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Petition Filed Seeking a Withhold Release Order on all Cotton Goods Linked to Xinjiang Region of China - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

lOn August 31, 2020, the Uighur Human Rights Project filed a petition with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) seeking the issuance of a withhold release order (“WRO”) on all cotton-made goods linked to the Xinjiang region of China based on purported evidence of widespread forced labor associated with such goods. ( The issuance of a WRO creates a process by which affected goods may be detained, excluded or even seized.

The issue of alleged forced labor practices, particularly directed at Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, has been the subject of much attention on several fronts including the media, public interest groups, industry, Congress and the administration.  While various commodities have come under scrutiny, extra attention has been drawn to textiles and clothing.  Press reports maintain that China is the world’s biggest supplier of cotton products and that 84% of the country’s cotton output is sourced from Xinjiang.

This issue has been the subject of two bills in Congress, one of which (passed into law on June 17, 2020), authorizes the sanctioning of foreign persons identified as having engaged in specified abusive activities while the other (still pending) would generally prohibit the importation of “any significant goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People’s Republic of China; or by entities working with the government of the XUAR under “poverty alleviation” or “mutual pairing assistance” programs.

On the administrative front, the Trump administration has subjected various Chinese government officials and entities to sanctions.  In addition, CBP has in the past year issued WRO’s with respect to four suppliers from China alone.

Given the increased attention that the issue of forced labor is receiving, importers are encouraged to take stock of their supply chain and document steps being taken to avoid the importation of affected items.

We are available to assist your company in connection with its due diligence in this area and to answer any questions you may have.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office.

USTR Announces the Extension of Certain Expiring China Section 301 List 4 Exclusions - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

On August 31, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced extensions for certain exclusions from the China 301 List 4 tariffs (the $300 billion trade action) set to expire of September 1, 2020.  The extensions will run through December 31, 2020.

Unless extended under the current action or prior actions, exclusions will expire on their previously scheduled expiration date.  If you have any questions on the status of any particular China 301 exclusion(s), please contact our office.


Federal Register Notices:

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today released The Year in Trade 2019, its annual overview of developments regarding the administration of U.S. trade laws and trade agreements.

The USITC's The Year in Trade is one of the government's most comprehensive reports available regarding activities related to U.S. trade policies, agreements, and trade laws. This report is the 71st in a series of annual reports submitted to the U.S. Congress under section 163(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2213(c)) and its predecessor legislation.

The publication reviews U.S. international trade laws and actions under these laws, activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and developments regarding U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs), FTA negotiations, and U.S. bilateral trade relations with major trading partners in 2019.

The Year in Trade 2019 covers:

all U.S. antidumping, countervailing duty, safeguard, intellectual property rights infringement, national security, and section 301 cases active in 2019.  In addition, the 2019 report covers the operation of U.S. trade preference programs, including the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Nepal Trade Preferences Act, and the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, including initiatives for Haiti;

WTO dispute settlement decisions and other significant activities in the WTO, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum;

negotiations on U.S. FTAs with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom; negotiations on modifications to the U.S.-Korea FTA and the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement; and developments regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement and other U.S. FTAs already in effect; and

bilateral trade issues with selected major U.S. trading partners -- the European Union, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Taiwan.
The report also provides an overview of U.S. trade in goods and services during 2019. Statistical tables highlight U.S. bilateral trade with major trading partners and trade under U.S. trade preference programs and FTAs.

An interactive, web-based version of The Year in Trade 2019 is also available at and

The Year in Trade 2019 (USITC Publication 5055, August 2020) will be posted on the USITC's Internet site at

Other reports in this series dating back to 1948 can also be found on the Commission's website at

A Half-Million Dollars Worth of Counterfeit Designer Bags Seized in Louisville - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville recently seized four parcels containing more than 200 designer bags worth more than a half-million dollars.Designer Bags. 

In the early morning of August 31, CBP officers in Louisville held four packages for inspection to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. When the shipments were opened designer bags were found inside. The bags were sent to an import specialist who determined the bags were counterfeit. In all, 204 counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags were seized. If these bags were real, the total MSRP for these belts would have been $583,440. The packages were coming from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and were heading to a residence in Brooklyn, New York.

“As e-commerce grows at an extraordinary rate, our officers are working hard to identify threats and shut down illicit suppliers,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville. “I’m extremely proud of these officers determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is a priority trade issue for CBP. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, CBP and their partner agency Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized 27,599 shipments containing IPR violations with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $1.5 billion had the goods been genuine. Watches and jewelry represent 15 percent of all IPR seizures, and continue to top the list of all seized IPR materials.

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness 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

Modification of Two Ruling Letters and Revocation of Treatment Relating to the Tariff Classification of Novelty Backpacks - USCBP Bulletin

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice of modification of two ruling letters and of revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of novelty backpacks.

SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C.§ 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103–182, 107 Stat. 2057), this notice advises interested parties that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is modifying two ruling letters concerning tariff classification of novelty backpacks under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Similarly, CBP is revoking any treatment previously accorded by CBP to substantially identical transactions. Notice of the proposed action was published in the Customs Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 22, on June 10, 2020. No comments were received in response to that notice.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This action is effective for merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after November 1, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen S. Greene, Chemicals, Petroleum, Metals & Miscellaneous Classification Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of Trade, at (202) 325–0041

Cincinnati CBP Seizes $374,000 Worth of Fake Phone Cases and Fronts - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CINCINNATI — On August 14, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized 7,500 counterfeit phone cases and 2,040 counterfeit phone fronts from three shipments at local cargo facilities. The fake items came from China and would have been worth a total of $374,020 had they been genuine.

The phone cases and fronts were labeled as Apple and Samsung, with black tape placed over the brand name in an attempt to circumvent a complete inspection. Additionally, the shipments were manifested as “Plastic LCD” with listed values below $500 per shipment.

The shipments were destined to individuals in El Salvador and Laredo, Texas.

“Counterfeit goods can significantly impact consumer health and safety, and can damage legitimate trade,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers work hard to protect the U.S. economy and keep our citizens safe.”

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness 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

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.
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