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C-Air LA Notice Regarding C-TPAT Revalidation - C-Air LA/Eric Jones

C-Air Los Angeles is currently in the process of a C-TPAT revalidation with US Customs and Border Protection.  Part of our responsibility as a licensed customs broker is to advise our clients of their obligation to report any anomalies to CBP.  The following are customs guidelines to report suspicious activities, anomalies, and security breaches.


Wood Packaging Materials (WPM) Regulations -  C-Air LA/Eric Jones / USDA

As part C-Air’s C-TPAT revalidation with US Customs and Border Protection, the following advises our import clients of their responsibility to utilize only approved wood packaging materials (WPM) for their international imports.  The following is the US Department of Agriculture’s regulation explaining the standard, approved materials to be utilized. 

Following the Department of Agriculture regulation is the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) published in Wikipedia explaining the need for treated wood materials for international imports. 
 
Wood Packaging Materials

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2004, last modified in March, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) amended its regulations with the goal of decreasing the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States. USDA has adopted the international standard for wood packaging material (WPM) that was approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) on March 15, 2002.

The IPPC standard calls for most WPM to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with the Guidelines and marked with an approved international mark certifying that treatment. The final rule, became effective on September 16, 2005, affects all persons using wood packaging material in connection with importing goods into the United States.

·       Guidelines for Liquidated Damages and Penalties on Wood Packaging Materials
·       Frequently Asked Questions on Wood Packaging Materials
·       Wood Packaging Material Trade Outreach
 
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ISPM 15 (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 
International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) is an International Phytosanitary Measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) that directly addresses the need to treat wood materials of a thickness greater than 6mm, used to ship products between countries. Its main purpose is to prevent the international transport and spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems. ISPM 15 affects all wood packaging material (pallets, crates, dunnages, etc.) requiring that they be debarked and then heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and stamped or branded,[1] with a mark of compliance. This mark of compliance is colloquially known as the "wheat stamp". Products exempt from the ISPM 15 are made from an alternative material, like paper, plastic or wood panel products (i.e. OSB, hardboard, and plywood).


Important Reminder: U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Takes Effect on July 1, 2020 - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

Importers and exporters of goods produced in North America are reminded that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) takes effect on July 1, 2020.  On that date, the eligibility rules and procedures under the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) will cease to apply and will be replaced by those provided for under the USMCA.

The rules for originating status have remained the same for most commodities.  However, there are significant changes that have been made with respect to certain commodities, most notably in the automotive product sector.  Several other product categories (including, among others, textile apparel) also involve changes in the rules for product eligibility.

In addition, the USMCA brings with it a number of procedural rule changes.  Most importantly, the NAFTA Certificate of Origin will no longer be accepted.  Instead, claimants will need to have in their possession a USMCA Certificate which is a free-form document that must contain specified data elements (see below).

Another change is that the Special Program Indicator for USMCA claims will be “S” (or “S+” for certain agricultural products).  This replaces the “MX” and “CA” indicators used today.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to review the impact of the USMCA on your Company’s products as well as to prepare for the July 1st implementation date.

USMCA CERTIFICATE MINIMUM DATA ELEMENTS

1.                 Importer, Exporter, or Producer Certification of Origin – Indicate whether the certifier is the exporter, producer, or importer in accordance with Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment).

2.                 Certifier – Provide the certifier’s name, title, address (including country), telephone number, and email address.

3.                 Exporter – Provide the exporter’s name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number if different from the certifier. This information is not required if the producer is completing the certification of origin and does not know the identity of the exporter. The address of the exporter shall be the place of export of the good in a Party’s territory.

4.                 Producer – Provide the producer’s name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number, if different from the certifier or exporter or, if there are multiple producers, state “Various” or provide a list of producers. A person that wishes for this information to remain confidential may state “Available upon request by the importing authorities”. The address of a producer shall be the place of production of the good in a Party’s territory.

5.                 Importer – Provide, if known, the importer’s name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number. The address of the importer shall be in a Party’s territory.

6.                 Description and HS Tariff Classification of the Good – (a) Provide a description of the good and the HS tariff classification of the good to the 6-digit level. The description should be sufficient to relate it to the good covered by the certification and 5-A-2; (b) If the certification of origin covers a single shipment of a good, indicate, if known, the invoice number related to the exportation.

7.                 Origin Criteria – Specify the origin criteria under which the good qualifies, as set out in Article 4.2 (Originating Goods).

8.                 Blanket Period – Include the period if the certification covers multiple shipments of identical goods for a specified period of up to 12 months as set out in Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment).

Authorized Signature and Date – The certification must be signed and dated by the certifier and accompanied by the following statement: I certify that the goods described in this document qualify as originating and the information contained in this document is true and accurate. I assume responsibility for proving such representations and agree to maintain and present upon request or to make available during a verification visit, documentation necessary to support this certification.


Update:  USTR Announces Additional Exclusion Granted / Modification on Sec. 301 List 3 Products - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

On June 23, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that an additional item will be excluded from the Section 301 trade remedies imposed on Chinese-origin products. In addition the scope of five existing exclusions is being modified.  The newly announced exclusion / modifications all relate to items on China 301 List 3 (which is part of the $200 billion trade action) which, unless excluded, are currently subject to an additional tariff of 25% 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 24, 2018 (the date when the China 301 List 3 additional tariffs took effect) and are slated to remain in effect through August 7, 2020.  Any claims for duty refunds require affirmative action on the part of importers in the form of post-entry corrections or protests (depending upon the liquidation status of the underlying entries).  CBP has also entertained requests to extend the liquidation of entries to allow additional time for the filing of corrections.

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.

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 23, 2020 Newly Excluded Item from China 301 List 3 (New U.S. note 20(aaa)(9903.88.48)

Motorboats with displacement hulls of reinforced fiberglass and wood, each motorboat measuring not less than 14.47 m and not more than 36.57 m in length and weighing not less than 28 t and not more than 363 t, powered by inboard engines, other than inboard/outdrive (described in statistical reporting number 8903.92.0065)

June 23, 2020 Modifications to Existing China 301 List 3 Exclusions

Separately, technical amendments have been made to the below 3 existing List 3 exclusions.  These amendments are retroactive to September 24, 2018.


Federal Register Notices:

WASHINGTON — Effective June 17 at all U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain imported merchandise made wholly or in part with hair products produced by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. (Meixin) in Xinjiang, China. CBP’s Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade directed the issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against Meixin and its hair products based on information that reasonably indicated the use of prison labor with additional situations of forced labor including, but not limited to, excessive overtime, withholding of wages and restriction of movement. 

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor. This WRO will require detention of hair products and any such manufactured merchandise at all U.S. ports of entry. CBP provides importers of detained shipments with an opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

All WROs are publicly available and listed by country on the CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings page. The Forced Labor Division (FLD), established in 2017 within CBP’s Office of Trade, leads the enforcement of the prohibition on the importation of goods made from forced labor. 

“As part of its trade enforcement responsibilities, CBP will continue to vigilantly monitor U.S.-bound supply chains for links to forced labor and will take swift enforcement actions to deter and disrupt the importation of merchandise made with forced labor,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “The use of forced labor is not just a serious human rights issue, but also brings about unfair competition in our global supply chains.”

CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the U.S. can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.


240 Counterfeit 3M Masks Seized by Chicago CBP - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CHICAGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at Chicago O'Hare International Mail Branch examined a parcel from China that listed its contents as industrial masks on May 30. 

The shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each  containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality, and sent the masks to a 3M Authenticator. The maks were deemed to be counterfeit, an Intellectual Property Rights violation. If the masks were real, the MSRP would have been $813.  

The package arrived from South Korea was destined for a residence in Buffalo Grove. “Criminals are exploiting consumers during the ongoing pandemic for sheer greed” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director, Chicago.  “These counterfeit masks may not meet safety standards, which puts the public at risk, jeopardizing the health and well being of everyone.  CBP officers are highly trained and work diligently to protect the people of the United States.”  

Criminal organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace. 

To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.


FTC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Repeal of the Care Labeling Rule - Federal Trade Commission

As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on a proposed repeal of the Care Labeling Rule. The Rule may not be necessary to ensure manufacturers provide care instructions, may have failed to keep up with a dynamic marketplace, and may negatively affect the development of new cleaning technologies and care symbol revisions.

Formally called the Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, the Rule has been in effect since 1971. The Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach labels with care instructions for garments and certain piece goods, providing instructions for dry cleaning or washing, bleaching, drying, and ironing clothing.

The FTC sought public comment on the overall costs, benefits, and necessity of the Care Labeling Rule in 2011, as well on proposed amendments to the Rule in 2012. In 2014, the Commission held a roundtable event to examine the proposed amendments.

In a Supplementary Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register, the Commission notes comments received throughout the review process on a number of topics. The notice states that the record in the rulemaking suggests that:

  • manufacturers are likely to provide care instructions in the absence of the Rule;
  • the Rule may have failed to keep up with the fabric care marketplace;
  • the Rule may have hampered innovation in the development of cleaning technologies and disclosures; and
  • the Rule’s repeal would provide additional flexibility to manufacturers and ease possible confusion for some consumers about the disclosures required by the Rule.

The notice requests comments from the public on a number of questions, including the costs and benefits to manufacturers, cleaners, and consumers if the Rule is repealed or retained; what deceptive or unfair practices exist in the marketplace related to care labeling; the impact of repeal on the care instructions manufacturers currently provide to consumers; and whether manufacturers would bear additional costs to make substantiated and accurate disclosures to consumers in the absence of the Rule.

The Commission vote approving the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Rohit Chopra voting no and issuing a dissenting statement and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter not participating. The notice will published in the Federal Register soon. Instructions for filing comments appear in the notice. Comments must be received 60 days after publication and will be posted on regulations.gov.


CBP in Louisville Seizes Over $276K in Fake Footwear - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky—Customers are always looking for a bargain and criminals are always looking for a way to make a quick dollar. Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville didn’t allow an illegal bargain from Turkey reach a residence in Georgia.

On June 2, CBP officers inspecting parcels at the Express Consignment Operations hub in Louisville stopped two shipments from Istanbul. Both shipments contained counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals. The first parcel contained two boxes of fake sandals, and the other box contained one box of phony Louis Vuitton sandals. If these sandals were real, the MSRP for these was $276,540. 

“The sale of counterfeit goods brings in a billion dollars a year,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville.

“Criminals will continue to sell these items, and it robs businesses of revenue. Regrettably, many consumers do not realize the damage counterfeit products have on American businesses.”  

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2019.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in FY 2018. However, the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.

E-Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In FY 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments.

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.

Read CBP’s Intellectual Property Seizure Report for Fiscal Year 2019 for more IPR stats and analysis.
 
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