March 2013

Band-Aid or Stitches? What’s Your Compliance Approach?

When you get a deep cut, do you simply put on a band-aid or do you go to the hospital to get stitches that you really need? Stitches take time and are more costly – but, your bleeding will stop and your cut is less likely to re-open. With a band-aid – you’re likely to re-open your wound and/or get an infection. You get stitches if you know what’s good for you!

Compliance is similar in that there may be a quick fix for the current issue; however, if you don’t stop the bleeding and get stitches, you will be in trouble in the long-run, and the bleeding won’t stop.

On a daily basis, different companies call me to discuss issues they are having with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). For instance, today, a company called me discussing a CBP 28 – Request for Information, and thereafter a CBP 29 – Notice of Action received from CBP. The issue was an underlying classification issue. Bottom line, they had never done any Pre-Compliance on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule’s (HTS) they were using for their imported merchandise. They said the infamous line – that’s why I hired a broker. Important to note that this just does not cut it with CBP.

CBP publishes really great Informed Compliance Publications for Importers – too few importers have read them, and too small a percentage of importers know they exist. For new importers, CBP has […]

Sequestration Causes Furloughs in CBP – What This Means for You

International passengers at Miami International Airport (MIA) have certainly felt the detrimental effects caused by the sequestration, as thousands have missed connecting flights – because of CBP processing delays.

The sequestration has created hard caps on the amount of government spending due to the government’s inability to compromise on a budget.  Prior to the sequestration, CBP stated that they would ensure that their core mission would not be compromised, and under no circumstances would CBP diminish their commitment to completing their responsibilities.  On March 11, 2013, CBP began sending furlough notices to all of its 60,000 employees as the agency aims to make $754 million in cuts required under the sequestration. The furloughs are set to begin on April 21, 2013 and continue through September 30, 2013.

These furloughs will…

  • put full time employees on unpaid leave for no more than 14 workdays.
  • pro-rate furlough time for part-time workers.
  • freeze hiring
  • reduce and eliminate overtime and compensatory time

CBP agrees the biggest hit to border security comes from cuts to overtime. CBP will see income cut by 40%. Partly as a result of having to take up to 14 unpaid days off work.

What should importer/exporters and those involved in international trade expect?

Cargo processing during arrivals/departures outside normal business hours may experience delays until the following business morning. This roll over of work may in turn provide for regular cargo processing delays which are expected to take from 30 minutes up to a few hours during regular working hours. The daily tasks completed by cargo processing are not expected to be reduced. However, additional work […]

FDA Discusses TOP Reasons for Detention of Goods

At today’s Import Operations Training, sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association (FCBF), top officials from FDA traveled to Miami to educate importers and brokers. Topics ranged from a general overview of FDA compliance, TOP rationales for FDA detentions, Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) updates, an overview of the newly re-organized (now DIO) Division of Import Operations (formerly DIOP – policy has now been removed), an overview of CBP & FDA’s Joint Team 488 – which handles liquidated damages claims for underlying FDA violations and much more. Highlights of the TOP rationale for detentions follows, as I feel this is of most value to you to know and is arranged by commodity.

Food Products Top Rationales for Detention

•Manufacturer (processor, packer or person holding food product) is not registered with the FDA pursuant to the Bioterrorism Act. (You can Register with the FDA here:

•Low Acid Canned Foods (LACF) are imported without establishment registration (FCE #) or scheduled process (SID #)

•The products are subject to an Import Alert

•Product labeling is not compliant (FDA does not pre-approve food labeling, it is up to importers to assure it is compliant before importing)

•Common labeling violations include:

1.Label is not in English

2.Incorrect or missing statement of identity

3.Failure to list allergens

4.Failure to declare ingredients

5.Failure to include a proper “Nutrition Facts” label (incorrect formats […]

CBP Lists Top Imported Fakes from 2012

The number of seizures of counterfeit goods by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) slightly decreased in 2012, the high was over 24,000 seizure cases in 2011. In 2012, the total number of seizure cases was slightly less, approximatley 22,800 seizures, netting goods worth nearly $1.3 billion. CBP advised that close to one-third of actual seizures consisted of apparel and accessories. Nationwide, handbags and wallets comprised the greatest number of counterfeit items seized by CBP last year, with the value of seizures was up 142 percent compared to 2011. About three-fourths of seized commodities by value came from China, despite efforts to heighten IPR recognition and protection. Of the approximately $511 million in handbags and wallets seized, more than $446 million came from China. Hong Kong, Singapore, and India were behind China in seized commodities by value. They came in second, third, and fourth, respectively. Peru was ranked among the top 10 sources economies for the first time last year – as goods from Peru that were seized by CBP totaled almost $2 million.

The high number of handbag seizures can be attributed to situations such as the 1,500 high-fashion leather handbags bearing counterfeit “Hermès” listed trademark seizure that occurred in Los Angeles. The merchandise, which arrived from China in two shipments, was seized by CBP officers on February 12 and 26. The $18,414 combined estimated domestic value of the shipments is an indicator of potentially high profit margins in the illegal trade of this type of counterfeit luxury […]


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