April 18 Deadline for GSP Duty Refund Claims
Sandler Travis & Rosenberg PA / www.strtrade.com
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced an April 18, 2012, deadline for filing claims for refunds of duties paid on Generalized System of Preferences-eligible merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption during the period Jan. 1 through Nov. 4, 2011.
GSP expired Jan. 1, 2011, but was retroactively renewed effective Nov. 4. CBP has begun processing refunds for entries filed via the Automated Broker Interface with the special program indicator “A” for duties deposited on GSP-eligible goods during the period Jan. 1 through Nov. 4. For entries filed with the SPI “A” that have reached their liquidation date, CBP will reliquidate with the retroactive GSP benefits.
CBP adds that claims for retroactive GSP benefits on non-ABI entries or entries filed without the SPI “A” must be filed by April 18, 2012, and should be filed at the port where the goods were entered. CBP recommends that importers monitor refunds to ensure their receipt of applicable duties because claims for retroactive GSP refunds do not have a separate 180-day protest period in addition to the time period specified in H.R. 2832, the GSP renewal law.
CBP Selects Brokers to Participate in Simplified Entry Pilot
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov
Washington — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has selected nine brokers to participate in its pilot test of simplified entry for air cargo. The pilot, jointly created by CBP and the trade, is designed to test the Automated Commercial Environment entry capability.
ACE is the commercial trade processing system being developed by CBP to facilitate trade while strengthening border security.
"This is a real win-win," says Allen Gina, assistant commissioner for CBP’s Office of International Trade. "The pilot will enhance national security because CBP can identify and address potential risks earlier in the process, and cargo will be expedited because the importers have more time to resolve potential problems before the goods arrive in the U.S."
The pilot participants are A.N. Deringer, Inc., Expeditors, FedEx Trade Networks, FH Kaysing, Janel Group of New York, Kuehne + Nagel Inc., Livingston International, Page & Jones, Inc., and UPS.
Pilot participants will submit a reduced amount of information—12 required and three optional data elements—prior to the arrival of the merchandise for transporting the cargo to the U.S. The simplified entry can be filed much earlier in the import process, allowing an expanded window of opportunity to identify potential risks earlier. It will also allow pilot participants to update entry information, providing CBP more accurate data and enhancing cargo security.
The pilot eliminates the current entry, CBP Form 3461, replacing it with a streamlined set of data. This simplifies the merchandise release process, and reduces transaction costs for the trade.
Pilot participants will file entries for their clients. Clients of the brokers selected include Nike, USA Inc., GE Energy, Chrysler Group LLC, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., Ford Motor Company, Boeing, and Lear Corporation.
CBP received 40 applications in response to its November 9 Federal Register notice announcing the pilot. For more information on simplified entry and ACE, please visit the following links.
( CBP to Pilot Simplified Entry in Air Mode of Transportation )
( Trade Outreach via Webinar )
( Federal Register Notices 2011 - GPO Access )
( ACE: Modernization Information Systems )
GSP Country Practice Petitions Remain Under Review
Sandler Travis & Rosenberg PA / www.strtrade.com
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is continuing to review petitions submitted as part of past Generalized System of Preferences annual reviews to modify the GSP status of certain beneficiary developing countries because of country practices. These petitions relate to concerns about internationally recognized worker rights and/or child labor in Bangladesh, Niger, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. USTR has set forth the following schedule for comments and a public hearing in these ongoing reviews.
• Jan. 10, 2012: Due date for submission of pre-hearing briefs and requests to appear at the GSP Subcommittee public hearing
• Jan. 24, 2012: Public hearing in Washington, D.C.
• Feb. 14, 2012: Due date for submission of post-hearing briefs and comments from the public
Older Rigs to Be Banned Permanently from Port
Clean Trucks Program will reach final milestone on Jan. 1
Port of Long Beach / www.polb.com
In a little over three years, the Port of Long Beach’s landmark Clean Trucks Program has helped clean up the busiest drayage truck fleet in the country and cut related air pollution by 90 percent.
On January 1, the program will ban permanently the last remaining older, more polluting trucks from Port terminals. The final ban will take 280 of the oldest container trucks off Port roads, and all 11,000 drayage trucks servicing the Port terminals will be 2007 or newer models. Another 800 older non-container trucks will be purged from the Port’s drayage registry and barred from doing business at the Port.
Although the final ban starts in the New Year, significant reduction in truck related pollution was reached long ago. Today, 98 percent of trucked container moves at the Port are done by rigs with 2007 or newer engines.
“We set an example for the entire industry,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Susan E. Anderson Wise. “We helped replace more than 10,000 pollution spewing trucks with newer, less polluting ones and the bottom line is that our communities can breathe better. Everyone at the Port can be proud of this accomplishment, and we are grateful to all our partners in the trucking industry and the environmental community who helped us get here.”
Under the Clean Trucks Program, Port of Long Beach terminals began barring older rigs on October 1, 2008. The first ban included trucks with 1988 or older engines. On January 1, 2010, the Port banned 1993 and older trucks. Trucks manufactured between 1994 and 2003 were allowed to continue doing business at the Port if they were equipped with exhaust filters that significantly cut their emissions. Neighboring Port of Los Angeles had the same bans under its Clean Truck Program.
CBP Partners with APEC in the Global Fight against Fake Medicines
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.org
Washington—In a continuing effort to combat the growing threat of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2011 partnered with customs agencies from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to target counterfeit pharmaceuticals in mail and express carrier shipments. This enforcement partnership dubbed Operation APEC resulted in enforcement actions against more than 1,200 shipments of illegal pharmaceuticals.
Operation APEC started in March and ran through November which included a 10 day enforcement operation at select express carrier and international mail facilities in June and July. CBP officers examined more than 3,000 shipments during the operation, and seized 441 shipments of illegal pharmaceuticals, of which 99 shipments were seized for intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement.
‘The trend in shipping patterns, for infringing merchandise, has shifted to international mail and express packages. In the past five years, we have seen these types of seizures increase by more than 80 percent,’ said Assistant Commissioner Allen Gina, CBP Office of International Trade. “Through international partnerships such as this one, we are able to combat the global threat of dangerous and counterfeit goods, including pharmaceuticals.”
The domestic value of the 99 shipments seized for IPR infringement was more than $191,000. If the trademarks had been genuine, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price would have been more than $231,000. The types of drugs CBP seized included weight loss supplements, erectile dysfunction drugs, and pain medications.
During the operation, APEC customs authorities took enforcement actions against more than 1,200 shipments in the Asia Pacific region.
The proposal for Operation APEC was presented by CBP at the March meeting of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures. The proposal to conduct a mutual enforcement operation garnered immediate support. The APEC economies that participated in this enforcement partnership were China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, and the U.S.
A final report on Operation APEC was finalized at the end of November and has resulted in the development of model practices that can guide customs authorities in combating fakes at international mail and express carrier facilities.
CBP’s 2011 Fiscal Year in Review
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.org
Washington — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released year-end data on fiscal year (FY) 2011 border enforcement and management efforts, highlighting trends that reflect the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing the border and facilitating legitimate trade and travel through targeted operations, enhanced partnerships and unprecedented deployment of personnel, technology and infrastructure along the border.
“In 2011, CBP made important contributions to our nation’s homeland security and economic vitality,” said CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin. “These numbers illustrate the investments made by CBP to improve border security, increase efficiencies and facilitate the flow of legal travel and trade through our nation’s borders and land ports of entry.”
U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions—a key indicator of illegal immigration—decreased to 340,252 in FY 2011, down 53 percent since FY 2008 and one fifth of what they were at their peak in FY 2000. Of these apprehensions, 87,334 people had a record in the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, a law enforcement database of individuals with criminal charges and convictions.
In FY 2011, CBP processed nearly $2.3 trillion in trade – a 14 percent increase over FY 2010 – and more than 340 million travelers and 24.3 million containers through our nation’s ports of entry. CBP officers conducted more than 24,800 seizures of violations of Intellectual Property Rights compared to nearly 20,000 in FY 2010.
CBP enrolled nearly 290,000 new travelers in the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs (Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST) designed to expedite screening for low-risk travelers and commerce through rigorous, recurrent background checks.
CBP officers and agents seized nearly five million pounds of narcotics, a 20 percent increase from FY 2010 and more than $126 million in undeclared currency.
At ports of entry, CBP officers arrested 8,195 people wanted for crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery. CBP officers also denied entry to more than 215,600 people attempting to enter the U.S. through an air, land or sea port of entry who were found inadmissible for immigration, customs, health, criminal or national security reasons. CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 1.6 million prohibited plant materials, meat, and animal byproducts and intercepted nearly 183,000 pests at ports of entry.
As a result of CBP pre-departure screening efforts overseas, more than 3,100 individuals who would be found inadmissible in the United States for national security, insufficient or fraudulent documents and other admissibility concerns, were denied boarding onto U.S. bound aircraft at foreign airports. CBP officers processed more than 15 million travelers at 15 pre-clearance locations in FY 2011.
Along the U.S. southwest border, a breakdown of CBP enforcement actions by state is below:
In Arizona, CBP created the Joint Field Command, an organizational realignment to integrate CBP’s border security, commercial enforcement, and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in the Arizona area of operations. As a result, CBP made significant gains in border security efforts, including an historic decline in apprehensions.
Under this administration, DHS has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border. CBP has more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol since 2004. In FY 2011, CBP increased the number of Border Patrol agents to 21,444, an increase of 886 agents from FY 2010, making our borders better staffed today than ever before. In addition, CBP employed 20,500 CBP officers in FY 2011 with additional officers expected to be on board by the end of the Calendar Year.
In FY 2011, CBP deployed additional technology assets, including mobile surveillance units, thermal imaging systems, and large-and small-scale non-intrusive inspection equipment, at the border. DHS unmanned aerial capabilities now cover the southwest border all the way from California to Texas – providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground. CBP’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems flew more than 4,400 hours in FY 2011, the most in the program’s history, and 75 percent more than in FY 2010. The UAS program contributed to the seizure of more than 7,600 pounds of narcotics and the apprehension of 467 individuals involved in illicit activities.
CBP’s P-3 aircraft also contributed to the national counter-narcotics effort, maintaining a strong presence within the smuggling transit zones. P-3 operations accounted for 62 percent of the Joint Inter Agency Task Force – South detections and resulted in the interception of 169 drug smuggling events throughout the Caribbean Sea, eastern Pacific Ocean and over Central America. As a result of these interceptions, eight aircraft, 55 vessels, and three self-propelled semi-submersible vehicles were seized or destroyed yielding a seizure or disruption of more than 150,000 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $1.89 billion.
During fiscal 2011, CBP also increased its collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and international partners to combat individuals and criminal organizations that pose a threat to communities on both sides of the border. In FY 2011, DHS awarded $54.8 million in Operation Stonegarden grant funding to support state and local law enforcement efforts in border communities.
In March, CBP opened the Operations Integration Center in Detroit—a first of its kind multi-agency communications center for CBP, DHS, and other federal, state, local, and Canadian law enforcement agencies on the northern border. The Operations Integration Center increases information sharing capabilities leading to seizures of drugs, money and illegal contraband along the US/Canadian border within the Detroit Sector area.
CBP also made updates to critical infrastructure and security technologies—opening Ready Lanes at 14 nationwide locations in FY 2011 bringing the total number of locations to 17 for travelers with Radio Frequency Identification technology-equipped documents that expedite entry into the U.S. CBP also approved more than 8.8 million Electronic System for Travel Authorizations for travelers to enter the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program countries.
For complete statistics on apprehensions in FY 2011, please see the following documents: ( U.S. Border Patrol Statistics )
Counterfeit Santa Lights Seized by CBP
$173K in Light Figurines Bore Counterfeit UL Marks
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.org
Los Angeles — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex seized 151 life-size decorative lights of Santa Claus, a snowman and a polar bear with electrical adaptors containing counterfeit Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) markings.
UL is an independent product safety certification organization that rigorously tests and evaluates products for potential risk of fire, shock, and personal injury. Products are not certified until they meet established standards.
Products bearing counterfeit UL certification marks have not undergone this rigorous testing and certification process, and can present potential safety hazards to the end-user.
The holiday figurines were seized on Nov. 23 and 25. CBP officers discovered the infringing merchandise in two shipments arriving from China. The estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the 151 units is $173,000 with an estimated domestic value of $110,000.
These potentially dangerous holiday lights were identified by the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center in Washington, D.C., as part of a joint national operation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Enforcing product safety laws is a top priority for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. By seizing untested and potentially hazardous products at our nation’s largest seaport, CBP officers not only protect the American consumer but contribute to a safe holiday season,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles.
In fiscal year 2010, electrical articles presenting potential safety or security risks, with an estimated domestic value of $7.9 million, represented 19 percent of all commodities seized by CBP.