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Update:  USTR Announces Additional Exclusions Granted on Sec. 301 List 4 Products - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that an additional 34 items will be excluded from the Section 301 trade remedies imposed on Chinese-origin products.   The newly announced exclusions all relate to items on China 301 List 4A (which is part of the $300 billion trade action) which, unless excluded, are currently subject to an additional tariff of 7.5% ad valorem.  The list of newly-excluded items (which supplements the exclusions previously granted by the USTR) is provided below. The exclusions will be retroactive to September 1, 2019 (the date when the China 301 List 4A additional tariffs took effect) and are slated to remain in effect through September 1, 2020.

Significantly, China 301 exclusions are product-specific, not company-specific.  Thus, if a product is described by an exclusion, the importer may benefit regardless of who filed for the exclusion.  Information as to previously excluded items can be accessed at the end of this notice.

Separately, the USTR continues to seek comments identifying additional medical-care items that should be excluded from China Section 301 tariffs in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak (even if a prior exclusion request on an item has been denied or is pending).  The comment period will remain open until at least June 25, 2020.  Additional information can be found at: https://www.gdlsk.com/ustr-soliciting-comments-on-the-removal-of-china-sec-301-duties-from-additional-medical-care-products/?highlight=medical

If your business is interested in seeking a refund of past duties paid under Section 301, and/or discussing Section 301 mitigation strategies, please contact our office and speak with one of our attorneys.

June 9, 2020 – Newly Excluded Items from China 301 List 4 (New U.S. note 20(bbb)(9903.88.49)


Federal Register Notices:

LAREDO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the World Trade Bridge seized marijuana with a street value of $115,000 that was found within a commercial trailer.

“Officers at the World Trade Bridge continue to maintain their vigilance, ensuring commercial commodities entering the United States are safe and free of contraband,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. 

The seizure occurred on Monday, June 8, when CBP officers assigned to the cargo facility encountered a commercial shipment of plastic scrap arriving from Mexico.  The 2014 Freightliner tractor and shipment was referred for a canine and non-intrusive imaging system inspection, resulting in the discovery of 25 packages containing 576.72 pounds of alleged marijuana concealed within the trailer.  

The narcotics have an estimated street value of $115,344.

CBP seized the narcotics and trailer. The case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.


CBP San Juan Seizes Counterfeit Watches and Jewelry estimated at $265K - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations announced  Monday the seizure of counterfeit watches and designer jewelry imported into Puerto Rico via international mail and courier.  The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of all the counterfeit products seized is approximately $265K, had the goods been genuine. 

“Consumers sponsor certain brand products for their intrinsic value and quality,” indicated Leida Colon, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade.  “Counterfeits do not have the quality sought and reduce the value of the brand.” 

Most of the seizures of counterfeit products in the San Juan Field Office are jewelry, footwear, clothing and prescription drugs.  The source countries for most of these items are Hong Kong and China.  

Recently the San Juan Field Office also seized 844 counterfeit alloy wheels.  

The sale of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of revenue, robs American workers of jobs, and poses health and safety threats to U.S. consumers. Oftentimes, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales supports other nefarious and illicit businesses.

CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, through which CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.

Despite these efforts, the internet has made it easy to find, purchase, and ship items from almost anywhere in the world. With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues.

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods.  Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers

If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. 


CBP Grounds 4,600 RC Helicopter Drones - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Goods undervalued and did not meet FCC labeling requirements

DETROIT— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has effectively grounded more than 4,600 remote controlled helicopter drones at the Fort Street Cargo Facility. 

The 4,619 drones, valued at approximately $69,000, were seized after officers and import specialists discovered the merchandise did not meet Federal Communications Commission labeling requirements. The shipment was also determined to be undervalued by nearly $62,000, and subject to legislative duties as outlined in Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.  

The intended imports, which originated from China, were seized June 1 in conjunction with a previous shipment containing more than $400,000 in counterfeit merchandise. Those items were seized in late May.

“The CBP employees in Detroit are committed to protecting the American consumer and the economy, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel,” said Devin Chamberlain, Port Director. “The products CBP prevents from entering the United States are those that could injure community health, public safety and the American way of life.”


CBP Officers Seize 1,000 Year-Old Iranian Artifact - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Louisville intercepted a shipment containing an ancient amber glass bottle shipped from the United Kingdom to Colorado. 

On May 19, 2020 CBP Officers in Louisville, Kentucky inspected a shipment containing an antique amber glass bottle purporting to be from the 9th-10th century. CBP consulted a Subject Matter Expert who affirmed the bottle was actually from Iran between the 11th and early 13th centuries.  

The shipment was seized for OFAC violations pursuant to prohibited importation of goods or services from Iran. The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is a department of the U.S. Treasury that enforces economic and trade sanctions against countries and groups of individuals involved in terrorism, narcotics and other disreputable activities.

Assistant Area Port Director Eugene Matho underscored CBP’s critical role in protecting cultural property from criminal activity. “Indiscriminate vendors are often willing to overlook international safeguards that preserve the importance of keeping antiquities within their rightful community. Our officers are trained to recognize antiquities and ensure their safety and sanctity from illicit traders. CBP is proud to return this artifact and help restore the Iranian cultural heritage.”

Generally, OFAC will not allow any merchandise from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar) or most of Sudan. To bring in merchandise from these countries, you will first need a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.


New CPSC Report Finds Steady Rise in Fatal Child Drownings - U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

“CB Most Drowning Fatalities Occurred in a Residential Setting; Many Attributed to Gap in Adult Supervision
WASHINGTON – A new report released today by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlights the need for continued vigilance in combating child drownings, particularly as many families prepare to spend more time at home this summer to curb the spread of COVID-19.  Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old.

CPSC’s new data shows that there were, on average, 379 reported pool-or-spa-related fatal drownings per year for 2015 through 2017, involving children younger than 15 years old. Annual fatal drowning rates increased gradually between 2015 and 2017, with a spike of 395 reported fatalities involving children younger than 15 years old in 2017. Residential locations, such as a child’s home, a family or friend’s house or a neighbor’s residence, made up 71 percent of the reported fatal drowning incidents.

“Water safety vigilance remains as important as ever, especially in light of ongoing public health concerns and community restrictions related to COVID-19,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “Our latest report confirms that most child drownings take place at home during the summer months. This year, with more families spending time at home, the delayed opening of many public pools, and a pause on many traditional group swimming lessons, I urge everyone to take critical safety steps to reverse the upward trend in fatal child drownings.” 

Children younger than 5 years old accounted for 75 percent of child drownings between 2015 and 2017, 56 percent of which were attributed to a gap in adult supervision. 

In addition to fatal drownings, CPSC’s new data shows that there were an estimated 6,700 pool-or-spa-related, hospital emergency department-treated, nonfatal child drowning injuries each year for 2017 through 2019. This is the equivalent of about 18 children every day, 365 days a year. 

Parents and caregivers can follow Pool Safely’s simple steps to help prevent both fatal and nonfatal drownings and keep children safer no matter where they are spending time around the water this season, and particularly during an extended time at home:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted. In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.
  • Visit the Pool Safely Kids’ Corner to keep children entertained and educated with virtual water safety games and activities. 
  • Take the Pool Safely Pledge as a family, and find customized water safety resources using the Pool Safely Safer Water Information Match (S.W.I.M.) tool. 

Additional health and safety considerations for visiting public pools during COVID-19 are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here. 

In 2019, CPSC also released an updated report on suction entrapment incidents in swimming pools, spas and whirlpool bathtubs. The key finding is that since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act went into effect in December 2008, there have been zero reported fatalities involving a child being entrapped on a suction outlet cover in a public pool or spa.

You can read the full CPSC drowning and entrapment reports by visiting PoolSafely.gov. 

Note: CPSC’s report addresses nonfatal drownings for the period 2017 through 2019 and fatal drownings for the period 2015 through 2017, reflecting a lag in the reporting of fatal drowning statistics.
 
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