Customs BrokerU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)


posted by Jennifer Diaz April 15, 2010 0 comments

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.

Deputy Commissioner for U.S. Customs, David Aguilar, used a new talking point in his repeated use of the phrase "protect the American way of life" which apparently has replaced "protect the border" in his description of the mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  U.S. Customs Senior Attorney Susan Terranova stated that in 2009, Customs had issued over 500 penalties against exporters and freight forwarders for failing to file timely or accurately complete Automated Export System (AES) filings. Each penalty was issued in the amount of $10,000.

Marc Rossi, Branch Chief, Certified Cargo Screening Program, Air Cargo Division, TSA, stated that there are 98 foreign flagged airlines that fly into the United States, over 4,000 indirect air carriers (IACs), 52 independent cargo screening facilities, and only 403 IACs certified by the TSA as Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF), in preparation for the August 1, 2010 100% screening of air cargo aboard passenger aircraft in the United States.  More information about the implementation of the 100% screening rule is available at www.tsa.gov/ccsp

Along with Brandon Fried, Director, Air Forwarders Association, I lectured at the NCBFAA Conference about Export Compliance for Freight Forwarders.  The focus of my presentation was on exactly how to mitigate penalties once a Proposed Charging Letter, Pre-Penalty Notice, or Notice of Proposed Penalty has been issued by BIS, OFAC, or TSA.  The Power Point presentation is available only upon request.

ExportFreight Forwarding


posted by Jennifer Diaz March 12, 2010 0 comments

To the dismay of the local international trade community, three international freight forwarding companies and their owners are being criminally prosecuted for illegally exporting merchandise to a company in Paraguay. The company in Paraguay had been designated a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the United States Government.  Exporters and forwarding companies sending any cargo to such a company, even Sony PlayStation video games, would be in violation of the law.

In an Indictment dated October 1, 2009, Case No. 09-20852-CR-GOLD, the United States Attorneys’ Office in Miami charged three Miami freight forwarding companies and their owners with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., 18 U.S.C. 554 (fraudulently exporting from the United States), 18 U.S.C. 371 (conspiracy), and 13 U.S.C. 305 (knowingly submitting false Shippers Export Declarations or information through the Automated Export System (AES).

In summary, the Government has alleged that the Paraguay company paid an Ohio distributor of Sony PlayStations to ship those items to the freight forwarding companies in Miami. Once in Miami, according to the Indictment, the freight forwarders and their owners allegedly created documents falsely identifying the address of the company in Paraguay because they knew they could not ship the Sony PlayStations to the real address.  The real address of the company in Paraguay, according to the Indictment, had been designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.  The designated terrorist was Galeria Page, an office mall in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

The case was investigated by the Miami office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which issued a Press Release.  According to the Penalty Sheet filed with the Indictment, the maximum penalty for the individual owners of the freight forwarding companies who were arrested for the alleged violations is 20 years imprisonment.

To obtain a copy of the Indictment which was just unsealed on February 26, 2010, please contact me.