FoodU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Reconditioning Imported Food Refused by the FDA

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 15, 2011 0 comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is increasingly stopping and examining imported shipments of food attempting to enter the United States.  Often, the FDA does not allow the food to enter the United States by declaring it to be misbranded or adulterated by filth or decomposition.  Virtually always, refused food is then either destroyed or exported from the United States. There is a little known, but valuable, option called "reconditioning".

Once reconditioned, food that was originally rejected by the FDA may legally enter the commerce of the United States.  How, when, and why to recondition food is the subject of a webinar on May 25, 2011, sponsored by the Journal of Commerce, and presented by attorney Peter Quinter and FDA manager John Verbeten.

John Verbeten is the Director of Operations and Policy Branch, Division of Import Operations and Policy, at FDA Headquarters.  The discussion will cover detention without physical examination (DWPE), the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, and the practical use of FDA Form 766.

Registration for the webinar is done on-line at the Journal of Commerce website.

Separately, a seminar for importers, customs brokers, and other persons involved in international trade is taking place in Tampa, Florida, on June 1, 2011. This will be a practical "how to" regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, FDA’s Detention Without Physical Examination (DWPE) and Notice of Refusal procedures, FDA Import Alerts, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection issuance of Liquidated Damages for failure to redelivery FDA refused merchandise.

SeizuresU.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Notice of Detention of Merchandise by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 24, 2011 4 Comments

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a February 22, 2011 60-Day Notice and Request for Comments regarding its use of a "Notice of Detention".  I know, a lot of you are saying to yourselves, "When did CBP starting using Notices of Detention," and my response to you is "That’s a darn good question!"

The law, 19 U.S.C. 1499 and 19 CFR 151.16, allows CBP officers at the border to stop and search persons for merchandise.  If the CBP officer discovers something suspicious, and takes it from you, then it has been "detained".  In exchange, the CBP officer is required to send to the importer or passenger a Notice of Detention form no later than 5 business days from the date of the examination, stating that: (1) the merchandise has been detained, (2) the reason for the detention, and (3) the anticipated length of the detention. 

That all sounds reasonable, but the problem is that the legal requirement is often ignored by CBP.  Often, a Notice of Detention is never issued by CBP to the importer, or is issued late or does not state the reason for the detained merchandise.  I  have seen a few hundred Notices of Detention over the past 21 years as a customs lawyer, but have never seen one that described "the anticipated length of detention."

The Request for Comments asks the public for "ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected."  I have a way to enhance the quality of the CBP Notice of Detention – follow the law and issue it every time, on time, and accurately.   For those who want to respond formally to CBP, click on the link for the address to address comments before April 25, 2011

International Travel

Follow Me To Quickly Clear U.S. Customs as an International Passenger

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 12, 2011 0 comments

Have you heard of the Global Entry program operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?  If you are one of the 100,000 U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are members, then congratulations to you. If you are one of the millions of international travelers who do not like to wait in long lines at U.S. Customs when arriving at an airport in the United States after a long intercontinental flight, I have got a deal for you. 

Global Entry is a voluntary pilot program that streamlines the international arrivals process for pre-approved travelers through use of self-service kiosks located at 20 major U.S. airports.  For good reason, CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin described the Global Entry program as "excellent"  in a December 27, 2010 press release.

Applications to Global Entry first must be submitted online at www.globalentry.gov . It costs only $100 for a five year membership.  I completed the on-line application in about 5 minutes, and was notified by email the next day that I was conditionally approved. Applicants must then complete an interview and fingerprint data collection in person at any of the 20 airport sites.  I am scheduled to be interviewed on February 22, 2011 at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 

Once enrolled in the pilot program, Global Entry members may proceed directly to the kiosks in the international arrivals area upon arrival in the U.S.  At the kiosk, members insert their passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader, provide digital fingerprints for comparison with fingerprints on file, answer customs declaration questions on the kiosk’s touch-screen, and then present a transaction receipt to CBP officers before leaving the inspection area.

From what I have heard from fellow frequent international travelers who use Global Entry, and from my friends at CBP, joining Global Entry appears to be the right choice.  I’ll keep you updated on my personal experience on Global Entry.


U.S. Customs Seizures and Forfeitures are Unique

posted by Jennifer Diaz September 6, 2010 8 Comments

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs or CBP) seizes and forfeits hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise every year.  The IRS, DEA, U.S. Postal Service, and other Federal agencies also have the legal authority to seize and forfeit merchandise that were allegedly used illegally or were proceeds of alleged illegal activity, but U.S. Customs administrative and judicial forfeiture procedures are unique.  The answer is that seizures by U.S. Customs typically are not included within the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

The difference between a seizure under CAFRA’s  rules under 18 U.S.C. 983 – The General Rules for Civil Forfeitures, and the U.S. Customs rules under the Tariff Act of 1930 and the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty, is significant. These significant differences are often misunderstood, including by attorneys who do not regularly practice in seizure and forfeiture matters.   Under CAFRA, the U.S. Government must send an administrative seizure notice to affected persons within 60 days of the seizure, but for U.S. Customs cases, there is no such requirement. In fact, unfortunately, U.S. Customs often takes 90 to days to issue the Seizure Notice letter to affected parties such as the owner of the seized merchandise. Under CAFRA, a claimant has 35 days from the date of the notice of seizure to file its administrative claim or request judicial forfeiture.  For U.S. Customs cases, the claimant must file a Petition within 30 days of the seizure notice or, if seeking judicial review of the seizure, file a claim and cost bond equal to 10% of the value of the seized merchandise, up to a maximum of $5,000.  In CAFRA cases, no court bond is required.  Once in Federal Court, for CAFRA cases, the U.S. Government’s burden of proof is by the preponderance of the evidence.  In U.S. Customs cases, the Government has a lower burden of proof by establishing probable cause for the seizure, and then the burden shifts to the claimant to establish, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the property may not be forfeited. 

There are other numerous differences, a few of which are set forth in a comparison chart. One big difference is that in U.S. Customs cases, a claimant may file an administrative Petition with U.S. Customs seeking to get the seized merchandise released, and if unsuccessful, then go to Court.  In non-U.S. Customs cases, a claimant who chooses to file a Petition with the Federal agency and loses cannot then seek relief in Federal Court.  In general, filing a Petition with U.S. Customs or other Federal agency is the preferred alternative because it is often (1) faster, (2) less expensive, and (3) gives the greatest chance of success in getting the merchandise released from seizure.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Caviar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

posted by Jennifer Diaz August 27, 2010 0 comments

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for regulating and managing the export and sale of paddlefish roe (caviar).  To obtain a paddlefish roe export permit, an applicant must establish that it properly harvested the roe, and that its export would not undermine the survival of the species. But what happens when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had the application for months, and has taken no action on it?

Paddlefish are 1 of 3 types of egg-bearing (roe) species native to the United States that are allowed to be commercially exported for their eggs, which are processed into caviar.  For Leisure Caviar, a wholesale dealer of paddlefish roe, and Bemka Corporation, a buyer of paddlefish roe, they had applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service for export permits for 4,074 pounds of roe worth $500,000.  The Fish and Wildlife Service had taken no action on the applications which had been filed from between 7 to 12 months earlier.  The shelf life of paddlefish roe is only 12 months. 

The applicant companies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Federal Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, seeking to get the Court to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review and grant the applications.  Instead, the Court dismissed the law suit.  The Court’s legal Opinion explained that the companies "had failed exhausted their administrative remedies, a prerequisite for bringing suit against the U.S. Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act…"  Moreover, upon appeal to a higher court, the appellate court stated:

The processing of applications under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) amounts to a discretionary responsibility, one ineligible for mandamus relief.

In other words, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could take whatever time it wanted in reviewing the export applications of the companies. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision in dismissing the case.

To me, this is another arrogant example of "Government Gone Wild".  Did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forget the meaning of the word "Service"?

FoodU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

FDA To Inspect Foreign Food Facilities Starting October 1, 2010

posted by Jennifer Diaz August 11, 2010 1 Comment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued notices to all foreign food facilities registered with the FDA that it will conduct an inspection of those facilities between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.  Foreign food facilities that manufacturer, process, pack, hold, and ship food to the United States must have registered with the FDA pursuant to the Bioterrorism Act.  Foreign food facilities that do not properly respond to the FDA notices may have their registrations automatically terminated. In effect, that will result in a detention of any food that arrives in the United States from those canceled facilities.

It is no secret why the FDA is visiting foreign food facilities shipping food to the United States.  See blog post "The FDA is Flexing Its Enforcement Muscles".  The Foreign Food Inspection Team at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) based in College Park, Maryland, is responsible for coordinating the foreign food inspections.  The recent FDA notices state, in part:

The inspection will be conducted by an investigator of the FDA to determine if your facility is operating in accordance with U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its regulations, including Title 21 CFR Part 110, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations.

Any foreign food facilities not yet registered may register with the FDA using a website www.FDA-USA.com established and operated by my law firm for a fee.  It is very easy to register on-line in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or German.  Companies should properly prepare prior to the FDA inspection.

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.


Yes, You May Legally Import Counterfeit Merchandise into the United States

posted by Jennifer Diaz January 24, 2010 11 Comments


My friends tell me one of their favorite activities in China is to buy counterfeit items such as Gucci handbags or Montblanc pens. My friends do worry about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs) officers looking through their luggage upon arrival at an airport in the United States, seizing the counterfeit items, and fining them.  The truth is that U.S. Customs allows the importation of counterfeit merchandise, but closely follow the rules as I explain them to you now.

First, know that it is generally illegal to import counterfeit merchandise into the United States.  The word “counterfeit” is defined in the Lanham Act at 15 U.S.C. 1124, and the U.S. Customs applicable law allowing for the seizure of counterfeit merchandise is 19 U.S.C. 1526.  That law gives your friendly U.S. Customs officers who are waiting for you at the airport the authority to look through your luggage, and seize counterfeit merchandise from you.  The U.S. Customs regulations at 19 CFR Part 133 give more specific guidelines to travelers interested in this topic.

What the readers of this blog, and even many U.S. Customs officers, do not know is that it is perfectly legal for a person who visits China, or any other foreign country, to buy counterfeit merchandise there, including one counterfeit Gucci bag and one counterfeit Montblanc pen, declare it on the U.S. Customs declaration form, pass through U.S. Customs, and enjoy using the counterfeit items in the United States.   Of course, you generally get what you pay for, so the $2,000 Gucci bag that you purchased in China for $80 may not be such a bargain, but it can be a lot of fun to shop at a Chinese flea market, and compare the purchased products to the genuine items at your local U.S.-based retail store, or so I am told.

According to Customs Directive No. 2310-011A dated January 24, 2000, “Customs officers shall permit any person arriving in the United States to import one article, which must accompany the person, bearing a counterfeit, confusingly similar, or restricted gray market trademark, provided that the article is for personal use and not for sale.”  Moreover, the Directive states that “Customs officers shall permit the arriving person to retain one article of each type accompanying the person.”

Now, don’t go crazy trying to bring too much counterfeit stuff into the United States at once. There are many restrictions.  You can only bring counterfeit stuff in every 30 days, it must “accompany” you which means no FedEx, UPS, or DHL packages, and it is only applicable to “one article of each type” which means, for example, if you attempt to bring in two counterfeit Gucci bags, they both will be seized by U.S. Customs. And “personal use” means for you the traveler only; no counterfeit gifts for your friends and family.

Finally, please don’t waste the U.S. Customs officer’s time attempting to explain to him that the fancy watches you purchased are marked “Rolexx” so they are not counterfeiting the Rolex trademark because of the different spelling, or that you did not know that importing counterfeit merchandise was illegal, because now you have read this blog post from “Your Customs Expert”.

Just in case you do bring in one too many counterfeit products, there is an administrative process to challenge all seizures made by U.S. Customs, as described in a previous blog post.

SeizuresU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

U.S. Customs Seized My Merchandise: Now What? / La Aduana de los Estados Unidos Incautó Mi Mercancía: ¿Qué Hago Ahora?

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 3, 2009 125 Comments

cbp-inspection-at-dhlEvery day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the airports, seaports, and other border crossings, stop, examine, detain, and seize merchandise from both travelers and commercial cargo importers and exporters.  The process of getting back your property can be a harrowing one fraught with bureaucratic delays.  There is, fortunately, a set of rules that U.S. Customs must follow, and knowing those rules will give you an advantage.

Customs officers may examine cargo to look for illegal drugs, counterfeit merchandise, merchandise from a country with which the U.S. has an embargo, food or medical devices not approved by the FDA, or motorcycles not approved by the EPA, just to name a few examples. 

While the cargo is being held by U.S. Customs, it is transferred to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) where the cargo is separated and intensively examined by Customs officers.  U.S. Customs has 35 days from the date of arrival of the cargo in the United States to detain the merchandise for examination.  See 19 CFR 151.16.  During that period of time, it is the obligation of U.S. Customs to advise the importer, its customs broker, and/or customs attorney with an explanation for the detention.  A written Detention Notice stating the specific reason for the detention should be issued by the U.S. Customs officer.

After 35 days, the Customs Regulations require that the cargo must be seized or released.   Unfortunately, this is too often ignored.  The problem is that U.S. Customs must rely upon other Federal agencies to give it advice whether a violation has occurred. For example, if a shipment of  motorcycles is imported from China, but Customs suspects that they may not satisfy the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) safety requirements, digital photographs and paperwork must be sent to EPA officials in Washington, D.C. for review and recommendation.  The communication is not directly from the front line U.S. Customs officer to the EPA attorney.  Instead, it will go through the chain of command which typically involves 5 sets of eyes and hands going up the chain and then down the chain.  35 days pass quickly with so many people handing off to each other.  Hence, despite the 35 day requirement, a determination to release or seize may not be made for 60 or more days after being detained by Customs.  Getting frustrated with or repeatedly calling a particular U.S. Customs officer may not be helpful as s/he may also be waiting for an answer from someone else.  Knowing who to call and when is the key to successfully getting cargo released.

The customs attorney hired to assist the importer needs to know the internal procedures of U.S. Customs as well as the laws and regulations it enforces to identify who and when to speak to a Customs officer or other U.S. Government official.  Getting involved early in the detention process is one of the best ways to assist Customs in identifying whether or not there is a violation, and avoiding a seizure or other negative action by U.S. Customs.   For example, if the product is a suspected counterfeit, showing an Import Specialist the license from Bluetooth or Apple could avoid a lengthy, expensive, and totally unnecessary seizure process with U.S. Customs.   Getting a Licensing Officer from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. to speak directly with the U.S. Customs officer on the Anti-Terrorism Trade Enforcement Team (AT-TET) to clarify any suspected discrepancy in the terms of the export license could avoid an unnecessary seizure.

If a violation does occur, the merchandise will be seized by U.S. Customs. The merchandise is then transported by U.S. Customs from the CES to a Seized Property warehouse.  The merchandise will remain in the warehouse until it is authorized to be released by Customs, and the warehouse is paid its storage fees.

Once the merchandise is seized, the file is forwarded by the U.S. Customs officer to the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office (FP&F).  The FP&F paralegal reviews the file and prepares a formal, written Seizure Notice. The Seizure Notice is mailed to the alleged violator.  My standard operating procedure is to notify FP&F of my representation of an importer or exporter whose goods have been seized by Customs so that the Seizure Notice is forwarded to me directly. The Seizure Notice will identify what and where the cargo was seized, as well as the legal basis for the seizure. See 19 CFR 162.31(b)

Once a Seizure Notice is received, the “violator” is provided 30 days to file a Petition with Customs.  The Petition is the means by which the owner of the cargo may seek to persuade U.S. Customs to release the seized shipment.  The Petition may argue that a violation did not really occur, or that there was a violation, however, there were mitigating factors in favor of releasing the cargo.  The Petition should follow the guidelines set forth by U.S. Customs in 19 CFR Part 171.  U.S. Customs also published a very helpful handbook about seizure case processing.

Eventually, U.S. Customs will either grant and release the seized merchandise, or deny the Petition and not release the seized merchandise.  A Supplemental Petition or Offer in Compromise may then be submitted to U.S. Customs.

In summary, the administrative petition process with U.S. Customs can be a long one, however, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

1) Be as careful as possible to be sure imported merchandise complies with all relevant laws and regulations applicable to the particular product;

2) If U.S. Customs detains your products, contact a knowledgeable customs attorney or customs broker to actively demonstrate that there is no violation;  and

3) If U.S. Customs seizes your products, make sure your customs attorney knows the policies, procedures, and practices of U.S. Customs to pursue the release of the merchandise.

For more information about the seizure process, a video describing the process, and a REAL copy of a SEIZURE NOTICE, click HERE.

Contact us at info@diaztradelaw.com today to discuss your specific case.


Todos los días, en los aeropuertos, puertos marítimos y otros cruces fronterizos, los oficiales de la Aduana y Protección Fronteriza de los Estados Unidos examinan, detienen e incautan mercancías de los viajeros, importadores y exportadores de carga comercial. El proceso para recuperar sus bienes puede ser desgarrador y lento debido a los retrasos burocráticos. Afortunadamente, La Aduana de los Estados Unidos debe seguir ciertas reglas. El hecho de que usted conozca dichas reglas le proporcionará una ventaja.

Los oficiales de la aduana pueden examinar sus bienes debido a diversas sospechas. Tal como es el caso de la búsqueda de drogas ilegales, mercadería falsificada, mercadería de un país con el cual los Estados Unidos tiene un embargo, alimentos o dispositivos médicos no aprobados por la Federal de Alimentos y Drogas de los Estados Unidos (FDA) o motocicletas no aprobadas por la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los Estados Unidos (EPA).

Los bienes retenidos por la Aduana de los Estados Unidos son transferidos a una Estación Centralizada para Examinaciones (CES) donde la carga es separada e investigada por los funcionarios de la Aduana. A partir de la fecha de la llegada de la carga a los Estados Unidos, la Aduana tiene 35 días para detener la mercancía y examinarla. Vea 19 CFR 151.16. Durante ese período de tiempo, es obligación de la Aduana de los Estados Unidos mantener informado al importador, a su agente de aduanas y/o al abogado de aduanas con una explicación de la detención. El funcionario de la Aduana de los Estados Unidos debe emitir un Aviso de Detención por escrito el cual indique el motivo específico de la detención.

Después de 35 días, el Reglamento de la Aduana exige que la carga sea incautada o liberada. Desafortunadamente, a menudo esto es ignorado. El problema es que la Aduana de los Estados Unidos debe confiar en otras agencias federales para que le aconsejen si se ha producido una infracción. Por ejemplo, si un envío de motocicletas es importado desde China, pero la Aduana sospecha que las motocicletas no cumplen con los requisitos de seguridad de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA). Especificas pruebas como es el caso de fotografías digitales y documentos deben enviarse a los funcionarios de la EPA en Washington, DC para su revisión y recomendación. La comunicación no es directa entre el oficial de Aduana de primera línea y el abogado de la EPA. Por lo contrario, la comunicación se llevará a cabo a través de la cadena de mando, la cual generalmente involucra a 5 personas encargados de representar el caso. Posteriormente, al pasar los 35 días analizando la información, una resolución debe surgir. Sin embargo, la decisión para liberar o incautar no se realizará hasta aproximadamente 60 días o más después de la detención. Frustrarse o llamar repetidamente a un oficial de la Aduana de los Estados Unidos puede ser improductivo, ya que el oficial puede estar esperando una respuesta de otra persona. Saber cuándo y a quién llamar es la clave para lograr que la carga sea liberada.

El abogado de aduana contratado para ayudar al importador debe estar familiarizado con los procedimientos internos de la Aduana de los Estados Unidos, así como también con las leyes y regulaciones que la Aduana ejecuta para identificar con quién y cuándo hablar con el funcionario de aduanas u otro funcionario del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Involucrarse temprano en el proceso de detención es una de las mejores maneras de ayudar a la Aduana a identificar si hay una violación o no, y a evitar una incautación u otra acción negativa por parte de la Aduana. Por ejemplo, si se sospecha que un producto es una falsificación, mostrándole a un especialista en importación la licencia de Bluetooth o Apple podría evitar un proceso de incautación largo, costoso y totalmente innecesario con la Aduana. Logrando que un oficial de licencias de la Oficina de Industria y Seguridad (BIS) del Departamento de Comercio de los EE. UU. en Washington, DC se comunique directamente con el oficial de la Aduana en el Equipo de Control del Comercio Antiterrorista (AT-TET) para aclarar cualquier sospecha de discrepancia en los términos de la licencia de importación-exportación podría evitar una incautación innecesaria.

Si ocurre una violación, la mercancía será confiscada por la Aduana de los Estados Unidos y posteriormente transportada por la Aduana desde el CES a un almacén de bienes incautados. La mercancía permanecerá en el almacén hasta que la Aduana autorice su liberación y la tarifa de almacenamiento este pagada.

Una vez que se incauta la mercancía, el oficial de Aduana remite el caso a la Oficina de Multas, Penalidades y Decomisos (FP&F). El asistente legal de FP&F revisa el archivo y prepara un documento el cual representa el Aviso formal de Incautación. El Aviso de Incautación se envía por correo al presunto infractor. El procedimiento estándar será notificar a FP&F de mi representación del importador o exportador cuya mercancía ha sido incautada para que se me envíe directamente el Aviso de Incautación. El Aviso de Incautación identificará qué y dónde se incautó la carga y también la base legal para la incautación. Vea 19 CFR 162.31 (b).

Una vez recibido el Aviso de Incautación, el “infractor” tiene 30 días para presentar una Petición ante la Aduana. La Petición es el medio por el cual el representante de los bienes puede tratar de persuadir a la Aduana para que libere sus bienes incautados. La Petición puede argumentar que realmente no hubo una violación, o que sí hubo, sin embargo, que hay posibles factores a favor de liberación de la carga. La Petición debe seguir las pautas establecidas por las Aduana de los Estados Unidos en 19 CFR Parte 171. Por otro lado, La Aduana de los Estados Unidos posee un manual sobre el proceso de casos de incautación el cuál puede ser de gran ayuda.

Eventualmente, la Aduana aprobará la Petición y liberará la mercancía incautada, o negará la Petición y no liberará la mercancía incautada. Una Petición Suplementaria u Oferta en Compromiso puede ser enviada a la Aduana si la Petición ha sido negada.

En definitiva, el proceso de petición administrativa con la Aduana puede ser largo, sin embargo, hay ciertos puntos claves los cuales se deben tomar en cuenta:

1) Trate de asegurarse que la mercancía importada cumpla con todas las leyes y regulaciones pertinentes aplicables al producto en particular;

2) Si La Aduana de los Estados Unidos detiene sus productos, póngase en contacto con un abogado de aduana o agente de aduana con experiencia para demostrar activamente que no existe ninguna violación; y

3) Si la Aduana de los Estados Unidos incauta sus productos, asegúrese de que su abogado de aduana conozca la política, los procedimientos y las prácticas de la Aduana de los Estados Unidos para obtener la liberación de la mercancía.

Para obtener más información sobre el proceso de incautación, observe el video a continuación el cual describe el proceso y muestra una copia REAL de un AVISO DE INCAUTACION, haga clic AQUI.

Contacta a sus expertos a través de: info@diaztradelaw.com para discutir el mérito de su caso.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Did George Bush Cost Us the Olympics?

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 12, 2009 3 Comments

When the International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over Chicago, to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, I was surprised and disappointed.  When the media started to report that one of the factors that led the Committee members not to vote in favor of the United States was our security policy toward international visitors, I was intrigued. When I read that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had previously promised the Committee that the White House would set up a special office to oversee a host of federal agencies to make sure the customs and immigration process would be streamlined so athletes and other visitors would have no trouble getting to the games, then I realized something was seriously wrong.

A New York Times October 2, 2009 article entitled “Chicago’s Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame?” stated the case well.  The CEO of the lobbying group U.S. Travel Association also stated on October 2, 2009 that we “need to change impressions of what the experience of travel to the U.S. is like for international visitors.”  And he said that the very day after personally meeting with United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  

I wondered about the impressions that foreign visitors have of clearing the international arrival areas of our nation’s airports, including being processed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs).  The results were disturbing.

I randomly spoke to people I knew overseas who were frequent and experienced international travelers. They were Brazilians, Argentinians, Mexicans, Germans, Australians, and Colombians whom I asked for an honest assessment of their U.S. international entry experiences.  Many persons spoke of being selected for questioning by U.S. Customs personnel upon arrival in the United States, usually at an international airport such as New York’s JFK, Los Angeles (LAX), or Miami International Airport (MIA).  Many had their baggage examined by CBP officers.   Although unpleasant, most persons did not seem to mind much even though they stated that the border security of the United States was a relatively poor experience compared to other countries.  Virtually everyone I spoke with had a story about a friend or colleague of theirs who was detained and questioned by CBP officers in the United States.  The result was suspicion, and even some hostility, toward the United States regarding its perceived unwelcoming attitude to business persons and vacationers coming to the United States.  Many of those person interviewed mentioned President Bush as the person to blame for their negative perspective.

Clearly, something needed to be done.  Fortunately, sometimes out of something bad comes something good. Within a week of the Olympics going to Rio instead of Chicago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1035, the “Travel Promotion Act of 2009,”  co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Act would create a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination, and better explain U.S. security policies to our overseas guests. The U.S. Senate already passed identical legislation also entitled the Travel Promotion Act of 2009  (S. 1023) earlier in September, so the Act should eventually become law. As stated explicitly in the Act, the primary purposes of the new organization would be “to identify, counter, and correct misperceptions regarding United States entry policies around the world.”

Why does the United States need such an agency? What did we do wrong after 9/11 to have created such a bad impression around the world? In President Bush’s National Strategy for Homeland Security issued October 5, 2007, he stated:

“We have made our borders more secure and developed an effective system of layered defense by strengthening the screening of people and goods overseas and by tracking and disrupting the international travel of terrorists.”

Whether “more secure” and “effective” is arguable, however, there certainly had been more aggressive screening of people both prior to their boarding aircraft overseas and upon arrival in the United States during President Bush’s “War on Terror”.

U.S. Customs has attempted to educate the international traveler by having useful information on its website entitled “Admission into the United States” and even a flow chart of the CBP Inspection Process.  From my own personal contacts, although certainly not any kind of scientifically proven study, I agree with the U.S. Travel Association that we lost the Olympics, in part, because of a perception (real or imagined) that our entry process is just not up to international standards of hospitality. 

While balancing the concepts of border security and facilitating trade is now an ongoing debate, I remain optimistic that the U.S. Congress, President Obama, and DHS Secretary Napolitano have already started to move the country in the right direction in re-evaluating our trade and border security policies and practices. For example, the phrase “War on Terror” is no longer in vogue.  I have personally recently heard both the U.S. Customs’ Director of Field Operations for South Florida, Harold Woodward, and U.S. Customs’  Area Port Director for Tampa, Gary McClelland, talk about a renewed relationship with the international trade community to facilitate trade and travel.                                                                                                                                                                

My recommendations are:

(1) If an international traveler is selected, stopped, and questioned by CBP, preferably do it in the person’s native language;

(2) With CBP’s Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) that includes the Department of Justice’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (NLETS), U.S. Customs’ Automated Targeting System (ATS), Border Crossing Information (BCI), and Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), all of which is provided in advance of the arrival of the airplane in the United States, questioning of passengers should be brief;

(3) anyone detained by CBP should have explained to him or her exactly why the person is being detained, and should be informed how to remedy any false or inaccurate information that may be in a U.S. Customs database; and

(4) invigorate the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to directly investigate and then remedy any shortcomings it identifies in the international arrivals process.

Finally, after a long international flight from somewhere such as China, it really is nice to hear a uniformed U.S. Customs officer say “Welcome to the United States.”