It’s already the middle of autumn and the team at the Office of Trade is as busy as ever focusing on our mission to facilitate legitimate trade, protect consumers, and maintain a level playing field for American businesses. As I’ve said many times before, we cannot do any of this alone. We depend on our partners in industry to get the job done.
One of the ways industry can do its part is by informing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of any suspected trade violations. Small- and medium-sized businesses, many at the forefront of American innovation, are all too often threatened by unfair trade practices such as antidumping and countervailing duty evasion, forced labor, and natural resource crimes. Accordingly, it’s crucial that American businesses become comfortable with the tools that empower them to take action against these violations, including CBP’s Trade Violations Reporting Tool. As part of our effort to increase awareness, this month CBP announced a series of free training webinars and resources to help small- and medium-sized businesses navigate the reporting process. By working together against unfair competition, we can make the trade environment stronger, safer, and more prosperous for all.
You can learn more about the new webinars and some of the other activities the Office of Trade led in October below.
~ Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith
- EAC's Message
- I. Office of Trade Activity
- II. Outreach
- III. News You Can Use
- Article 1: CBP, DHS return stolen historical artifacts to Ukraine
- Article 2: CBP seizes unsafe hair dryers
- Article 3: Indianapolis CBP intercepts 362 counterfeit watches
- Article 4: Minnesota CBP seizes giraffe feces intended for necklace
- Article 5: Tulsa CBP seizes potentially harmful agricultural products from Asia
- Article 6: CBP reminds traveling public of prohibited agricultural items during Día De Los Muertos holiday
- Article 7: Arizona CBP seizes large shipment of protected totoaba swim bladders
- Trade Statistics
At the 2023 World Korean Business Conference on October 11, CBP announced a series of free webinars designed to empower small and medium-sized businesses to report trade violations that impact their bottom line and the U.S. economy. The webinars will take place quarterly between November 7, 2023 and September 10, 2024. During each webinar, CBP experts will guide businesses through the process of using the Trade Violations Reporting Tool, an accessible platform that simplifies reporting without the need for extensive resources or specialized knowledge. Businesses will learn how to report various suspected violations, from duty evasion to forced labor. These webinars are open to all and will be recorded.
For more details, read the Trade Violations Webinar press release.
The latest featured article in CBP’s Frontline Magazine offers an exclusive look at the agency’s groundbreaking Green Trade Strategy, a significant step in addressing the urgent challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. Through the Green Trade Strategy, CBP aims to leverage its pivotal role and influence in global supply chains to drive more sustainable trade practices and combat the negative impacts of climate change. The newest article details CBP's commitment to environmental responsibility and the many ways that innovative developments, like the recent renovations at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, are shaping a greener and more resilient trade landscape.
For a closer look, read the Green Trade Strategy article.
On October 19, Florida couple Noel and Kelsy Hernandez Quintana pleaded guilty to conspiring against customs regulations and the Lacey Act, a law that prohibits the trade of illegally sourced plant products, among other things. The couple illegally imported and sold plywood products, evading duties of approximately $42 million. CBP collaborated with Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Animal and Plant Health Investigation Service to uncover the Quintanas’ intricate scheme, which involved setting up shell companies for plywood imports and making deceptive declarations about product origin and wood type to avoid duties. These actions posed a notable risk to the integrity of the U.S. market by facilitating illegal wood harvesting and selling those goods at prices beneath their market value.
The Quintanas’ sentencing is scheduled for January 12, 2024, at which time they could face forfeiture up to $42 million and years in prison.
For more details, read the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
Following an interagency investigation, four people were charged by a federal grand jury with allegedly purchasing, selling, and exporting over $1 million in paleontological resources, including dinosaur bones illegally removed from federal and state lands in Utah.
CBP collaborated with Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the investigation by monitoring the import and export activity of the involved individuals and companies. Through this work, CBP identified a suspicious shipment in November 2022, which a joint CBP and BLM physical examination later confirmed to contain fossilized dinosaur bones. The bones were seized and turned over to BLM for further investigation, with continued analytical and investigative support from CBP. The defendants had their initial court appearance on October 19.
For more details, read the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
On October 17, CBP Office of Trade Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) John Leonard spoke at the Transportation Border Summit in Washington, D.C. The event, which the Future Borders Coalition hosted, brought together more than 100 officials from industry and government to discuss challenges and innovations in travel and supply chains. In his remarks, DEAC Leonard promoted the 21st Century Customs Framework initiative, CBP’s Green Trade Strategy, and other customs modernization priorities.
On October 17, CBP Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC) AnnMarie Highsmith delivered keynote remarks at the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Annual Conference in Santa Clara, California. The event gathered over 600 representatives from the federal government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to discuss responsible and modernized business practices. In her remarks, EAC Highsmith emphasized the importance of safe and efficient supply chains and highlighted the value of government-industry partnerships in advancing these goals.
At the conference, EAC Highsmith also participated in a high-level panel discussion with RBA’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Lederer and leaders from the private sector. During the panel, EAC Highsmith described ways that CBP employs regulation and enforcement to eliminate forced labor from supply chains and to incentivize green trade. Notably, she also emphasized that CBP is not just a regulator, but also a partner and facilitator in efforts for more responsible business practices.
In October, CBP’s Office of Trade released its latest recruitment video. The video features perspectives of employees from across the country on the benefits of a career with Trade Regulatory Audit. Among the benefits mentioned were the ability to maintain a great work-life balance while doing meaningful work, as well as the supportive culture throughout Trade Regulatory Audit. The Office of Trade invites any aspiring auditors to explore opportunities to further CBP’s trade mission by joining the team.
View the video on CBP's YouTube Channel.
- CBP, DHS return stolen historical artifacts to Ukraine
- CBP seizes unsafe hair dryers
- Indianapolis CBP intercepts 362 counterfeit watches
- Minnesota CBP seizes giraffe feces intended for necklace
- Tulsa CBP seizes potentially harmful agricultural products from Asia
- CBP reminds traveling public of prohibited agricultural items during Día De Los Muertos holiday
- Arizona CBP seizes large shipment of protected totoaba swim bladders
In September 2023, CBP processed more than 2.7 million entry summaries valued at $271 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $6.6 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. Trade via maritime environment accounted for more than 41 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail. CBP identified 259 entries valued at more than $102 million for further examination based on the suspected use of forced labor, and which may be subject to a Withhold Release Order, Forced Labor Finding, or the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s rebuttable presumption prohibiting importation into the United States.
CBP seized nearly 1,658 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $177 million had they been genuine.