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

 Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  

  • CBP releases November 2023 monthly update, highlights: 
    • Identified estimated duties of nearly $6 billion to be collected by the U.S. government 
    • Stopped 331 shipments valued at more than $125 million for further examination based on the suspected use of forced labor. 
    • Seized 1,607 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $118 million if the items had been genuine. 
  • CBP updates seafood import restrictions 
    • In support of the Executive Order and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control determination, CBP will now require importers to provide self-certification that fish, seafood, and seafood containing products imported into the United States do not contain any inputs originating from the Russian Federation.  
  • Recent ruling further defines “Customs Business” 
    • A recent ruling analyzed whether certain functions performed in preparation for filing an entry with CBP arise to the level of “Customs Business” that must be performed by a licensed broker.  
    • The ruling states that allowing an unlicensed company to extract and key in entry-related data elements constitutes impermissible Customs Business. 
  • CBP released the Periodic Monthly Statement (PMS) dates for 2024 during which customs brokers can pay duties for shipments entered or released during the previous calendar month. Available here. 
  • CBP Dallas Discovers Harmful Stinkbug 
    • CBP agriculture specialists at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport intercepted a shipment of fresh herbs that contained a live pest later identified as Euschistus rugifer – a particular kind of stinkbug that is extremely destructive to plants. 

 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

  • The FDA issued warning letters to three online retailers for selling and/or distributing unauthorized e-cigarettes that imitate packaging for bottles of alcohol.  

 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

  • The EPA is deploying the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) code to CBP’s production environment on Jan. 13.  
    • The EPA HFC flags (EH1, EH2) will be enforced with a reject severity following the deployment. 
    • A new EPA Tip Sheet is available to assist customs brokers with the HFC Message Set.  

 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

  • APHIS imposes new requirements on Canadian imports of certain plants 
    • APHIS has amended entry requirements for the importation of certain plants for planting from Canada to prevent introduction of box tree moth into the U.S. APHIS is taking this action in response to the detection of BTM at a nursery in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and subsequent detections in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. 

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) 

  • The USITC voted to institute an investigation of certain passive optical network equipment. 
    • The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Optimum Communications Services, Inc., of Jersey City, NJ, that alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain passive optical network equipment that infringe complainant’s patents. 

United States Trade Representative (USTR) 

  • USTR announced the further extension through May 31, 2024, of the reinstated and COVID-related exclusions in the China Section 301 Investigation.  
    • The exclusions were previously scheduled to expire on December 31, 2023.  USTR announced the opening of a docket for public comments on existing exclusions on January 22, 2024.   
    • The extension will enable the orderly review of the exclusions consistent with statutory factors and objectives to identify in which cases additional time would enable shifts in sourcing to the United States or third countries. 
  • USTR is providing notice of a reallocation of the fiscal year (FY) 2024 in-quota quantity of the World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for imported raw cane sugar. 

U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  

  • OFAC announced a $466,200 settlement with Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE). PURE agreed to settle its potential civil liability for 39 apparent violations of OFAC’s Ukraine-/Russia-Related sanctions. 

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