Saturday, December 28, 2013

10 Predictions in 2014 for United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

My annual prediction list for CBP for the coming year includes:

1. President Obama will nominate and the Senate will confirm a new, permanent Commissioner;

2. CBP's annual budget will increase to continue its pattern ever since being created as an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003;

3. The "do nothing" United States Congress will finally pass the Customs Reform bill providing more emphasis to CBP's traditional international trade enforcement mission;

4. There will be a record number of importer audits by CBP's own Office of Regulatory Audit focused on companies which attempt to avoid the payment of antidumping duties;

5. The continuation of enforcement of intellectual property rights laws as a primary focus, especially the examination and seizure of counterfeit merchandise attempting to enter the United States;

6. CBP locating more officers overseas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates, and continuing its narcotics enforcement activities in foreign countries with its Air and Marine operations;

7. The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) will issue another critical report of CBP's cargo selectivity program;

8. A record number of licensed customs brokers getting counseled by CBP Broker Management officers at ports around the country, and being assessed penalties for "failure to supervise" among various other violations of 19 USC 1641 and 19 CFR Part 111;

9. The expansion of categories of companies that may apply for membership in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and better, practical benefits for members, especially at Tier 2 and 3 levels; and

10. A significant increase in annual pay for CBP employees rather than none or insultingly low increases that have occurred the past few years during the "Great Recession".

Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Ave.
16th Floor
Miami, Florida 33312

office (305) 416-6960
mobile (954) 270-1864

email Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com
www.GrayRobinson.com

Please provide your comments on this Blog post by clicking below.

For any questions on import, export, customs, or international trade compliance or enforcement generally, feel free to contact me.

To all my friends, colleagues, co-workers, CBP employees, and clients, let's have a great New Year in 2014!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FDA Florida District Director Emma Singleton Retiring January 3, 2014

After 40 years with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ms. Emma Singleton, Director, Florida District, is retiring. Ms. Singleton began her career in 1973 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a Lab Technician. With other, increasingly responsible positions in Atlanta and Denver, Ms. Singleton began as the FDA's Florida District Director in June 2000.

For those persons who have known and worked with this caring, dedicated, and always professional, public servant, her contact information is:

Emma R. Singleton
District Director - Florida District
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
555 Winderley Place
Suite 200
Maitland, FL 32751
emma.singleton@fda.hhs.gov

On behalf of the international trade community, I wish Ms. Singleton well. Emma, enjoy your time volunteering, travel, and spending time with your family.

If you desire to comment on Ms. Singleton's service, please feel free to do so in the section below.

Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Ave.
16th Floor
Miami, FL 33131
office (305) 416-6960
mobile (954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Seizure of Motor Vehicles and Bank Accounts by U.S. Secret Service, DEA, and Homeland Security: A New Twist

In my prior post on this topic related to the seizure of motor vehicles by Federal law enforcement agencies alleging wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, there have been 2 new significant developments.

First, the Government is not not only seizing vehicles which were purchased from dealerships for export to foreign countries, but now seizing bank accounts related to those alleged illegal activities.  Fortunately, this attorney has extensive experience in challenging the Government in civil forfeiture cases from California to New York to Florida, and getting the bank account funds returned.  What is interesting to note is that the Government, through the U.S. Attorney's Offices, has not yet seized bank account funds by a Seizure Warrant through the criminal process, but only through the civil forfeiture process.  Perhaps the attorneys at the U.S. Attorney's Offices, and not the Special Agents for the law enforcement agencies, see a potential weakness in seizing such funds from bank accounts connected with the purchase and intended export of motor vehicles.

Second, the latest development is that the auto dealerships are now first terminating, then suing their former salesperson employees who were selling the motor vehicles to purchasers when the salesperson knew or should have known that the vehicles were either purchased by a 'straw buyer' or were going to be exported from the United States. Auto dealerships have contracts with auto manufacturers (BMW, Land Rover, VW, etc.) not to sell cars for export in order for the auto manufacturers to protect the territory for their overseas dealers, especially in China.

It is hard to believe that that the dealerships did not encourage, or at least consent, to the sale of vehicles to all types of people, including 'straw buyers'.  The dealers, under pressure from the auto manufacturers and Federal law enforcement agencies, are attempting to maintain a charade, a farce that the dealerships were not knowingly selling motor vehicles for export.  Hopefully, those car salespersons who were unfairly terminated will countersue the dealerships for improper terminations, and seek back pay and other monetary damages.

Please provide comments on this Blog post below. Please call or email me directly with any questions regarding this topic generally.

Peter Quinter, Partner in Charge
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
office (305) 416-6960
mobile (954) 270-1864
e-mail peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com

Friday, November 1, 2013

U.S. Customs Fines, Penalties, and Seizures

On Wednesday, November 6, from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time, on behalf of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), Mr. Peter Quinter is presenting a webinar on the topic of CBP FINES, PENALTIES FORFEITURES AND LIQUIDATED DAMAGES CLAIMS.

To register or learn more about the webinar, please click on the Educational Institute webinars section of the NCBFAA website or Registration

The webinar is for importers, exporters, freight forwarders, customs brokers, air and ocean carriers, and any company that has a bond with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The webinar will focus on:
1. Seizures

2. Penalties

3. Fines

4. Liquidated damages claims, especially failure to redeliver food in violation of FDA instructions

5. Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures administrative processing of cases

6. Offers in compromise

7. AES/SED export violations

8. Administrative processing of cases at CBP Headquarters

Mr. Quinter was listed in the "The Best Lawyers in America" for the past several years, and was selected for the prestigious 2012 Chambers USA directory of lawyers in the area of Customs Law.

Mr. Quinter will discuss during the webinar real life examples of cases such as successfully getting $1 million in gold released from by CBP, getting seized currency returned to the owners, and getting claims cancelled in situations involving a demand for redelivery of food for FDA examination.

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

United States Secret Service Seizures of Motor Vehicles Using a 'Straw Buyer"

The United States Secret Service (USSS), along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have been seizing motor vehicles for alleged violations of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, customs fraud, and export requirements. The seizures are either made as part of a Court ordered Search or Seizure Warrant or administratively by CBP when the vehicles are presented to CBP as required prior to export. In essence, the Government has generally alleged that either the named buyer of the vehicle from the dealership is not the true owner, or the vehicle is being falsely declared to CBP as a "new" vehicle when it is really a "used" vehicle.

Persons and companies should be aware of these investigations and actions by Federal law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, New Hampshire, and other locations.

CBP has issued Rulings regarding the requirements for exporting a motor vehicle. See CBP Headquarters Ruling Number HQ H235018 dated February 20, 2013, HQ H228766 dated October 2, 2012,and HQ H204515 dated May 2, 2012. All of these may be found on the CBP website at www.CBP.gov.

A number of attorneys around the United States represent owners of the seized vehicles, and are challenging the Government's actions in numerous Federal courts. It remains to be seen whether the Government's actions will ultimately succeed in forfeiting the vehicles, and related bank accounts, or whether the vehicles and funds in the bank accounts will be returned to their owners. What is certainly true is that the Government is spending a lot of time and money interviewing hundreds of potential witnesses and defendants. Persons such as buyers, exporters, and freight forwarders, who have been approached to be interviewed by Special Agents from USSS, FBI, or HSI are cautioned always to get legal counsel. What is also certainly true is that the actions by the United States Government law enforcement officials are disrupting what for years were considered legitimate business transactions. The obvious result of the Government's recent enforcement activities is that instead of auto dealers in the United States selling cars to be exported to places such as China, the vehicles will instead be shipped to places like China and sold through a dealership there. For all the foreign made vehicles that never touch the United States, for which the auto dealers in the United States never get to sell, and the sales tax is never collected by the State in which the car is sold, it is hard to see a public benefit from the Government's recent activities.

For any questions or comments on this blog post, or questions regarding the rights of owners of seized vehicles or bank accounts, please contact me.

Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law GroupGrayRobinson law firm

Direct Office Phone (305) 416-6960
Mobile Phone (954) 270-1864
peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Successfully Petition FDA to Remove a Company from an FDA Import Alert List

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the responsibility to stop any adulterated or mislabeled food products from entering the United States. Foreign companies which have attempted to ship to the United States such contaminated products not in compliance with FDA'a laws and regulations are often put on a Import Alert list. Many companies located as close as Mexico and Canada and as far away as China and Australia are on Import Alert lists because of the use of illegal pesticides or other contaminants. Any future shipments of the same product from the same foreign company will be detained without physical examination (DWPE), and not allowed to proceed into the commerce of the United States. To get off any particular Import Alert list, such companies with this problem must prepare and submit a persuasive petition to FDA's Division of Import Operations(DIO)that the problem has been permanently remedied.

Petitions to the DIO of FDA in Rockville, Maryland for the removal of a company from an Import Alert list are usually done through an attorney.

The FDA website has helpful information, especially in its Regulatory Procedures Manual, which provides some guidance on "Removal from Detention Withouth Physical Examination". The important points to keep in mind and help avoid potential delays in the review of a petition is by ensuring the following information has been provided:

1. The following documents should be submitted for each entry you supplied in support of your petition:

US Customs Form 3461 or US Customs Form 7501
Commercial Invoice
Packing List
Bill of Lading

2. In order for FDA to consider removing a firm and/or product from detention without physical examination, FDA must have evidence which establishes the conditions that gave rise to the apparent violation have been resolved and which gives FDA confidence that future entries will be in compliance with the Act. Therefore, it is expected you will submit information outlining the steps that have been taken to prevent violations in future shipments.

3. Individual Import Alerts may also have specific information regarding removal from detention without physical examination. You should review the import alert specific to your request, and ensure any and all documentation called for has been submitted.
Often, not only must documentation from at least five (5) consecutive, commercial sized shipments be provided to the FDA, but also documentation from the manufacturer or supplier of the product shipped to the United States which explains that the source of contamination or other adulteration has been eliminated.

Peter Quinter*, Shareholder
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson law firm
Miami, Florida
Direct: (305) 416-6960
Mobile: (954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com

*Mr. Quinter has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of FDA Law 2009-2013.

For any questions or comments about this Blog post or related import FDA matters, please write below.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Want a Good Deal at a U.S. Department of Treasury Auction?

When U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other Federal agencies seize and forfeit merchandise (boats, cars, planes, jewelry, etc.,), it almost always gets auctioned. Buyers can get some great deals. Of course, remember Buyer Beware in that you don't get to test what you buy in advance.



U.S. Department of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury October Auction Update
10/07/2013
Upcoming Department of the Treasury Auctions
Online Vehicles:
Vehicles are located throughout the US and Puerto Rico. Featured vehicles include: 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, 1990 Nissan Skyline (Export only), 2013 Harley Davidson FLHX

1380914684_jmf8hqecia5zmdby_45_280
October 11th-15th General/Southwest Vehicles
October 11th-16th Scrap/Salvage Vehicles
Check back at www.ricklevin.com for updates and bidding instructions. Current vehicles are now posted. Previews start this week. Bidding opens on Friday!

General Property:
The next live general property auction will take place at the VSE Warehouse in Pompano Beach, Florida on October 23rd. The main preview will be on Tuesday, October 22nd from 9am-3pm. Details for offsite previews are listed on the vendor page.

IMAGE: CognacPHOTO: HandbagPHOTO: Watch

Aircraft and Vessels:
Please visit www.yachtauctions.com to view our current list of available vessels and aircraft. New items are added each week

Monday, October 7, 2013

FDA Cancels Educational Seminar about Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in Miami, Florida

It should be no surprise that because of the Federal Government's "shutdown", the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cancelled its planned October 10-11, 2013 educational seminars in Miami, Florida, about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The discussion between members of the international trade community in Florida who are interested in the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs and the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits is important before the Final Rules of FSMA go into effect. The scheduled October 22-23, 2013 public meetings in Long Beach, California, are also (for now) cancelled.

The Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) would establish requirements for importers to verify that their foreign suppliers are implementing the modern, prevention-oriented food safety practices called for by the FSMA. The Accreditation program is intended to strengthen the quality, objectivity, and transparency of foreign food safety audits on which many U.S. food companies and importers currently rely upon to help manage the safety of their global food supply chains.

Seems to me these are pretty important requirements to know about and share ideas.

The FDA website states:
With the closure of the U.S. federal government, we've been instructed to communicate to those registered for the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) public meeting on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)...that the meetings have been canceled.


For more information on FDA and U.S.Customs and Border Protection (CBP), please contact:
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, 16th Floor
Miami, Florida 33131
Direct: (305) 416-6960
Mobile (954) 270-1864
peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com

Sunday, September 29, 2013

U.S. Customs Attorney Peter Quinter to Speak at ACI's 2nd U.S. Customs Compliance Bootcamp

GrayRobinson law firm Shareholder Peter Quinter will present at the  prestigious American Conference Institute's second U.S. Customs Compliance Bootcamp on November 19 - 20, 2013  at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington D.C.

Mr. Quinter will teach "How to Successfully Resolve U.S. Customs and Border Protection Penalties and Investigations".  Mr. Quinter will be joined by Alan Cohen, a senior attorney in the Penalties Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Quinter will also teach Free Trade Agreement Success Stories – How to Maximize Duty Savings Under Colombia, DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic), and PTPA (Peru).  This seminar will provide an in-depth, practical course on how to comply with various free trade agreement requirements established by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • Learn the key requirements in claiming FTA programs (Colombia, DR-CAFTA, PTPA (Peru)), and avoid the most common mistakes importers make. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the primary Federal agency that U.S. importers interact with  when importing merchandise into the United States duty free. 
  • Learn to properly prepare, obtain, and submit to CBP the necessary Manufacturer's Affidavits and Certificates of Origin which document the origination of the foreign produced item.  
  • Learn to respond effectively to a CBP Form 28 (Request for Information) or a CBP Form 29 (Notice of Action). 




For more information on Customs compliance and various free trade agreements, please contact:
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, 16th Floor
Miami, Florida 33131
Direct: (305) 416-6960
Mobile (954) 270-1864
peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peter Quinter to Host Webinar on FDA Compliance

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, Shareholder Peter Quinter to host a  webniar with the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) titled FDA Compliance for Imported Food, Cosmetics and Dietary Supplements. The webinar will take place from 1:00 - 2:00 pm EST.

FDA Compliance for Imported Food, Cosmetics and Dietary Supplements The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to monitor imports. Imported food, cosmetics and dietary supplements are subject to examination by FDA and CBP at the time of entry. This webinar will walk importers through the standard FDA inspection, detention, notice of action, release and refusal process. Introductory presentation into labeling red flags which can lead to misbranding issues and compliance tips with lab testing to avoid adulteration issues and prolonged FDA detentions. This presentation will also discuss the necessary elements for submitting a request for removal from an FDA import alert list.


For more information on FDA compliance for imported food, cosmetics and dietary supplements, please contact:

Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131

Direct: 305-416-6960

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FDA Notice of Action for Detention of Imported Food Products and Electronic Submission of Private Lab Reports to FDA via ITACS

When imported cargo is detained by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminsitration (FDA), speed in responding to FDA's requests is crucial. The attorneys of GrayRobinson's Customs and International Trade Law Group understand the importance of responsiveness with FDA Notices of Action. Our goal is to have our clients' shipments released quickly.

Import Trade Auxiliary Communication Systems (ITACS) assists importers in responding to an FDA Notice of Action quickly, getting the FDA the lab testing they need to authroize release of the detained shipment.

It is the preference of the FDA for private laboratory analytical reports to be submitted in an electronic format for greater ease and speed of processing by FDA. The FDA’s ITACS “External Lab Analytical Package” document type provides users an additional means of submitting private laboratory analytical reports in an electronic format.

FDA has an automated process for the routing and review of private laboratory analytical reports which allows FDA to process private laboratory analytical reports submitted via electronic means more quickly than private laboratory analytical reports submitted in hard copy forms. In order to avoid potential delays, private laboratory analytical reports should be submitted electronically via ITACS.

All analyses conducted by private laboratories and the reports submitted for those analyses are expected to conform to the guidance found in FDA’s ORA Laboratory Manual, Volume III, Section 7, Private Laboratory Guidance. General instructions on how to use ITACS to submit documentation and information to the FDA is available online here.
For more information on how to effectively respond to an FDA Notice of Action to get your detained shipments released quickly, please contact:


Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131

Direct: 305-416-6960




Monday, August 12, 2013

FDA PUBLISHES 2014 MEDICAL DEVICE FEES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

On August 2, 2013, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff and Foreign Governments: FY 2014 Medical Device User Fee Small Business Qualification and Certification.
The Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA) require the payment of a user fee for most types of medical device applications. A business that is qualified and certified as a “small business” is eligible for a substantial reduction in most of these user fees. This guidance describes the process for how a business may request qualification and certification as a small business. A business that qualifies as a “small business” is eligible for a significant reduction in the fees.
The full PDF version of this FDA guidance is available here.
FDA's medical device fees increase to $3,313 at the start of the FDA's 2014 fiscal year. No small business reductions are available for this particular fee.
For more information on FDA's establishment registration requirements for medical device companies and how to qualify for reduced FDA fees in 2014, please contact:

Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131
Direct:  305-416-6960


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Homeland Security: If You Wanted More CBP, HSI, and TSA Officers, You Got It!

In the proposed Fiscal 2014 annual budget just passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee of the United States Senate on July 18, 2013,"Big Government" is going to get even bigger.  The United States Department of Homeland Security will get about $12.5 billion. Yes, that's Billion Dollars.

For those people screaming for more "border security" to stop illegal immigration into the United States, and to remove illegal aliens already in the United States, there is plenty to be happy about.  More and higher fences, more drones conducting surveillance, and more Border Patrol officers are  expected on the Southwest border with Mexico.

For those of us more interested in the commercial aspects of the Homeland Security Department funding bill, in summary, here is what I think is important:
  1. CBP's trusted traveler program (i.e. Global Entry) gets about $30 million, a huge increase. For readers of this Blog, you know I have been a long time and fervent supporter of CBP's Global Entry Program. Global Entry needs to be drastically expanded as it is currently extremely selective so that anyone with any kind of questionable background is eliminated.
    2.   More emphasis on commercial trade enforcement, particularly:
  • stopping counterfeit merchandise from entering the United States;
  • stopping transshipped or misclassified merchandise from entering the United States in order to attempt to evade the payment of antidumping and/or countervailing duties to CBP; and
  •  food and consumer good import safety.
From discussions on Capitol Hill, based on number of personnel and budget allocations, it appears to this author that the balance between "border security" and "trade facilitation" is still very much in favor of border security.

For any questions or comments on this post, please write me.

 
Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Ave., 16th Floor
Miami, FL 33131
office (305) 416-6960
mobile (954) 270-1864
Peter.Quinter@Gray-Robinson.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

U.S. Customs Seizures of Counterfeit Fashion Items



Well, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asks the very same questions. All the big designers register their trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The more sophisticated trademark owners then also record their trademarks with CBP. CBP officers protect recorded trademarks by preventing the importation of merchandise attempting to enter the United States which may be counterfeit or otherwise infringe on the trademark rights of the trademark owner. Commonly counterfeited trademark examples are UL, HP, Apple, Microsoft, Wi-Fi, SD, Bluetooth, and HDMI. Counterfeiting is a $600 billion international business.

Both trademarks and copyrights are recorded with CBP through the Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation online system. This system allows CBP to obtain information instantly which facilitates the seizure of fake goods. Customs officers investigate imports displaying the designer's marks, and verifies if they are genuine. The cargo arrives in the United States and is detained by CBP officers.  Often, the importer is asked to provide written licenses from the trademark owner authorizing the manufacture and importation of the items.  Often, a sample of the detained items is shipped to the trademark owner for careful examination. Once the trademark owner confirms that the item is counterfeit, CBP seizes it.

A formal letter from CBP's Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Office is eventually sent to the importer.The importer can then file a Petition with CBP requesting the release of the items. Sometimes, the importer decides to go to Court to get its merchandise released. The trademark owner is then much more involved in the process.

For more information on how to protect your designer marks or other trademarks using CBP, contact:


Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131

Direct:  305-416-6960

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE

I have been an international trade attorney for over twenty years.  In that time, I have represented a few thousand companies involved in the importation, exportation, and international transportation of merchandise.  I have seen respectful, efficient U.S. Government employees and the most uncaring bureaucrats, importers who care about the law and others who only care how to get around it, and customs brokers who always try to do the right thing and others who you wonder how they ever passed the broker exam and the background check. I have listed the 10 Most Common Misconceptions in International Trade.

I have actually heard intelligent people who are CEOs or General Counsels of their companies say the most surprising things to me over the years.

1.  It is ok to bring in up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars into the United States.

2.  Dietary supplements that are "all natural" are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and, therefore, can make all kinds of medical claims.

3.  The U.S. Government does not care about the value of cargo being exported from the United States because there are no duties, taxes or fees paid to the U.S. Government on exports.

4.  If an airlines passenger brings into the United States over $10,000 in cash, the passenger must pay a tax to U.S. Customs or the IRS.

5.  If an importer uses a customs broker to file an entry with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and some false information is provided to U.S. Customs, only the customs broker is liable to U.S. Customs, not the importer.

6.  No one gets hurt by importing, buying and selling counterfeit merchandise.

7.  If some food product is marked with "Made in America" it must be good, but if it is marked "Made in China" then it must be bad.

8.  If an imported item is marked "Made in Vietnam" or "Made in Malaysia" or "Made in America" then if really must have been manufactured or produced in the identified country, and no other.

9. Since it is illegal to sell military items to places such as North Korea and Iran, if a U.S. company ships those items to a friendly country such as Australia or England, and the buyer in those countries then re-export them to North Korea or Iran, the U.S. company has done nothing wrong.

10.  A product manufactured in India, transported to Mexico, and then imported into the United States from Mexico should enter duty free under NAFTA because Mexico and the United States are members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).



Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com
Direct: (305) 416-6960
Miami, Florida

Friday, May 31, 2013

Peter Quinter to Host CBP Seizures, Penalties and Liquidated Damages Webinar on June 4th

Peter Quinter will host "CBP Seizures, Penalties & Liquidated Damages: Getting Your Merchandise Back & Penalties Mitigated" webinar on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST. The webinar is hosted by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA). 

Every day, as part of its mission to ‘Facilitate Trade and Secure the Border,’ U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizes imported cargo and cargo attempted to be exported. CBP issues penalties to importers (and customs brokers), and assesses liquidated damages claims against importers for entry bond violations on a daily basis.  Eventually, an importer is likely to get a letter from the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office (FP&F) for a seizure, penalty, fine, or claim.  The importer or exporter will probably first contact its customs broker or freight forwarder for help. 

Every customs broker and freight forwarder should know what to say to the importer  or exporter to attempt to get the cargo released or to try to get the penalty and liquidated damages claim cancelled.

Attendees should leave this webinar knowing the crucial first steps that must be taken when these types of FP&F notices are received.  Everything from seizures of counterfeit merchandise to penalties for AES violations,  recordkeeping violations, false country of origin declarations, and undervaluation claims, to in-bond and warehouse bond violations will be discussed. At this webinar, you will learn how to assist an importer or exporter with detained or seized merchandise, or what to do when you or your customer get a penalty notice from the FP&F Office of CBP.


The deadline to register for this webinar is June 3, 2013. Click here to register for the Event.

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, May 20, 2013

Export Compliance Bootcamp, Tampa, Florida, May 29, 2013, For Exporters and Freight Forwarders


Export Attorney Peter Quinter to Present at the "Export Compliance Bootcamp" presented by the U.S. Commercial Service and the Florida District Export Council

  
When: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Where: the EpiCenter at St. Petersburg College, 13805 58th St. North, Room 1-453, Clearwater, Florida 33760


Who Should Attend:  All those involved in the export process including manufacturers, exporters, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, international trade consultants and bankers, etc.

Click Here for the Registration Form
Contact Rachel Kreissl of the U.S. Department of Commerce at 727-464-4166 or by email at Rachel.Kreissl@trade.gov for more information.

What's Covered?
- How to avoid shipping to denied parties,
- Whether your product needs an export license,
- How to apply for an export license,
- Which government agency has jurisdiction over export controls for your product,
- Export filing requirements (foreign trade regulations),
- The new Automated Export System (AES) requirements, 
- Export Administration Regulations (EAR),
- International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 
- Trade embargoes and sanction, and
- Voluntary Self Disclosures (VSDs).


The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S Department of Commerce and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) of the U.S. Department of State investigate and assess penalties against exporters and freight forwarders for export violations.  Numerous Tampa Bay area companies have been criminally prosecuted for export violations.


 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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FDA's New eCopy Submission Requirement for 510(k) Medical Device Approvals

Effective January 1, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will only review a premarket submission if it has an electronic copy (eCopy) that has been validated by FDA's eCopy loading system. An eCopy is defined as an exact duplicate of the paper submission, created and submitted on a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD), or a flash drive.

This means that 510(k)'s and applications for Premarket Approval (PMA's) which are not submitted to FDA in both hard copy and eCopy format will be rejected. An eCopy is accompanied by a paper copy of the signed cover letter and the complete paper submission. The signed eCopy statement must say: THIS ECOPY IS AN EXACT DUPLICATE OF THE PAPER COPY.

Failure to submit these two additional items will delay the review, and, therefore, required approval, of your medical device with FDA. For detailed information on FDA's new eCopy program, read FDA's final guidance: eCopy Program for Medical Device Submissions - Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff

For more information on medical device compliance with the FDA, contact:



Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131

Direct:  305-416-6960



Friday, April 26, 2013

IS YOUR CONDOM COMPLIANCE SAFE?


Many of you may think of a condom as a way to avoid pregnancy, but to a customs and international trade attorney, men’s latex condoms are Class II “medical devices” regulated by the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are several compliance issues that arise when attempting to import condoms into the United States.


Attempting to import any medical device into the United States can be a complicated endeavor. Failure to handle these compliance matters ahead of time can lead to an FDA detention and potential FDA refusal of the shipment. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and FDA will  investigate several of these compliance requirements when your shipment arrives into the U.S., including:
  • Whether a 510(k) Premarket Notification was approved by FDA for the device;
  • Whether the importer of record filed Device Initial Importer Registration with FDA; and
  • Whether the foreign manufacturer filed the Device Facility Establishment Registration with FDA.
With these compliance matters, cheap becomes expensive very quickly. Regulatory compliance matters are better handled before any shipments are sent. For some information on the requirements for filing a 510(k) premarket notification with FDA for latex condoms, visit FDA's website, click here. For some information on the labeling requirements for men's latex condoms visit FDA's website, click here. For everything else you want to know about condoms, please contact one of the Customs and International Trade Law Group members at GrayRobinson.


Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131

Direct:  305-416-6960

Monday, April 8, 2013

TTB 2012 Annual Report Released

On March 22, 2013, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ("TTB") announced the release of the TTB 2012 Annual Report. TTB is the third largest tax collection agency in the U.S.Government, behind the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In 2012, TTB collected $23.4 billion in alcohol, tobacco, firearms and ammunition excise taxes—a decrease of less than a half of 1 percent compared to 2011. Prior to 2008, TTB and its predecessor—the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)—collected between $14 - $15 billion in excise taxes annually. Now, for the fourth consecutive year, TTB tax collections have exceeded $23 billion.




Collection of Excise Taxes
As an agent of the Federal Government and as authorized by 26 U.S.C., TTB collects excise taxes from alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition industries. TTB collected approximately $78 million less in excise taxes compared to the previous fiscal year. In 2011, TTB collected $23,457,049,000 in excise taxes. In 2012 a decrease to $23,378,944,000.

Fines, Penalties and Interest
TTB collected approximately $3.4 million less in fines, penalties and interest in 2012. In 2012, TTB collected $937,000 in fines, penalties and interest. However, in 2011, TTB collected an astounding $4,361,000 in fines, penalties and interest.

Prospectus for TTB
In forecasting tobacco revenues, Federal collections are expected to decline after peaking at $15.9 billion in 2010. Higher prices on tobacco products have historically resulted in decreased consumption and increased illicit trade, which combined would indicate declining tax revenues in the out years.

TTB efforts in enforcing both its civil and criminal tax jurisdiction support voluntary tax compliance and act to deter illicit trade, and TTB will continue to act to address the revenue threat posed by the diversion of alcohol and tobacco products to ensure the collection of the taxes due.



Peter Quinter, Esq.
Chair, Customs and International Trade Law Group
Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.
1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131
Direct:  305-416-6960

Thursday, February 21, 2013

TSA Compliance for Indirect Air Carriers



The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cargo security requirements for indirect air carriers (IACs) are again undergoing a dramatic change.  As international freight forwarders a/k/a indirect air carriers have noticed, there are increased visits by TSA personnel to warehouse facilities resulting in an increased number of violations and penalties against IACs.

The National Educational Institute (NEI) of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) is hosting a webinar entitled "TSA Compliance for IACs" on Thursday, February 28, 2013, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST. to discuss:
  1. How To Mitigate Penalties Assessed by TSA
  2. Transporation Security Regulations in 49 CFR   
  3. Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP)
  4. National Country Security Program (NSCP)
  5. Air Cargo Advanced Screening Program (ACAS)
 The Presenters will be Brandon Fried, Executive Director, AirForwarders Association, a Washington, D.C. based organization representing the air freight forwarding industry, and Peter Quinter, Shareholder and Chair of the Customs and International Trade Law Group at the law firm of GrayRobinson.  Mr. Quinter represents air carriers and IACs regarding TSA compliance and penalty matters.

Registration for the webinar is through the NEI by email at NEI@NCBFAA.org or (202) 466-0222. For more information about the webinar, click here.

For questions about TSA matters generally, please comment below or contact directly:

Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
GrayRobinson, P.A.
email: peter.quinter@gray-robinson.com
Phone (954) 270-1864
Miami, Florida