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CBP Targets Illegal Imports of Auto Headlamps

Release Date: 
October 6, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) is on the lookout for illegal imports of noncompliant High Intensity Discharge (HID) conversion kits, light sources, and ballasts. Since receiving a commercial allegation in December 2010, CBP has identified hundreds of shipments for examination at various ports of entry across the U.S. including Los Angeles, Anchorage, Cleveland, San Juan, Miami, Detroit, Champlain, Orlando and Seattle.

Most recently, on Sept.12, CBP officers at the port of Newark, working closely with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), seized a shipment of 10,740 imported HID conversion kits. The domestic value of the shipment was approximately $570,000.

 

High intensity discharge conversion kit seized by CBP officers at the port of Newark.

High intensity discharge conversion kit seized by CBP officers at the port of Newark.

CBP officers seized the shipment following the determination that the equipment failed to meet DOT requirements that headlamp replaceable light sources be marked with the light source type, the light source manufacturer's name or trademark, and the DOT symbol indicating certification of compliance with governing regulations. Other DOT compliance issues exist as well.

The shipment arriving from China had been targeted by the CTAC because of the potential safety threat to the American public.

Automotive headlamps, and replacement light sources and ballasts for those lamps, are regulated by DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. HID conversion kits are custom light sources and ballasts manufactured to be installed into headlamps that were not designed to use them. When these kits are installed, they pose potential glare hazards to other roadway users. The street value for HID conversion kits can run anywhere from $150 to $500 per kit.

 

High intensity discharge light source seized by CBP officers at the port of Newark

High intensity discharge light source seized by CBP officers at the port of Newark

Since October 2009, CBP has seized more than 400,000 HID conversion kits and components for violating DOT regulations, equaling a total combined domestic value of approximately $5 million. A significant portion of those shipments arrived into the United States via the air cargo or express mail environment, shipped from numerous southeast Asian countries. CBP and DOT work in close collaboration to help protect public safety by examining, sampling and testing imported products that may be hazardous.

The CTAC combines resources and manpower from several government agencies, including DOT, to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe imported products. For additional information on the CTAC and import safety, please go Priority Trade Issues.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017