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Interim Import Statistics Highlight Goods that May Become Ineligible for GSP

Sandler Travis & Rosenberg PA /



The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has made available import statistics for the first nine months of 2011 that identify goods that could become ineligible for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences. Specifically, these interim statistics identify articles for which 2011 trade levels may exceed statutory competitive need limitations. USTR states that this information may be useful in deciding whether to submit a petition to waive the CNLs, and thus retain preferential treatment, for GSP-eligible articles from individual beneficiary developing countries. Such petitions are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT Dec. 16.

GSP provides for the duty-free importation of designated articles when imported from designated BDCs. When the president determines that a BDC has exported to the U.S. during a calendar year either (1) a quantity of a GSP-eligible article having a value in excess of the applicable amount for that year ($150 million for 2011) or (2) a quantity of a GSP-eligible article having a value equal to or greater than 50% of the value of total U.S. imports of the article from all countries, GSP duty-free treatment for that article from that BDC must be terminated by no later than July 1 of the next calendar year. However, the 50% CNL may be waived with respect to an eligible article imported from a BDC if the value of total imports of that article from all countries during the calendar year did not exceed the applicable de minimis amount for that year ($20.5 million for 2011).

The interim statistics show that the following products from the indicated BDCs may exceed the CNLs for 2011.

• edible products of animal origin from Indonesia (HTSUS 0410.00.00)

• pineapples, frozen, in water or containing added sweetening, from the Philippines (HTSUS 0811.90.50)

• prepared or preserved beef in airtight containers, other than corned beef, not containing cereals or vegetables, from Argentina (HTSUS 1602.50.20)

• single-cell micro-organisms, dead, excluding yeasts (but not including vaccines of heading 2003), from Brazil (HTSUS 2102.20.60)

• food preparations not elsewhere specified or included, not canned or frozen, from Thailand (HTSUS 2106.90.99)

• undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80% volume alcohol or higher, for beverage purposes (from Brazil (HTSUS 2207.10.30)

• disodium tetraborate (refined borax), except anhydrous, from Turkey (HTSUS 2840.19.00)

• triols and tetrols from India (HTSUS 2905.49.10)

• odoriferous or flavoring compounds of ether-phenols, ether-alcohol-phenols and their halogenated, sulfonated, nitrated, nitrosated derivatives, from Indonesia (HTSUS 2909.50.40)

• other acyclic monoamines and their derivatives from the Philippines (HTSUS 2921.19.60)

• amino-naphthols and amino-phenol, their ethers, esters, except those with more than one kind of oxygen function, and salts thereof, from Brazil (HTSUS 2922.41.00)

• “agarbatti” and other odoriferous preparations which operate by burning, to perfume or deodorize rooms or used during religious rites, from India (HTSUS 3307.41.00)

• seamless gloves of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, other than surgical or medical gloves, from Thailand (HTSUS 4015.19.10)

• whole upholstery leather of bovines (not buffalo) and equines, without hair on, prepared after tanning or crusting, not of heading 4114, from Brazil (HTSUS 4107.19.50)

• ferrosilicon containing by weight more than 55% but not more than 80% of silicon from Russia (HTSUS 7202.21.50)

• ferrosilicon manganese from Georgia (HTSUS 7202.30.00)

• calcium silicon ferroalloys from Argentina (HTSUS 7202.99.20)

• iron or steel (other than stainless), not cast, flanges for tubes/pipes, not forged or forged and machined, tooled and processed after forging, from India (HTSUS 7307.91.50)

• aluminum (other than alloy), unwrought, in coils, with uniform cross-section throughout length and with least cross-sectional dimension not over 9.5 mm, from Venezuela (HTSUS 7601.10.30)

• aluminum alloy, plates/sheets/strip, with thickness over 0.2mm, rectangular (including square), not clad, from Indonesia (HTSUS 7606.12.30)

• window or wall type air conditioning machines, split-system, from Thailand (HTSUS 8415.10.90)

• parts for air conditioning machines from Thailand (HTSUS 8415.90.80)

• taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, other than hand operated, from Turkey (HTSUS 8481.80.90)

• parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8701 and 8702-8705, brakes and servo-brakes and parts thereof, from India (HTSUS 8708.30.50 )

USTR notes that the above list may not include all articles that may be affected by the CNLs. Regardless of whether or not an article is included on this list, all determinations and decisions regarding application of the CNLs will be based on full calendar year 2011 import data for each GSP-eligible article.



Classification Rulings on Toys, A/C Units, Foods, Coffee Cups, Bolts, Pet Feeders, Drugs, Etc.

Sandler Travis & Rosenberg PA /



In the Nov. 30, 2011, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection proposed to revoke or modify the following classification rulings. Comments are due by Dec. 30.

Product: Toy money featuring a redeemable coupon on the reverse side.
Proposed action: Modification of NY C89928.
Current classification: HTSUS 49097.00.0000, stock, share or bond certificates and similar documents of title (duty-free).
Proposed classification: HTSUS 4911.99.80, other printed matter (duty-free).
Explanation: The toy money is marketed to a certain age group and is not intended to have the value or transferability of stocks, bonds or other commercial certificates. CBP has consistently held that printed coupons are classifiable under HTSUS 4911.99.

Product: Rooftop air conditioners for recreational vehicles.
Proposed action: Revocation of NY M87553.
Current classification: HTSUS 8415.82.0105, other self-contained air conditioning machines (2.2% duty).
Proposed classification: HTSUS 8415.20.00, air conditioning machines of a kind used for persons in motor vehicles (1.4% duty).
Explanation: RVs are used to transport and accommodate people and the principal purpose of the subject goods is to provide air conditioning in a compartment of an RV.

Product: Frozen baked crème brulee.
Proposed action: Revocation of NY K86702.
Current classification: HTSUS 1901.90.43, dairy preparations containing over 10% by weight of milk solids, described in Additional U.S. Note 10 to Chapter 4 and entered pursuant to its provisions (16% duty).
Proposed classification: HTSUS 1905.90.90, other bakers’ wares (4.5% duty).
Explanation: Although the dessert is cream-based, it is a food preparation excluded from Chapter 4. Instead it is classifiable as a bakers’ ware because it is commonly sold in bakeries alongside breads, cakes, cookies and pastries and can be baked or cooked on a stovetop.

Product: Porcelain travel coffee cups.
Proposed action: Revocation of NY N078995 and N087912.
Current classification: HTSUS 6911.10.8010, other porcelain tableware and kitchenware (20.8% duty).
Proposed classification: HTSUS 6911.10.41, porcelain tumblers (6.3% duty).
Explanation: The cup is a tumbler because it has a tapering cylindrical shape.

Product: Nickel bolt used to join components within the compressor shaft assembly of a turbine engine.
Proposed action: Revocation of NY N058237.
Current classification: HTSUS 8414.90.4175, other parts of other compressors (duty-free).
Proposed classification: HTSUS 7508.90.50, other articles of nickel (3% duty).
Explanation: The bolts at issue are similar in function to the iron or steel bolts covered by subheading 7318 and thus meet the definition of a “part of general use.”

Also in the Nov. 30, 2011, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, CBP revoked or modified the following classification rulings, effective Jan. 29, 2012.

Product: Distilled rose and orange blossom waters.
Action: Revocation of NY N058237.
New ruling: HQ W967898.
New classification: HTSUS 3301.90.5000, other aqueous distillates and aqueous solutions of essential oils (duty-free).

Product: Automatic pet feeders.
Action: Revocation of NY I80281, NY J83831 and NY K87024.
New ruling: HQ H113636.
New classification: HTSUS 8509.80.50, other electromechanical domestic appliances with self-contained electric motor (4.2% duty).

Product: Antibiotic drug azithromycin.
Action: Modification of NY C88143 and NY F86114.
New ruling: HQ H128140.
New classification: HTSUS 2941.90.50, other antibiotics (duty-free).

Product: Mechanical liquid dispensing systems.
Action: Revocation of NY N035872.
New ruling: HQ H103965.
New classification: HTSUS 8479.89.9899, other machines and mechanical appliances (2.5% duty).

Product: Steel furniture lifter.
Action: Modification of NY 853529.
New ruling: HQ H161860.
New classification: HTSUS 8428.90.01, other lifting machinery (duty-free).



CBP Issues Christmas Tree Tips for Travelers

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /



Great Falls, Mont.— With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that imported Christmas trees, branches, or wreaths are free from insects and pests tha.t could harm trees in America’s national forests and neighborhood backyards.

Pine species of Christmas trees, branches, or wreaths imported from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba into Idaho or Montana require certification from the grower that the tree was grown in an area of Canada where gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle are not known to occur. Species of fir, spruce, and Douglas fir only require certification the tree was grown in an area where gypsy moth is not known to occur.

Without the required certification holiday trees, branches, or wreaths may be prohibited and travelers would be required to return their tree or cuttings back to Canada.

Travelers may also bring holly or mistletoe cuttings that were grown in Canada as long as the cuttings do not have any berries.

All holiday trees, branches, wreaths, or cuttings may be inspected at the port of entry. Any tree or cutting that is found to be harboring harmful insects must be returned to Canada.

CBP encourages anyone wondering if they may import their Christmas tree to speak with a CBP agriculture specialist at (208) 267-5309 (Porthill, Idaho), (208) 267-3966 (Eastport, Idaho), (406) 889-3737 (Roosville, Mont.), (406) 335-2282 (Sweetgrass, Mont.), or (406) 895-2620 (Raymond, Mont.) for details. Importations of Christmas trees grown outside of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba are subject to additional regulations.



U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reminds Public Ponche Ingredients are Prohibited from Entry

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /



jpegSan Diego – Ponche, a traditional Mexican holiday punch, is shared and enjoyed among many families along the Southwest Border during holiday seasons. However, the ingredients used to make it, guavas, Hawthorn apples (tejocotes) and sugar cane, are all illegal when imported across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists are expecting an increase in the attempted importation of the prohibited ingredients through passenger ports of entry.

CBP is advising the public that the prohibited items pose significant pest risks. Tejocotes, and especially guavas, are hosts to exotic fruit flies. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, fruit flies are among the most destructive pests of fruits and vegetables around the world. Fruit flies spend their larval stages feeding and growing in over 400 host plants. Introduction of these pest species into the United States causes economic losses from destruction and spoiling of host commodities by larvae, costs associated with implementing control measures, and loss of market share due to restrictions on shipment of host commodities. Both guavas and tejocotes are prohibited under 7 CFR 319.56, and sugar cane, if imported freshly harvested, is prohibited under 7 CFR 319.15.

According to Chris Maston, the Director of Field Operations in San Diego, local border officials are expecting an increase in attempts to illegally bring the ponche ingredients across the border.

“I want to remind the public that these products are prohibited and failure to declare them could result in penalties,” he said. “Historically, we’ve seen an increased rate of interception of these items during the holiday season.”



Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises

Federal Trade Commission /



The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers' express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established.

"Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. "Facebook's innovation does not have to come at the expense of

consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not."

The FTC complaint lists a number of instances in which Facebook allegedly made promises that it did not keep:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users' installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users' personal data – data the apps didn't need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with "Friends Only." In fact, selecting "Friends Only" did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a "Verified Apps" program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn't.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn't.

The proposed settlement bars Facebook from making any further deceptive privacy claims, requires that the company get consumers' approval before it changes the way it shares their data, and requires that it obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years.

Specifically, under the proposed settlement, Facebook is:

  • barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers' personal information;
  • required to obtain consumers' affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences;
  • required to prevent anyone from accessing a user's material more than 30 days after the user has deleted his or her account;
  • required to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program designed to address privacy risks associated with the development and management of new and existing products and services, and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers' information; and
  • required, within 180 days, and every two years after that for the next 20 years, to obtain independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of the FTC order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers' information is protected.

The proposed order also contains standard record-keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance with its order.

Facebook's privacy practices were the subject of complaints filed with the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a coalition of consumer groups.

The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement package containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 4-0. The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through December 30, 2011 after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Interested parties can submit comments online or in paper form by following the instructions in the "Invitation To Comment" part of the "Supplementary Information" section. Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law. A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

2012 Federal Holidays

Monday January 2 New Year's Day (observed)
Monday January 16 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday February 20 Washington's Birthday
Monday May 28 Memorial Day
Wednesday July 4 Independence Day
Monday September 3 Labor Day
Monday October 8 Columbus Day
Monday November 12 Veteran's Day
Thursday November 22 Thanksgiving Day
Tuesday December 25 Christmas Day
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