tries to be as transparent as possible about requirements
  • CTPAT focus going forward: investment in employees, operational improvements, expanding partner benefits

CBP Headquarters – Intellectual Property Enforcement Branch and IPR Policy 

Elizabeth “Beth” Jenior, Attorney-Advisor, IP Enforcement Branch, Regulations and Rulings and Jessica Weeks, IPR Policy Branch Chief, IPR Division, Trade Policy and Programs discussed CBP’s role in enforcing IP at the border.

  • CBP enforces trademarks and copyrights. Pursuant to an ITC exclusion order they enforce utility patents, design patents, and trade secrets.
  • In FY 2022 there were 102,297 line items seized amounting to $3B MSRP.
  • China represents 25% of seizure lines
  • Recordation is the cornerstone of trademark and copyright protection at the border
  • CBP policy is to focus its IP enforcement efforts on recorded trademarks and copyrights. CBP protection also includes enforcement against “confusingly similar” marks