Insights

Trade Alert: USTR Announces Publication of Four-Year Review Report and Additional Tariffs on Chinese Products

Date: 05/16/2024

On May 14, 2024, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the publication of its long-awaited report on the Four-Year Review of Actions Taken in the Section 301 Investigation: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation (“the Report”). Considering the reported efficacy of the tariffs as strategic measures to counteract adverse Chinese policies and practices, and findings that unfair practices persist, President Biden and the USTR are now set to take further action related to Section 301 tariffs on Chinese-origin goods.

Trade Violations Under the False Claims Act

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 01/30/2024

On February 7, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that settlements and judgements under the False Claims Act (FCA) exceeded $2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year. The 2022 fiscal year also had the second-highest number of settlements and judgments for any given year in the history of the act.

Trade Due Diligence in the Context of an IPO

By: Olga Torres and Camille Edwards
Date: 01/30/2024

Ensuring compliance with U.S. export controls, import regulations, and economic sanctions is common practice for companies that engage in international trade. These companies often have internal compliance policies and due diligence practices that help to monitor compliance for everyday operations. In addition, companies undergoing structural, or ownership changes often must conduct trade-related due diligence to assess compliance risks associated with a relevant target company. 

What to Know about CBP Export Seizures

By: Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 12/21/2023

Regular readers of our newsletter, and those familiar with U.S. import and export regulations, know that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) generally enforces the U.S. import regulations, while multiple executive government agencies administer regulations related to the export of goods.

In July 2019, CBP updated its Mitigation Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), specifically the section related to forfeiture remission for export seizures. [1]

Customs Audits 101

By: Olga Torres
Date: 12/19/2023

Should I File a Customs Prior Disclosure?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 12/13/2023

Many importers have experienced at one time or another that horrible, stomach-turning feeling that comes with the realization that merchandise they have been importing has been entered under the wrong HTS code, with the incorrect value, or with the incorrect country of origin. These and similar errors constitute violations of 19 U.S.C. § 1592, and upon such discovery, the importer must ask, “Should I submit a Prior Disclosure to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”)?” The answer to that question will depend on a variety of factors, which will be discussed in this article.

Import Violations: What You Need to Know about 19 USC 1592

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 12/12/2023

In 2022, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) processed $3.35 trillion in imports, issued 2,121 penalties, and collected $19.3 million from penalties and liquidated damages. [1] Section 1592 of the Tariff Act of 1930 is the primary customs penalty provision and is the enforcement tool used by CBP to ensure compliance with Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) classification, valuation, and other entry requirements. 

Section 321 De Minimis Imports Can Pose Compliance Risks

Date: 12/07/2023

In 2016, the United States implemented legislation revising 19 U.S.C. § 1321 (“Section 321”) and thereby increasing the de minimis amount for imports into the United States from $200 to $800, meaning an importer is not required to pay duties if the merchandise has a fair market retail value at or below $800. In 2018, the U.S. began imposing a 25% tariff on most goods from China. The convergence of these two issues – the ability to import duty-free under $800 and the steep duties applicable to Chinese goods – led many vendors of Chinese merchandise to take advantage of Section 321 de minimis treatment for certain imports.

Breaking News: Claus’s Customs Compliance is Naughty

Date: 12/06/2023

Importing merchandise into the United States can be a tricky process for even magical folk. There are a variety laws and regulations enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”), and violations can lead to significant consequences including monetary penalties. In a more practical sense, lack of compliance with the Customs regulations can cause increased regulatory scrutiny, delay the release of merchandise by CBP, and affect an importer’s ability to meet internal deadlines or other obligations related to the imported merchandise. Quite the impediment for a man whose distribution business is conducted over the course of one night!

BIS, DDTC, OFAC, and CBP Subpoenas and Requests for Information – Tips to Comply

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 10/31/2023

Receiving an administrative subpoena, summons, or other request for information from a federal U.S. agency can be surprising, but it is not an uncommon scenario in the trade world. The main agencies in charge of administering and enforcing U.S. trade laws each have the power to compel the disclosure of certain information or documentation that may be related to an agency’s enforcement of import, export, or economic sanctions regulations.

Updates to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Strategy and Additions to the UFLPA Entity List

By: By Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 10/31/2023

On July 26, 2023, the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”), chaired by the Department of Homeland Security, issued updates to its Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China (the “Strategy”)1 related to enforcement by U.S.

Trade Alert: U.S. Industry Files Antidumping Duty Petition on Truck and Bus Tires from Thailand

Date: 10/27/2023

On October 17, 2023, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (“Petitioner”) submitted a petition (“Petition”) to the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC” or “Commission”) for the imposition of antidumping duties (“ADD”) on bus and truck tires from Thailand. 

Are My Products Subject to Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duties?

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, and Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate
Date: 08/01/2023

any importers will discover at some point that products they import may be subject to anti-dumping duties (“ADD”) or countervailing duties (“CVD”). With Washington’s continued aggressive approach toward unfair trade practices by foreign competitors, particularly China, importers must prepare for additional ADD/CVD orders and enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs” or “CBP”). This article seeks to explain the options an importer has if it discovers that any of its products are potentially subject to ADD/CVD.

USMCA – Acronym for U.S.-Mexico Corn Argument?

By: Camille Edwards, Associate
Date: 06/17/2023

From tariffs on dairy and solar products to rules of origin for automobiles, the three parties to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) have disagreed on a variety of issues since the agreement came into force in 2020. This time, the subject of the dispute is corn, or more specifically, the measures taken by Mexico to ban the import of certain genetically engineered (“GE”) corn and other GE products.  

 

Alert on the Russian Oil Price Cap and Possible Evasion

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 04/25/2023

The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Alert on April 17, 2023, warning U.S. persons about the possible evasion of the price cap imposed by the Department of Treasury on Russian oil.

USITC and Argentina … Sour Grapes?

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Senior Trade Advisor
Date: 04/25/2023

On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that an agreement had been reached in the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigation on imports of white grape juice concentrate (WGJC) from Argentina,

Trade Violations Under the False Claims Act

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member Camille Edwards, Associate
Date: 03/03/2023

On February 7, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that settlements and judgements under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) exceeded $2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year. The 2022 fiscal year also had the second-highest number of settlements and judgments for any given year in FCA history. 

Forced Labor and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Date: 07/01/2022

On June 21, 2022 the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) went into effect. It is the latest – and perhaps strongest – tool in the belt of U.S. regulatory and enforcement agencies to combat forced labor. The UFLPA puts the onus on importers to ensure their supply chains and merchandise are free from forced labor. This article will discuss forced labor enforcement generally, the UFLPA, and what it means for importers and how they can comply with the new regulations.

Forced Labor and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Derrick Kyle, Senior Associate, and William Klaess, Associate
Date: 06/21/2022

 Today, June 21, 2002, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) comes into effect. It is the latest – and perhaps strongest – tool in the belt of U.S. regulatory and enforcement agencies to combat forced labor. The UFLPA puts the onus on importers to ensure their supply chains and merchandise are free from forced labor. This article will discuss forced labor enforcement generally, the UFLPA, and what it means for importers and how they can comply with the new regulations.

 

U.S. Government Takes A Hard Line to Stop Human Rights Abuses With Clear Signals to Industry

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member & Maria Alonso, Associate
Date: 10/14/2021

In recent years, the U.S. Government (“USG”) has taken numerous actions to target forced labor and other human rights violations, with a significant increase in 2020 and early 2021. These include the issuance of trade-related restrictions, such as import and export laws, economic sanctions, and civil monetary penalties,

Changes in the U.S. Non-Preferential Origin Determination Rules – Implications for Companies Importing and Exporting Mexican Goods

By: Emilio Arteaga
Date: 10/14/2021

On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Government published a notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments on an amendment to the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) regarding the determination of non-preferential origin for imports from Mexico and Canada: Non-Preferential Origin Determinations for Merchandise Imported from Canada or Mexico for Implementation of the Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada.

Emilio Arteaga is a Jr. Partner at Vazquez Tercero & Zepeda law firm in Mexico City. Torres Law and Vazquez Tercero & Zepeda are member law firms of Alliott Group Alliance and often collaborate on international trade corporate matters involving the United States and Mexico, including USMCA compliance issues.

CBP Cites Inconsistencies and Lack of Clear and Convincing Evidence in Denying Protest from Manufacturer Accused of Using Forced Labor

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 04/08/2021

On March 5, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") issued a ruling that denied a protest from Dandong Huayang that clothing made at its Chinese factory was not produced by North Korean employees.

Change of Plans: Planning for the Biden Presidency and Potential Customs Transfer Pricing Opportunities During a Pandemic

By: John Vernon, Of Counsel
Date: 01/19/2021

As January 20, 2021 approaches and the advent of a new president and presidency emerges, what can we expect from a Biden administration and its Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) Transfer Pricing policy? What opportunities are available for global companies to manage and make retrospective inter-company Transfer Pricing adjustments? Different customs options and opportunities exist depending upon each companies’ analysis and needs.

Importers Facing “Significant Financial Hardship” May Defer Duty Payments for 90 Days

Date: 04/20/2020

On April 18, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order providing authority to the Secretary of the Treasury, under 19 U.S.C. § 1318, to extend the deadline for payments of certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees for importers suffering significant financial hardship during the national emergency created by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

Ensure Import Compliance with Spot-Check Audits of Carrier Billing Statements

By: Donna Wedgeworth, Trade Advisor
Date: 01/16/2020

Very few words evoke feelings of fear and loathing quite like the word “audit.” But Compliance professionals understand that auditing internal trade compliance processes is a necessary method of maintaining healthy trade controls and avoiding costly penalties.

Planning for 2020 Trade Under Trump

By: John Vernon, Esq. Guest Contributor
Date: 01/16/2020

Since President Trump took office in January of 2017, he has shown his desire to follow through with trade policies that were a central part of his campaign. 

CBP Announces New Rule to Combat Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Infractions

By: Jackson Olesky, Associate
Date: 10/11/2019

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring customs brokers to verify the identity of their importer clients, in particular non-resident importers.

Current rules and regulations only require customs brokers to obtain very minimal details regarding importers to which they provide services.

The New NAFTA 2.0—The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

By: Maria Alonso, Associate & Pierfilippo Natta, Legal Intern
Date: 10/22/2018

The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) has been in effect since January 1, 1994, and more than two decades later, on May 18, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (“Trade Representative”), Robert Lighthizer, notified Congress of the United States' intention to renegotiate NAFTA. The United States commenced renegotiations with Canada and Mexico on August 16, 2017.

What Corporate Lawyers and Businesses Should Know About Customs Compliance

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 06/23/2018

Since the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“TFTEA”) was signed into law in February 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has increased enforcement of U.S. import laws and regulations. Increased enforcement and associated risks should drive an increased focus by importers on compliance with CBP regulations. However, there remains a knowledge gap among some importing companies and non-trade attorneys related to a few of the basics of import regulations. In this regard, businesses and corporate attorneys should familiarize themselves with the issues below in order to navigate the increasingly risky waters of customs compliance.

Tariffs: The Never-Ending Saga

By: Olga L Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek Associate
Date: 06/18/2018

On June 15, 2018, the Trump Administration took the next step in escalating trade tensions with China by imposing additional 25% tariffs on imports of more than 800 products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

Give CF 28s the Proper Respect

By: By Olga Torres, Managing Member & Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 04/02/2018

From time to time importers may receive from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) a CBP Form 28 (“CF 28”) Request for Information. The issuance of a CF 28 is a standard procedure used by Customs to gain more information about entered merchandise. Totally harmless, right? Not necessarily. As discussed below, it is important for importers, and customs brokers responding on behalf of importers, to take the issuance and response to a CF 28 seriously.

Requirements for Steel and Aluminum Exclusion Requests Announced

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 03/19/2018

On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commcer ("DOC") published an interim final rule (“the Interim Final Rule”) listing the requirements for companies seeking product-based exclusions to the steel and aluminum tariffs previously announced by President Trump on March 8, 2018.

Tariffs on Steel, a Sign of Trade Wars on the Horizon

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member, Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 03/08/2018

On March 8, 2018, President Trump announced his decision to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. These tariffs go into effect on March 23, 2018,[1] 15 days after President Trump’s announcement.

 

[1] In our initial publication of the article, we had a typographical error and stated the effective date was March 16. The correct date is March 23, 2018.

So Congress allowed GSP to expire, what next?

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 01/22/2018

On December 31, 2017 the Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) trade program expired after Congress failed to reauthorize the program.

Late EEI Filing: Is It Too Late To Mitigate?

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate and Jordan Jensen, Law Clerk
Date: 09/22/2017

In 2009, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) published guidelines that govern the enforcement and mitigation of civil penalties for companies and other entities that fail to comply with the Foreign Trade Regulations (“FTR”) in 15 C.F.R. § 30.[1]. While Section 30 includes a list of violations that trigger civil penalties, it also lists mitigating factors for violations.

Key Takeaways from CBPs First Final Determination of Evasion under EAPA

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member
Date: 09/22/2017

On August 14, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued its first notification of final determination of antidumping duties (“ADD”) evasion pursuant to the Enforce and Protect Act (“EAPA”).

International Trading Services Case Reaffirms Expansion of U.S. Importer Liability

By: Derrick Kyle, Associate and Jordan Jensen, Legal Extern
Date: 07/05/2017

Two recent U.S. court decisions will increase corporate officers’ and compliance professionals’ risks for personal liability for Customs law violations. Specifically, the decisions relate to fraudulent, grossly negligent, or negligent activity under the Customs penalty statute, 19 U.S.C. § 1592.  

CBPs Centers of Excellence and Expertise Update

By: Jordan Jensen, Legal Extern
Date: 07/05/2017

On June 29, 2017, in an effort to continue to transform the way U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) approaches trade through the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (“Centers”), CBP released a new trade process document that includes new responsibilities and procedures for importers, brokers, agents, or filers.

Trump Administration Begins Crackdown on Trade Abuses

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Derrick Kyle, Associate
Date: 05/03/2017

With the signing of two new executive orders, President Trump is taking the first steps in fulfilling two of his favorite campaign promises, both relating to trade: (1) no longer tolerating trade abuse that damages the American economy and (2) decreasing the national trade deficit. 

My Customs Broker Handles That

By: Don Luther
Date: 11/09/2016

The Magna Brexit? Potential Implications on Trade & Export Compliance

By: Olga Torres and Sandy Aziz
Date: 07/26/2016

The Customs Reauthorization Bill: The Most Immediate and Practical Impacts

By: Olga Torres, Managing Member and Sandy Aziz, Attorney
Date: 06/16/2016

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