Retroactive Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) Increase
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
The purpose of this memorandum is to announce that the Office of International Trade will begin billing for the increase in merchandise processing fee (MPF), as established by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 (TAA), retroactively effective on October 1, 2011. CBP automated system programming was completed in November 2011 and ACS began accepting the new MPF rate on November 5, 2011. CBP could not begin the retroactive billing process for merchandise entered between October 1, 2011 and November 4, 2011 until the refund processing was completed for the Generalized System of Preferences, Andean Trade Preference Act, and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act retroactive renewals.
The Entry, Summary, and Drawback Branch (ESD) will script liquidate entries with a future liquidation date to generate a bill for the additional MPF due. Differences of less than $20.00 are de minimis, and as such will not be processed for retroactive MPF. Entries which are flagged for reconciliation shall have the MPF increase accounted for via the reconciliation entry. Once the scripting begins, ESD will post weekly results on CBPnet Secure at the following link: https://cbpnetsecure.cbp.dhs.gov/sites/ot/tpp/tfa/Pages/Welcome.aspx.
Entries for which CBP system successfully generated a bill will be listed in the file titled, “MPF Increases”. This list is being provided to the ports for use as back-up documentation in relation to the B12 report (Bulletin Notice of Entries Liquidated – by Batch and Sequence). Entries that failed the scripting process will be available via the same link, in the file titled, “MPF Script Errors”. Ports must manually liquidate all entries that are included in this list.
The scripting process will begin the week of June 11, 2012. We expect to liquidate approximately 20,000 entries per week but do not have an estimated completion date. If you have questions regarding this process, please contact Ms. Terry Monroy, International Trade Specialist, Office of International Trade at email@example.com.
$619 Million Fine Sends Strong Message that Sanctions Violators Will Be Held Accountable, Ros-Lehtinen Says
House Committee on Foreign Affairs / http://foreignaffairs.house.gov
Chairman Praises Treasury Action Against ING for Transactions with Cuba, Other State Sponsors of Terrorism
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Treasury Department announced a $619 million settlement with ING Group for violations of U.S. sanctions laws banning certain financial transactions with Cuba, Iran, Burma, Sudan and Libya. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“This huge settlement sends an unequivocal message that companies which break U.S. law and conduct business with sanctioned countries will be found out and severely penalized. I congratulate the hard working personnel at the Treasury Department for their stellar work in enforcing our sanctions laws.
“ING executives deceived our banking regulators as they sought to profit by doing business with dictatorial and anti- American regimes, including those in Cuba and Iran. ING will now rightly pay the largest fine ever levied by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
“It is not enough to have tough sanctions laws on the books. ING’s actions prove that vigorous enforcement and punishment of violators is necessary to prevent our laws from being willfully ignored and turned into paper tigers. Other firms which may consider doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism should look at this $619 million dollar penalty and think twice. If their consciences don’t prevent them from doing business with tyrants and extremists, perhaps a $600 million dollar fine will.”
NOTE: On July 29, 2011, Ros-Lehtinen sent letters to Secretary Geithner and ING Group Executive Board Chairman Jan Hommen calling for an immediate investigation of the then-reported violations.
Agriculture Specialists In Puerto Rico Report Another "First" Insect Discovery
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico – For the second time in less than a month, a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists had discovered a new insect pest in air cargo that arrived recently at the Rafael Hernandez Airport in northwestern Puerto Rico.
CBP Agriculture Specialists found the Epitrix (Chrysomelidae), commonly known as the “flea beetle,” while inspecting a shipment of cut flowers from Colombia. The beetle was discovered in a shipment of Chrysanthemums and intercepted.
According to USDA, this is the first time that this particular insect has been intercepted at the port of Aguadilla.
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or fumigated. The shipment will be safeguarded and transferred to USDA for treatment.
“I would like to recognize the outstanding job that Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Field Office perform on a daily basis,” said Marcelino Borges, director of Field Operations for San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “This newest pest discovery is a significant accomplishment as well as a sobering warning of potential agriculture threats.”
CBP Agriculture Specialists work closely with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Their duties include inspecting tens of thousands of international air passengers and air and sea cargo that arrive into the United States each day. In Fiscal Year 2011, approximately 470 pest interceptions daily were submitted to USDA at ports of entry.
Use of Single Transaction Bonds as Additional Security for Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Concerns
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.
On May 1, 2012 the Office of International Trade (OT) issued a memorandum to provide guidance to the CBP field on how to protect the revenue when the port has developed a reasonable belief that acceptance of a transaction secured by a continuous bond would place the revenue in jeopardy because of Anti-dumping/Countervailing Duty (AD/CVD) concerns. This may be done through cash payment with live entry, or obtaining additional security in the form of a Single Transaction Bond (STB).
These guidelines provide for the appropriate use of the port’s authority to require additional bonding in a uniform manner. Each import transaction will be judged on its own merits. Only on a case-by-case basis will the STB be required.
The guidelines address the following areas:
- Making determinations that there is a reasonable belief of possible revenue risk.
- STB use in conjunction with a continuing review or investigation risk pertaining to AD/CVD orders.
- How to determine the amount of the STB. The amount, in general, will be based on the value of the merchandise times the AD/CVD rate that would apply if the goods were subject to AD/CVD. Should that rate not be known, the highest AD/CVD rate for that commodity will be used. The amount of the continuous bond will always be considered before requiring the STB.
- Importers/brokers will be provided written notice of the STB requirement. The notice will include:
- The amount of the STB.
- The general reason why the STB is being required.
- When to discontinue the requirement of STBs and how to return the STB if no revenue risk is determined to exist.
- The STB requirement will be discontinued when the review is completed and compliance is determined.
- When the review concludes that there was no revenue risk, the STB will be returned.
- The importer will be given written notice when the requirement for the STB is discontinued.
- All of the ports will be made aware when one port requests an STB to address possible placement of the revenue in jeopardy involving AD/CVD so that it will be required uniformly at each port.
Customs and Border Protection Officers working at Port of Miami Seize Counterfeit Merchandise
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
Miami- On June 08, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers working at the Port of Miami seized counterfeit merchandise with a Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) value of approximately $10.9 million.
The shipment which originated in China contained clothing as well as jewelry pieces and other articles which violated Louis Vuitton and Burberry trademarks. The entire shipment was targeted for examination after CBP officers found the samples taken of the merchandise during routine examination were likely to be trademark violations.
Working closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Commercial Fraud Group and representatives from Louis Vuitton and Burberry, CBP officers determined that the items were clearly piratical and infringing upon a federally registered U.S. trademark.
“One of CBP’s missions is keeping counterfeit goods from reaching the American public and infiltrating our marketplace,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Vernon T. Foret. “CBP and ICE HSI are committed to working together to prevent the influx of counterfeit merchandise into our country” he added.
For more information on Intellectual Property Rights issues, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site:
( Intellectual Properties Rights )
National Pollinator Week Encourages Everyone to “Bee” Good to Pollinators
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / www.fws.gov
(Learn what you can do to help the birds and the bees (the bats, butterflies and beetles too!)
As part of National Pollinator Week, from June 18-24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners will host public events across the country designed to highlight the crucial importance of pollinators like bats, birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects to wildlife, plants and people. Most of all, Pollinator Week seeks to draw attention to the fact that some pollinator species are in trouble and need our help.
“Without pollinators, life on Earth would be scarcely recognizable. We depend on these amazing insects and animals for the clothes we wear, the houses we live in and the food we eat,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Every American should be concerned about alarming declines in our nation’s pollinators, but fortunately everyone can pitch in to help them.”
Pollinators are essential to agriculture and forestry, pollinating more than 150 different kinds of fruits, vegetables and nuts that provide a third of the nation’s food and beverages. In the United States alone, pollinators enable people to produce about $20 billion worth of products every year. In addition, more than 75 percent of flowering plants are animal pollinated. These plants provide habitat, food, and shelter for many species of wildlife.
Most plants need pollinators to reproduce, and use nectar to attract them. Animals visit flowers in search of food and sometimes even mates, shelter and nest-building materials. Some animals, such as many bees, intentionally collect pollen, while others, such as many butterflies and birds, move pollen incidentally because the pollen sticks on their body while they are collecting nectar from the flowers. All of these animals are considered pollinators.
A study of the status of pollinators in North America by the National Academy of Sciences found that populations of honey bees (which are not native to North America) and some wild pollinators are declining. Declines in pollinators may be a result of habitat loss and degradation, and disease (introduced parasites and pathogens).
The celebration of National Pollinator Week began in 2007 with Senate Resolution 580 and a proclamation from the Secretary of Agriculture. This recognition has grown each year since, with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and a majority of the nation’s governors joining Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in issuing their own proclamations this year.
The Service and its partners will celebrate National Pollinator Week with educational awareness events and conservation projects. To find a Pollinator Week Event near you, visit: http://pollinator.org/npw_events.htm
You can help pollinators by:
- Reducing your impact. Reduce your pesticide use, increase green spaces, and reduce your carbon footprint. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too!
- Planting for pollinators. Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes.
- Telling a friend. Educate your neighbors, schools, and community groups about the importance of pollinators. Host a dinner, a pollinated food cook-off or other event and invite your friends.
For additional information on pollinators and what you can do to help them, visit http://www.fws.gov/pollinators. You can also download a free ecoregional guide online at www.pollinator.org that will help you determine the kinds of pollinator-friendly plants you can plant in your area.