Reminder about imported cargo shipped in wooden crates

woodencrateIf you are importing cargo contained in regulated wood packaging materials (or importing the wood itself as cargo), you are reminded that the wood packaging must be heat treated in accordance with ISPM standards, and 

“…must be marked in a visible location on each article, preferably on at least two opposite sides of the article, with a legible and permanent mark that indicates that the article meets the [heat treatment standards].”  7 CFR §319.40-3(b)(2) (emphasis added).

At some ports, US Customs officials have been broadly interpreting this regulatory minimum to require the ISPM mark on all sides of the crate, presumably so that the inspecting CBP officers do not have to move heavy crates in order to find the required markings.  If the inspecting officer cannot safely view the heat treatment mark (depending on the particular orientation of the crate at the point of unloading), the importer runs the risk of having to re-crate the cargo at the port using suitable materials (and destroying the original wood), or possibly returning the shipment to its origin.

CustomsNow to sponsor ACE workshop in LA

CustomsNow, an ACE-certified ABI vendor, is proud to be a sponsor of the upcoming workshop, “ACE:  Developing Your Game Plan,” hosted by the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association.

The event, which will take place on Wednesday, June 19 in Torrance, CA, will feature representatives from US Customs and active ACE brokers discussing ACE development and implementation (3 years until ACS is decommissioned), the many benefits of ACE, and best practices.

The workshop has been approved for 3 CCS/CES credits.  Register and learn more here.


How do “assists” figure into the calculation of customs valuation?

In a recent posting, George R. Tuttle, III, Esq. thoroughly outlines the many issues that come into play in determining whether and how “assists” outside of the US affect the determination of the correct value of goods imported into the US.

blueprintThe posting focuses on one particularly vexing component of the statutory definition  of “assist” — “[e]ngineering, development, artwork, design work, and plans and sketches undertaken elsewhere than in the US and are necessary for the production of imported merchandise.”  (19 USC § 1401a(h)(1)(A)(iv)).

Mr. Tuttle cites to US Customs Rulings on a broad range of relevant concerns, such as payments for expatriate services, quality control services, and testing services, and whether such services are “necessary” for production of the goods in question.   Often, the analysis of whether an assist occurred is quite nuanced, and involves painstaking evaluation that can include, for example, employee interviews about the precise steps taken in the manufacturing process, or the particular context of specifically who performs testing on manufactured goods.  In the end, as Mr. Tuttle notes, the determination is often a “judgment call.”

Additional guidance on assists can be found in US Customs’ July 2006 Informed Compliance publication, “What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About:  Customs Value.” 


JOC’s top 50 container ports

worldmapThe Journal of Commerce has published its annual list of the top 50 container ports in the world.  Not surprisingly, eight of the top ten ports are located in Asia.  In fact, six of the top ten are in China, with Shanghai ranked as number 1.

Los Angeles was the top US port at 16th, overtaking Long Beach (ranked 21st); the combined LA/LB port complex would rank 8th on the global list.

Hong Kong port strike is over

The BBC reports that striking dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong — the world’s third busiest — have agreed to end their work stoppage.  The workers, on strike since March 28, will accept a pay raise of about 10%, significantly less than the 23% increase they sought.

During the strike, the affected terminal ran at less than 90% capacity, forcing shippers to divert cargo to ports on mainland China.