CBP signs Mutual Recognition Arrangement with Brazil - U.S. Customs & Border Protection
New security-based arrangement enhances cooperation and trade
WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Brazil’s Customs Authority Receita Federal today signed an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA). This MRA builds on other agreements between CBP and the Government of Brazil and ensures coordination for each nation’s supply chain security as well as efforts in combating customs and trade offenses.
“With a broad mission that includes border security, as well as facilitating lawful trade and travel, CBP is acutely aware of the importance of engaging our international stakeholders as we did today with our close partners in Brazil,” said Troy Miller, CBP’s Deputy Commissioner.
The Government of Brazil, CBP’s Office of International Affairs (INA) and the Office of Field Operations first signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in 2002 as an initial step to enhance cooperation, trade and security in areas of shared responsibility. In 2005, CBP and Brazil launched the CBP Container Security Initiative, which identifies high-risk containers, prescreens and evaluates containers before they are shipped, and uses technology to prescreen high-risk containers rapidly to not slow down the movement of trade. In 2014, CBP began working with Brazil on an AEO supply chain security program, and in 2015 signed a joint work plan to strengthen the secure trade partnership. The signing of this MRA is the next step in ensuring compatibility between each nation’s trade and security programs while advancing to the next phase of joint work.
MRAs are bilateral understandings between two Customs administrations that provide a platform for the exchange of membership information and recognize the compatibility of the respective supply chain security program.
The document, referred to as an “arrangement,” indicates that the security requirements or standards of the foreign industry partnership program, as well as its verification procedures, are the same or like those of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program.
The essential concept of MR is that CTPAT and the foreign Customs Administration program have established a standard set of security requirements which allows one business partnership program to recognize the validation findings of the other program which benefits both Customs Administrations and the private sector participants.
CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers, and by working with its international Customs counterparts to help secure the international supply chain thru MRAs.
CTPAT is committed to continue to work with all international stakeholders to strengthen and secure global supply chains and the further global standardization of AEO programs.
Federal Register Notices:
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Passenger Vehicles and Light Truck Tires From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Results of Antidumping Administrative Review; Notice of Amended Final Results; Correction
• Oil Country Tubular Goods From Ukraine: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2020-2021
• Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Flat Products From Australia: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Results of Antidumping Administrative Review; Notice of Amended Final Results
• Decision on Application for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), et. al; Notice of Decision on Application for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Diffusion-Annealed, Nickel-Plated Flat-Rolled Steel Products From Japan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2020-2021
• Certain Carbon Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Scope Ruling and Notice of Amended Final Scope Ruling Pursuant to Court Decision
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Phosphor Copper From South Korea; Scheduling of an Expedited Five-Year Review
• 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) From China; Scheduling of an Expedited Five-Year Review
• Aluminum Extrusions From China; Scheduling of Expedited Five-Year Reviews
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Preserved Mushrooms From France, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain; Scheduling of the Final Phase of Antidumping Duty Investigation
• Certain Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Integrated Circuit Products and Devices Containing the Same; Notice of a Commission Determination Not To Review an Order Denying Respondent Realtek Semiconductor Corporation's Motion for Sanctions; Termination of the Sanctions Proceeding
• Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: White Grape Juice Concentrate From Argentina: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With the Final Antidumping Duty Determination; Correction
• Urea Ammonium Nitrate Solutions From the Russian Federation: Termination of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review; Emulsion Styrene-Butadiene Rubber From the Russia Federation: Notification of Intent To Investigate Whether the Russian Federation is a Market Economy
• Certain Hardwood Plywood Products From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Scope Determination and Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders; Extension of Deadline To Certify Certain Entries
• Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Chocolate Milk Powder and Packaging Thereof; Commission Decision Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting Motion for Summary Determination of Violation of Section 337; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions on Remedy, the Public Interest, and Bonding
• Carbon and Alloy Steel Cut-To-Length Plate From Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey; Hearing Update for the Subject Reviews
• Ammonium Sulfate From China; Hearing Update for the Subject Reviews
• Superabsorbent Polymers From South Korea; Hearing Update for the Subject Investigation
• Barium Chloride From India; Hearing Update for the Subject Investigations
• Certain Mobile Electronic Devices; Notice of Commission Decision Not To Review an Initial Determination Terminating the Investigation in its Entirety Based on Withdrawal of the Complaint
• Sodium Nitrite From Russia; Supplemental Schedule for the Final Phase of Antidumping Duty Investigation
• Circular Welded Carbon-Quality Steel Pipe From Oman, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates; Hearing Update for the Subject Reviews
Over $10 Million in Fake Cartier and various Jewelry Seized in Cincinnati - U.S. Customs & Border Protection
CINCINNATI — Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 3 shipments containing counterfeit jewelry, most of which were Cartier bracelets. One shipment alone would have been worth over $8 million had the bracelets been genuine. With the cost of merchandise increasing, some third-party retailers exploit consumers who may be just trying to get a good deal. Consumers may not be aware of scammers selling fake items until it is too late. Officers in Cincinnati have stopped numerous shipments like these from entering the U.S. commerce to protect the pocketbooks of shoppers.
On September 6, officers intercepted a large shipment of counterfeit Cartier Love bracelets. A total of 700 bracelets were seized. Officers suspected these bracelets to be counterfeit based on their origin and appearance. The bracelets lacked fine details, were constructed from cheap material, and contained fake inlayed diamonds. This shipment originated in Hong Kong enroute to a business in Illinois. These high-end bracelets would have had Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $8.82 million had the items been authentic.
On the same night, officers were inspecting freight from China when they discovered two more shipments of counterfeit merchandise. The first shipment contained 60 Cartier bracelets and rings along with other brand name jewelry such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Bvlgari headed to a private residence in Colorado. The second shipment contained 4 Cartier Love bracelets, some with what appeared to be inlayed diamonds heading to a residence in New Jersey. These two shipments would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $1.96 million had the merchandise been genuine.
“While online shopping has increased, CBP stays vigilant by stopping illegal shipments like these from damaging our economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Officers at the Port of Cincinnati are always on the lookout to uphold our mission of protecting the American borders from dangerous people and materials.”
All of the Jewelry was determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), the agency’s trade experts.
Consumers can take these simple steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods:
• Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
• When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.
• Review CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
• Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“Our mission is to keep our nation safe, and we do this well here at the Port of Cincinnati,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie, “We encourage legitimate trade and encourage shoppers to do your research to be aware of illegitimate businesses before making purchases online.”
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement is a Priority Trade Issue. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of American people.
If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violations Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT -IPR violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.
OTEXA: Announcements - Office of Textile & Apparel
[09/15/2022] – USTR invites comments to assist in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce for inclusion in the annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report). Deadline for submission of comments is October 28, 2022. See the Federal Register notice 87 FR 56741 for further details and instructions.
[09/21/2022] - Federal Register Notice 87 FR 57681 on the Limitations on Duty and Quota-Free Imports of Apparel Articles Assembled in Beneficiary Sub-Saharan African Countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The new AGOA caps are for the one-year period from October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023.
Indianapolis CBP Seize Shipments Laced with 28 lbs. of Ketamine - U.S. Customs & Border Protection
INDIANAPOLIS — On September 10 officers at the port of Indianapolis inspected two shipments from the same shipper containing shirts inside gift boxes. Further inspection revealed that concealed between the press cardboard of the gift boxes was 28 pounds of Ketamine Hydrochloride, a schedule 3 controlled substance.
During routine inspections of arriving parcels, officers decided to take a closer look at two suspicious shipments arriving from the same shipper in Madrid, Spain. Inside of both shipments were gift boxes containing shirts. Further exam of the boxes revealed that the boxes had a white powdery substance hidden within the box flaps that tested positive for ketamine hydrochloride. In total nine gift boxes contained 28 pounds of ketamine. Both shipments were headed to separate addresses in California. The cumulative value of the ketamine was about $200,000.
“CBP encounters narcotics and other contraband concealed in an ever-changing variety of items,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Our officers remain vigilant often using their experience and intuition to discover these concealment methods to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities.”
Ketamine is a Schedule III drug used in both human and veterinary medicine to induce sedation, immobility, and relief from pain. It has recently been used by medical professionals for mental health and substance use disorders. Ketamine is abused for its ability to induce dissociative sensations and hallucinations and has also been used to facilitate sexual assault. Typically, ketamine abuse occurs among teens and young adults at nightclubs and private parties. Overdoses can lead to nausea, irregular heart rate, muscle stiffening, unconsciousness, and respiratory failure leading to death.
“Our highly experienced officers continue their mission to protect American citizens,” said Jeremy Brodsky, Indianapolis Port Director. “We are committed to stopping the flow of illegal and dangerous drugs that are used to prey on innocent civilians.”
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 products, and other illicit items that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
USITC Makes Determination in Five-Year (Sunset) Review Concerning Artists Canvas from China - U.S. International Trade Commission
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that revoking the existing antidumping duty order on imports of artists canvas from China would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.
As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determination, the existing order on imports of this product from China will remain in place.
Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative.
Today’s action comes under the five-year (sunset) review process required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. See the attached page for background on this five-year (sunset) review.
The Commission’s public report Artists Canvas from China (Inv. No. 731-TA-1091 (Third Review), USITC Publication 5371, September 2022) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the review.
The report will be available by October 18, 2022; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at: https://www.usitc.gov/commission_publications_library.
The Uruguay Round Agreements Act requires the Department of Commerce to revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless the Department of Commerce and the USITC determine that revoking the order or terminating the suspension agreement would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (USITC) within a reasonably foreseeable time.
The Commission’s institution notice in five-year reviews requests that interested parties file responses with the Commission concerning the likely effects of revoking the order under review as well as other information. Generally within 95 days from institution, the Commission will determine whether the responses it has received reflect an adequate or inadequate level of interest in a full review. If responses to the USITC’s notice of institution are adequate, or if other circumstances warrant a full review, the Commission conducts a full review, which includes a public hearing and issuance of questionnaires.
The Commission generally does not hold a hearing or conduct further investigative activities in expedited reviews. Commissioners base their injury determination in expedited reviews on the facts available, including the Commission’s prior injury and review determinations, responses received to its notice of institution, data collected by staff in connection with the review, and information provided by the Department of Commerce.
The five-year (sunset) review concerning Artists Canvas from China was instituted on February 1, 2022.
On May 9, 2022, the Commission voted to conduct an expedited review. Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel concluded that the domestic group response was adequate and the respondent group response was inadequate. Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel voted for an expedited review. Chairman David S. Johanson voted for a full review.
A record of the Commission’s vote to conduct an expedited review is available from the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be made by telephone by calling 202-205-1802.
FTC Report Shows Rise in Sophisticated Dark Patterns Designed to Trick and Trap Consumers - Federal Trade Commission
Tactics Include Disguised Ads, Difficult-to-Cancel Subscriptions, Buried Terms, and Tricks to Obtain Data
The Federal Trade Commission released a report today showing how companies are increasingly using sophisticated design practices known as “dark patterns” that can trick or manipulate consumers into buying products or services or giving up their privacy. The dark pattern tactics detailed in the report include disguising ads to look like independent content, making it difficult for consumers to cancel subscriptions or charges, burying key terms or junk fees, and tricking consumers into sharing their data. The report highlighted the FTC’s efforts to combat the use of dark patterns in the marketplace and reiterated the agency’s commitment to taking action against tactics designed to trick and trap consumers.
“Our report shows how more and more companies are using digital dark patterns to trick people into buying products and giving away their personal information,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This report—and our cases—send a clear message that these traps will not be tolerated.”
For years, unscrupulous direct-mail and brick-and-mortar retailers have used design tricks and psychological tactics such as pre-checked boxes, hard-to-find-and read disclosures, and confusing cancellation policies, to get consumers to give up their money or data. As more commerce has moved online, dark patterns have grown in scale and sophistication, allowing companies to develop complex analytical techniques, collect more personal data, and experiment with dark patterns to exploit the most effective ones. The staff report, which stems from a workshop the FTC held in April 2021, examined how dark patterns can obscure, subvert, or impair consumer choice and decision-making and may violate the law.
The report, Bringing Dark Patterns to Light, found dark patterns used in a variety of industries and contexts, including e-commerce, cookie consent banners, children’s apps, and subscription sales. The report focuses on four common dark pattern tactics:
• Misleading Consumers and Disguising Ads: These tactics include advertisements designed to look like independent, editorial content; comparison shopping sites that claim to be neutral but really rank companies based on compensation; and countdown timers designed to make consumers believe they only have a limited time to purchase a product or service when the offer is not actually time-limited. For example, the FTC took action against the operators of a work-from-home scheme for allegedly sending unsolicited emails to consumers that included “from” lines that falsely claimed they were coming from news organizations like CNN or Fox News. The body of these emails included links that sent consumers to additional fake online news stories, and then eventually routed consumers to sales websites that pitched the company’s work-from-home schemes.
• Making it difficult to cancel subscriptions or charges: Another common dark pattern involves tricking someone into paying for goods or services without consent. For example, deceptive subscription sellers may saddle consumers with recurring payments for products and services they never intended to purchase or that they do not wish to continue purchasing. For example, in its case against ABCmouse, the FTC alleged the online learning site made it extremely difficult to cancel free trials and subscription plans despite promising “Easy Cancellation.” Consumers who wanted to cancel their subscriptions were often forced to navigate a difficult-to-find, lengthy, and confusing cancellation path on the company’s website and click through several pages of promotions and links that, when clicked, directed consumers away from the cancellation path.
• Burying key terms and junk fees: Some dark patterns operate by hiding or obscuring material information from consumers, such as burying key limitations of the product or service in dense terms of service documents that consumers don’t see before purchase. This tactic also includes burying junk fees. Companies advertise only part of a product’s total price to lure consumers in, and do not mention other mandatory charges until late in the buying process. In its case against LendingClub, the FTC alleged that the online lender used prominent visuals to falsely promise loan applicants that they would receive a specific loan amount and pay “no hidden fees” but hid mention of fees behind tooltip buttons and in between more prominent text.
• Tricking consumers into sharing data: These dark patterns are often presented as giving consumers choices about privacy settings or sharing data but are designed to intentionally steer consumers toward the option that gives away the most personal information. The FTC alleged that smart-TV maker Vizio enabled default settings allowing the company to collect and share consumers’ viewing activity with third parties, only providing a brief notice to some consumers that could easily be missed.
As detailed in the report, the FTC has worked to keep pace with the evolving types of dark patterns used in the marketplace. The Commission has sued companies for requiring users to navigate a maze of screens in order to cancel recurring subscriptions, sneaking unwanted products into consumers’ online shopping carts without their knowledge, and experimenting with deceptive marketing designs.
The Commission voted 5-0 at an open meeting to authorize the release of the staff report.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.