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  3. CBP Trade News Snapshot
  4. Trade News Snapshot - Volume 4, Issue 6

Trade News Snapshot - Volume 4, Issue 6


I. Office of Trade Activity

New Withhold Release Order Issued: Central Romana

Effective Nov. 23, CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry began detaining raw sugar and sugar-based products from the Dominican Republic produced by Central Romana Corporation Limited. The Withhold Release Order against Central Romana was based on information that reasonably indicated the use of forced labor in the production of the prohibited products. During the course of the investigation, CBP identified 5 of the 11 indicators of forced labor as defined by the International Labour Organization: abuse of vulnerability, isolation, withholding of wages, excessive overtime and abusive working and living conditions.

According to the International Labour Organization, nearly 28 million workers suffer under conditions of forced labor worldwide. In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor identified sugarcane from the Dominican Republic in its “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” and the U.S. Department of State placed the Dominican Republic on its Tier 2 list in their 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Federal law prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP oversees 55 Withhold Release Orders and 9 Findings. Get more information about this Withhold Release Order in the press release.

CBP Issues Consumer Alert: New Record for Counterfeit Merchandise

Counterfeit handbags

When the holiday shopping season kicked off last month, CBP issued a consumer alert based on a newly established record for the most counterfeit merchandise seized in a single year. CBP says these counterfeits have historically been sold online and in underground outlets but cautions consumers that these products are now showing up as seemingly legitimate products on well-known commercial websites. The new record set in fiscal year 2022 marks an increase of 38 percent based on the estimated value if the goods had been authentic. The total estimated value for fiscal year 2022 exceeded $1 billion. The most pirated items included wearing apparel, accessories, handbags, wallets, footwear, watches, jewelry and consumer electronics.

For information on how consumers can protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods, read CBP’s counterfeit press release and Truth Behind Counterfeits on CBP’s website. Additional resources are available from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and CBP as a part of the Shop Smart Campaign.

CBP Launches Global Business Identifier Pilot

As part of its ongoing efforts to secure complex, global, modern supply chains, CBP announced a collaboration with 13 partner government agencies to deploy a Global Business Identifier, or GBI, pilot program. As part of the pilot, volunteers in the trade community will provide CBP with identifier codes commonly used in various industries. In addition to the decades-old Manufacturer/Shipper Identification, or MID number, the participants will provide identification numbers already used for commerce-related identification purposes:

  • Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS
  • Global Location Number, or GLN
  • Legal Entity Identifier, or LEI

CBP will compile the data into uniform patterns that identify the specific, individual business entities. The pilot will test the concept of capturing critical data – such as the main legal entity, specific business locations, manufacturer, shipper, seller and supply chain roles – to provide insight into shipments and improve the U.S. government’s ability to identify high-risk shipments. CBP will explore and evaluate optimal combinations of identifier data to quickly identify potentially illegal shipments without delaying legitimate cargo.

“The complexity of modern, global supply chains requires innovative solutions to increase transparency. Our hope for this pilot program is that it will give us a more complete picture of goods making their way into the U.S. so that we can focus enforcement efforts on high-risk shipments while ensuring the free flow of legal trade that supports our economy,” said Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith, CBP Office of Trade. “With the GBI pilot, we expect improved data quality, industry cost and time savings, streamlined supply chain tracking, and increased protection from counterfeiting – wins for both the trade community and the U.S. government.”

II. Outreach

Here Comes Santa Claus: OT Launches Holiday Video Series

Office of Trade Director Brian Hoxie and Chief of Staff Kelly Johnson portraying “news anchors” for the video series “Special Operation North Pole.”

As part of its educational outreach, the Office of Trade and CBP created and launched a video series designed to both entertain and educate the public about trade issues during the gift-giving season. The series, “Special Operation North Pole,” has a total of six videos, which are housed on both YouTube - Trade and The series covers trade issues like forced labor, intellectual property rights, environmental trade crimes and trade agreements, and features brief interviews with subject matter experts within the Office of Trade, including the top brass: Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith and Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John P. Leonard.

Kelly Johnson, Office of Trade’s chief of staff, came up with the idea and passed it on to the communications team. “One of my priorities is telling our trade story. We were working on a forced labor effort during the holiday season and joked about looking into Santa's elves. From there, it felt like the material wrote itself – we have so many lines of effort that neatly intersect with Santa's mission,” she said. Johnson also agreed to play the role of co-anchor, alongside Brian Hoxie, Office of Trade’s director of the Enforcement Operations Division, which implements the Enforce and Protect Act and facilitates the e-Allegations process.

EAC Travels to Peru

EAC AnnMarie R. Highsmith accepts a cultural token of appreciation from superintendent of National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Management Luis Enrique Vera Castillo.

Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith and other CBP officials traveled to Peru in November to attend a World BASC Organization meeting and to meet with foreign government officials and leaders in private industry involved in securing international trade.

BASC, or Business Alliance for Secure Commerce, is a partnership between the public and private industry. Its member nations are Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the U.S. Its mission is to secure and facilitate legitimate international commerce. BASC members participate in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or CTPAT, in which members agree to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps and implement specific security measures and best practices.

Highsmith and CBP’s Thomas Overacker, executive director of CBP’s Cargo and Conveyance Directorate, met with officials from National Superintendent of Customs and Tax Management, or SUNAT, which performs customs functions in Peru. CBP advisors and attachés in foreign countries play pivotal roles in helping host nations thwart criminal operations involving illegal drugs, illicit trade, smuggling, human trafficking and money laundering.

EAC AnnMarie R. Highsmith met with National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Management officials, visited CBP-sponsored facilities, and met with a canine team at the Port of Callao.

DEAC Chats with Amazon, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Reps

Office of Trade Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John P. Leonard

Office of Trade Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John P. Leonard, along with Amazon representative Ana Dalla Val, participated in a Fireside Chat hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 12. The topics discussed included: intellectual property rights and the effect on U.S. innovation and economic competition; the increase in e-commerce and the difficulty assessing risk within de minimis shipments; and CBP’s Section 321 Data Pilot, in which Amazon has provided data on more than 188,000 shipments.

The Section 321 Data Pilot is a voluntary pilot to test the usefulness of accepting advance data from e-commerce supply chain partners. The pilot started in 2019 with a voluntary test of a Section 321 de minimis commercial entry process through the creation of the new Entry Type “86.” A de minimis entry is valued at $800 or less. Entry Type 86 allows customs brokers and self-filers to electronically submit de minimis entries, including entries subject to other partner government agency data requirements, for clearance. The pilots were designed to assist CBP more accurately identify the shipper, the final recipient and the contents.

EAC Addresses USFIA

Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith

Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith addressed the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, or USFIA, in November in New York City. There, she spoke about the new challenges facing the fashion industry in the modern trade environment. Several Office of Trade fiscal year 2023 priorities affect the fashion industry. Forced labor and intellectual property rights have long been important issues for this industry, but emerging priorities such as the Green Trade Strategy, technology and trade-based money laundering also overlap with fashion industry challenges. USFIA is a member of CBP’s 21st Century Customs Framework task force, which seeks to achieve end-to-end supply chain transparency with assistance from representatives in industry.

Textiles accounted for 17 percent of all duties CBP collected in fiscal year 2022 – that’s $17.1 billion from textiles alone. The top two suppliers of textile and wearing apparel imports to the U.S. are China, with 28.7 percent of the market, and Vietnam, with 13.1 percent.

III.  News You Can Use

DEAC Defines Supply Chain on Counterintelligence Podcast

“So, a supply chain in the context of CBP's customs and border protection authority in our trade missions set really is the movement of international goods, commodities and merchandise into the United States from any foreign country -– And this is what we have authority over to regulate, and essentially what we were doing is carrying out a balancing act of facilitating legitimate goods while protecting the country against unsafe and harmful goods.” That definition of supply chain within the context of CBP’s role was delivered by Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John P. Leonard during a supply chain security podcast hosted by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Amended for Beef Requirements

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Japan’s Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita have confirmed that amendments to the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will go into effect on January 1, 2023. Both countries have completed their respective domestic procedures for the June 2, 2022 “Protocol Amending the Trade Agreement Between Japan and the United States.” Tai said the measure will ensure American farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s demand for high-quality U.S. beef. For more information, see the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative press release.

St. Louis CBP Intercepts 422 Counterfeit NFL Championship Rings

On Nov. 11, CBP officers working the express consignment operations hub in St. Louis seized a shipment of 422 Super Bowl championship rings bearing an image of the Lombardi Trophy. The rings constituted an infringement on the trademark owned by NFL Properties. The rings, with an estimated value of $300,000 had they been authentic, were shipped from China to an address in Jerseyville, Ill. Read the press release (NFL Championship Rings) for more details.

Cincinnati CBP Stops Dangerous, Unapproved Cosmetic Fillers

On Nov. 5, CBP officers in Cincinnati seized six shipments of unapproved, FDA-regulated injectable cosmetic treatments, including phenibut Hydrochloride, botulinum toxin, and fillers containing lidocaine. The shipments originated in China, South Korea, and Hong Kong with intended destinations across Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and Virginia. According to a Nov. 18 press release, one shipment contained phenibut hydrochloride, a gabapentinoid also known as Fenibut, which has never been an approved for use the U.S. Phenibut hydrochloride is a psychoactive drug originating in Russia, where it is used both under prescription and recreationally, and has the potential to cause serious adverse effects in users. CBP works jointly with the FDA to detect and prevent harmful products entering the U.S. For more information, read the press release.

October Trade Statistics

  • Trucks Processed – A total of 1,097,264, representing a 1.6 percent increase over October 2021.
  • Entry Summaries – More than 2.9 million valued at more than $365 billion. Trade via ocean accounted for nearly 34 percent of the import value, followed by air, truck and rail.
  • Forced Labor – CBP targeted 398 entries valued at more than $129.8 million for suspected use of forced labor in the production process, including goods subject to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and Withhold Release Orders.
  • Intellectual Property Rights Violations – CBP seized nearly 1,174 shipments containing counterfeit goods valued at more than $302 million if they were genuine.
  • Prohibited Plant and Animal Products – CBP issued 6,319 emergency action notifications to inform importers when restricted and prohibited plant and animal products were discovered and detained in shipments destined for the U.S.

Enforce and Protect Act

  • Nov. 7 – Notice of Determination as to Evasion in EAPA Case 7657 – Quartz Surface Products. CBP issued its determination as to evasion by Big D LLC (Big D), Colorquartz New York Inc., Cumberland Cabinet and Design Inc., Durian Kitchen Depot Inc., Flowery Stone Inc., Kat Specialties Inc., Kingway Construction Supplier Inc., Nio Kitchen Depot Inc., Nomadic Barters Inc. and Opaly USA LLC, as well as several of doing-business-as Artist Kitchen and Stone Inc., MS Stone Co. Ltd. and Nio Home Depot Inc. in EAPA investigation 7657, examining the evasion of antidumping duty order A-570-084 and countervailing duty order C-570-085 on quartz surface products from the People’s Republic of China. CBP found substantial evidence that the importers had been entering covered merchandise from China that had been transshipped through Malaysia, or had been entering covered merchandise from China that had been misclassified as non-covered merchandise.
  • Oct. 26 – Notice of Investigation and Interim Measures in EAPA Case 7730 – Steel Grating. CBP issued its notification of initiation and interim measures as to evasion by Double L Group, LLC and Manufacturing Network Inc. in EAPA investigation 7730, examining the evasion of antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders A-570-947 and C-570-948 on steel grating from China. CBP found there was reasonable suspicion that the importers had been entering covered merchandise from China that was misclassified as non-covered merchandise.


Last Modified: Nov 06, 2023