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Trade Notices


Washington, D.C. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seized more than $10 million (over the last four months) in goods that were misdescribed in an effort to circumvent trade laws and regulations. CBP plays a critical role in enforcing trade laws and ensuring that appropriate revenue is collected.
Many different schemes are used to evade duty or quotas on textiles being brought into the country. Some importers circumvent quotas by transshipment-changing the country of origin of their goods. Still others use false documents or labels or provide incorrect descriptions of the merchandise. Textile imports are especially important since they represent 43 percent of all revenue collected. “CBP is committed to facilitating and stimulating the flow of legitimate international trade and collecting import duties. However, CBP also intends to maintain a robust trade enforcement program and textiles is a priority issue,” said Acting Commissioner, Deborah J. Spero.

Import Specialists in CBP with specialized commodity knowledge analyze and review textile imports for possible violations. Focusing on this commodity has paid off with the seizure of several major shipments.

One of the enforcement tools being used is on-site verification of manufacturers. In November 2005, CBP Textile Production Verification teams traveled to foreign factories to review and verify that wearing apparel that is shipped to the U.S. is produced at those facilities. The Textile Production Verification Teams reviewed 195 high-risk foreign factories. Of these, 70 were closed, 24 refused the team admission, 50 were considered high potential for transshipments and three had evidence that they were engaging in illegal transshipments. As a result of these site visits CBP is currently in the process of seizing shipments with a domestic value of 1.3 million from any factory that was determined closed.

Sites are selected after extensive trade analysis. Countries are categorized based on risk for non-compliance with trade laws and policies. Those countries that are identified as high-risk go to the top of the list for verification activities, but selection of individual manufacturers is also a result of the application of stringent targeting techniques. Verifications are ongoing and visits to additional locations are being planned.

CBP has initiated a special operation to address the misdescription of merchandise. Over the course of the last four months CBP has seized more than $10 million in misdescribed goods and identified a scheme to circumvent the China safeguards by misdescribing cotton merchandise as ramie which has a much lower rate of duty. In November and December 2005, over 2,000 additional examinations were conducted to identify smuggling and misdescription of merchandise. In addition to the seizures made, CBP import specialists identified significant Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations.

During fiscal year 2005, textile and wearing apparel reviews conducted by Regulatory Audit recommended recoveries of over $4, 974,000. In addition, discoveries of violations have been found in textile imports of the Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Agreement, the Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and classification errors resulting in more than $900,000 in recovered revenues.

CBP import specialists at the ports of entry are receiving extensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) training to target possible violation of FTA requirements in shipments entering U.S. trade. Yet another resource used to identify misdescribed merchandise are the CBP Laboratories. Laboratory analysis can establish the make-up of any textile product through chemical and fiber analysis. “CBP has an arsenal of tools to ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing imports,” said Janet Labuda, Director, Textile Enforcement and Operations Division. CBP will continue to use a multi-faceted, but complimentary approach consisting of trade pattern analysis, on-site verifications, review of production records, audits, and laboratory analysis to enforce our trade laws and to ensure that appropriate revenue is collected.

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