penalty

ICYMI: U.S. & Chinese Companies Fined $2.5 Million for Underpaying Customs Duties, Whistleblowers to Receive $500,000

Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced that a Dallas-based importer, two individuals, and two Chinese companies agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve allegations that they failed to pay customs duties on imports.

Underpaying Through Duplicate Invoices

ADCO, a Dallas-based importer of industrial products, the company owner Raymond E. Davis, customs broker Calvin Chang, and Chinese companies Xiamen Atlantis MFC Co., Ltd. and Xiamen Taft Medical Co., Ltd conspired to underreport the value of goods they were importing.

The scheme involved falsifying invoices with low values for goods ADCO was importing from China. The company used a separate set of invoices that contained the correct value of goods to ensure that ADCO paid its suppliers the actual value of the goods.

In investigating the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise reviewed over 1,000 import entry lines.

Qui Tam Lawsuit

The settlement with the government resolved a “qui tam” lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). A qui tam lawsuit is one that is brought by a private citizen or company against a defendant or defendants that owe money to the government.

When a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the party that initiated the case—called a “relator”—is entitled to a substantial monetary reward, ranging between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered for the government.  A qui tam lawsuit also engages the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in the case, and typically results in the opening of […]

U.S. Customs – Your Personal Policeman at the Border

Introduction 

Many companies mistakenly believe that registering a trademark or copyright with the U.S. Government provides sufficient protection and remedies. However, there is an additional step that can significantly enhance protection—recording trademarks or copyrights with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs).  

This blog explores the distinct goals of these processes and the advantages of recording intellectual property with the U.S. Customs. 

I. Registering with USPTO and Recording with U.S. Customs: Different Goals

  • Registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or U.S. Copyright Office gives public notice of ownership. 
  • Recording with U.S. Customs aims to prevent unauthorized importation of merchandise bearing the registered intellectual property. 
  • U.S. Customs serves as a critical partner in halting counterfeit and infringing products from entering or leaving the United States.

II. Benefits of Recording Trademarks or Copyrights with U.S. Customs

Seizure and Monitoring: 

  • U.S. Customs monitors and seizes infringing merchandise at ports of entry, alleviating the burden on trademark or copyright holders. 
  • This proactive approach eliminates the need to individually locate and prosecute every unauthorized importer, distributor, or retailer, safeguarding intellectual […]

UFLPA DHS Forced Labor Guidance – What Importers Need to Know

On June 17,  2022, DHS published its long-awaited strategy guidance document which shed light on how UFLPA will be implemented, and what evidence may be provided to rebut the presumption that the goods were made with forced labor. This article provides an overview of the type of evidence importers should have readily available when importing goods into the United States. For general guidance on preventing the importation of goods produced with forced labor and how importers should audit their supply chain to ensure non-use of forced labor, please refer to our Bloomberg Law article, “U.S. Customs Targets Use of Forced Labor”.

UFLPA

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) establishes a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Province of China or by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List are prohibited from importation into the United States under 19 U.S.C. § 1307. However, if an Importer of Record can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the goods in question were not produced wholly or in part by forced labor, fully respond to all CBP requests for information about goods under CBP review and demonstrate that it has fully complied with the guidance outlined in this strategy, the Commissioner of CBP may grant an exception to the presumption.

Clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard of proof than a preponderance of the evidence, and generally means that a claim or […]

2021: A Year in Review

From all of us at Diaz Trade Law, we are incredibly thankful and grateful for your support this year. Despite this ongoing pandemic, Diaz Trade Law still managed to save our clients MILLIONS of dollars in 2021. It is with great joy that we finish off 2021 filled with numerous achievements and accomplishments were humbled to share with you. We look forward to assisting you in what we envision will be a better and brighter 2022!

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Customs and Trade Law Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:

CBP 

  • In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP at the LA/Long Beach Seaport seized More Than $760 Million in Counterfeit and Prohibited Products, a 652% increase over the previous year.
  • CBP issues guidance regarding the extension of product exclusions from additional Section 301 China duties on certain medical-care products to address COVID-19.
  • With changes to the HTSUS classification systems possibly coming as early as January 1, 2021, U.S. importers should review their classifications and ensure compliance with U.S. regulations

BIS

China

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