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(GSP) Introduced Bill H.R. 219 - U.S. Congress

H.R.219 - To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to exclude from eligibility for the generalized system of preferences any country that fails to effectively enforce its environmental laws or meet its international environmental obligations, and for other purposes.

Sponsor:           Rep. Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35] (Introduced 01/06/2021)
Committees:     House - Ways and Means
Latest Action:   House - 01/06/2021 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.  (All Actions)

Federal Register Notices:

 In the News: 


Philadelphia CBP Officers Seize Special Shampoo from Poland - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than one gallon of liquid ketamine Saturday in Philadelphia.

The parcel arrived from Poland as an express air shipment and manifested as dermatological skin and hair care products. The parcel, which was destined to Boca Raton, Fla., contained 10 plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles and body wash. CBP officers tested the contents with a handheld elemental isotope analysis tool and identified the contents as ketamine hydrochloride.

According to the DEA, ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. Along with other club drugs, ketamine is popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and raves. It delivers hallucinogenic effects and is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault crimes. Ketamine, commonly known on the street as Special K, can induce a state of sedation, immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia as the user may have no memory of events while under the influence.

Ketamine also distorts perceptions, causes temporary paralysis and dangerously slows breathing, potentially shutting down body systems and leading to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

“Customs and Border Protection officers are experienced at detecting liquid ketamine and other dangerous drugs in a wide variety of concealment methods,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP’s narcotics interdiction mission is vital to protecting our nation’s citizens from the dangers of illicit drugs.”

CBP seized or disrupted an average of 3,707 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States during fiscal year 2019 (2020 stats are pending). Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially

 Amendments to CITES Appendix III- U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Subject: Amendments to CITES Appendix III

Background: On November 16, 2020, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat posted a Notification to the Parties bulletin (No. 2020/068) announcing amendments to CITES Appendix III species listings.

Action: Effective February 14, 2021, the species indicated below (excluding parts and derivatives, other than eggs) are included in Appendix III, by Japan. These specimens imported into, or exported from the United States on or after February 14, 2021 will require CITES documentation.

Species Included in Appendix III by Japan

Goniurosaurus kuroiwae (Tokashiki gecko)
Goniurosaurus orientalis (Spotted ground gecko)
Goniurosaurus sengokui (Sengoku's gecko)
Goniurosaurus splendens (Tokunoshima banded ground gecko)
Goniurosaurus toyamai (Toyama's ground gecko)
Goniurosaurus yamashinae (Kume ground gecko)
Echinotriton andersoni (Anderson’s newt)

Action: Effective February 14, 2021, the species indicated below are included in Appendix III, by Sri Lanka. These specimens imported into, or exported from the United States on or after February 14, 2021 will require CITES documentation.

Species Included in Appendix III by Sri Lanka

• Calotes ceylonensis (Painted-lipped lizard)
• Calotes desilvai (Morningside lizard)
• Calotes liocephalus (Spineless forest lizard)
• Calotes liolepis (Whistling lizard)
• Calotes manamendrai (Manamendra-Arachchi's whistling lizard)
• Calotes nigrilabris (Black-lipped lizard)
• Calotes pethiyagodai (Pethiyagoda's crestless lizard)

For information on CITES Appendix III document requirements see our April 8, 2008 public bulletin on Permit or Certificate Requirements for Species in CITES Appendix III:

 Ahead of NFL Conference Championship games – ICE, CBP seize NFL, NBA and MLB counterfeit championship rings - ICE

ORLANDO – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Orlando seized 284 counterfeit “sports championship rings” from “Friendly Confines Collectibles,” a sports memorabilia store located in Oviedo, Florida, Jan. 14, 2021. The HSI investigation was supported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“Counterfeiting creates wide-reaching dangers to society,” said HSI Tampa acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge David Pezzutti. “Buying counterfeits – even though it may seem harmless to a consumer – hurts local and global economies, endangers people’s health and generates revenue for organized crime and even terrorism.”

“While we are all looking for a good deal, buying fake goods can be dangerous to your health, safety and to the global economy,” said Vernon T. Foret, director of the Office of Field Operations for Miami and Tampa. “CBP is no stranger to intercepting fake merchandise. On average, we seize roughly $4.3 million in merchandise, each and every day, across our nation. Remember, if the price is too good to be true, research the seller and make sure you are making an informed decision on what you are buying.”

The fake rings were replicated as teams from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The HSI Orlando investigation was predicated upon a previous seizure made by CBP Orlando officers on November 19, 2020. That seizure consisted of 54 counterfeit NFL rings and 30 counterfeit NBA rings which were shipped from China and destined for “Friendly Confines Collectibles.” None of the rings appeared to be made of precious metals nor did they seem to contain precious gemstones.

The HSI-led Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center, working collaboratively with its public and private sector partners, stands at the forefront of the U.S. government's response to combatting global intellectual property theft and enforcing intellectual properties rights violations. The IPR Center was established to combat global intellectual property theft – and, accordingly, has a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media and the dark web. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit

 Indonesian Company Admits To Deceiving U.S. Banks In Order To Trade With North Korea, Agrees To Pay A Fine Of More Than $1.5 Million - Department of Justice

A global supplier of cigarette paper products, PT Bukit Muria Jaya (“BMJ”), has agreed to pay a fine of $1,561,570 and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with the shipment of products to North Korean customers.  BMJ, which is incorporated in Indonesia, has also entered into a settlement agreement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).

In entering the deferred prosecution agreement, BMJ admitted and accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and agreed to pay a fine commensurate with the offense.  BMJ agreed to implement a compliance program designed to prevent and detect violations of U.S. sanctions laws and regulations and to regularly report to the Justice Department on the implementation of that program.  BMJ also committed to report violations of relevant U.S. laws to the Justice Department and to cooperate in the investigation of such offenses.

“Through a sophisticated and illegal multinational scheme, BMJ intentionally obfuscated the true nature of its transactions in order to sell its wares to North Korea,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.  “BMJ duped U.S. banks into processing payments in violation of our sanctions on North Korea.  Strict enforcement of the sanctions regime pressures North Korea to move away from engaging in dangerous and belligerent activities, including weapons of mass destruction proliferation.  The Department is committed to taking such enforcement actions in the hope that one day North Korea will reintegrate itself into the community of nations.”

“BMJ intentionally deceived U.S. banks and undermined the integrity of our financial system in order to continue doing business with North Korea,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia.  “We want to communicate to all those persons and businesses who are contemplating engaging in similar schemes to violate U.S. sanctions on North Korea that using front companies and fraudulent invoices will not protect you.  We will find you and prosecute you.”

"Sanctions against North Korea are designed to protect the international community,” said Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.  “This company used smoke and mirrors to try to hide its illegal activity, but the FBI and its partners saw through the smokescreen and helped bring the defendant to justice."

Pursuant to the agreed statement of facts adopted in the deferred prosecution agreement, BMJ admitted in part that it sold products to two North Korean companies as well as a Chinese trading company while knowing that those products were destined for North Korea.  At the time, U.S. sanctions on North Korea prevented, among other things, correspondent banks in the United States from processing wire transfers on behalf of customers located in North Korea.  After learning that one of its North Korean customers was having difficulty executing payments to BMJ, BMJ personnel agreed to accept payments from third parties that were otherwise unrelated to the transactions.  Accepting these third-party payments evaded the sanctions monitoring and compliance systems of U.S. banks, inducing them into executing prohibited transactions.

Assuming BMJ’s continued compliance with the deferred prosecution agreement, the government has agreed to defer prosecution for a period of 18 months, after which time, the government would seek to dismiss the charges. 

The FBI is leading the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Grady from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney David C. Recker of the National Security Division's Counterintelligence & Export Control Section are prosecuting the case, with support from Paralegal Specialist Brian Rickers and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick.  The Department of Justice would also like to thank the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for providing analytical support and the FBI for their assistance during the investigation.
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