Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Foremost, our hearts are with those affected by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. This sobering event serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility inherent in our robust trade and transportation systems. In these trying times, we are deeply grateful for the unsung heroes who tirelessly work behind the scenes, ensuring the continuity of global trade. 

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP released the February 2024 monthly operational update. Highlights: 
    • Processed more than 2.6 million entry summaries 
    • Identified $6.5 billion to be collected  
    • Stopped 540 shipments for further examination based on suspected use of forced labor 
    • Issued 6,622 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States  
  • CBP announced a partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the focus of the Global Business Identifier (GBI) Test. 
    • The expanded test will explore how identifiers could be leveraged to enable coordination and harmonized decision making across the U.S. government. 
  • Officers in Cincinnati recently seized […]
By |2024-03-29T15:49:01-04:00March 29, 2024|Snapshot|Comments Off on Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

UFLPA Enforcement Update

At CBP’s 2024 Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit (“the Summit”) this week, panelists shared some pending developments in Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) enforcement. The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in the Xinjiang region of China, or produced by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List, is prohibited under U.S. forced labor law.

Panelists indicated that “more than 10” new entities would be placed on the Entity List in the coming months. The government has received criticism regarding the relatively low number of entities on the Entity List since the UFLPA was enacted in June 2022. While “more than 10” is still a relatively low number, given that the current Entity List is comprised of just 30 entities, ten-plus new entities would represent a significant increase.

Panelists also announced that new high-priority sectors for UFLPA enforcement would be identified in the near future. Currently, only cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon are officially listed as high-priority sectors. Panelists re-affirmed that the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) – an interagency team led by the Department of Homeland Security – uses reports from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), reporting from journalists, letters from Congress, and other sources to identify additional potential high-priority sectors. Panelists also appeared to agree that polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”), fish, and aluminum – sectors that have recently been tied to Uyghur forced labor in NGO and media reporting – were likely candidates for designation as high-priority […]

By |2024-04-05T11:29:51-04:00March 29, 2024|Forced Labor, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|Comments Off on UFLPA Enforcement Update

Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade news:              

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP issued cybersecurity incident procedures guidelines for brokers. 
    • The guidance explains the process and roles and responsibilities of CBP and the brokerage community on how to facilitate the importation, entry, and entry summary process, in the event of a cybersecurity incident affecting a broker.  
  • CBP easter egg advisory: CBP reminds the traveling public that cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 12 per passenger. 
    • Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in order to prevent further spread of Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells.  
  • CBP seized 280 toddler travel beds and baby playpens for Consumer Product Safety Act violations.  The China-based shipment was appraised at a domestic value of about $11,000.  
  • CBP extended import restrictions on certain archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological material from Honduras.  
  • CBP released a final rule shifting the […]
By |2024-03-22T11:24:52-04:00March 22, 2024|Snapshot|Comments Off on Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Ford Motor Company Settles Claims Relating to Under-Valued Vehicles for $365M

Ford Motor Company has agreed to pay $365 million for allegedly misclassifying and understating the value of hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

According to the Department of Justice, Ford engaged in a scheme to avoid higher duties by misclassifying cargo vans. Between 2009 and 2013, the company imported Transit Connect cargo vans into the United States but presented them to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with temporary seats and other features to make them appear to be passenger vehicles. The seats were never intended to carry passengers and Ford removed them as part of post-importation processing. The inclusion of the seats allowed Ford to avoid paying the 25% duty rate for cargo vehicles and instead they paid a duty rate of just 2.5%.

This case dates back to February 2012 when the Port of Baltimore advised Ford it was initiating an investigation into Ford’s classification practices. (Typically, prior to investigating an entity, CBP sends a request for information first. For more information on how this process typically begins read “Now, More than Ever, Be Wary of and Responsive to a CBP Form 28!”).

In 2013 Customs determined that the vans were improperly classified and liquidated the vehicles at the 25% duty rate. Ford protested, and Customs denied the protest. Ford then filed a complaint with the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT). The CIT agreed with Ford, finding that Ford engaged in legitimate tariff engineering. The government appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit where […]

By |2024-03-15T14:50:57-04:00March 15, 2024|Import, Penalty|Comments Off on Ford Motor Company Settles Claims Relating to Under-Valued Vehicles for $365M

MoCRA Facility and Product Registration Portal Now Open! 

Essential deadlines under the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA) come into effect July 1, 2024. MoCRA brings significant changes to the cosmetic industry and will impact your company if you manufacture, distribute, or pack a cosmetic product in the United States.

What is Required Under MoCRA

MoCRA replaces the previous Cosmetic Act, which had not been updated since 1938.

New MoCRA requirements include:

  • FDA registration for cosmetics facilities
  • Product listings for each cosmetic product
  • Adverse event reporting
  • Safety substantiation
  • Compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
  • Fragrance allergen labeling

MoCRA also gives the FDA new records access and mandatory recall authority. In issuing MoCRA regulations, FDA’s aim is to help ensure the overall safety of cosmetic products, and significantly expand the Agency’s ability to trace and track non-compliant products and facilities.

Registration and Listing Made Easy Through Our Online Portal

Not sure what is required to register a facility or list a cosmetic product? Our online portal will take you through the process step-by-step to ensure you are in compliance.

On our website you can:

  • Register a facility
  • Enlist Diaz Trade Consulting as your U.S. Agent
  • List a cosmetics product
  • Pay registration fees
  • Complete annual renewal
  • Request a UNII code

Get started here. Have questions? Reach out to us at info@diaztradeconsulting.com or call us at 305-400-8458.

Read more about MoCRA:

By |2024-03-15T14:40:32-04:00March 15, 2024|Cosmetics, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)|Comments Off on MoCRA Facility and Product Registration Portal Now Open! 

Clothing Wholesaler Executive Avoids Paying Millions in Duties – Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

Mohamed Daoud Ghacham, a 40-year-old executive from California has been sentenced to 48-months in prison for customs fraud. Ghacham, who was at the helm of a Paramount-based clothing wholesale company, engaged in a deceitful scheme that allowed his business to sidestep paying millions in customs duties on imported garments.

United States District Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong handed down the sentence, which also includes a restitution payment of $6,390,781.

The fraudulent operation involved importing clothing from China and presenting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a fraudulent second invoice with a lowered value. At Ghacham’s direction, Chinese suppliers would prepare two invoices for orders – a true invoice with the actual price paid and a fraudulent invoice with an understated price. Ghacham submitted the false invoices to CBP, allowing them to avoid millions of dollars in duties for over a decade.

Ghacham also faced charges related to conspiring to engage in transactions with a known narcotics trafficker.

The sentencing of Ghacham and his company concludes a comprehensive investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and CBP, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and IRS Criminal Investigation.

This case underscores the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to enforcing its customs laws and the severe consequences for those who choose to circumvent them.

Interested in learning more about CBP enforcement? Check out our upcoming webinar on the False Claims Act (FCA). We will discuss damages and criminal liability for making false claims to the government, whistleblower […]

By |2024-03-15T14:26:30-04:00March 15, 2024|Import, Penalty|Comments Off on Clothing Wholesaler Executive Avoids Paying Millions in Duties – Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade news:              

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP adopted final rules implementing procedures to investigate claims of antidupint and countervailing.
    • This rule makes final interim amendments to regulations that were published in 2016.
    • The rules provide guidance on initiation of investigations, investigation procedures, and administravie review of determinations.
  • CBP launches new EAPA and E-Allegation dashboards for enhanced visibility into trade violations and enforcement efforts. 
    • Members of the public and trade community can use the new dashboards to explore updated data and global trends on the trade violations that CBP receives, including information on the possible countries of origin and the volume and types of trade violation allegations CBP processes through the Trade Violations Reporting Tool.  
    • The agency launched two statistics dashboards focusing on the Enforce and Protect Act and e-Allegations programs.  
  • Officers at the Port of Louisville seized a de minimis shipment containing 35 counterfeit designer watches. The items were deemed to be inauthentic by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, and if genuine, would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail […]
By |2024-03-16T12:17:10-04:00March 15, 2024|Snapshot|Comments Off on Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

ICYMI: Commerce, Treasury, and Justice Issue Compliance Note on Obligations of Foreign-Based Persons to Comply with U.S. Export Laws

On March 6, 2024, the Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, and Department of Justice issued a tri-seal compliance note titled: “Obligations of foreign-based persons to comply with U.S. sanctions and export control laws.”

The note:

  1. Highlights the applicability of U.S. sanctions and export control laws to persons and entities located abroad;
  2. Outlines the enforcement mechanisms that are available for the U.S. government to hold non-U.S. persons accountable for violations of such laws; and
  3. Provides an overview of compliance considerations for non-U.S. companies and compliance measures to help mitigate their risk

Applicability of U.S. Sanctions and Export Control Laws to Foreign-Based Persons

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions, primarily against foreign jurisdictions but also against individuals and entities such as traffickers and terrorists.

The following persons/entities must comply with OFAC regulations:

  • U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens
  • All persons within the United States
  • All U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches

In certain sanctions programs, foreign entities owned or controlled by U.S. persons also must comply with applicable restrictions – such as engaging in a transaction with the government of Iran. Certain sanctions programs also require foreign persons in possession of U.S.-origin goods to comply.

Non-U.S. persons are also subject to certain OFAC prohibitions. For example, non-U.S. persons are prohibited from causing or conspiring to cause U.S. persons to wittingly or unwittingly violate U.S. sanctions, as well as engaging in conduct that evades U.S. sanctions.

Applicability of U.S. Export Control Laws

The compliance […]

By |2024-03-15T13:13:23-04:00March 15, 2024|EAR, Export, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)|Comments Off on ICYMI: Commerce, Treasury, and Justice Issue Compliance Note on Obligations of Foreign-Based Persons to Comply with U.S. Export Laws

Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade news:              

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP issues a new guide for the public on how the agency sets bond amounts.  
    • The report outlines CBP’s legal authorities, responsibilities, and its procedures on bond transmission, record retention, bond amounts, and bond types. 
  • Jiaxing Hoshine, a silica manufacturer,  filed a lawsuit against CBP alleging that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act by imposing a withhold release order (WRO) without disclosing evidence and providing adequate explanation for its action.  
  • CBP officers at the Massena Port of Entry discovered 3D printed gun parts on a traveler making entry back into the United States. 
  • CBP and the Census Bureau announced that the Forwarding Agent party record name will be changed to Authorized Agent in AESDirect. 
  • CBP published a new digital article: “The Quiet Enforcers: Behind the Scenes with CBP’s Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Division.” 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

  • The FDA announced the availability of a
By |2024-03-07T10:00:45-05:00March 7, 2024|Snapshot|Comments Off on Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:              

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • The CBP Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) reappointed 14 members for the 17th term. 
  • The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Charleston, SC.  
  • CBP is accepting applications to operate a Centralized Examination Station (CES) in the Area Port of Port Huron, Michigan. 
    • The initial phase of the process will consist of a 60-day application period, or “open season.” CBP said applications to operate the CES must be received by April 12. 
  • CBP’s Office of Trade has released its updated Guide for the Public: How CBP Sets Bond Amounts to reflect the agency’s current policies and procedures.  
  • Reminder: CBP has advised, effective Feb. 1, the Revenue Division will only accept the current version of CBP Form 5106. 

 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

  • The FTC is hosting a number of virtual and in-person events for […]
By |2024-03-01T14:52:36-05:00March 1, 2024|Snapshot|Comments Off on Customs and Trade News Weekly Snapshot
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