Upcoming Training: CBP Regulations: Essential Practices for Import Success 

Join us in person at the World Trade Center Miami or on Zoom! Eligible for 3 CCS continuing education credits. 

 Many mistake the ease of importing to mean there is no liability or obligation on the part of the importer. However, if you import merchandise into the U.S., you may not realize, but, you are the responsible party! That means you have a duty to exercise “reasonable care” when importing.  

 What is reasonable care? Importers must conduct themselves as a reasonable importer would under the circumstance with respect to importing prior to entering goods into the United States. They must:  

  • Meet the standard to enter, classify and determine the value of imported goods 
  • Provide other information necessary to aid U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in properly assessing duties and collecting accurate statistics 
  • Determining whether other applicable legal standards and requirements have been met 

Read more about reasonable care in our Bloomberg Law article here. 

All importers should have a plan in place to navigate merchandise descriptions & classification, product valuation, country of origin, intellectual property rights, forced labor, quotas, requirements of other agencies, and more. 

In this presentation, our speakers will discuss how to comply with CBP’s vast laws and regulations. By the end of […]

By |2024-05-17T09:24:50-04:00May 17, 2024|Best Practices, Import|Comments Off on Upcoming Training: CBP Regulations: Essential Practices for Import Success 

From Chaos to Compliance: A Guide for Importers

Many mistake the ease of importing to mean there is no liability or obligation on the part of the importer. Whether your company is new to importing, or has been in the business for years, CBP expects importers to use “reasonable care” to ensure compliance with relevant rules and regulations. Importers are at risk of being subject to enforcement actions by CBP if they do not comply with the reasonable care standard when importing goods into the U.S. This article provides an overview of CBP’s expectations of an importer and practical advice on what you must have in your import compliance plan.

How Did We Get Here?

December 8th, 1993, the Dow Jones reached a record high of 3734.53, Janet Jackson’s “Again” remained number one on the charts, and President Bill Clinton signed the Customs Modernization Act (Mod Act). The Mod Act altered the import compliance landscape by making it the responsibility of the importer to classify items, determine their value, etc. The law also imposed a legal obligation to use “reasonable care” in doing so, or else Customs could (and would) impose penalties.

What Exactly is “Reasonable Care”?

Reasonable care requires importers to conduct themselves as a reasonable importer would under the circumstance with respect to importing goods into the United States.

Reasonable care requires importers to:

  • Meet the standard to enter, classify and determine the value of imported goods
  • Provide other information necessary to aid CBP in properly assessing duties and collecting accurate statistics
  • Determine whether other applicable legal standards and […]
By |2024-04-19T16:11:26-04:00April 19, 2024|Import, Pre-compliance, Reasonable Care, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|Comments Off on From Chaos to Compliance: A Guide for Importers

The Arena of EAPA: Transshipping, Pencils, and Evading Duties

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) investigates allegations of dumping or unfair foreign subsidies, but they also have the authority to investigate potential violations of any imposed Anti-Dumping or Countervailing Duties (AD/CVD) under the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) of 2015.

Customs describes EAPA as a “multi-party, transparent, administrative proceeding where parties can both participate in and learn the outcome of the investigation. It also maintains due process for parties to the investigation by providing an option for them to request administrative and judicial reviews of CBP’s determination as to evasion.” Self-assertions of transparency and due process aside, many have found EAPA cases to be highly secretive and not always fair.

Frequently, an EAPA case involves an allegation that Chinese goods are allegedly transshipped through another country (or only subject to minor processing) to avoid paying AD/CVD duties. Since AD/CVD duties are applicable based upon the commodities country of origin, nefarious companies can ship goods from China to for example, Vietnam, India, Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, or some other country, and claim that these goods do not originate from China after all. Importers, in good faith, will declare that their imports are not subject to AD/CVD duties because they are not aware of the true origin of the goods. Such importers might not be liable for penalties if their belief was in good faith and based on facts, but such importers would still be subject to massive duties. Thus, contrary to popular option, good/honest importers may also find themselves the recipient of […]

By |2024-04-12T15:01:41-04:00April 12, 2024|AD/CVD, Import, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)|Comments Off on The Arena of EAPA: Transshipping, Pencils, and Evading Duties

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

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

Upcoming Deadline to File Comments: USTRs Section 301 China Tariff Exclusions Proceeding

On December 26, 2023, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that it will extend 352 reinstated exclusions and 77 COVID-related exclusions on goods from China until May 31, 2024.

The exclusions refer to additional duties imposed on goods from China pursuant to an earlier Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.

In December 2022, the agency determined to extend the exclusions and extended them again in May 2023 and September 2023 through December 31, 2023. This latest Federal Register notice announces the agency’s determination to further extend the exclusions until May 31, 2024 and open up the ability to comment on the exclusions. The public docket will open on January 22, 2024 and will close on February 21, 2024.

This latest extension provides USTR additional time to orderly phase out certain exclusions and align others with the objectives determined during the agency’s ongoing four-year review of Section 301 China tariffs.

The agency also announced that it will open a docket to gather public comments on whether to further extend particular exclusions. The focus of the evaluation will be on:

  • The availability of products covered by the exclusion from sources outside China
  • Efforts undertaken to source products covered by the exclusion
  • Why additional time is needed
  • On what timeline, if any, the sourcing of products covered by the exclusion is likely to shift outside of China

USTR will also consider whether or not extending the exclusion will impact U.S. interests.

 Exclusion Background

In […]

By |2024-01-15T20:21:09-05:00January 5, 2024|China, Import, Special 301, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)|Comments Off on Upcoming Deadline to File Comments: USTRs Section 301 China Tariff Exclusions Proceeding

Trade News: New Petition Filed on Glass Wine Bottles from China, Mexico and Chile

On December 29, 2023, the last working day of the year, the U.S. Glass Producers Coalition filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties on certain glass wine bottles from China, Mexico, and Chile and countervailing duties on imports of certain glass wine bottles from China.

The Coalition is comprised of U.S. producer Ardagh Glass Inc. and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (“USW”). The petitions allege that the Chinese, Chilean, and Mexican industries have been dumping wine bottles in the U.S., harming the U.S. market and destroying American jobs.

Full list of producers here. Full list of U.S. importers here.

The petition alleges dumping margins of:

  • China: 280.10% and 620.03%
  • Mexico: 78.55% and 102.09%
  • Chile: 615.68%

The scope of merchandise covered includes a wide array of products including both clear and colored bottles in the Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, or Sparkling shapes. Full scope here.

The Commerce Department will determine whether to initiate the investigations within 20 days. The USITC will reach a preliminary determination of material injury or threat of material injury within 45 days. Final determinations will likely occur late 2024.

As with any proceeding, participation is very important to protect your rights. We urge anyone that imports glass wine bottles to pay close attention to this case and to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to mitigate any damage.

Diaz Trade Law will continue to monitor this case and share updates. For more information or questions get in touch […]

By |2024-01-05T15:52:11-05:00January 5, 2024|AD/CVD, China, Import, Mexico, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)|Comments Off on Trade News: New Petition Filed on Glass Wine Bottles from China, Mexico and Chile

Summary of CBP’s March 2023 Forced Labor Technical Expo

Summary of CBP’s March 2023 Forced Labor Technical Expo 

CBP held a Forced Labor Technical Expo from March 14-15, comprised of experts and service providers highlighting tools to utilize for supply chain transparency to comply with The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and the general “reasonable care” obligations of U.S. importers. UFLPA was signed into law December 31, 2021, and seeks to prohibit imports of certain goods from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where it has been reported that the Chinese government is using forced labor of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minorities in detention camps and factories. For more information about the UFLPA, please see our previous blog articles here and here.  

CBP Data Dashboard  

CBP launched a UFLPA data dashboard where the trade community can now monitor forced labor enforcement by origin, commodity, CBP Center of Excellence and Expertise, and more. See the screenshot of the new dashboard below and note that the countries of export most targeted are NOT China, contrary to popular belief. This is partly due to the fact that most UFLPA enforcement to date has been on solar panels, which may include Chinese-origin raw materials but are generally further manufactured outside of China. Notably, CBP is actively tracking many different types of products across many different industries with raw materials that originate in China and that are further manufactured in other countries for forced labor enforcement. […]

By |2023-03-29T12:06:53-04:00March 29, 2023|China, Forced Labor, International Trade, Reasonable Care, Supply Chain, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|Comments Off on Summary of CBP’s March 2023 Forced Labor Technical Expo

New Court Rulings on Marijuana-Related Paraphernalia: Understanding the Impact on Importers

The marijuana industry is rapidly growing, with more and more states legalizing its use for medical and/or recreational purposes. With this growth, there is an increase in the importation of products such as grinders, storage containers, rolling paper, pipes, and vape pens, both for business and personal use. More businesses are asking why there is an issue importing such items when they only intend to sell and distribute within the many states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use and have established regulations for marijuana-related products. It is still essential to remember, while many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. 

This blog will address recent Court of International Trade (CIT) cases on this very topic and will be a part 2 to our previous blog covering U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizures of drug paraphernalia 

CBP Authority 

CBP has the power to seize “drug paraphernalia” products.  This does not only cover importations of products for commercial use, but also items for personal use with individuals traveling internationally seeking entry into the United States.  CBP’s website section: Know Before You Go – Prohibited and Restricted Items encourages individuals to contact CBP prior to traveling and make sure that prohibited or restricted items, such as drug paraphernalia, are not brought into the country, as they are not only subject to seizure pursuant to 19 […]

By |2023-03-10T12:04:07-05:00March 10, 2023|E-Cigarette, Export, Import, Seizures, Tobacco, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|Comments Off on New Court Rulings on Marijuana-Related Paraphernalia: Understanding the Impact on Importers

CBP Publishes Additional Guidance On Responding to Cargo Detentions Made Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Background

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) went into effect on June 21, 2022. The law creates a rebuttable presumption that imports of all goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (“Xinjiang”), or by entities identified on the UFLPA Entity List, were made using forced labor and are prohibited from entry into the U.S. under 19 U.S.C. § 1307. For more information about the UFLPA, please see our previous blog articles here and here. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has been vigorously enforcing this law, detaining hundreds of attempted import shipments every month under both the UFLPA and Withhold Release Orders for suspected forced labor violations.

Importers that have a shipment detained under the UFLPA can seek to have the shipment released under one of two paths. They can either:

  • show that in spite of the fact that the goods were produced wholly or partially in Xinjiang or by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List, they were not in fact made using forced labor; or
  • show that neither the goods nor the inputs used to make the goods were produced wholly or partially in Xinjiang and have no connection to entities on the UFLPA Entity List (i.e., that the goods fall outside the scope of the UFLPA).

Taking the second path means requesting an “admissibility review.”

Last year, pursuant to the UFLPA, the Department of Homeland Security published a Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, […]

By |2023-03-09T20:19:21-05:00March 9, 2023|China, Forced Labor, Import, International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Uncategorized|Comments Off on CBP Publishes Additional Guidance On Responding to Cargo Detentions Made Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
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