U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Customs and Trade Law Weekly Snapshot

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

 

 

 

 

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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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Trading in Wildlife? You May Need a License

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”) is an international agreement that strives to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of those species. CITES was adopted by 80 countries in 1973. The text of the agreement provides for various measures to prevent the illicit trade in goods made of endangered species. Specifically, CITES imposes controls on all import, export, re-export, and introduction from the sea, of species covered by the agreement, to be authorized through a licensing system. The species that fall within the scope of CITES are listed and maintained in three appendices based on the degree of protection required.

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Essential Oils Company to Pay $760K for Lacey Act Violations

The Justice Department announced YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS, L.C., (the Company), headquartered in Lehi, Utah, plead guilty in federal court to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Despite the company voluntarily disclosing its violations and cooperating with government investigators, it entered into a plea agreement, and the Company was sentenced to a fine of $500,000, $135,000 in restitution, a community service payment of $125,000 for the conservation of protected species of plants used in essential oils, and a term of five years’ probation with special conditions. The conditions include the implementation of a corporate compliance plan, audits, and the publication of statements regarding its convictions.

“The importation of illegally harvested wood and timber products harms law-abiding American companies and workers and threatens forest resources around the world,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Our Division was proud to work alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Homeland Security to bring this case to a positive conclusion.”

“While the natural resource violations by certain employees of Young Living were intentional and substantial, the Company’s decision to conduct an internal investigation, voluntarily disclose the initial violations to government enforcement authorities, and cooperate throughout the ensuing investigation is to be […]

Caviar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for regulating and managing the export and sale of paddlefish roe (caviar).  To obtain a paddlefish roe export permit, an applicant must establish that it properly harvested the roe, and that its export would not undermine the survival of the species. But what happens when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had the application for months, and has taken no action on it?

Paddlefish are 1 of 3 types of egg-bearing (roe) species native to the United States that are allowed to be commercially exported for their eggs, which are processed into caviar.  For Leisure Caviar, a wholesale dealer of paddlefish roe, and Bemka Corporation, a buyer of paddlefish roe, they had applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service for export permits for 4,074 pounds of roe worth $500,000.  The Fish and Wildlife Service had taken no action on the applications which had been filed from between 7 to 12 months earlier.  The shelf life of paddlefish roe is only 12 months.

The applicant companies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Federal Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, seeking to get the Court to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review and grant the applications.  Instead, the Court dismissed the law suit.  The Court’s legal Opinion explained that the companies “had failed exhausted their administrative remedies, a prerequisite for bringing suit against the U.S. Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act…”  Moreover, upon appeal to a higher court, the appellate court stated:

The processing of […]

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