On September 2, 2020, via Federal Register Notice, the United States Trade Representative formally announced its determination to extended certain previously granted exclusion requests through the end of the year; December 31, 2020.
Just over two years ago, on July 6, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) levied an estimated $34 Billion in Tariffs (also known as Tranche 1 or List 1) or against imports into the U.S. from the Chinese Communist Party due to the US’ Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
Following the publication of the tariffs, on July 11, 2018, USTR published Exclusion Process Procedures for items included on List 1. Petitioners were required to submit their requests by October 9, 2018, and USTR began granting exclusions in December 2018. Since the initial imposition of the Section 301 duties, USTR has granted 10 rounds of exclusions totaling more than 6,200 requests for List 1. Additionally, there are still more than 6,500 exclusion requests still pending approval for the Action taken on August 20, 2019.
On July 1, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Newark, New Jersey seized an import from China of roughly 13 tons of beauty products and accessories, discovered products made of human hair. The shipment, which came from the Xinjiang Region of China is estimated to be worth over $800,000.00.
The import was seized as a result of a June 17, 2020, Withhold Release Order (WRO) for “imported merchandise made wholly or in part with hair products produced by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. (Meixin) in Xinjiang, China”.
According to CBP’s Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade, there had already been evidence that reasonably indicated that the Chinese hair product company had been using prison labor to produce their merchandise, which is prohibited by Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307.
Since the inception of the Trade War with China, the Office of the United States’ Trade Representative (USTR) has provided citizens, primarily those in industries directly affected by the imposition of ad valorem duties (tariffs), the opportunity to request that certain products be granted exclusions. Each list of tariffs has its own specific process to ensure that concerned citizens may voice their opinions as to why given products should not be subjected to additional duties upon importation, as prescribed in the Section 301 investigation.
Despite the reignition of tensions in May, hopes of reconciliation began to grow in the preeminence of the G-20 international economic forum, held in June. While substantial progress was not made, President Trump and potential dictator for life Xi Jinping appeared to slow the escalation, coming to a bilateral good-faith agreement. Supposedly, the two nations agreed that the United States would soften the sanctions imposed on Chinese tech giant, Huawei, contingent that China begins to repurchase American agricultural products, as well as halt their exportation of Fentanyl.
The tentative “cease-fire” also intended to delay the United States’ imposition of the threatened list 4, which would levy a 25% ad valorem on roughly $300 Billion worth of Chinese goods. The new round of tariffs looms over China, considering that 2019 proved to be their worst fiscal year in recent memory. In fact, this is the most sluggish Chinese economy in nearly three decades, which many directly attribute to President Trump’s vigilant economic policies.
However, approximately a month since the United States graciously showed the illicit regime restraint, China refuses to uphold their end of the bargain. Chinese imports of American agriculture has failed to accelerate, and similarly, their exportation of Fentanyl remains a major health threat to the United States.
“China agreed to…buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so,” President Trump said. “Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States—this never happened, and many Americans continue to die.”
…buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States – this never happened, and many Americans continue to die! Trade talks are continuing, and…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019
China’s most recent defiance led President Trump to announce that the US will proceed to implement a 4th list of tariffs. Despite the fact that the originally proposed list would levy 25% ad valorem, the new list, which is set to go into effect on September 1, will start at a 10% ad valorem tariff (and can be increased to a 25% tariff at a later date). The list still targets $300 Billion worth of goods and is set to affect almost all items not included in List’s 1, 2, and 3. Whereas list’s 1 and 2 affected steel, aluminum, and other metals, list 3 began to cast a wider net. List 4 however, includes a variety of goods ranging from clothing to basic electronics.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a press release announcing a new multi-agency task force, The Global Trade Task Force (GTTF), which is designed to protect national security and combat counterfeit goods. The multi-agency task force was launched recently in Detroit and DHS believes the task force could serve as a national model for related investigations.
Routinely, individuals in the U.S. have property taken from them under “Asset Forfeiture” laws and are unaware of their rights. Civil judicial forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction, and is a powerful legal tool used by law enforcement and Federal Agencies to seize property that is involved in a crime. Fines and forfeitures have become a key source of revenue, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
The majority of federal forfeiture cases are uncontested when there is a related criminal case. Administrative forfeiture occurs when property is seized but no one files a claim to contest the seizure. Property that can be administratively forfeited includes merchandise prohibited from importation; a conveyance used to import, transport, or store a controlled substance; a monetary instrument; or other property that does not exceed $500,000 in value. Federal law imposes strict deadlines and notification requirements in the administrative forfeiture process. If the seizure is contested, then the U.S. government is required to use either criminal or civil judicial forfeiture proceedings to gain title to the property.
It’s important to understand why freight forwarders take certain steps prior to shipping your goods. We previously discussed why it’s important to complete a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction. Now we are addressing why your Freight Forwarder segregates your hazardous materials, even if you request otherwise. The fines for non-compliance are severe. 49 CFR 107.329 provides for the maximum civil penalty amounts. Violators that knowingly violate hazardous material transportation laws and regulations may face no more than a $78,376.00 penalty for each violation, but if the violation results in death, serious illness, severe injury to any person, or substantial destruction of property the maximum civil penalty is $182,877.00. There is no minimum civil penalty, except for a minimum civil penalty of $471 for violations relating to training. When the violation is a continuing one, each day of the violation constitutes a separate offense. Continue Reading
An estimated 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery at any moment in time in 2016. This amounts to 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the world. Seventy three per cent of the victims of forced labor were female, and one in four victims were children. Forced labor accounted for 24.9 million people, while 15.4 million were in forced marriage.
What is the U.S. Doing About It? Continue Reading
The Justice Department announced YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS, L.C., (the Company), headquartered in Lehi, Utah, plead guilty in federal court to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. Continue Reading