JAS USA COMPLIANCE

News & Insights from JAS Worldwide Compliance

JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc.

6165 Barfield Road
Atlanta GA, 30328
United States
Tel: +1 (770)688-1206
Fax: +1 (770)688-1229

BIS RELEASES EXPORT ENFORCEMENT REVIEW FOR 2023 – HIGHEST NUMBER EVER OF CONVICTIONS AND DENIAL ORDERS
February 1, 2024
EXPORT BIS

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released its Export Enforcement Review for last year stating that 2023 was the year with the highest number ever of convictions, temporary denial orders and post-conviction denial orders. Some of the actions taken that the BIS highlighted were:

• Imposed the largest standalone administrative penalty in BIS history – a $300 million penalty related to the continued shipment of millions of hard disk drives to a sanctioned entity even after other competitors stopped shipping due to the foreign direct product rule.

• Obtained a guilty plea from a program administrator for a NASA contractor who secretly funneled sensitive aeronautics software to a Chinese University, which was on the Entity List for its involvement in developing Chinese military rocket systems and unmanned air vehicle systems.

• Imposed a $2.77 million penalty on a 3D printing company related to its sending export-controlled blueprints for aerospace and military electronics to China.

• Worked with the Department of Justice to bring eight separate indictments charging 14 people for their role in procuring items for the Russian military and Russian security service.

• In coordination with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, imposed a $3.3 million combined penalty against a major U.S. software firm for alleged and apparent violations of U.S. export controls and sanctions laws, including violations involving Russia, Cuba, Iran, and Syria.

BIS also emphasized the launch of the Disruptive Technology Strike Force with the Department of Justice “to protect U.S. advanced technologies from illegal acquisition and use by nation-state adversaries like Russia, China, and Iran. The Strike Force brings together experienced agents and prosecutors in fourteen locations across the country, supported by an interagency intelligence effort in Washington, D.C., to pursue investigations and take criminal and/or administrative enforcement action as appropriate”.

Link to the Export Enforcement Review
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YOUR NEXT GLASS OF WINE MAY COST A LOT MORE!
February 1, 2024
WINE BOTTLE

Wine aficionados and importers should take notice of the recently initiated Antidumping Duty (AD) and Countervailing Duty (CVD) investigations of “Certain Glass Wine Bottles”. The AD investigation covers wine bottles from Chile (Case # A-337-808), China (Case # A-570-162) and Mexico (Case # A-201-862), while the CVD investigation covers bottles from China only (Case# C-570-163). What is alarming is that the U.S. entities that filed the petition are claiming that the dumping margins, which would determine the amount of additional duties to be instituted if the petitions are approved, should be a whopping 610% from Chile, up to 301% from China and up to 97% from Mexico! Additional duties of that magnitude on wine bottles would certainly have an effect on the overall price of wine itself. All interested parties should diligently follow the course that these investigations take. The AD/CVD process can be very lengthy and with the claimed dumping margins being so high, the results could be dramatic.

Link to a Commerce Department Fact Sheet on the InvestigationsLink to the Federal Register notice
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CBP ADJUSTS TIME FRAME FOR FILING ENTRY TYPE 86 DE MINIMIS ENTRIES
February 1, 2024
TYPE 86 CHANGE

In a notice published in the Federal Register on January 16, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it is amending the ACE Entry Type 86 Test to require filing of these entries prior to or upon arrival of the cargo. The Entry Type 86 is a test allowing the electronic filing of entries for low-value shipments meeting the requirements for admission under the administrative exemption in 19 U.S.C. 1321(a)(2)(C). The traditional entry time frame of permitting filing of an entry up to 15 days after arrival of the cargo was used initially for the Entry Type 86 test. However, CBP has determined that that time frame “has proven to be inconsistent with the expedited process envisioned for the ACE Entry Type 86 Test”, and this has led to enforcement challenges and various violations such as entry by parties without the right to make entry, incorrect manifesting of cargo, misclassification, and delivery of goods prior to release from CBP custody. The requirement to file Type 86 entries prior to or upon arrival of the cargo will go into effect on February 15, 2024.

Link to the Federal Register notice
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2023 IS A RECORD YEAR FOR TSA INTERCEPTION OF FIREARMS AT CHECKPOINTS
February 1, 2024
GUN TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advised that 2023 was a record year for the interception of firearms at airport security checkpoints. A record 6,737 firearms were intercepted at airport checkpoints during 2023, with 93%, or close to 6,265 firearms, being loaded at the time of interception. Firearms are strictly prohibited in carry-on baggage. They are allowed in checked baggage, however, they must be unloaded and packed in a locked hard-sided case and the presence of the firearm must be declared at the check-in counter. Upon discovery of a firearm at a checkpoint, the TSA officer will contact local law enforcement, who will remove the passenger and the firearm from the checkpoint. The passenger involved could then be arrested or cited. In addition, the passenger will be liable for a fine of up to $15,000 for possesing the firearm at the checkpoint.

On a lighter note, or maybe not so lighter note, the TSA also published a list of the Top Ten prohibited items discovered in traveler’s carry-on baggage in Idaho airports in 2023. Among the top items were a hatchet, a Ninja throwing star, a crow bar, and a grenade-shaped bottle of hot sauce.. (pictures are below).

Link to TSA infographic
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JAS WANTS TO KNOW!
February 1, 2024
JAS KNOW

This month we launch a new feature of our monthly newsletter – JAS WANTS TO KNOW! - A short one question poll to receive our readers’ input and advice. Our poll this month is concerning compliance challenges. Click below to let us know!

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JAS ON THE MOVE
February 1, 2024
NCBFAA PORT

Laurie Arnold, JAS Vice President of Compliance, and Leah Ellis, JAS Compliance Operations Manager, were on the move this month attending the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association’s (NCBFAA) quarterly board meeting held in Los Angeles. Laurie serves as the Treasurer of the NCBFAA and Leah is the Legislative Committee Chair. During their time in Los Angeles, Laurie and Leah were also given an extensive tour of the Port of Los Angeles by invitation of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association.

See below for pictures of the tour.

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Did You Know? WCO says Tariff Classification is... well... Hard!
February 1, 2024
TARIFF DIFFICULT

While regular practitioners of tariff classification well know this, the World Customs Organization (WCO) recently issued a 30 page report, The Exploratory Study on a Possible Strategic Review of The Harmonized System, which concluded that the tariff classification process is a very complex system which requires a high level of skill to use appropriately. The purpose of the report was to explore the feasibility of possible structural changes to the system to improve the accuracy and consistency of the process and make it more “user-friendly”. One of the issues noted was that key words are often not defined in the tariff schedule or, if defined, the location of definitions can be hard to find. The complex nature of the process was illustrated by a discussion on how to classify a plastic covered textile, a truly difficult proposition. One interesting note was that the WCO did a survey and found that a majority of respondents do not really use or do not really understand how to use the General Rules of Interpretation, which are supposed to explain how to classify. Lets hope the report leads to some improvements.

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SECTION 301 EXCLUSIONS EXTENDED TO MAY 31, 2024
December 26, 2023
301 CHINA

In a Federal Register notice, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that 77 COVID-related and 352 other Section 301 duty exclusions that were set to expire on December 31, 2023, will be extended for an additional 5 months through May 31, 2024. The Section 301 duties were imposed on various products from China to counter certain acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The USTR stated that the extension of the exclusions “will enable the orderly review of the exclusions consistent with statutory factors and objectives to identify in which cases additional time would enable shifts in sourcing to the United States or third countries”. The statutorily required four-year review of the Section 301 duties themselves is currently in process and the USTR further stated that this extension “will also facilitate the alignment of further decisions on these exclusions with the ongoing four-year review”.

Link to USTR AnnouncementLink to Federal Register Notice
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NOT TOO LATE TO PARTICIPATE IN CBP’S GLOBAL BUSINESS IDENTIFIER TEST
December 20, 2023
CBP LOGO GBI

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is still welcoming importers of record and licensed customs brokers to participate in the Global Business Identifier (GBI) Evaluative Proof of Concept (EPoC). The GBI is a test to determine a potential replacement for the Manufacturer or Shipper Identification code (MID) currently required to be provided on entries filed with CBP. This new identifier could also be used for other entities involved in the entry process to obtain a “deeper insight into the legal structure of “who is who” across the spectrum of trade entities, and to understand more clearly ownership, affiliation, and parent-subsidiary relationship”. Participants in the EPoC can provide, at the time of entry filing, any of three entity identifiers associated with manufacturers, shippers, and sellers of merchandise covered by the entries. These identifiers are the nine (9) digit Data Universal Numbering System (D–U–N–S®), thirteen (13) digit Global Location Number (GLN), and twenty (20) digit Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). The test is limited to entry types 01 and 11, and to certain commodities and countries of origin. The limitations of the MID are well known in trade circles. Therefore, CBP is encouraging participation in this EPoC to facilitate the determination of a more robust replacement. If you would like to participate in this EPoC, contact compliance@jas.com.

Link to Information on GBILink to Factsheets on how to obtain an identifier
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RECENT CASES RESULTING IN FINES DEMONSTRATE IMPORTANCE OF COMPLIANCE
December 20, 2023
VIOLATION FCA

A recent series of settlements in False Claims Act (FCA) cases and a large fine imposed by a California District court demonstrate the importance of complying with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) importation regulations. FCA cases are filed by “whistleblowers”, on behalf of the United States, charging any person with making a false claim to the federal government. The whistleblower, called the relator, receives a portion of any agreed settlement.

In Georgia, an importer of tools will pay $1.9 million to settle FCA allegations that it was falsely labelling its tools as “made in Germany” when, in fact, the tools were made in China. The settlement states that tools manufactured in China were sent to Germany for some additional processing and were then commingled with tools that had no additional processing done in Germany. All the items were then claimed to be of German origin upon importation into the U.S., thus avoiding the payment of Section 301 duties of 25%  assessed on certain imports of Chinese origin.

In Texas, in another FCA settlement, an importer of industrial products, along with two Chinese companies and two individuals, agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve allegations that they were undervaluing imported goods. Commercial invoices were submitted to CBP at time of entry for the items in question showing values that were lower than the actual values and agreed prices. Invoices showing the true higher values were then sent by the Chinese suppliers to the importer at a later time. This resulted in the loss of revenue for CBP in the form of underpaid customs duties and other fees.

Finally, in California, in another double-invoicing scheme, a clothing wholesale company was fined $4 million, ordered to pay $6,390,781 in restitution, and placed on probation for five years for undervaluing imported garments in a scheme to avoid paying millions of dollars in customs duties. In this case as well, a false lower valued commercial invoice was submitted to CBP at time of entry, and a true higher value invoice was then sent later to the importer by the Chinese supplier resulting in the underpayment of duties and fees.

Link to Press Release for FCA settlement in Georgia of tools origin claim caseLink to Press Release for FCA settlement in Texas of double-invoicing caseLink to Press Release for fines imposed for undervaluation by California District Court
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FDA ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF COSMETICS DIRECT
December 20, 2023
COSMETICS DIRECT

On December 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the launch of the Cosmetics Direct electronic submission portal for registration and listing of cosmetic product facilities and products. Cosmetics Direct is dedicated exclusively to cosmetic product facility registration and cosmetic product listing electronic submissions mandated by the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA). FDA had advised previously that enforcement of these new requirements would be delayed to provide industry with sufficent time to submit the facility registration and product listing information. FDA will not be enforcing the requirements until July 1, 2024. However, the law is now in effect, and all facilities required to register and submit product listings should do so as soon as possible and well before the July 1 deadline.

Link to FDA Cosmetics Direct
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SENATORS INTRODUCE COMPREHENSIVE CUSTOMS MODERNIZATION ACT OF 2023
December 20, 2023
CAPITOL LAW

Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island introduced the bipartisan Customs Modernization Act of 2023 which would make significant changes to laws administered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Some of the key sections of the proposed bill include:

• Allowing CBP to access data prior to entry from parties throughout the supply chain. The importer of record could convert this pre-entry information into a certified entry filing. For any violation relating to the filing of the required pre-entry information by any party, CBP may impose a penalty of $5,000 for the first violation of these regulations and $10,000 for subsequent violations.

• At present, only ocean vessel manifest information must be publicly disclosed. The proposal would make it mandatory to also publicly disclose aircraft, truck and rail manifest information for the purpose, inter alia, of monitoring supply chains for illegal goods like fentanyl and those made with forced labor, combatting trade-based money laundering, and identifying unfair trade practices like dumping.

• Relaxing the seizure and forfeiture rules to allow for the summary forfeiture of certain IPR-infringing goods by CBP without having to go through the formal seizure/forfeiture process. This is to allow CBP the ability to seize and forfeit articles found violative in the de minimis realm in an expedited fashion.

• Specific penalties are enumerated for violations of the Section 321 de minimis provisions of up to $1,000 for the first violation and $2,000 for each subsequent violation.

• Under current law, CBP can penalize vessel masters, aircraft pilots, and persons in charge of a vehicle for failing to comply with reporting requirements like providing manifest information. However, much of this data is now transmitted electronically by other parties such as the air carrier. A new provision would clarify that “any person” reporting such information who knowingly provides incorrect information is liable for a civil penalty.

Senator Cassidy also advised that a bipartisan Trade Facilitation measure will be introduced in 2024 as well.

Link to Senator Cassidy’s Press ReleaseLink to text of the Customs Modernization Act of 2023
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MULTI-AGENCY COMPLIANCE NOTE RELEASED ON PREVENTING VIOLATIONS OF U.S. SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROLS
December 20, 2023
EXPORT CONTROL DOC

The Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Justice, State and Homeland Security jointly published a Quint-Seal Compliance Note entitled “Know Your Cargo: Reinforcing Best Practices to Ensure the Safe and Compliant Transport of Goods in Maritime and Other Forms of Transportation”. The document provides information on potential indicators of efforts to evade sanctions and export controls, emphasizing the need to “know your cargo”. Also included are various examples of recent criminal and civil enforcement actions taken for violations of sanctions and export controls. With six government agencies being involved in the publication of this compliance note, all participants in the global transport of goods should review it in detail.

Link to Quint-Seal Compliance Note
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THE UNITED KINGDOM JOINS THE LIST OF COUNTRIES IMPOSING CARBON BORDER ADJUSTMENTS
December 20, 2023
CO2

The United Kingdom (UK) announced that it will be implementing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) by 2027, joining, among others, the European Union whose own CBAM entered its transitional phase in October with the first reporting period set to end on January 1, 2024. The UK CBAM will place a carbon price on some of the most emissions-intensive industrial goods imported to the UK from the aluminum, cement, ceramics, fertilizer, glass, hydrogen, iron and steel sectors, with the precise list to be provided sometime in 2024 after additional consultations. The liability applied by the CBAM will depend on the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the imported good and the gap between the carbon price applied in the country of origin (if any) and the carbon price that would have been applied had the good been produced in the UK. CBAM liability will lie directly with the importer of imported products within the scope of the UK CBAM on the basis of emissions embodied in those goods. Further details will be provided in 2024 also after additional consultations. Exporters of products to the U.K., and to the European Union as well, will need to become familiar with these mechanisms, as their customers in these countries will be needing detailed information on the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the products they import.

Link to Factsheet on UK Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
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Did you know? Tariff unfair to women?
December 20, 2023
WOMEN APPAREL

The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a caucus of nearly 100 members of the House of Representatives, recently issued a letter to the President outlining a list of their  legislative priorities, one of which stated “Advance equity in trade policy by considering solutions to reduce gender bias and regressivity of the tariff system, in consultation with Congress”. Now, it may seem a stretch to claim that something like the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, a legalistic, inanimate document for the classification of imported products, could be biased towards a particular gender. However, after further examination, it seems that the NDC is correct, and the tariff may be somewhat biased towards women. A study performed by the International Trade Commission entitled “Gender and Income Inequality in United States Tariff Burden” discovered, “Across genders, we find large differences in tariff burden…The gender gap exists because spending on women’s apparel is higher than on men’s and because the average applied tariff rate on women’s clothing is higher than on men’s”. The study found “the average applied tariff rate for women’s apparel was 14.9%, but it was only 12.0% on men’s apparel. It was also noted that “the gender difference in applied tariff rates is mostly attributed to the sourcing of imports as a much greater share of men’s apparel than women’s apparel comes from U.S. Free Trade Agreement partners”. Perhaps some adjustments in the tariff are in order.

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EPA PROPOSES PROHIBITION ON MANUFACTURE, IMPORT, OR DISTRIBUTION OF TRICHLOROETHYLENE (TCE)
November 30, 2023
CHEMICAL

In a recent Federal Register notice, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the prohibition of the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce of Trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is widely used as a solvent in a variety of industrial, commercial and consumer applications including for hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production, vapor and aerosol degreasing, and in lubricants, greases, adhesives, and sealants. In the proposed rule, EPA lists numerous and diverse industries that would be affected by this proposal. Comments on the proposal are due by December 15, 2023. Importers of products containing TCE should review this proposal and submit any comments deemed necessary.

Link to Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rule
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AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT ANNUAL ELIGIBILITY REVIEW RESULTS IN REMOVAL OF FOUR COUNTRIES
November 30, 2023
AGOA

The annual eligibility review for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), in accordance with Section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, has resulted in the termination of eligibility for the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda. The White House and the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced that recent unconstitutional changes in government in Gabon and Niger, and the resultant threat to political pluralism and the rule of law, led to their termination. The termination of the eligibility of the Central African Republic and Uganda was a result of gross violations of internationally recognized human and worker rights. On a positive note, the country of Mauritania had its eligibility reinstated based on progress it has made with respect to worker rights and eliminating forced labor across the country. Ethiopia, however, did not have its eligibility reinstated at this time. Recently, there have been a lot of discussions in Congress about the need to renew AGOA well in advance of its current September 2025 expiration date, to ensure the continuity of the program and encourage long term investment in the region.

Link to White House AGOA AnnouncementLink to United States Trade Representative AGOA Statement
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CBP PUBLISHES “TIPS FOR FILING AN HFC IMPORT IN ACE”; REDUCED ALLOCATIONS ON TAP FOR 2024
November 30, 2023
EPA LOGO

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a new guide entitled “TIPS FOR FILING AN HFC IMPORT IN ACE” to assist the import community with filing obligations related to imports of bulk hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also announced in November that allocations for the import of HFC’s will be reduced to 60% of the stipulated baseline levels in January 2024. Importers of HFCs should consult this new guide as filing requirements for HFC’s can be complicated. CBP will advise in early January via the Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) when the new requirements will be operative in ACE.

Link to “TIPS FOR FILING AN HFC IMPORT IN ACE”Link to EPA HFC Import Information
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PERSISTENT CUSTOMS BROKER LICENSE EXAMINEE THWARTED BY THE SUPREME COURT
November 30, 2023
EXAM

The protracted quest of Mr. Byungmin Chae to have his 2018 Customs Broker License Examination results changed to a passing grade came to an end when the Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari in October. Mr. Chae’s case, if nothing else, proved he possesses ample persistence and determination. The court filing states that his original score on the April 2018 exam was 65%, with 75% or higher being needed for a passing grade. He filed a timely appeal to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requesting that his answers to 13 of the questions originally marked wrong be deemed correct. Subsequent to his appeal, CBP announced that all test takers would be given credit for 3 particular questions, 2 of which Mr. Chae had been marked wrong on originally. This raised his score to 67.5%. CBP then denied his appeal request for the other 11 questions. Mr. Chae then appealed this decision to the Office of Trade. The Office of Trade granted his appeal for 3 of the questions, raising his score to 71.25%, but still short of a passing grade. Undaunted, Mr. Chae proceeded to file a petition with the Court of International Trade (CIT) as allowed by the regulations.

The CIT gave him credit for one more of the contested questions, raising his total of correct answers to 58 of the 60 he would need for a passing grade. Still undaunted, Mr. Chae filed an appeal of the CIT decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit asking for 3 questions to be further reviewed. The Appeals Court gave him credit for one of the questions, raising his correct answer total to 59 of the 60 needed. However, the Supreme Court denial of his certiorari request ended the appeals process, terminating his case and giving new meaning to the phrase “so close, yet so far…”.

Link to Supreme Court denial and documents
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SEAFOOD IMPORT MONITORING PROGRAM PROPOSED RULE WITHDRAWN
November 30, 2023
SIMP

A rule proposed December 28, 2022, by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to significantly expand the species covered under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) was withdrawn on November 16. The additional species to be added to the SIMP, along with a change stating that the importer of record on the customs filing must also be the party that holds the required  International Fisheries Trade Permit, had caused concern in the trade community leading to a significant number of comments being filed with NMFS concerning the proposed rule. The NMFS advised that they will now conduct a comprehensive SIMP review to determine any future action to be taken in order to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of SIMP.

Link to Federal Register Notice of Withdrawal
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CBP REMINDS TRADE OF EURO APPLICABILITY
November 30, 2023
EURO NOTE

In a recent Cargo Systems Messaging Service message, CBP provided a list of the countries that are members of the European Union and who, therefore, use the Euro as their domestic and international trade currency. It was further stated, “Therefore, all invoices, other documents, and entry transmissions from these countries must show EUR for the foreign value or as their currency code”. CBP is updating its records to reflect the Euro as the appropriate currency for all countries listed.

Link to CSMS message on EUROLink to update to the CSMS message on EURO
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NOTICE TO CUSTOMS BROKERS – 2024 PERMIT USER FEE AND TRIENNIAL STATUS REPORT FILING WEBINAR TO BE HELD
November 30, 2023
CBP LOGO

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hold an important webinar on December 15, 2023, from 2PM to 3PM on the topic of the 2024 Permit Annual User Fee and Triennial Status Report Filing. The webinar will explain the process for paying the Permit fee and filing a Triennial Status Report via the e.CBP online portal. A link to register for the webinar is below.

Link to register for the webinar
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Did you know? Christmas Crackers
November 30, 2023
CRACKERS

Christmas crackers are a festive holiday tradition in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. They consist of a decoratively wrapped tube with a prize, a paper hat and a joke card inside. The wrapping on the tube is extended outwards on both sides and twisted around a shock sensitive card strip similar to what is used for cap gun shot caps. A person at each end will then pull on the wrapping simultaneously, generating a bang or cracking sound and causing the tube to open and reveal the prizes. It is believed that Christmas Crackers were invented in London around 1847 by a confectioner named Tom Smith who was looking for a way to repackage the candies he sold to increase sales. The hats and prizes were added by his son Walter Smith to further increase sales as other competitors began selling crackers as well. If you are planning on visiting the United Kingdom and are thinking of bringing back any Christmas Crackers, kindly note that the Transportation Security Administration does not allow crackers in carry-on bags or checked luggage on flights to the U.S.

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PETITION FILED TO EXPAND ALUMINUM EXTRUSION ANTIDUMPING DUTY ORDERS TO 14 ADDITIONAL COUNTRIES
October 26, 2023
ALUMINUM EX

A petition was filed on October 4, 2023, and an investigation instituted on October 13, 2023, by the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission to greatly expand the antidumping and countervailing duty orders in effect on aluminum extrusions from China to cover products that are now exempt and to add 14 additional countries. The petition was filed by the United Steelworkers Union and the U.S. Aluminum Extruders Coalition. The requested scope of the order is five pages long and covers aluminum extrusions for a wide variety of applications. The list of countries to be included are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, the People's Republic of China ("China"), South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. Importers of aluminum extrusions from the listed countries should follow the progress of this investigation and possibly pursue legal involvement in the proceedings if appropriate.

Link to Federal Register Notice of Preliminary Phase InvestigationsLink to Commerce Department fact sheet
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EUROPEAN UNION MOVES CLOSER TO BANNING IMPORTATION OF PRODUCTS MADE WITH FORCED LABOR
October 26, 2023
EU FLAG

The Internal Market and International Trade committees of the European Parliament adopted a draft regulation that would ban the importation and exportation of goods proven to be made with the use of forced labor. Items suspected of being made with forced labor would be halted at the border. If forced labor use is proven, the items would have to be donated, recycled, or destroyed. Any related goods that had already reached the European Union (EU) market would have to be withdrawn from the marketplace. The regulation would also create a list of geographical areas and economic sectors at high risk of using forced labor. For goods from these areas and sectors, there would be a presumption that forced labor was involved and the company attempting to import or export such goods would have the burden of proof to show otherwise. The EU council will review the proposed regulation next and then talks will start over the final shape of the regulation.

Link to European Parliament Notice
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SEMICONDUCTOR

On October 25, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register several updates to its comprehensive interim final rule of October 7, 2022, which amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement controls on advanced computing integrated circuits (ICs), computer commodities that contain such ICs, and certain semiconductor manufacturing items exported to China. The updates, inter alia, adjust the thresholds for which chips are covered by the regulations, expand licensing requirements to an additional 43 countries included in the D:5 Country Group of the EAR, and add several dozen items to the list of controlled semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Exporters of ICs and semiconductor manufacturing items should thoroughly review the notice and submit any comments to BIS by the December 18, 2023, deadline. The Center for Strategic & International Studies has published a concise summary and commentary on these updates prepared by Emily Benson. A link to this commentary is below.

GOAT

Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists (CBPAS) are tasked with preventing the introduction of invasive species and toxic substances into American agriculture and natural resources. To accomplish this task, a CBPAS will utilize targeting, detection and interception techniques while examining passengers returning to the United States and commercial cargo arriving into U.S. ports of entry. CBPAS’ also work to identify and prevent any attempts at agro-terrorism via the intentional introduction of disease or the contamination of food products with toxic substances. The diversity of passengers and cargo attempting to enter the United States on a daily basis can lead to some interesting interceptions by agriculture specialists.

One recent example took place at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in early October. CBPAS’ inspected a small box carried by a passenger returning from Kenya. To the specialists surprise, the box contained giraffe fecal material. The passenger then advised that she had obtained the droppings in Kenya and planned to make a necklace with them, also stating that she had used moose feces at her home in Iowa in the past for the same purpose. The box was then seized and destroyed.

Another recent example occurred at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Two passengers returning from Congo were referred for inspection. Inside their baggage was found an unknown meat along with 15 pounds of raw goat viscera including, among other things, the heart, lungs and entire digestive system of a goat. The items, of course, were confiscated. Never a dull moment in the life of a CBPAS!

CBP LOGO

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) quietly unveiled a new online portal, ePetition, for the filing of required documentation for petitions for mitigation of amounts charged in penalty notices and liquidated damage claims. Petition filers, however, should still make contact with the responsible CBP officer stated on the notice to confirm that uploaded documents are well received. Petitions can then subsequently be looked up on the portal and the status checked.

CONTAINERS LA

As of November 1, 2023, the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) charged at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will increase 4 percent. The increase is a result of the 4 percent increase in longshore wage and assessment rates recently ratified in the coastwide contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. The TMF was instituted as a way to encourage shippers to have their cargo picked up at the terminals during late night shifts or on weekends to reduce the congestion at the terminals occurring during normal business hours. Beginning November 1, the TMF will be $35.57 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or $71.14 per forty-foot container.

TRAINING GROUP

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that it will be providing a quarterly series of webinars free of charge to assist and train small and medium-sized businesses on how to report trade violations that could threaten their bottom line and hurt the overall economy. The webinars will run from November 7, 2023, through September 10, 2024, and will guide participants through the process of reporting commercial trade violations using the Trade Violations Reporting Tool. The webinars will demonstrate how to report allegations of a variety of trade violations, including antidumping and countervailing duty evasion, forced labor, and natural resource crimes.

LEIDEN

On November 23, Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated in the United States. In the town of Leiden, Netherlands stands an ancient church, called the Pieterskerk, that has a unique connection to the Thanksgiving Day celebration. Inside this church, you will find a large display dedicated to the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, MA on December 22, 1620. The one hundred or so individuals who arrived in Plymouth on the vessel Mayflower are widely known for having fled England to escape religious persecution for their Puritan faith. However, less widely known, is that many of these pilgrims actually first fled to Leiden in the Netherlands and lived there for around 12 years before setting sail for America. Their pastor John Robinson was buried at this church and there is a prominent memorial display for him inside. The church also has an ancient pipe organ that is still played and that contains some pipes dating to the 1400’s. Another interesting fact about Leiden is that during the same time the pilgrims were living there, a teenager by the name of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was living there as well. This young man became known to history as a brilliant painter and printmaker, going simply by his first name, Rembrandt. If you ever travel to the Netherlands, make sure to visit Leiden and the Pieterskerk.

CCSF WAREHOUSE

JAS Forwarding had its ninth facility certified for cargo screening as a Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on August 9, 2023. Located in Somerset, NJ, the facility handles eCommerce and, as a result, 60 pallets a day on average are being screened. This equates to approximately 10,000 to 15,000 pieces of cargo being screened at this one facility. With the approaching eCommerce peak season about to start in November, the volume of cargo screened is expected to increase 150%! The primary screening method is K9, therefore, our K9 handlers and K9’s such as Zeus (pictured above and below) will be hard at work!

CLOSED SIGN

A U.S. government shutdown was averted at the eleventh hour on the evening of September 30, when both the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills to extend present government funding levels for 45 days to November 17. Additional aid to Ukraine and provisions to enhance border security were left out of the measures, while a large appropriation of $16 billion for disaster relief was included. The limited term of the measures, however, means that a shutdown could well become imminent again unless longer term funding bills are approved within the next 45 days.

COMPLIANCE PIECE

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed a civil penalty of $48,750 against a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines to resolve 13 violations of the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as was alleged in a Proposed Charging letter. Between May 2019 and March 2020, the manufacturer received requests on thirteen different occasions from a Middle Eastern airline to not import any Israeli origin goods into the Middle East to fulfill purchase orders from the airline. The manufacturer failed to report to BIS the receipt of these requests as required by 15 CFR 760.5. However, the manufacturer fully cooperated with the investigation and significantly reduced the penalty imposed as a result of the remedial measures taken after discovery of the conduct. This is another reminder of the need to have robust procedures in place to monitor receipt of any such boycott requests and to have a mechanism in place to report them immediately to BIS.

SOFTWOOD LUMBER

Another chapter in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada was opened on September 1. Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng announced that Canada was launching a Chapter 10 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) challenge to the latest countervailing duties (CVD) in place on importations of softwood lumber into the U.S. Additionally, a suit is being filed by Canada in the U.S. Court of International Trade to challenge the antidumping duties (ADD) on softwood lumber from Canada also now in effect.

The dispute goes back to 1981 when the U.S. lumber industry first requested the Department of Commerce to investigate Canadian stumpage programs and impose countervaling duties. The issue is rooted in the fact that most Canadian land where softwood lumber is harvested from is owned by provincial governments, and the fees charged to harvest timber on the land, or the stumpage rates, are set by government regulation. In the United States, most softwood timber land is privately owned and the stumpage rates are determined by market forces. U.S. lumber companies have long claimed that the stumpage rates charged to harvesters by the provinces in Canada are well below market rates and are, therefore, countervailable subsidies. An agreement to suspend the application of any ADD or CVD that had been in effect expired in 2015, and the battle has raged on ever since. The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of Canada in 2020 and stated that the United States CVD measures were not in conformity with its WTO obligations. However, the U.S. has ignored that determination for the most part. Talks between the leaders of Canada and the U.S. in Ottawa earlier this year did not break the impasse.

COSMETIC BAG FDA REGISTRATION

The Food and Drug Administration recently published its much anticipated Draft Guidance on Registration and Listing of Cosmetic Product Facilities and Products as mandated by the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022. The guidance provides details on which facilities must register and the information required to be provided in cosmetic product listings. FDA also published screenshots for the “Cosmetics Direct” electronic submissions portal to be utilized for the registration and listings. The portal is supposed to be available in October.

CRITICAL MINERALS

The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 along with the increased attention given to clean energy transportation alternatives and environmental protection has highlighted the increasingly important role played in the economy by what are termed critical minerals and rare earth elements. The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) has published a very helpful primer that explains what these items are, where the main sources of supply are, and their end uses and applications. The IGF is a forum of more than 80 member countries established to support the advancing of sustainable development goals through effective laws, policies, and regulations for the mining sector.

As the primer states, critical minerals are the minerals and metals necessary for renewable energy and clean technology. It further states that “there is no universally agreed upon definition of what “criticality” means, and criticality changes over time, depending on the needs of society and the availability of supply”. Rare earth elements are “a set of 17 metallic elements that are considered critical because of their properties”. These elements are not in fact rare but are referred to as rare because they can be difficult to extract and can be complex to process.

The need for and importance of these minerals and elements will only increase and will continue to have major impacts on United States trade policy and the logistics industry.

FTZ CONFERENCE OCTOBER

JAS employees were on the move in September as Compliance Project Manager Scott Cassell and Miami FTZ Administrator Ivel Martinez attended the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones “Celebrating 50 Years of NAFTZ” conference held in Miami on September 10 to 13. JAS operates foreign trade zones (FTZ) in both Charleston, SC and Miami, FL and the conference was a great opportunity for the JAS team to stay abreast of the current issues and regulatory changes affecting FTZ’s.

The entire JAS compliance team also meet on September 19 and 20 at the JAS headquarters in Atlanta for their annual meeting. Led by Vice President of Compliance Laurie Arnold this year’s theme was “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success!”. Various topics were discussed and strategies for the coming year were formulated.

HALLOWEEN

It is October and that means Halloween is around the corner! The Library of Congress reports that Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “SAH-win”). Samhain was a pagan religious celebration at the time of the harvest at the end of summer in which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Then, in the eight century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a day to honor Catholic saints and this was called All Saints Day. All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before All Saints Day then became a holiday as well and was celebrated as All Hallows Eve, from which we derive Halloween. The Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns is rooted in the Celtic legend about a man named Stingy Jack who was able to repeatedly trap the devil and would only let him go if he promised that Jack would never go to hell. However, when Jack died, heaven did not want him either, so he had to wander the earth as a ghost for eternity. The devil then gave Jack a burning lump of coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. The tradition then started in Ireland of carving scary faces in turnips to frighten the ghost of Jack and other evil spirits away. Have a safe and happy Halloween and look out for Jack!

Worker Examination

In a Federal Register notice, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the opportunity for qualified, interested shippers to register as Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF). While the TSA had approved shippers to become CCSF’s previously when requested, the TSA had never fully integrated these operations into the Certified Cargo Screening Standard Security Program (CCSSSP). An incentive for shippers to consider becoming a CCSF is that, on October 31, the Impracticable to Screen (ITS) amendments that the TSA had in effect will expire. These amendments allowed cargo not easily screened due to the commodity packaging type or size to move via airfreight. After October 31, ITS cargo will require 100% screening. ITS cargo could be screened by the airline or other third-party service provider, however, higher costs for the shipper are likely to result.

To initiate the registration process, shippers must send an email indicating their interest to an address identified in the notice and TSA will respond with additional information regarding the application requirements.

PCB

Several prominent information technology associations, including the Semiconductor Industry Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the Information Technology Industry Council, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo expressing concern over the recent announcement by the Indian Government to require a license to import computers and related information and communication technology products into India. The licensing requirement is to take effect on November 1, 2023. One concern raised was that the licensing regime could make it difficult for U.S. companies with data centers in India to import servers into India that are needed for their operations. While the government announcement included certain exemptions, the associations requested more comprehensive details on the scope of the exemptions. Licensing requirements have also been used in the past as major non-tariff import barriers by various countries, which was another concern raised. The U.S. government was urged to request that India reconsider the implementation of the policy.

Pencils

In an important recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the case, Royal Brush Manufacturing, Inc. vs. United States Dixon Ticonderoga Company, that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) violated the Fifth Amendment right to due process of Royal Brush by providing only redacted versions of reports that CBP utilized in making its determination that antidumping duty (ADD) evasion occurred in connection with an Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigation. The EAPA investigation centered around pencils shipped from the Philippines to Royal Brush in the United States. CBP concluded that the pencils were of Chinese origin and were transshipped via the Philippines to avoid paying the ADD under case A-570-827 for Cased Pencils from China. However, in making this determination, CBP relied on reports from a verification visit made to the Philippine factory. When Royal Brush requested copies of the reports, production number data and photographs taken at the factory were redacted due to CBP deeming this information to be confidential business information. CBP stated that there was no provision in the EAPA law itself that empowered them to issue a protective order which could have allowed release of the confidential information. Royal Brush then filed suit in the Court of International Trade (CIT).

The CIT ruled in favor of CBP, then Royal Brush appealed. The appellate court stated in its decision: “In short, the law is clear that, in adjudicative administrative proceedings, due process includes the right to know what evidence is being used against one.” The decision further stated: “As best we can make out, the government’s argument is that due process does not require public disclosure of confidential business information relied on in adjudication but only requires disclosure to affected parties under protective orders… We are aware of no case supporting any such extraordinary theory, and it is untenable on its face. The right to due process does not depend on whether statutes and regulations provide what is required by the constitution.” The case was remanded back to the CIT for CBP to provide Royal Brush the redacted information and give them an opportunity for rebuttal.

In legal circles, it is believed that this decision could also have an impact on CBP’s investigations under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act as CBP often does not release the evidence that it has compiled to the party whose cargo is being detained, which may now lead to court challenges of those decisions.

Allow Delay

In separate Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) messages, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced postponements of two important system enhancements. First, CBP stated on 08/22/23 that it was disabling the testing of the Ocean House Bill Release in its ACE test Certification Environment. This testing was a precursor to having Ocean Bill Release go live in ACE. A new date for when either testing will continue or the Ocean House Bill Release will go live is to be determined.

Also, on 08/25/23 CBP announced that it was postponing the migration of declarations-related functionality as a part of the Phase 4 ACE portal functionality modernization. A new date for this update is to be determined as well.

Law Book

Violations of anti-boycott prohibitions enforced by the Commerce Department via the Export Administration Regulations and the Internal Revenue Service via Internal Revenue Code Section 999(a)(3) can lead to very costly penalties, as law firm Sandler, Travis , & Rosenberg reminded the trade in a recent article. Any company that agrees to or actually refuses to do business with or discriminates against Israel or other blacklisted companies, inter alia, can be subject to these penalties, which include hefty fines and even jail time for criminal violations. Therefore, companies must perform their due diligence to ensure that violations of these regulations are not occurring anywhere in their operations.

Passport

In a recent advisory opinion, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department, set forth the requirements for the export, reexport, or transfer of licensed technology and software between a licensed U.S. entity and foreign nationals of a related foreign company who are on temporary rotational assignment in the United States. As long as the technology or software is within the scope of the license in question, then release to these foreign nationals would be authorized. However, any new technology or software to be released to these foreign nationals that is not authorized by the existing license would require a new export license.

USTR Logo

In a notice to be published in the Federal Register, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will be extending to December 31, 2023 the 352 previously reinstated Section 301 duty exclusions and the 77 COVID-related 301 exclusions that were set to expire on September 30. The required four-year review of the Section 301 duties imposed on certain products from China is still underway and this extension will allow for a transition period as that review continues.

American Flag

Hard to believe, but it will be 22 years this September 11th since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 caused the death of nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. We still mourn and honor those whose lives were sacrificed. What you may not know is that 187 years prior another event occurred in the month of September. On September 14, 1814, poet Francis Scott Key was watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the continuation of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain. As the U.S. soldiers gained the advantage, a large U.S. flag was hoisted above the fort. Inspired by the bravery and tenacity of the soldiers, Key penned the words to a song titled “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the rest, of course, is history! In remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11th, we share a not so well-known additional stanza of the anthem:

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace may the heaven rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

Over the land of the free and the home of the brave

SHEFFIELD HALLAM RELEASES EXTENSIVE LIST OF UYGHUR REGION COMPANIES

Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom via its Forced Labor Lab released another forced labor resource in the form of a spreadsheet listing over 50,000 companies that operate in the Uyghur Region of China. The spreadsheet also has a section grouping over 35,000 companies under specific industry categories. Sheffield Hallam provides numerous resources on its website relating to forced labor issues in the Uyghur region, including a 50+ page report on automotive supply chain connections to forced labor in the region.

United States Capitol

A letter signed by 66 members of the U.S. House of Representatives was sent to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, urging renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP). The GSP is a trade program that provides nonreciprocal, duty free treatment for certain U.S. imports from eligible developing countries. The program expired in December 2020. Various measures to renew the program have been introduced since its expiration, some with provisions to alter eligibility requirements, however, the program remains expired at present.

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