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Management Rejects ILA Offer to Extend Master Contract To February 1st, 2013

International Longshoremen's Association /

The ILA wanted to say "Happy New Year" With a Contract Extension to February 1, 2013 but United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) answered with a resounding "Bah Humbug" and rejected an ILA offer to extend the deadline of the current Master Contract through the end of January 2013.

The two sides met today in Newark, New Jersey today (December 18th) for negotiations with the Federal Mediator George Cohen present and with a December 29th deadline looming in less than two weeks. The ILA knew there was a lot of negotiating work in front of them and that many issues required time and effort to resolve. One key issue - Container Royalty - was considered untouchable by the union. So they proposed to USMX that the current contract extension be moved from December 29th to February 1, 2013 provided that management takes the Container Royalty issue off the table.

The ILA even hinted that they would become more flexible in negotiations involving other sticky issues with the month's extension but USMX said no.

"USMX seems intent on gutting a provision of our Master Contract that ILA members fought and sacrificed for years to achieve," said ILA President Harold J. Daggett. "We have repeatedly asked them to leave this item alone - it was a hard won gain by ILA members and a wage supplement achieved through hard fought negotiations."

ILA still hopes USMX prevents a strike on December 30th by agreeing to the extension.


Strike Preparations (12/19/2012) -

CPSC Issues Final Rule Amending Regulations on Testing and Certification of Children’s Products

Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP /

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has issued a final rule which amends its regulations on testing and labeling pertaining to certification of children’s products.

Specifically, the final rule requires the selection of “representative” samples of children’s products for periodic testing by accredited third party testing labs. The final rule is effective on February 8, 2013 and applies to products manufactured after that date.
 The CPSC defines a representative sample “as one that provides the manufacturer with a basis for inferring the compliance of the untested units of the product population from the tested units.” In order words, the manufacturer must have a basis for concluding that the representative sample is the same as the untested units of the children’s product produced during that same period.
 The CPSC notes that various methods can be used to determine whether the selected samples are representative. For example, the final rule states that “a sample selected from a homogeneous material, such as a well mixed container of paint, could be considered representative of the entire container.” Other examples of acceptable methods include inspecting raw materials or component parts; generating process control data during the manufacturing process; using intrinsically uniform manufacturing techniques (such as die casting); and random sampling (e.g., simple random sampling, cluster sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and multistage sampling).
 Records documenting representative sample selection and testing must be maintained for five years. Documentation must include the number of representative samples selected; how the samples were selected; the basis for inferring compliance of the untested units; and the test results.

 Importation Advisory: Citrus Fruit May Not Be Brought Into the United States

U.S. Customs & Border Protecdtion /

Great Falls, Mont. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection want importers and the traveling public to know that mandarin or “Christmas” oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelos are banned from non-commerci al import into the United States.

“Typically we see an influx of “Christmas Oranges” around the holiday season, and when Canadian citizens travel to southern states for the winter,” said Great Falls Area Port Director Daniel Escobedo. “We just want to get the word out that these products are prohibited from being imported into the United States because of the unseen diseases and pests they may carry.”

Fresh fruits and vegetables grown outside of the United States or Canada are typically prohibited. However, even some Canadian and U.S. grown fruits and vegetables may not be brought into the United States by travelers. These include: Canadian origin tomatoes, peppers, green onions, leeks, chives, garlic with green tops, and home-grown potatoes; and U.S. grown oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelos. Also, rice soybeans, chickpeas, and safflower seed grown in most North African and Middle Eastern countries are prohibited due to the Khapra beetle, a s mall, but v ery destructive pest that attacks stored grains.

Remember to declare all fruits, vegetables, plants, meats, processed animal products (such as dried soup mixes), pets, or wood products, including firewood, to CBP officers at ports of entry. Failure to declare prohibited agriculture products or food items may result in the issuance of fines up to $1,000.

Before bringing fruits, meats, dairy and poultry products into the U.S. from Canada, you can check whether they are permitted by reviewing the “Know Before You Go” tip sheet, located in the Travel section on the CBP website.

CBP strives to facilitate legitimate travel into the United States while securing our borders, people and visitors from dangerous people and goods.

 Counterfeit Shipments Targeted as part of ‘Operation Holiday Hoax’ at LAX

U.S. Customs & Border Protection  /

(12/14/12) Los Angeles — Over the last three days, federal authorities at a Los Angeles International Airport express cargo consignment facility interdicted more than a hundred shipments containing suspected counterfeit goods in stepped up enforcement actions as part of Operation Holiday Hoax, an international effort targeting the importation and distribution of counterfeit and pirated products.

The enforcement surge, conducted by officers and import specialists from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations resulted in the interdiction of a wide variety of suspected counterfeit merchandise, including headphones, sports jerseys and cell phone accessories. Once it is determined that the items are counterfeit, CBP will seize the merchandise.

CBP and HSI representatives say many of the intercepted items were likely destined for unscrupulous vendors for intended resale. HSI will be conducting follow-up investigations to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute those cases. However, authorities note that at least some of the parcels were being shipped directly to consumers, many whom may not have realized they were buying counterfeits.

“We’re endeavoring to protect not only the companies that make copyrighted products, but also unwitting buyers who get fleeced by these fakes,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Consumers order merchandise on line believing they’re getting the genuine article, only to receive a shoddy and sometimes dangerous counterfeit version.”

CBP officials say counterfeit goods are increasingly coming into the United States in smaller parcels versus larger shipments through the express cargo facilities. The trend, which authorities attribute in part to increased sales traffic over the Internet, has resulted in a heightened emphasis on screenings at major air cargo facilities, including this week’s operation in Los Angeles.

“Operation Holiday Hoax is a prime example of the cooperation and partnership between agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to achieve the mutual goal of protecting consumers, legitimate manufacturers and distributors from the health and economic hazards of counterfeit merchandise flooding the markets during the holiday season,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles.

Nationally and internationally, Operation Holiday Hoax began Nov. 26 and is scheduled to run until Dec. 26. During that time, federal and local law enforcement officers will seize products such as electronics, clothing, DVDs and toys. As in years past, most of these items are ordered online as part of the holiday shopping season.

This is the third year that the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Virginia has conducted Operation Holiday Hoax. Last year’s operation led to the seizure of more than 327,000 counterfeit and pirated items nationwide with an estimated value based upon the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, of nearly $77 million. In 2009 the operation netted more than $26 million worth of seized goods.

The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety and the U.S. economy.


Japanese-Based Toyo Ink and Affiliates in New Jersey and Illinois Settle False Claims Allegation for $45 Million

U.S. Department of Justice /

Japan-based Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. Ltd. and various affiliated entities (collectively, Toyo Ink) have agreed to pay $45 million, plus interest, to settle allegations that they viol ated the False Claims Act by knowingly failing to pay antidumping and countervailing duties, the Justice Department announced today. 

Toyo Ink, which has operations worldwide, is a leading provider of printing inks.  The Toyo Ink parties to the agreement are the Japanese companies Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. Ltd. (successor in interest to Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co. Ltd.), Toyocolor Co. Ltd., Toyo Ink Co. Ltd. and Toyochem Co. Ltd., and their United States affiliates Toyo Ink Mfg. America LLC (located in New Jersey), Toyo Ink International Corp. (located in New Jersey) , and Toyo Ink America LLC (located in Illinois).

The Department of Commerce assesses antidumping and countervailing duties to protect United States businesses by offsetting unfair foreign pricing and government subsidies.   The duties are collected by U.S. Customs, which is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.   Import duties may vary depending on a product’s country of origin, which is identified by determining the last country in which the product un derwent a substantial transformation.   The government alleged that Toyo Ink knowingly misrepresented, or caused to be misrepresented, the country of origin on documents presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to avoid paying duties, particularly antidumping and countervailing duties, on imports of the colorant carbazole violet pigment number 23 (CVP-23) between April 2002 and March 2010.

Specifically, the government alleged that Toyo Ink misrepresented Japan and Mexico as the countries of origin for its CVP-23 imports, rather than the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India which were the company’s sources for raw CVP-23.   Imports of CVP-23 from the PRC and India have been subject to these duties since 2004; there are no such duties on imports from Japan or Mexico.   Although Toyo Ink’s CVP-2 3 from the PRC and India underwent a finishing process in Japan and Mexico before it was imported into the United States, the government alleged that this process was insufficient to constitute a substantial transformation to render these countries as the countries of origin.

 “Importers seeking access to United States markets must comply with the law, including the payment of customs duties meant to protect domestic companies from unfair competition abroad,” said Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.   “This settlement demonstrates that the Department of Justice will zealously guard the public fisc – taking action no t only against those who fraudulently obtain government funds, but also against those who inappropriately avoid paying money owed to the United States.”

Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, stated that, “Fair and lawful trade requires importers to truthfully identify their products and pay the appropriate duties. Our office will vigorously investigate and prosecute importers who make false representations and claims designed to avoid the payment of lawful import duties.”

The allegations resolved by today’s settlement were initially alleged in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by John Dickson, president of a domestic producer of CVP-23.   Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can sue on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.  Mr. Dickson will receive more than $7,875,000 as his share of the government’s recovery.

The investigation was handled by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.   The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

The False Claims Act suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and is captioned United States ex rel. Dickson v. Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co., Ltd., et al., No. 09-CV-438 (W.D.N.C.)

CBP in Maine Offers Tips to Cross-Border Travelers During Holiday Season

U.S. Customs & Border Protection  /

St. John Valley, Maine - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists throughout Maine are providing guidance to assist cross-border travelers who intend to travel between the U.S. and Canada for the upcoming holiday season. The tips are designed to ease the crossing process for travelers as CBP officers and agriculture specialists maintain their principal anti-terror mission.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists in Maine are here to assist with cross-border travels. These officers are a part of America’s first line of defense and are serving to protect the northern border 24/7.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists will treat each person who enters through a port of entry equally throughout each step of the inspection process. Be cognizant that while each officer is upholding the law and fulfilling their daily duties in protecting America, each traveler also serves a very important role in the process.

In an effort to provide the best possible service to the traveling public, CBP officials are proactively reminding members of the traveling public that there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border as quickly and safely as possible while avoiding violations of U.S. law. To assist travelers in their role and expedite travelers at the border, CBP has provided some basic border travel tips. For more information, please visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP Web site.

Have your document ready – Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents, i.e. valid passport, passport card, nexus card, “green card” or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) acceptable document, readily available. For more information, please visit the WHTI section of the CBP Web site.

Vehicle occupants should end cellular conversations before approaching the port or during the inspection process. Cell phone usage slows down the inspection process and causes delays for everyone in line.

Goods and gifts – When crossing the border, each vehicle and its contents are subject to search. Please keep this in mind when transporting gifts for special occasions and the holidays. Remember to “declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United States” to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in U.S. currency is acceptable.

Food items – Prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial holiday parties go to or contact your local CBP office for more information. However, if you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and you’re not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival. For more information on locating a CBP office, please visit the CBP Web site.

Trees/Wreaths – Though many Christmas trees/wreaths sold commercially in the U.S. originated from Canada, personal importation of trees or wreaths may require certain agricultural documentation at the border. Again, it is always best to check with your local CBP office if you have any questions.

Firewood – When roasting chestnuts on an open fire during the holidays, please remember, since Jan. 1, 2009, all firewood is prohibited from entering the U.S. unless it has been properly “treated.” Contact your local CBP office for more information.

Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms – In addition to federal laws, travelers entering the U.S. at Maine ports of entry are also subject to all state alcohol/tobacco/firearm laws. Often times, state laws can be more restrictive than federal laws. If transporting any of these items over the holidays, please check with local law enforcement to see if any restrictions apply.

Pets – Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. In addition, dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a “puppy for Christmas,” certain paperwork will need to be completed at the border for the “new addition to the family.” Contact your local CBP office for more information.

Medicine/Narcotics – Travelers must declare medications at the border. All valid non-expired prescription medications should be in the original prescription containers with all pertinent information listed on the outside. Narcotics and dangerous drugs are prohibited entry. There are severe civil and/or criminal penalties if imported.

Currency – There is no limit on total amount of monetary instruments that may be brought in or taken out of the U.S. However, if you are transporting more than $10,000 you must file a Report of International Transportation of International Currency or Monetary Instruments (FinCen 105). Failure to properly declare or report the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 could result in seizure.

The 10 CBP travel tips will be of assistance in averting any potential frustrations when crossing the border during the holiday season. Members of the traveling public can also consult the CBP Web site to monitor border wait times that are updated hourly, and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits. For more information on Border Wait Times, please visit the CBP Web site.  ( BWT )

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