What Do Importers Need to Know About Assists?

Image via gumboots.ca

Image via gumboots.ca

When we’re talking about assists, we’re not talking about an assist in basketball.  Rather, for importers, assists are important to understand when valuing your merchandise.

As we all know, importers are responsible for exercising reasonable care in valuing imported merchandise and in providing the information and documentation necessary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to properly assess the duty and to determine whether any other applicable legal requirements are met.   Continue reading

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Happy Holidays from Import Trade Law

Image via 38thdems.org

Image via 38thdems.org

Happy Happy Holidays!  Wishing everyone all the very best this holiday season.  See you in the new year!

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Is Santa Subject to the Entry Process?


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As Santa prepares his sleigh for his whirlwind cruise around the world to all the good little boys and girls, does Santa have to clear Customs every time he enters that bag of toys into the commerce of the United States?  Nearly all merchandise imported into the U.S. undergoes the entry process, unless specifically excepted (for example, a Santa Clause).  If you aren’t Santa what is the entry process like?   Continue reading

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Expanding 21st Century Global Partnerships

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) opened its twelfth annual East Coast Trade Symposium today in Washington D.C.  Originally scheduled to take place last month, Hurricane Sandy blew the event right off of the October calendar and into November.  The annual meeting is a two-day symposium that presents panel discussions with members from the trade community, CBP personnel and representatives from other governmental agencies.  The panels address a broad range of topics from global supply chain security to the role of the broker to the various programs implemented by CBP.

Today, CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar announced the expansion of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE); creating six new centers in 2013.  If you recall, in May we discussed these Centers of Excellence and Expertise in “`Tailor-Made Trade':  Centers of Excellence and Expertise“.  The six new CEEs to be established in FY 2013 are:

  • Agriculture & Prepared Products:  Miami, FL
  • Apparel, Footwear & Textiles:  San Francisco, CA
  • Base Metals:  Chicago, IL
  • Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising:  Atlanta, GA
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Materials:  Buffalo, NY
  • Machinery:  Laredo, TX

Currently, CBP has established CEEs in:

  • Electronics:  Long Beach, CA
  • Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals:  New York, NY
  • Automotive & Aerospace:  Detroit, MI
  • Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals:  Houston, TX

The CEEs were developed to address the issues of specified industries and to provide a single point of contact for questions and/or concerns related to that industry.  The CEEs would empower CBP and would allow the agency to “effectively partner with industry to facilitate international trade through U.S. ports of entry.”  It is expected that the CEEs will lower the cost of doing business for the trade, provide greater consistency and predictability, enhance CBP’s enforcement efforts and serve as a resource to the broader trade community and CBP’s agency partners.

Posted in Customs, Informed Compliance, Trade | Tagged | 1 Comment

Customs’ Priority Trade Issues

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The world is getting smaller and, if we aren’t already, we are quickly becoming a global economy that is inclusive of all the world’s countries and their national economies.  Domestic producers can participate in the international scene and consumers are free to choose between purchasing a local or an imported product.  And, as our global economy continues to grow, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) underscores its dual mission of securing the Nation’s borders while facilitating legitimate trade.  As part of this dual mission, the CBP has prioritized what trade issues the agency should closely look at “using a strategically layered risk management approach based on the potential impact of noncompliance.”  What are the priority trade issues?  How have these priority trade issues been selected?    Continue reading

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Update: California’s Proposition 37

Most of the dust from last week’s election has settled, but some states are still awaiting their results as  thousands of provisional ballots remain to be counted.  And, if you recall, Import Trade Law posted about California’s Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of all food products containing genetically modified organisms within two years. Proposition 37 was defeated, but IF it had passed, California would have been the first state to require such labeling on all foods containing genetically modified ingredients.  See A Full Plate for Food Manufacturers and Importers:  California’s Proposition 37.  But, the fight isn’t over quite yet.  Continue reading

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CBP Implements Interim Procedures

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With the northeast region still recovering from Superstorm Sandy and a Nor’easter threatening to undo the repairs that have been made in these past few days, CBP has been scrambling to implement interim measures in an effort to alleviate continued interruption of cargo and release services at the ports of New York and Newark.   Continue reading

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A Full Plate for Food Manufacturers and Importers: California’s Proposition 37

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So, the joke goes:  Three tomatoes were walking down the street; Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato.  Baby Tomato starts lagging behind.  Papa Tomato gets really angry and goes back and  squishes him and says, “Ketchup!”

Why the bad joke?  It brings to mind the story of the tomato.  Specifically, the Flavr Savr tomato–the world’s first commercially-available genetically modified whole food.  And, why do we care about the Flavr Savr tomato?

We care because of California’s Proposition 37 or the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”.   Continue reading

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Back to Basics: Incoterms® 2010 Rules

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When people or companies engage in transactions, there are usually risks involved for all parties involved.  When engaging in international commercial transactions, those risks can be managed when you have clear terms by which all parties operate.  In January 2011, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) published an updated and revised version of the International Commercial Terms, which we know as the Incoterms® rules.  The Incoterms® rules are pre-defined, internationally accepted, commercial terms used in international commercial transactions to convey the obligations, costs and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods.  These rules define the responsibilities of exporters and importers in the arrangement of shipments and the transfer of liability involved at various stages of the transactions.

These rules are important in international commercial transactions because they provide for a consistent understanding and application of the commercial terms, which reduces the likelihood of misinterpretations of the rules from different countries.  In short, the Incoterms® 2010 rules play an important part of the daily language of trade.  With the publication of the Incoterms® 2010 rules, what has changed?

Continue reading

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I’ll Drink to That!: Napa Valley’s New Legal Status

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Just the other day, I heard an interesting story on KQED Public Radio about Northern California’s very own Napa Valley.  Napa Valley” Label Gets Legal Status in China.  Napa Valley, as we all know, is one of the famous wine-producing regions in the world.  Napa Valley vintners sell their products around the globe and China is one country where business is booming  About one-fourth of Napa’s wineries are doing business in China.  In fact, business in China is booming!  It was reported that Napa’s wineries did $31.5 million in 2010 and $55.5 million in 2011.  So, what’s the problem?  Counterfeiting!   Continue reading

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