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Baltimore CBP Officers Seize 550 Non-Compliant Tires from Malaysia - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

BALTIMORE - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Baltimore seized 550 rubber tires from Malaysia on Thursday for violating U.S. Department of Transportation highway safety standards.

The two shipments of tires, which were destined to an address in Denver, initially arrived on July 3. CBP officers detained the tires and solicited an import determination from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

On August 13, NHTSA notified CBP that the tires violated federal motor vehicle safety standards and regulations, specifically 49 CFR 574.5(b), for omission of tire identification number labeling requirements that convey important safety and use information for consumers, as well as brand identification that can be used in the event of a recall.

CBP officers seized the tires on August 19. CBP import specialists at the agency’s Agriculture and Prepared Products Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) appraised the 550 tires at nearly $103,000.

“Customs and Border Protection places a priority on working with our safety partners, such as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, to intercept commercial goods that pose potentially significant health and safety threats to American consumers,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP officers and trade specialists remain vigilant and are committed to reinforcing our nation’s physical, health and economic security through a robust enforcement posture at our international Ports of Entry.”

NHTSA is the agency responsible for improving safety on our Nation’s roadways. To achieve this goal, NHTSA develops and enforces the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which require minimum levels of safety performance for motor vehicles and equipment. Additionally, NHTSA monitors motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment being imported into the United States to ensure that they comply with all applicable FMVSS.

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 harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2020.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram at @dfobaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos.

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Federal Register Notices:

Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Flat Products From Australia: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Rescission of Review, in Part; 2018-2019
Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe From the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine: Antidumping Duty Orders
Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Flat Products From the Republic of Turkey: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2018-2019
Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe From the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation: Countervailing Duty Orders
Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Light-Emitting Diode Products, Fixtures, and Components Thereof; Notice of Request for Submissions on the Public Interest
Approved for the Electronic Certification System: Uruguay Beef Imports Approved for the Electronic Certification System (eCERT)
Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Urea Ammonium Nitrate Solutions From the Russian Federation and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations in the Countervailing Duty Investigations
Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Active Optical Cables and Products Containing the Same; Commission Decision Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting an Unopposed Motion for Termination of the Investigation Based on Withdrawal of the Complaint
Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet From the People's Republic of China; Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders: Notice of Covered Merchandise Referral
Stainless Steel Bar From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2019-2020
Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Laparoscopic Surgical Staplers, Reload Cartridges, and Components Thereof; Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions on the Issues Under Review and on Remedy, Public Interest, and Bonding
Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Flat Products From Japan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2018-2019
Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review
Stainless Steel Flanges From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2018-2019
Certain Softwood Lumber Products From Canada: Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review
Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Flat Products From the Republic of Korea: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2018
Stainless Steel Flanges From India: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2018
Raw Honey From Argentina, Brazil, India, Ukraine, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations
Investigation of Urea Ammonium Nitrate Solutions From the Russian Federation: Notice of Extension of Due Date for the Submission of Comments on the Russian Federation's Status as a Market Economy Country Under the Antidumping Duty Laws
Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain High-Potency Sweeteners, Processes for Making Same, and Products Containing Same; Notice of a Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting Leave To Amend the Complaint and Notice of Investigation To Add Respondents
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CBP Officers Seize Counterfeit Designer Watches Worth Over $2 Million - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Rochester Airport Port of Entry seized designer watches worth more than $2 million due to trademark infringement.

In July, CBP officers inspected a shipment invoiced as “Used Quartz Wristwatches”. After a thorough examination of the merchandise, the watches were determined to be counterfeit. On August 15, the watches were seized for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations. These items had a total Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) value of approximately $2.8 million dollars.

IPR violations pertain to products that infringe upon U.S. trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Other violations can include misclassification of merchandise, false country-of-origin markings, health and safety issues, and valuation issues. These violations can threaten the health and safety of American consumers, the economy and national security.

“Our officers continue to do an amazing job targeting shipments and identifying these violations,” said Rochester Port Director, Ronald Menz. “CBP plays a vital role in protecting consumers and businesses from imported fraudulent items.”

If you have information about counterfeit merchandise being illegally imported into the U.S., CBP encourages you to submit an E-Allegation. The E-Allegation provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods into the U.S.

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Methionine from Japan and Spain Injuries U.S. Industry, says USITC - U.S. International Trade Commission

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of methionine from Japan and Spain that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value.

Chair Jason E. Kearns, Vice Chair Randolph J. Stayin, and Commissioners David S. Johanson, Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative.

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue antidumping duty orders on imports of this product from Japan and Spain.

The Commission also made a negative critical circumstances finding with regard to imports of this product from Spain. As a result, these imports will not be subject to retroactive antidumping duties.

The Commission’s public report Methionine from Japan and Spain (Inv. Nos. 731-TA-1535-1536 (Final), USITC Publication 5230, September 2021) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigations.

The report will be available by September 28, 2021; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at: http://pubapps.usitc.gov/applications/publogs/qry_publication_loglist.asp.

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6 Southern California Companies Convicted of Scheming to Avoid Payment of $1.8 Billion in Duties on Imported Chinese Aluminum Following HSI Probe - ICE

Businesses also found guilty of conspiring with Chinese billionaire to defraud investors by inflating value of company via sham sales of aluminum in US

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury today found six corporate entities guilty of participating in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the United States via a wire-and-customs fraud scheme in which huge amounts of aluminum – disguised as “pallets” to avoid $1.8 billion in customs duties – were exported to the United States and were “sold” to fraudulently inflate a China-based company’s revenues and deceive investors worldwide.

The case is the result of a massive probe conducted over several years by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles and IRS Criminal Investigation.

The jury found the following two aluminum businesses and four warehousing companies – all of which were related to one another – guilty of one count of conspiracy, nine counts of wire fraud and seven counts of passing false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse:

Perfectus Aluminum Inc., an Ontario-based business;
Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions LLC, a subsidiary of Perfectus Aluminum formed in 2014 to oversee several companies that received aluminum pallets shipped to the United States after duties were imposed on Chinese aluminum in 2011;
Scuderia Development LLC, which owns a warehouse in Riverside;
1001 Doubleday LLC, which owns a warehouse in Ontario;
Von Karman – Main Street LLC, which owns a warehouse in Irvine;
10681 Production Avenue LLC, which owns a warehouse in Fontana.
The two Perfectus companies also were found guilty of seven additional counts of international promotional money laundering.

According to evidence presented at the nine-day trial, China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., Asia’s largest manufacturer of aluminum extrusions, Zhongtian Liu, the company’s former president and chairman, several individual defendants and the corporate defendants found guilty today lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to avoid paying the United States $1.8 billion in anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) that were imposed in 2011 on certain types of extruded aluminum imported into the United States from China.

The aluminum sold to United States-based companies controlled by Liu was simply aluminum extrusions that were spot-welded together to make them appear to be functional pallets. In fact, there were no customers for the 2.2 million pallets imported by the Liu-controlled companies between 2011 and 2014, and no pallets were ever sold.

The vast majority of the pallets were imported through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and then stockpiled at four large warehouses in Southern California, all of which were purchased at Liu’s direction.

Liu and his co-defendants orchestrated the bogus sales of aluminum to Liu-controlled companies in Southern California to falsely inflate China Zhongwang’s value. Liu was the majority owner of China Zhongwang, which has been listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong since a 2009 initial public offering that raised $1.26 billion.

After the AD/CVD duties were put in place in 2011, the company’s annual reports falsely claimed that there was a robust demand for the aluminum pallets in the United States. Although the annual reports asserted that the aluminum pallets were being sold to independent third parties, and defendants used these reported “sales” to inflate China Zhongwang’s reported sales volume and purported volume of exports to the United States, in fact the aluminum was being stockpiled by Liu-controlled entities in more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space owned by the warehouse defendants in Southern California, as well as at Liu’s New Jersey facility.

Since there was no actual demand for the pallets, defendants Liu and China Zhongwang arranged for aluminum melting facilities to be built and acquired, which were to be used to reconfigure the aluminum imported as pallets into a form with commercial value.

The defendants facilitated their schemes by laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through shell companies to the U.S.-based aluminum companies controlled by Liu. The funds were then transferred to China Zhongwang and the other shell companies as payments for the aluminum.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner has scheduled a December 13, sentencing hearing in this case.

The remaining four defendants charged in the 2019 federal grand jury indictment in this case have yet to appear in court in the United States to face the criminal charges in this matter:

Zhongtian Liu, 57, a billionaire Chinese citizen who is a former Tustin resident, and who is the former president and former chairman of the board of China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd.;
China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., a publicly traded aluminum company based in Liaoyang City that at the time of the indictment was the largest aluminum extrusion manufacturer in Asia and the second largest in the world;
Zhaohua Chen, 62, a Chinese national who allegedly was a close friend of Liu and a key player in the scheme; and
Xiang Chun Shao, a.k.a. “Johnson Shao,” 60, most recently of Irvine, who allegedly managed a collection of Southern California businesses that pretended to be independent third parties importing the Chinese aluminum.
In 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed civil forfeiture actions against the four Southern California warehouses used by Perfectus to store the pallets. In 2018, the government filed a fifth civil forfeiture complaint against “approximately 279,808 Aluminum Structures in the Shape of Pallets,” about half of which were seized in early 2017 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the other half were seized from three other warehouses Perfectus was using to store the pallets. Those civil asset forfeiture cases have been stayed pending the completion of the criminal prosecution, in which the government is seeking the criminal forfeiture of the warehouses and seized aluminum.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s Major Frauds, General Crimes and Asset Forfeiture Sections.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.

HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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Telemarketer Fees to Access the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry to Increase in 2022 - Federal Trade Commission

The fees for telemarketers accessing phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry will increase incrementally in FY 2022.

Find out about Do Not Call complaints and registrationsAll telemarketers calling consumers in the United States are required to download the numbers on the National DNC Registry to ensure they do not call consumers who have registered their phone numbers. The first five area codes are free to download, and organizations that are exempt, such as some charitable organizations, may obtain the entire list for free. Telemarketers must subscribe each year for access to the Registry numbers.

The cost of accessing a single area code in the registry will be $69 in FY 2022, which is an increase of $3 from FY 2021. The maximum charge to any single entity for accessing all area codes nationwide is now $19,017 (up from $18,044 in FY 2021). The fee for accessing an additional area code for a half year will increase $2 from FY 2021, to $35.

The Commission vote authorizing publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the new fees was 5-0.

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FTC Alleges Facebook Resorted to Illegal Buy-or-Bury Scheme to Crush Competition After String of Failed Attempts to Innovate - Federal Trade Commission

Today (8/19/21), the Federal Trade Commission filed an amended complaint against Facebook in the agency’s ongoing federal antitrust case. The complaint alleges that after repeated failed attempts to develop innovative mobile features for its network, Facebook instead resorted to an illegal buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance. It unlawfully acquired innovative competitors with popular mobile features that succeeded where Facebook’s own offerings fell flat or fell apart. And to further moat its monopoly, Facebook lured app developers to the platform, surveilled them for signs of success, and then buried them when they became competitive threats. Lacking serious competition, Facebook has been able to hone a surveillance-based advertising model and impose ever-increasing burdens on its users.

“Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile. After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat,” said Holly Vedova, FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director. “This conduct is no less anticompetitive than if Facebook had bribed emerging app competitors not to compete. The antitrust laws were enacted to prevent precisely this type of illegal activity by monopolists. Facebook’s actions have suppressed innovation and product quality improvements. And they have degraded the social network experience, subjecting users to lower levels of privacy and data protections and more intrusive ads. The FTC’s action today seeks to put an end to this illegal activity and restore competition for the benefit of Americans and honest businesses alike.”

The FTC filed the amended complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, following the court’s June 28 ruling on the FTC’s initial complaint. The amended complaint includes additional data and evidence to support the FTC’s contention that Facebook is a monopolist that abused its excessive market power to eliminate threats to its dominance.

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