CBP Proposes Amendment to Importer Identity Verification

On August 14th, 2019, Customs and Border Protection published a proposal to amend the regulations that require customs brokers to collect certain information from importers to enable the customs brokers to verify the identity of importers, including nonresident importers.

The amendment suggests adding a add a new section, 111.43, entitled Importer Identity Verification. The proposal is an effort to create and standardize the process by which customs brokers verify the identity of importers.

Brokers would be required to collect and verify the following, but not limited to, information concerning each importer:

  • the client’s name;

  • for a client who is an individual, his/her date of birth;

  • for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the grantor’s date of birth;

  • for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the client’s trade or fictitious names;

  • the physical address and phone number (for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the physical location is the client’s headquarters);

  • the client’s e-mail address and business website;

  • a copy of the grantor’s unexpired government-issued photo identification;

  • the client’s Internal Revenue Service, employer identification or importer of record number;

  • the client’s publicly-available business identification number;

  • a recent credit report;

  • a copy of the client’s business registration and license with the state; and

  • the grantor’s authorization to execute a power of attorney on behalf of the importer.

Prior to transacting customs business on behalf of a client, the customs broker would be required to verify the foregoing information and determine whether the client is a sanctioned or restricted person or entity, or if the client is suspended or disbarred from doing business with the U.S. Government.

The new rule would extend the verification requirement to existing clients and specific rules outlining the effective dates and process.

The rule would also impose penalties on customs brokers for noncompliance. The proposed penalty consists of a monetary penalty not to exceed $10,000 per client, or revocation or suspension of the customs broker’s license or permit.

The full notice in the Federal Register can be found here.

Comments to the proposed rule must be received by CBP on or before October 15, 2019. Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments via Docket No. USCBP-2019-0024.

We are aware of how time consuming and challenging it may be to manage these efforts. When the program is finalized, South East World Wide, Ltd. will do their utmost to streamline the process and ask for your support in assisting you with compliance.

President Trump Announces Tariff Delay on Certain Section 301 Goods from China

Although nothing official has been published, President Trump announced that “as a gesture of good will” he will delay from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 the planned increase from 25 percent to 30 percent of the Section 301 additional tariff on List 1, 2, and 3 goods from China.

This comes on the heels of China releasing schedule of exclusions from its list of tariffs on US Goods.

Additional Exclusions Announced for Section 301 Goods

Additional exclusions from the Section 301 additional 25 percent tariff on List 1, 2, and 3 goods from China have been announced by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The new exclusions will be effective as follows.

- exclusions for List 1 goods will be retroactive to July 6, 2018, and remain in place through Sept. 20, 2020, and must be claimed using new HTSUS subheading 9903.88.14

- exclusions for List 2 goods will be retroactive to Aug. 23, 2018, and remain in place through Sept. 20, 2020, and must be claimed using new HTSUS subheading 9903.88.17

- exclusions for List 3 goods will be retroactive to Sept. 24, 2018, and remain in place until Aug. 7, 2020 and must be claimed using new HTSUS subheading 9903.88.18

Exclusion Lists can be found here:

List 1

List 2

List 3

All importers should evaluate the lists to determine if any of their goods qualify for refunds of any tariffs paid since the applicable retroactive effective date.

If you have any questions regarding this and other international logistics mattes, please contact your South East World Wide Sales Representative.

Stay Informed and In Compliance

If your reading this, you understand the need to stay on top of the changing market conditions in our industry, as well as the law and regulations governing International Trade.   Especially with the impacts of the recent tariff changes, expiration of GSP, impending update to NAFTA and the rise in Anti-dumping cases over the past year, it is critical for importers to stay informed and in compliance.

First thing first. It is important to remember that it is the legal responsibility of the importer of record, to properly declare the value, verify the classification and rate of duty applicable for all entered merchandise.  It is also the responsibility of the importer of record, to understand and abide by the latest regulations. However, you don’t have to go it alone.

Along with having candid and open conversations regarding your imports with your freight forwarder and broker; the US Government, under the Department of Homeland Security, has provided a website which is helpful to all Importers, new and old.

Please find following the link containing valuable insight and assistance to anyone importing product from another country.  This site is a great resource for the latest information on specific laws, regulations or procedures that may affect your import transactions. CBP Import/Export

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a number of Informed Compliance publications (ICPs) in the "What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: ..." series that can be found here: Informed Compliance Publications.

Additionally, you can find more guides and references on the South East World Wide, Ltd. website under the Resources page.

If you have any detailed questions considering your classifications, documentation or general import/export questions, please contact South East World Wide Global Sales to schedule an appointment.

Notice of Modification of Section 301 Action on Goods from China

Official notice of the modification of Section 301 tariffs on goods from China has been published in the Federal Register.

  • For List 1, 2 and 3 Goods, changes in duty rate from 25% to 30%, details can be found here.

  • For List 4 Goods, changes in duty rate from 10% to 15%, details can be found here.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss how this may affect your imports, please contact your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces Delayed September Tariffs for Some Chinese Imports

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced this morning that it will exclude some Chinese imports from 10 percent tariffs and delay duties on others until mid-December 2019.

Most of the Section 301 tariffs will go into effect on Sept. 1, as announced by President Trump earlier this month, however “Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” USTR said in a statement.

“Further, as part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles,” the statement added. “Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.”

The USTR is conducting an exclusion process for products and will provide details today on the USTR’s website as well as in the Federal Register.

The full USTR press release can be found here.


China Holiday Preparation

Hong Kong and China National Holidays

As a friendly reminder, China’s National Holidays and Mid-Autumn Festivals are just around the corner.  Most of the factories in Hong Kong and China will be closed in observation of the holidays September 13-15 and from October 1, 2019 to October 7, 2019.

An overall increase of export bookings in Asia is anticipated considering the September 1 tariff increases, as well as in preparation for the 2019 holiday shopping season.   South East World Wide, Ltd., as always, will do its best to maintain capacity, but we encourage you to book shipments as early as possible to avoid shipping delays.   Please remain in close contact with your local SEWW representatives to keep them informed of any urgent shipments.

Also note:  Chinese New Year ‘YEAR OF THE RAT’ begins January 25, 2020 and will last for 15 days.

If you have not done so already, please plan and prepare for space/shutdown related issues.  Customers should advise their Production Schedule and pre-book their freight to ensure space is secured.

South East World Wide is committed to keeping our customers informed and updated with any breaking news relevant to logistics.  We will continue to keep you posted on any future updates as it relates to international logistics.

If you have any questions concerning how the upcoming holidays may impact you and/or your business please give your local South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative a call.

ITC Online HTS Reference Tool-A Valuable Resource

Reminder or News to You?

Maybe you have forgotten or perhaps you didn’t know, on November 20, 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs, CBP) published Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) message #08-000315 announcing that a new tool is available for referencing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) online. The tool is published and maintained by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

In today’s volatile international trade market, you can never have enough tools in your tool box!


One of the key features of the HTS reference tool is the ability for users “to jump from an item to the related chapter 99 item showing temporary and seasonal rates when needed.” Hyperlinks on certain tariff numbers also allow users to immediately access the Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS) for help in locating any rulings related to the selected tariff number.

The tool also allows searches, including by CAS numbers and has a thesaurus feature which allows searches by modern terms for products. Other buttons on the interface allow ready access to chapter notes, and a print-friendly version of the HTS.

The HTS Online Reference Tool can be accessed online here

Please contact your local South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative to learn more about this article and/or to discuss any other ongoing challenge you may be facing in managing your inbound freight.

CBP Increases Custom User Fees for FY2020

CBP reviews annually and determines if certain user fees and limitations established by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) shall be adjusted for inflation. For the FY2020, CBP has determined that the factor by which the base fees and limitations will be adjusted is 7.167% and are required as of October 1, 2019.

The MPF minimum/maximum will be increased to $26.79/$519.76 (up from $26.22/$508.70).

For information on MPF, click here.

The full UPDATED list of fees and changes can be found here.

After reviewing the Federal Register Action Notice, if you have any questions regarding these fees and limitations, please contact you South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative.

Section 301 Tariffs Exclusions for List 3 Goods from China

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has announced the first exclusions for List 3 goods. It is important to note that these exclusions cover 10 specially prepared product descriptions that reflect 15 exclusion requests.

The USTR will continue to accept exclusion requests for List 3 goods until Sept. 30, 2019.

Exclusions for the products are said to be retroactive to Sept. 24, 2018, and will remain in place for one year after publication in the Federal Register. They must be claimed using new HTSUS subheading 9903.88.13.

We encourage all importers to review the list carefully to determine the scope of each exclusion.

Please find the list here. List 3 Exclusions

If you have any questions regarding the Section 301 Tariffs or the Exclusions, please contact your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative.

Section 301 Tariffs Exclusions for List 2 Goods from China

The first list of products excluded from the Section 301 additional 25 percent tariff on goods from China have been announced by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The exclusions are said to be retroactive to Aug. 23, 2018 until approximately July 31, 2020. They must be claimed using new HTSUS subheading 9903.88.12.

We encourage all importers to review the list carefully to determine the scope of each exclusion.

Please find the list here. List 2 Exclusions

If you have any questions regarding the Section 301 Tariffs or the Exclusions, please contact your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative.

Section 301 Tariffs on Goods from China; List 4

Effective September 1, 2019, President Trump announced he will impose an additional 10 percent tariff on virtually all of the remaining $300 billion worth of goods imported from China that are not already subject to Section 301 tariffs (List 4 goods).

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has advised that the list covers all apparel, footwear, and manufactured textile products, among others, but excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth materials, and critical minerals.

Additional information will be posted here as it is released but you can stay up to date by watching the Federal Register and the USTR websites.

A Federal Register notice providing additional clarifying details is expected shortly.

Tropical Cyclone Barry Affecting New Orleans Area Operations

Tropical Cyclone Barry Update

 Terminal Operations:
Container Terminal operations closed early Thursday July 11, 2019.

The Container Terminals will be closed today Friday July 12, due to floodgate closures.

The Container Terminals are not accepting any live reefer/hazardous cargo currently.

Rail Update:
Union Pacific Railroad: Effective immediately, the Union Pacific is issuing an embargo for the Avondale and New Orleans, Louisiana regions. The embargo is the result of tropical storm Barry and the impending hurricane along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. As such and effective immediately, the Union Pacific's Avondale, Louisiana intermodal terminal will be closed until further notice.

Norfolk Southern: - The New Orleans Intermodal Facility is experiencing flooding and employees have been evacuated. The facility will remain closed until the flooding dissipates and the terminal and local roads are deemed safe. All shipments billed for movement from New Orleans will experience departure delays and free time will be extended on shipments that are at destination.

As Tropical Storm 2 nears land it may become necessary to restrict shipments ingating at origin points destined to New Orleans. Norfolk Southern will continue to closely monitor the storm and will provide updates as it progresses.

As affected Customer, you are strongly advised to review local forecasts and Department of Transportation information for updates regarding local road conditions in the impacted areas.

CN - Canadian National Railway Terminal closed, CN service in/out of terminals has ceased.

Please review with your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative how these operational changes will affect your cargoes.

USTR Announces Process for Section 301 Exclusion Request for Third Round of Tariffs on China

On June 24, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the process for seeking exclusions from additional 25% tariffs imposed under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 on the third list of products from China (List 3) targeted by the Trump Administration. The goods included on List 3 have an import value of approximately $200 billion. The 25% tariffs apply to List 3 goods exported from China on or after May 10, 2019.

USTR will open a web portal for the submission of List 3 exclusion requests on June 30, 2019, at 12 p.m. EST at http://exclusions.USTR.gov. This differs from the exclusion process for Lists 1 and 2, which were conducted through the regulations.gov website. As with Lists 1 and 2, List 3 exclusion requests must be submitted using the form provided by USTR. The form, detailing the required information, is attached to the June 24, 2019 Federal Register notice.

Please visit the USTR announcement for further details.

Note: The deadline for submitting List 3 exclusion requests is Sept. 30, 2019. Those wishing to respond to an individual request will have 14 days after the request is posted to the USTR online portal.

If you have any questions pertaining to this announcement, please contact your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative.

MSC loses ‘low-risk’ carrier status after US drugs raid

As reported by Lloyd’s List, June 29, 2019 by Cichen Shen, ‘MEDITERRANEAN Shipping Co has had a key US customs designation suspended after drugs valued at $1bn were seized on one of its vessels at the Port of Philadelphia.

The US Attorney’s Office has described the 16.5 tonnes of cocaine found in seven containers on the 3,398 teu MSC Gayane asthe largest drug seizure in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

US customs authorities have now suspended MSC’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism certificate, which is granted to shipping lines deemed low risk. “CTPAT members are considered to be low risk and less likely to have cargo examined at a US port of entry,” said the Danish line, which is itself a CTPAT member.’

MSC has acknowledged the situation in a posting on their website on June 18, 2019. They have declared they are taking the matter ‘very seriously’ and are cooperating with authorities. Although it has not been confirmed by CBP, MSC advised customers to expect only minor disruptions in service such as possible additional inspections on traffic lanes from Central and South America to the United States.

If you have any questions how this may effect your cargo on this carrier, please contact your SEWW Sales Representative.

Notice Regarding Application of Section 301 Action

The Office of the United States Trade Representative intends to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week that extends the amount of time certain goods exported from China have to enter the United States before they will be subject to an additional tariff increase from 10 percent to 25 percent.

 

Covered products that were exported from China to the United States prior to May 10, 2019 will remain subject to an additional 10 percent tariff if they enter into the U.S. before June 15, 2019. Originally, the deadline to enter the U.S. before the goods would be subject to an additional 25 percent tariff was June 1, 2019.

 

This limited extension will further account for customs enforcement factors and the transit time between China and the United States by sea.

 

You may contact your South East World Wide, Ltd. Sales Representative for more information.

 

Additionally, you may wish to bookmark this link for future updates from the USTR.