Written by Susan Kohn Ross A New Year typically brings hope, optimism, and a fresh outlook. Unfortunately, when it comes to our shipping ports, the current circumstances lack anything that one could call hopeful. And, it appears things have gone from bad to worse. There are lots of reasons for the current mess. And, just as it took a long time for things to get … Continue reading Is Your Cargo Congested? Try This!
On February 24, 2021, MSK Partner Susan Kohn Ross presented via live webinar on “Powers of Attorney for Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers.” Please enjoy a recording of this webinar and contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions pertaining to powers of attorney. Continue reading Powers of Attorney for Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers
Written by Susan Kohn Ross There are conflicting opinions as to when the deadline (called the statute of limitations) expires to file a complaint at the Court of International Trade and seek refunds on any China 301 List 3 duties which were paid. We know the statute of limitations is two years – but when does it start? Some argue the statute expired on Friday, … Continue reading China 301 Duty Refunds – What Is Next?
Written by Susan Kohn Ross For many months, the customs brokerage community has been expecting to see updates to the existing regulations. They finally came out in the Federal Register on June 5, 2020, see here. Comments are due on or before August 4, 2020. While much of what is in the proposed revisions is not controversial and fits nicely into CBP’s stated purpose to … Continue reading Customs Broker Regulations Update – What Was CBP Thinking?
Written by Susan Kohn Ross
In CSMS 42506108 issued on April 27, 2020, CBP updated its Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Protective Equipment exports. In it, CBP makes clear the Document Imaging System (DIS) sends a confirmation of receipt, as does AES. If the shipment is held for any reason and/or further action is needed, notice of that is most likely going to come through the carrier. In short, absent negative information, the export is ready to go.
When it comes to any Letter of Attestation (“Letter”), CBP has made clear these should be submitted through the DIS. The size limit for CBP is up to 10 MB. The email address is email@example.com. There are additional criteria to consider: Continue reading “PPE Exports: Ready to Go?”
Written by Susan Kohn Ross
The official Federal Register notice authorizing the duty payment deferral option has been published – please see here. The comment deadline expires on May 20, 2020.
We noted in our Alert below that CBP stated the decision about whether or not to defer payment of duty had to be made by 11:59 PM today. CBP has now clarified that is 11:59 PM Eastern Time, and the deadline refers to the April Periodic Monthly Statement.
Also, CBP is now saying if the 301 duty exclusion covers the entire entry, the entry is eligible for the duty payment deferral option.
Despite statements discounting the possibility, saner heads have prevailed and published late yesterday was an Executive Order issued permitting the Secretary of the Treasury to adjust the deadlines related to payment of duty. Executive Order re Duty Payment Deferral. On that basis, CBP announced a 90 day postponement of duty payment is possible. First, in CSMS 42423171, CBP made clear the option to postpone duty payment for 90 days exists for many entries filed in March and April 2020. However, if the entry involves antidumping duty, countervailing duty, and/or Section 201, 232 or 301 duties, duty payment deferral is not available. While not obvious from the publications available to date, if your goods are subject to a 301 tariff but you have an exclusion, CBP has verbally advised you are not eligible for duty payment deferral. Many more questions are likely and CBP is holding a second briefing with the trade community this morning. The first such briefing took place yesterday evening. During that briefing, CBP indicated the duty deferral decision had to be made before 11:59 p.m. tonight. This is understood to refer to duty payments due today, April 20, 2020. Make sure to consult with your customs broker, but do not be surprised if many are unsure about the application of this newly announced program, due to the timing of its rollout. Continue reading “CBP Authorizes Duty Payment Deferral”
Written by Susan Kohn Ross
The U.S. is working closely with Mexico and Canada to ensure North America has a coordinated approach to combating the pandemic caused by COVID-19, and mitigating any further spread. The United States and Canada have agreed to restrict travel at the land border to essential travel only (details regarding those travel restrictions can be found here and here). In a similar fashion, the United States and Mexico are finalizing an agreement that will facilitate only essential travel at the U.S. southern border. The three countries are maintaining cross-border activities that support health security, commerce, supply security, trade, and other essential activities, while taking prudent steps to protect citizens and to limit spread of the virus. The stated goal of these efforts is to help save lives. As such, these restrictions are in place indefinitely. Continue reading “North America, Bordered Up”
There are a bunch of other things going on when it comes to international trade, but the most concerning topic right now is the coronavirus or COVID-19. From a purely business continuity perspective, we are receiving lots of inquiries around the following question: “Can we get out of our contracts by invoking the force majeure clauses?” Such a clause allows parties to cancel contracts when events occur which are both beyond their control but also totally unexpected. A typical illustration would be an “Act of God.” First, make sure your contract includes a force majeure clause, because if not, that could present a significant uphill and costly battle. Given the widespread losses which are likely to result, it is reasonable to anticipate companies of any size will, so to speak, “stick to their guns” in trying to “spread the pain.”
Assuming such a clause is present in your contract, what does it say? An example of one recently presented includes among its examples: “… strikes, riots, floods, storms, earthquakes, fires, power failures, natural disasters, pandemics, insurrection, acts of God, or for any cause beyond the control of” the named party. Is that language sufficient to permit cancellation under the current circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak? Probably so, since it mentions pandemics and the World Health Organization has labeled the outbreak as such, but would this language have been broad enough to cover the situation a month ago? Maybe not. Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Trade Community”
On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order 13904 (“EO”) entitled “Ensuring Safe & Lawful E-Commerce for U.S. Consumers, Businesses, Government Supply Chains, and Intellectual Property Rights.” It begins by stating that e-commerce is “being exploited by traffickers to introduce contraband into the United States, and by foreign exporters and United States importers to avoid applicable customs duties, taxes and fees.” The types of malfeasance cited are counterfeit goods, narcotics (specifically synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl), and other contraband, plus, of course, protection of the revenue. The focus of the EO is on express consignment operators, carriers, hub facilities, international posts, customs brokers and e-commerce platform operations (the “Regulated Parties”). Anyone who participates in the “introduction or attempted introduction” of parcels containing contraband can be held accountable with accountability taking the form of both civil and criminal consequences, as appropriate. The EO goes on to state that CBP’s suspension and debarment procedure will form the framework through which these actions will be carried out. Suspension and debarment apply in the context of doing business with the government, such as government contracts, subcontracts, grants, loans and other assistance programs.
China and the U.S. signed the so-called Phase 1 deal on January 15, 2020. Much has been said in the general press and elsewhere about this deal. What does it really accomplish for international traders?
First, there is nothing said about the tariffs imposed by either the U.S. or China. White House briefers did say the tariff on the goods on List 4A would be reduced soon, and a pre-publication version of the proposed Federal Register notice was published on January 16, 2020. It can be found here. Those tariffs will be reduced from 15% to 7.5% on February 14, 2020. When it came to the tariffs China has imposed, no one has any idea what specifically will happen, only that given the commitments made by China, those tariffs will have to come down. Exactly when is anyone’s guess. Continue reading “China – U.S. Phase 1 Deal: Is It Enough?”