Friday, December 20, 2019

CBP's Risk Management for Tariff Refunds Should Be Improved, Says Report

Since 1789, the U.S. government's drawback program has encouraged manufacturing and exports by refunding certain customs duties. For example, a merchant who paid duties on imported fabric, made it into clothes, and then exported the clothes could claim a refund for import duties paid. The program refunds about $1 billion a year.

However, the Government Accountability Office found problems in how CBP checks these claims. For example, CBP's new electronic records system doesn't include enough details on exports. CBP must manually check claims but currently isn't doing so. It could be issuing refunds it shouldn't issue.

Read the report HERE.

China 301 Update

On December 13, 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the United States and China reached a phase-one trade deal related to the Section 301 Tariff Action: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. USTR reported that "The United States will be maintaining 25 percent tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports, along with 7.5 percent tariffs on approximately $120 billion of Chinese imports." See links below for additional information on the Section 301-China Tariff Action.

USTR Section 301-China webpage.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Section 301 HTSUS Reference Guide.

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) Harmonized Tariff Schedule – including supplemental China tariff information.

Buyers Beware! ICE HSI and CBP in Boston warn consumers about counterfeit goods during holiday shopping season

.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Boston hosted a joint press event Wednesday to warn consumers of the dangers of purchasing a wide range of counterfeit items and goods with fake trademarks. This event provided tips on ways consumers can protect themselves as they head into the final shopping days of the holiday season.

"Counterfeit goods not only threaten our national security by endangering the health and safety of consumers, they also can wreak havoc on our economy and fund criminal elements involved in a range of other illegal activities," said CBP Director of Field Operations for Boston Michael Denning at the event.

Handbags, watches and clothing are the items most identified as frequently-counterfeited items. The event emphasized that intellectual property thieves will counterfeit any product that can be sold or marketed. This means items like counterfeit drugs, medical equipment, aircraft and automobile parts, computer hardware, military components, and electrical safety devices.


CE HSI, federal partners, warn consumers to beware of deadly counterfeit vehicle parts flooding the market

The production of counterfeit vehicle parts poses a significant health and safety threat to consumers. It also impacts the economic growth of legitimate businesses and impacts consumers through lost revenue, downtime, and replacement costs. To ensure public safety, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), work alongside federal partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the U.S. Attorney's Office, to dismantle counterfeit operations and to hold individuals involved in them accountable.

In April 2018, CBP intercepted an international parcel containing six counterfeit Toyota airbags, shipped by Ali Mufrej. HSI agents on the Seattle Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) initiated an investigation into Mufrej and determined he was associated with a large volume of shipments of counterfeit vehicle airbags and auto parts being sold online.

On Dec. 12, 2018, HSI BEST-Seattle arrested Mufrej for multiple counts of trafficking counterfeit goods. HSI special agents also executed a search warrant at Mufrej's residence in Des Moines. During the execution of the search warrant, agents located and seized counterfeit airbags, airbag inflators, airbag covers, automaker emblems, electronic devices and miscellaneous documents relating to the shipment and sale of counterfeit airbags. The counterfeit airbags were found to pose significant risk to consumers.

On Dec. 17, 2019, Ali Mufrej was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. He has previously pled guilty to violations of criminal copyright infringement-accessory after the fact.


Limitation of Duty-Free Imports of Apparel Articles Assembled in Haiti Under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), as Amended by the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE)

The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) provides duty-free treatment for certain apparel articles imported directly from Haiti. One of the preferences is known as the ‘‘value-added’’ provision, which requires that apparel meet a minimum threshold percentage of value added in Haiti, the United States, and/or certain beneficiary countries. The provision is subject to a quantitative limitation, which is calculated as a percentage of total apparel imports into the United States for each 12-month annual period. For the annual period from December 20, 2019 through December 19, 2020, the quantity of imports eligible for preferential treatment under the value-added provision is 376,935,586 square meters equivalent.

Customs Back off Controversial Proposal for Classification of Certain Textile Blends

In the December 11, 2019, Customs Bulletin (Vol. 53, No. 45 starting on page 21), CBP announced it will not implement a proposed change to decades-long interpretation of the tariff classification in the case of certain textile products of a 50/50 blend of two types of fibers. Commenters argued that the proposed revocation was contrary to the sound interpretation of the HTSUS.

For more background read Agathon Associations May 1, 2019 blog.

Revocation of HQ H192977; Country of origin of certain laminated fabrics.

In the December 11, 2019, Customs Bulletin (Vol. 53, No. 45 starting on page 30), CBP reversed an earlier ruling relating to laminated fabric and now finds that the country of origin is the country where the lamination takes place (England), not the country where the fabrics were woven (China and Pakistan). For more background read Agathon Associations October 2, 2019 blog.

AATCC Foundation Offers New Scholarships for Textile Students

Thanks to two brand new scholarships, AATCC Foundation Inc. will provide more funding than ever to students in textile and related fields. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the AATCC Foundation will award more than 35 scholarships and fellowships, worth nearly $150,000. Students can find and apply for scholarships through one easy online application.

The two newest scholarships in the AATCC Foundation portfolio are the NCTO Paul T. O’Day Scholarship and the Percy W. Woodruff Jr Textile Manufacturing Scholarship.

NCTO Paul T. O’Day Scholarship

NCTO President & CEO Kimberly Glas says, “The Paul O’Day Memorial Scholarship was created to honor a man whose influence and legacy in the fiber sector of the textile industry was revered as he served as President of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) for more than three decades.”

Since the 2018 merger of AFMA with the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), the scholarship is awarded to children of employees at NCTO Fiber Council member companies. Glas says, “The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is pleased to partner with the AATCC Foundation to promote this scholarship and select recipients with outstanding academic achievements who desire to choose career paths to support the American fiber industry.”

The O’Day Scholarship provides $5,000 per year to an undergraduate student, renewable for up to four years.

Percy W. Woodruff Jr Textile Manufacturing Scholarship

The Woodruff Textile Manufacturing Scholarship is named for Percy W. Woodruff, Jr., who was a non-traditional university student. Despite working several jobs, the only way Woodruff could afford to complete his college education was through the GI Bill as a WWII veteran and income from his wife’s teaching career. After graduating from college with a degree in Textiles, he spent his career in the US textile industry, retiring from Burlington Industries. The Woodruff Scholarship is awarded to other “non-traditional students,” particularly those in the Clemson University Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). Non-traditional students may be anyone disadvantaged by starting college late or in the wrong major, or any other circumstance.

Recipients of the Woodruff Scholarship receive $2,500. All Foundation scholars are also eligible for free registration and reimbursement of travel funds to attend the AATCC International Conference.

Trade Mission to the Caribbean Region May 31 - June 5, 2020

The U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, is organizing a trade mission to the Caribbean region that will include participation in the Trade Americas—Business Opportunities in the Caribbean Region Conference in Bridgetown, Barbados on May 31–June 1, 2020.

The conference will focus on region-specific sessions, market access, fair trade, disaster preparedness and recovery, logistics, and trade financing resources as well as prearranged one-on-one consultations with US&FCS Commercial Officers and/or Department of State Economic/Commercial Officers with expertise in markets throughout the region. The mission is open to U.S. companies from a cross-section of industries with growth potential in the Caribbean region, but is focused on U.S. companies in best prospects sectors such as

  • automotive parts and services,
  • construction equipment/road building machinery/building products/infrastructure projects,
  • medical equipment and devices/pharmaceuticals,
  • ICT,
  • energy equipment and services,
  • safety and security equipment,
  • hotel and restaurant equipment,
  • franchising,
  • manufacturing equipment,
  • yachting industry/maritime services/sailing equipment,
  • marine ports,
  • aviation/airports,
  • waste management, and water treatment and supply.
All selected trade mission participants will attend the conference in Barbados and will have business-tobusiness meetings in up to two markets in the region, selecting from: Barbados/Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.

For more information, see the December 16, 2019, Federal Register Notice (84 FR 68393).

Smart Textiles Summit April 16–17, 2020

Registration is now open for Smart Fabrics Summit 2020. This year's summit is focused on "Ideation to Commercialization." Hear about how a smart product is brought to market, from the initial concept to development to end product distributuion. Network and listen to the advice and perspectives of some of the brightest minds in the smart fabrics industry. Secure your spot today.

For more information and to register CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

J. Crew Recalls Boys’ Denim Pants Due to Aspiration and Choking Hazards

Description: This recall involves Crewcuts boys’ denim pants sold in sizes 2 and 3 and only includes pants that were made in Pakistan. Pants with style number J8406 and season FA 19 are included in the recall. A care label sewn into the side seam lists the style number and season. A label sewn into the waistband of the garment lists the size and country of origin and “Crewcuts.” UPC codes 099105125419 and 099105125420 are listed on the price tag attached to the pants.

Hazard: Small stones can be present in the pockets or waistband of the pants from the stone washing manufacturing process, posing aspiration or choking hazards to young children.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled pants away from children and remove the stones from pockets or internal waistband opening to eliminate the hazard

Incidents/Injuries: J. Crew received one report of stones found in the waistband extension of the pants. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: J. Crew and Crewcuts stores nationwide and online at from July 2019 through October 2019 for about $50.

Importer(s): J. Crew Group Inc., of New York, N.Y.

Manufactured In: Pakistan

Recall number: 20-040

More information and photos HERE.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Navy Mattress Contract Awarded

National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $12,063,451 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for multiple sizes of innerspring mattresses. This is a mandatory procurement contract. This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods. Locations of performance are North Carolina and Virginia, with a Nov. 4, 2021, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-B074).

Monday, December 9, 2019

Reminder, Tomorrow is the Deadline to File for Duty Suspensions in the MTB Process

Since 1982, nearly every Congress has passed legislation to temporarily reduce or suspend tariffs on certain imported products and make technical corrections to U.S. tariff laws. Although the official title of the bill varies from year to year, it is usually referred to simply as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill ("MTB") The duty suspensions and reductions are designed to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers by lowering the cost of imported inputs without harming domestic firms that produce competing products. In addition, in the case of finished goods, MTBs similarly reduce costs for consumers where there is no domestic production and thus no impact on domestic firms. Overall, the tariff relief contained in MTBs is designed both to be broadly available to any entity that imports and pays duties pursuant to the specified tariff heading and to benefit downstream producers, purchasers, and consumers.

To be included in the MTB, a tariff modification (e.g. duty suspension or reduction) must:

  1. be non-controversial,
  2. cost under $500,000 per year, and
  3. be administrable.

In determining whether an MTB meets these criteria, each bill undergoes a thorough vetting process by the Committee; the independent U.S. International Trade Commission ("ITC") and the Administration, including the Department of Commerce ("DOC") and U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"); and is scored by the Congressional Budget Office ("CBO").

Saturday, December 7, 2019

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue

Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.