By Susan Kohn Ross and Aaron Wais
On May 25, 2018, important European regulations regarding data privacy and protection go into effect that will have a major impact on American companies, many of whom don’t realize they will be subject to compliance with its requirements. The General Data Protection Regulations (the “GDPR”) will have severe penalties for non-compliance (as high as €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover). The GDPR will also have very broad territorial reach applying not only to European entities, but also to entities located outside of Europe (including those in the U.S.) that process the personal data of living European individuals residing in the covered countries, including if the company:
- Offers goods or services to individuals in the covered countries (e.g., e-commerce, capital raising, fund raising, immigration);
- Employs individuals in one or more of the countries;
- Monitors the behavior of individuals in any of these countries; and
- Collects, stores, or processes the personal data of affected individuals on behalf of others.
For these purposes, the European definition of personal data mirrors nicely the American definition of personally identifiable information. Given the severe penalties and broad reach, it is important that each company in the U.S. consider whether the GDPR applies to its operations and, if so, how best to comply. Continue reading “The GDPR is Coming – Are You Ready?”
By Susan Kohn Ross
In the span of the last 18 months, the topic of corporate compliance programs has gotten considerable attention from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and now finally, DOJ has published significant details about how it is likely to measure the sufficiency of any company’s compliance program.
First, some background. In September 2015, the Yates memo was published, see DOJ Sets Its Sights on Officers and Directors for more details. In short, then Deputy Attorney General Yates reminded the DOJ offices nationwide, if a corporation has violated the law, its level of cooperation will be measured, in large part, by whether it provides “all” the relevant details, which means did the company identify the individuals whose actions or inactions resulted in the violations under consideration, and provide supporting documentation to show what happened and how those individuals were involved. If the company did not do so, it does not get full credit under the Sentencing Guidelines. Continue reading “DOJ Defines Compliance”
By Susan Kohn Ross
In July 2016, the Houston Regulatory Audit office sent a letter to a number of large importers cautioning them to be sure their value declarations were correct, underscoring CBP’s position by pointing recipients to a long list of CBP informed compliance publications, and touting the advantages of correcting any errors by way of a prior disclosure.
Now we see Round 2. In early October 2016, the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center for Excellence and Expertise (“Center”) sent a letter to many fruit and vegetable importers asking more value questions. Specifically, the Center wanted to know:
- Was the importer purchasing his goods or receiving them on consignment?
- Are the parties related?
- From which suppliers is the importer purchasing?
- From which suppliers are the goods received on consignment?
- If on consignment, how are the goods being valued at time of entry?
- Is reconciliation filed? If not, what actions does the company take to determine if the actual cost of goods is more or less than the value declared at time of entry?
It is this last question that ties right into the revenue collection role of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Is CBP collecting the right amount at time of entry? If the value is too low at time of entry, it must be corrected. Similarly, if it is too high, it should also be corrected. Continue reading “Appraising Produce”
By Susan Kohn Ross
Part 1 – Value
This Alert is one in an occasional series of articles providing tips about various topics which arise routinely with import and export transactions. These tips are published with the intention to aid international traders in their ongoing efforts to get their declarations right the first time, and are based on situations we commonly see occurring. Whether it is reasonable care on the import side or not self-blinding on the export side, compliance is a key for many different reasons, including protecting your bottom line.
Given the ever increasing attention being paid by the U.S. government to compliance by companies of all sizes, and especially in light of the recent informed compliance letter sent out by CBP’s Regulatory Audit in Houston, TX, now is the time to review how to value goods correctly.
The same basic value code is used throughout the world, at least among all the World Customs Organization member countries, although most assess duty on the C.I.F. value of the imported goods, whereas the U.S. assesses duty on the F.O.B. cost of goods. While admittedly each country has its own interpretation and they vary a tad, the basics are: Continue reading “It’s All About Compliance”
By Susan Kohn Ross
Originally published by the Journal of Commerce in June 2015
This oft-stated warning is certainly true for those who engage in international trade. For many years, industry has complained to government about different agencies wanting different information at different times in the release process; some would take the data electronically, while others insisted on hard copies; the data elements were not identical; and, if filers have to input the data more than once, the likelihood of clerical errors rises. Well, all that comes to an end on November 1, 2015 when use of ACE becomes mandatory for all cargo release and entry summary filing. October 1, 2016 is the date by which use of ACE becomes mandatory for all remaining electronic portions of the CBP cargo process. What does this mean for importers and exporters? Continue reading “Be Careful What You Wish For!”