September 2010

10 MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE

I have been an international trade attorney for over 20 years.  In that time, I have represented a few thousand companies involved in the importation, exportation, and international transportation of merchandise.  I have seen respectful, efficient U.S. Government employees and the most uncaring bureaucrats, importers who care about the law and others who only care how to get around it, and customs brokers who always try to do the right thing and others who you wonder how they ever passed the broker exam and the background check.  I have listed the 10 Most Common Misconceptions in International Trade.

I have actually heard intelligent people who are CEOs or General Counsels of their companies say the most surprising things to me over the years.

1.  It is ok to bring in up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars into the United States.

2.  Dietary supplements that are “all natural” are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and, therefore, can make all kinds of medical claims.

3.  The U.S. Government does not care about the value of cargo being exported from the United States because there are no duties, taxes or fees paid to the U.S. Government on exports.

4.  If an airlines passenger brings into the United States over $10,000 in cash, the passenger must pay a tax to U.S. Customs or the IRS.

5.  If an importer uses a customs broker to file an entry with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and some false information is provided to U.S. Customs, only the customs broker is liable to U.S. Customs, not the importer.

6.  No one […]

By |2015-12-01T01:47:51-05:00September 26, 2010|Export, Import|0 Comments

Food Facility Registration Mandatory With The U.S. FDA

On December 12, 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Bioterrorism Act of 2002.  That Act basically required that companies shipping food to the United States must first be registered with the FDA, and that importers of food must provide “prior notice” to the FDA of any particular shipment before it physically arrives in the United States.  Over the past 7 years, has the Bioterrorism Act lived up to its expectations to protect the American consumer from eating dangerously contaminated food?

In an article entitled “Scrap the Bioterrorism Act” published in February 2004, I criticized the Act as not going far enough because it did not require (1) FDA Inspectors to be located in foreign countries sending us food,  (2) cooperation with foreign food inspection governmental authorities, and (3) mandatory recall authority to the FDA for contaminated foods.  In a May 6, 2010 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled “Food Safety:  FDA Could Strengthen Oversight of Imported Food,” it came to exactly the same conclusions.

As stated in the GAO report:

The FDA physically examines approximately 1 percent of imported food.

Imported fish and other seafood is of particular interest to the FDA.  Obviously, FDA Inspectors cannot physically inspect every shipment of imported seafood, but every shipment that contains FDA-regulated products that enters the United States is electronically reviewed by the FDA  to determine if the shipment should be physically examined or a sample laboratory tested.   Hence, the prior notice information enables FDA, working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to more effectively target

By |2015-12-28T14:17:11-05:00September 18, 2010|FDA Issues, Food|0 Comments

U.S. Customs Seizures and Forfeitures are Unique

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs or CBP) seizes and forfeits hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise every year.  The IRS, DEA, U.S. Postal Service, and other Federal agencies also have the legal authority to seize and forfeit merchandise that were allegedly used illegally or were proceeds of alleged illegal activity, but U.S. Customs administrative and judicial forfeiture procedures are unique.  The answer is that seizures by U.S. Customs typically are not included within the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

The difference between a seizure under CAFRA’s  rules under 18 U.S.C. 983 – The General Rules for Civil Forfeitures, and the U.S. Customs rules under the Tariff Act of 1930 and the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty, is significant. These significant differences are often misunderstood, including by attorneys who do not regularly practice in seizure and forfeiture matters.   Under CAFRA, the U.S. Government must send an administrative seizure notice to affected persons within 60 days of the seizure, but for U.S. Customs cases, there is no such requirement. In fact, unfortunately, U.S. Customs often takes 90 to days to issue the Seizure Notice letter to affected parties such as the owner of the seized merchandise. Under CAFRA, a claimant has 35 days from the date of the notice of seizure to file its administrative claim or request judicial forfeiture.  For U.S. Customs cases, the claimant must file a Petition within 30 days of the seizure notice or, if seeking judicial review of the seizure, file a claim and cost bond equal to 10% of […]

By |2021-03-26T14:40:28-04:00September 6, 2010|CBD, Currency Seizure, Import|0 Comments

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