A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are in full enforcement mode carefully monitoring novel products claiming to treat, mitigate, or “kill” COVID-19. Compliance advisories issued at the beginning of the pandemic are now being replaced with enforcement advisories. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and others engaged in the production or sale of products claiming to mitigate or “kill” COVID-19 should be more cautious than ever when developing product claims for both product labels and marketing material or alternatively, confirm products comply with the numerous regulations governing COVID-19 cleaning products.
CBP proposes a new rule to formalize the process used by Customs Brokers of verifying the identity of their clients, specifically importers and nonresident importers. CBP believes the broker is uniquely situated to collect the information necessary to authenticate an importer’s identity at the time a Power of Attorney is obtained. The purpose of placing a verification burden on brokers is to ensure that importers are conducting legitimate trade transactions. The Federal Register Notice announcing the proposed rule clearly states brokers are subject to hefty monetary penalty for failure to collect the required information. If you have comments or concerns, now is the time to speak up! Brokers, importers, and the general public, have until October 15 to submit comments on the proposed rule.
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Hundreds of people apply every year to become a customs broker. Customs brokers are licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The process requires passing a rigorous multiple choice examination, and then passing a background investigation. For many applicants who successfully pass the examination, they are denied a license because the background investigation revealed a poor credit history and rating. Don't give up hope.
The annual conference of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) just concluded in San Antonio, Texas. Several prominent speakers from U.S. Customs, the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Transportation Security Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security discussed new policies and procedures that every customs broker and international freight forwarder should use to serve their import and export clients.
With all of the complexities involved in the import process, even customs brokers can make mistakes such as by providing the wrong tariff classification of the imported item to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A customs broker who makes such a mistake may become the subject of an investigation by U.S. Customs which ultimately results in a $30,000 penalty against the broker.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ordered by Court to evaluate at least 10 factors when determining the proper penalty against a customs broker for failure to exercise proper supervision and control.