Monday, July 30, 2012

It is Time to Light Up Your Cigar This Thursday in Orlando


Peter Quinter, Esq.
The 80th Annual IPCPR Convention & International Trade Show is from August 2-6 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.  The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) event is the world's largest premium tobacco trade show, and it includes an educational component for its members and attendees.  This Thursday, August 2, from 2:15 p.m. -3:45 p.m., the topic is "U.S. Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) - What You Need to Know With Peter Quinter".    Specifically, the lecture will address:

1.  TTB Tax Audit Division audits of cigar companies,

2.  Payment of Federal Excise Tax (FET) to U.S. Customs,

3.  Proposed FDA Regulation of Cigars, and

4.  Counterfeit Cigars.

The full Trade Show agenda is available at the IPCPR website.

As those executives operating cigar companies know, the Department of the Treasury's Alohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has authority to regulate the entry and distribution of cigars in the United States, and the collection of Federal Excise Tax (FET).  The TTB's Audit Division was created in 2001 to verify that cigar companies are paying the correct amount of FET, especially when the taxes were significantly increased in 2009 with the implementation of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA).  The TTB Audit Division typically does on-site examination of documentation, including the Monthly Report - Tobacco Products or Processed Tobacco Importer (TTB Form 5220.6).



When you buy a "Cuban" cigar, you should know it is not from Cuba, especially since importing products from Cuba is illegal because of the U.S. embargo with Cuba.  Nevertheless, there are lots of counterfeit Cohiba and other brands being sold on-line and in the United States.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the U.S.Department of Homeland Security investigates and arrests people trying to evade the embargo by importing Cuban cigars, and even counterfeit cigar sales are prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 2320 (trafficking in counterfiet products).

For questions or comments about cigars, TTB or CBP, please contact me.

For any questions or comments regarding these topics, please contact:

Peter Quinter, Shareholder and Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue
Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131
Office: (305) 416-6960
Mobile: (954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com


Friday, July 13, 2012

I am Not Ashamed About the U.S. Olympic Team

Peter Quinter, Esq.
Perhaps you have already heard or seen the comments by political pundits and other commentators regarding the controversy about members of the U.S. Olympic Team wearing clothing that has "Made in China" labels. I want you to know that as a customs and international trade attorney, as someone who believes in free and fair trade, and as someone who has been to China several times, I have no problem with our Olympic athletes wearing clothes that were made in China...or Guatemala, or Brazil, or Indonesia, or Italy.  Sure, it would be nice to think that Ralph Lauren, the brand that provided the clothing to the Olympic athletes, should have obtained the clothing from a manufacturer in the United States.  Guess what, chances are, the fabric for those clothes, or the buttons, or the thread, would have come, in part, from China anyway.

Now, this may be very controversial, and many of you reading this may disagree with me. Ok, let's discuss this a little bit, but first, get naked. Yes, take your clothes off, or at least for the first time look at the labels of what you are buying and wearing.  I mean, look at the labels on the clothes, shoes, hangbags, wallets, etc. that you have with you right now. Surprise, chances are they do not display "Made in the USA" but were made outside the United States.  By the way, the TV or computer you are reading this on right now... yup again, probably Made in China or at least some components made in China.

Every customs lawyer knows that all merchandise entering the United States must prominently display, in English, the country of origin of the merchandise. See 19 U.S.C section 1304 and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations at 19 CFR Part 134.  I am in the business of identifying where things are made and how they should be labeled when entering the United States.  In customs lingo, we use the term "marked".

So, if you are absolutely horrified that our U.S. Olympic athletes are wearing something Made in China, before making any criticism, please take a hard look at yourself first. 'People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' is an old saying, and is still true.

Please provide your comments or questions below.

Peter Quinter, Shareholder
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
(954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com
http://www.gray-robinson.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunny and Safe - New Regulations for U.S. Sunscreen Labels

In June of 2011, the FDA issued a Final Rule on Labeling and Effectiveness Testing for Sunscreen Products. The FDA is requiring these changes to be implemented by December of 2012, after pushing back the original June 2012 due date.  The new Rule is aimed at protecting consumers from misleading information and ensuring greater uniformity across product lines and brands. It establishes standards for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products and require labeling that accurately reflects test results
For example, a most notable change is that the terms “waterproof”, “sweatproof” and “sunblock” may no longer be used on sunscreen labeling. Instead, FDA allows for only water resistant characterization with a qualification of either 40 or 80 minutes of water resistance per application featured prominently on the front label of the product display.

Similarly, for a sunscreen to use the term  “broad spectrum", a specific set of tests are required to back up the claim. Furthermore, only if sunscreen qualifies as "broad spectrum" and SPF of 15 or greater, may a manufacturer make a specifically designated statement regarding the products ability to diminish skin cancer and early skin aging risks.

The complex and extensive testing and labeling requirements for sunscreen products under the new Rule are imposed equally upon products manufactured in the U.S. as well as those imported into the U.S. from abroad. While the FDA has extended the deadline for compliance to December 2012, it is important to get started on making these changes right away with the assistance of a qualified professional to ensure compliance with these rules and requirements as well as the rapidly approaching deadline.

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Comments or questions, please post below or feel free to contact me directly.

For any questions or comments regarding these topics, please contact:

Peter Quinter, Shareholder and Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue
Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131
Office: (305) 416-6960
Mobile: (954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Show Me Your Papers" - Recent Updates to Arizona's Immigration Law

Glenn M. Cooper, Esq.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday June 25, 2012 delivered its decision on the Arizona immigration law.  The Court upheld the “show me your papers” provision of the Arizona immigration law requiring Arizona state law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the individual might be in the country illegally.  However, the court also decided that those same Arizona state law enforcement officers cannot detain or arrest anyone based solely on immigration violations.  Furthermore, the Court ruled that states cannot enact state laws making it a state crime for one to be in illegal immigration status (as such matters come under the jurisdiction of Federal authorities). 

The Court struck down the Arizona immigration law provision making it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek or hold jobs without proper documentation. The Court also struck down the Arizona immigration law provision making it a crime for immigrants to to fail to register with the federal government.  Additionally the Court took issue with state law enforcement officers detaining individuals for lack of immigration documentation.   

While states such as Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina that have already enacted their own state immigration laws may use the Supreme Court decision upholding the "show me your papers" provision to propel their state immigration laws which are themselves being litigated in various courts, the state of Florida seems inclined to stay on the sideline and not enact its own state immigration law given that the previous effort in Tallahassee failed and given the strong lobby of the pro-immigration community in Florida. 

On a separate yet related note, the Obama administration recently announced that it would not deport certain foreign students who are in the U.S.without lawful immigration status who were brought to the U.S. as young children and who have bright futures ahead of them as future graduates and professionals. 

Glenn Cooper is a partner in GrayRobinson's Miami and Fort Lauderdale offices whose practice focuses on immigration law.  He can be reached at glenn.cooper@gray-robinson.com.