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Trade News

Updates from the Recent Steel and Aluminum Proclamations


President Trump has issued two proclamations, on April 30, that extend temporary exemptions from the Section 232 duty on steel and aluminum products, along with other adjustments.

These are some of the main takeaways.

  • President Trump has extended temporary exemptions for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the member countries of the EU.
  • The proclamation on steel also sets a quota, which restricts the quantity of steel articles imported into the United States from South Korea.
  • No drawback will be allowed for steel and aluminum section 232 duties.

If you have any questions about how these proclamations may impact your business, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Leonard


Importer Security Filing Importer Definition Expanded

Importer Security Filing importer definition expanded

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a final rule, effective May 14, that will expand the definition of an Importer Security Filing (ISF) importer—the party responsible for filing an ISF for certain types of shipments. The changes will add parties that have a commercial interest in the cargo and the best access to the required information.

Before the Rule

Currently, the regulation designates a ISF Importer even if that party has no commercial interest in the shipment and limited access to the ISF data. In some cases, the party responsible may not even be involved in the importation when the ISF must be filed. Therefore, it is unclear as to which party has the responsibility for filing the ISF. It is also raises confidentiality concerns because there are times when the private party, that has the data, gives it to the ISF importer who then sends it to CBP, causing the information to be passed through many hands.

After the Rule

The new definition will expand the definition of ISF importer for foreign cargo remaining on board (FROB) cargo, by adding non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) instead of just the vessel operating common carrier (VOCC), depending on which of these is the party causing the goods to arrive. The rule will also add to the definition of ISF importer for Immediate Exportation (IE) and Transportation and Exportation (T&E) shipments by including the goods’ owner, purchaser, consignee, or agent such as a licensed Customs broker, as well as for goods delivered to an Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). This will ensure that the responsible party will most likely have direct knowledge of the ISF data.

By expanding the definition this rule will simplify the transmission of ISF information to CBP, eliminate confusion regarding the responsible party, and significantly reduce confidentiality concerns. If you have questions about this final rule or are interested in building an Import Compliance Program contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Leonard


Highlights from Trade Fest 2018

A collage of images from Trade Fest 2018

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) had a great turn out at this year’s Trade Fest in Syracuse, NY. We’d like to sincerely thank all of the attendees, speakers, and sponsors for making the event a success.

The day was filled with insightful seminars discussing various topics such as, economic trends, critical issues and what’s ahead, import and export compliance in your supply chain, and more.

This event was live tweeted by Mohawk’s marketing team; here’s a small sample.









A special thank you to our sponsors Mohawk Global Logistics, High Tech Rochester, Philips Lytle LLP, Avalon Risk Management, The Bank of America, Roanoke Insurance Group, Duble & O’Hearn Insurance, and Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.

Trade Fest recap 2018-our sponsors


Forced Labor and Chocolate: Do You Know Your Suppliers?

Hands holding a pile of roasted cocoa beans

On February 26, class action lawsuits were filed against Hershey and Mars in Massachusetts for failing to disclose that the cocoa in their chocolate was the product of child or forced labor. According to Hagens Berman, these two companies regularly import cocoa beans from suppliers in the Ivory Coast who are known to use the worst forms of child labor, including dangerous child labor and the slave labor of trafficked children. How well do you know the labor that your suppliers use?

Establishing Reasonable Care

Class action lawsuits are just one of consequences importers can face if they underestimate the importance of Reasonable Care. In September of 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) updated their Informed Compliance Publication on Reasonable Care to include a forced labor section in an effort to create further awareness. Ultimately, it is up to the importer to practice due diligence and know what’s going on in their supply chain.

To assist, CBP has a Forced Labor Enforcement fact sheet aimed to inform and therefore fight the risks of forced labor within companies’ operations and global supply chains. This Responsible Sourcing Tool, can also help supply chain owners visualize each country’s risk of child labor and forced labor.

Have you taken measures under Reasonable Care to ensure your imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with forced or child labor? Here are some questions that importers should ask themselves to prevent the use of forced labor in their supply chain.

  1. Have you established reliable procedures to ensure you are not importing goods in violation of 19 U.S.C. § 1307 and 19 C.F.R. §§ 12.42-12.44?
  2. Do you know how your goods are made, from raw materials to finished goods, by whom, where, and under what labor conditions?
  3. Have you reviewed CBP’s Forced Labor webpage, which includes a list of active withhold release orders and findings, as well as forced labor fact sheets?
  4. Have you established a reliable procedure of conducting periodic internal audits to check for forced labor in your supply chain?
  5. Have you established a reliable procedure of having a third-party auditor familiar with evaluating forced labor risks conduct periodic, unannounced audits of your supply chain for forced labor?
  6. Do you vet new suppliers for forced labor risks through questionnaires or some other means?
  7. Do your contracts with suppliers include terms that prohibit the use of forced labor, a time frame by which to take corrective action if forced labor is identified, and the consequences if corrective action is not taken, such as the termination of the contractual relationship?
  8. Have you developed a reliable program or procedure to maintain and produce any required customs entry documentation and supporting information?

To counteract items of child and forced labor from entering into your sales channel and global supply chains, you should have a documented comprehensive and transparent social compliance system in place. If you need guidance on starting or enhancing a social compliance system for your company, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


HTS Codes Affected by New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Steel 580

Yesterday—March 8, 2018—President Trump signed a tariff proclamation that placed a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

HTS Codes Affected

Steel Articles

  • 7206.10 through 7216.50
  • 7216.99 through 7301.10
  • 7302.10
  • 7302.40 through 7302.90
  • 7304.10 through 7306.90

Aluminum Articles

  • 7601—unwrought aluminum
  • 7604—aluminum bars, rods, and profiles
  • 7605—aluminum wire
  • 7606 and 7607—aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products)
  • 7608 and 7609—aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting
  • 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70—aluminum castings and forgings

Presidential Proclamation—Steel

Presidential Proclamation—Aluminum


No Need for Green Form for United States-Israel Exports

Shaded green, a man writes on paper.

If you export goods that qualify under the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement (ILFTA), you’ll be glad to know that the hard copy certificate of origin—also known as the Green Form or Form A—has been replaced with a simple declaration, effective January 10, 2018. U.S. exporters can now prepare the declaration on either their invoice, delivery note, or on their letterhead.

We recommend that you thoroughly review the rules of origin to ensure that your goods qualify, prior to completing and signing the country of origin declaration.

Be aware that the Israeli Customs Authorities may ask you to complete a Verification Declaration to support your claim and you must retain proof of your ILFTA qualification for five years. Export.gov recommends that you keep, at least, the following information:

  • A description of the article, quantity, numbers and marks of packages, invoice numbers, and bills of lading.
  • A description of the operations performed during the production of the article in the U.S. and identification of the direct costs of processing operations.
  • A description of any material used in production of the article, which are wholly grown, produced, or manufactured in the U.S., and a statement of the cost or value of these materials.
  • A description of the operations performed on and a statement as to the origin and cost or value of any foreign (non-U.S.) materials used in the article, which are claimed to have been sufficiently processed in the U.S. making them materials produced in the U.S.
  • A description of the origin and cost or value of any foreign (non-U.S.) materials used in the article, which have not been substantially transformed in the U.S.

Below is a sample declaration that you may include on your commercial invoice or have as a separate declaration on your letterhead.

U.S. Israel Origin Invoice Declaration

I, the undersigned, hereby declare that unless otherwise indicated, the goods covered by this document fully comply with the rules of origin and the other provisions of the Agreement on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area between the Government of Israel and the Government of the United States of America.

Check one that applies:

___ The Exporter
(whether the exporter is the producer or not)

___ The Producer
(is not the exporter)

Tax Identification:





By Jim Trubits, Vice President


Why Do My Goods Need to be Marked with the Country of Origin?

Clean paint brushes labeled as made in Germany.

Receiving a marking notice from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could cost your company a lot of money. It might result in additional expenses in trucking fees and third-party warehouse service fees to unload your cargo. Not to mention, the added cost to correct the unmarked, or inaccurately marked, merchandise. In addition, you would not be able to sell your goods until they were properly marked, which would cause delays or lost sales. Eventually, if you unmark or inaccurately mark future orders, CBP may step up exams, issue penalties, or assess a 10% marking duty on your products.

Why do my goods need to be marked?

Under Reasonable Care, CBP requires the importer to establish reliable procedures to verify that their merchandise is properly marked with the correct country of origin—upon entry—and that it matches CBP’s documents.

When do my marking obligations start?

Your responsibility begins prior to importing, as the goods must be correctly marked when they are imported into the United Sates. Therefore, it is important to give your vendors clear guidance on how to mark and label your goods, in order to meet the country of origin marking requirements.

What options do I have, if CBP discovers my goods are not marked?

You have three options.

  • Re-export the goods.
  • Destroy them.
  • Mark the goods properly using one of the CBP’s acceptable methods.

Any unmarked goods released into the commerce of the U.S. may be subjected to marking duties and penalties by CBP.

What steps should I take under Reasonable Care to prevent marking issues?

  • Work with your marketing group when they are developing new products and packaging, in addition to making changes to existing packaging.
  • Notify your vendors, in writing, of the country of origin marking requirements for the product, packaging, and Customs documentation.
  • Establish procedures to verify the correct country of origin is on the entry and Customs documents. Also, confirm the goods are properly marked when they are received at the warehouse.
  • If any errors are discovered, take immediate steps to document and correct them.

By Jim Trubits, Vice President


Increased Civil Penalties for Export Violations

A judges gavel hits a pile of money

The Department of Commerce and Department of State have increased the civil monetary penalties for export violations to account for inflation, effective January 15. It is important to recognize that these new amounts are retroactive and can be charged against each violation, regardless of when the violation occurred.

Here is a summary of the penalty increases:

  • The maximum amount for an EAR civil violation is now $295,141 or two times the value of the transaction (50 U.S.C. 1705(b)).
  • Penalties for late AES filings are now $1,360 per day; with the maximum per violation increasing to $13,605. All other AES violations are now $13,605 (13 U.S.C. 304 & 13 U.S.C. 305(b)).
  • The penalty for Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) civil penalties has increased to $1,134,602 per violation (22 U.S.C. 2778 (e)).

The adjusted penalty amounts serve as a reminder to keep your export compliance program and training up to date. Make sure you monitor your export transactions and processes, and if you do discover an export violation, consider making a voluntary disclosure.

Contact us and ask how to we can help you build a custom export compliance program.

By Danielle Leonard


9 Most Common Medical Device Entry Screening Errors

Medical devices hung on a wall in a doctors office.

While importers of medical devices may not see the benefit of each entry line being scored through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting (PREDICT) system, this process has the potential to help speed up entry screening of their medical devices.

What is PREDICT?

PREDICT—the FDA’s electronic screening tool for import operations—is designed to assist entry reviewers in targeting higher-risk shipments for examination. It works behind the scenes to screen all lines of imported product electronically submitted to the FDA through the U.S. Customs Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) via the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) and then assigns a score to each line. A high score means a higher risk and a low score means a low risk. If your PREDICT score is lower, the product has the potential to clear faster.

Keep Your PREDICT Score Low

Importers should ensure they provide accurate and complete data, whether they file their own entries or have a Customs Broker file for them. If there is inaccurate or missing data, such as failing to provide a device listing number or entering inaccurate product codes, your PREDICT score goes up and is flagged as high-risk. This could result in delays for present and future shipments.

How to Avoid Common Errors

The FDA has provided a list of the most common errors for medical devices in fiscal year 2017. This should help importers and entry filers identify the types of criteria they might be missing or providing incorrectly.

When in doubt, importers should use reasonable care when providing entry data. Ensuring you supply the most accurate information will help keep your PREDICT score down and result in a low-risk rating, thus expedite the screening process.

Below are the FDA’s most common entry errors for medical devices.

Most Common Entry Errors for Medical Devices in 2017

LST not transmitted
No listing number (LST) was transmitted for the entry. Verify that a listing number is required and provide one as applicable. There is no public website to search listing numbers because they are proprietary. Contact the listing entity to retrieve the number.

Could not find LST number
The listing number transmitted could not be found in FDA’s database. Verify that the listing number provided is accurate and in the correct format.

Rgstrn not trnsmttd (DEV/DFE)
No registration number was transmitted for the foreign manufacturer (DEV) or foreign device exporter (DFE). Verify that a DEV, DDM or DFE is required and provide one as applicable.

Mnfctr has Country code = US
The listing number transmitted indicated that the manufacturer was a U.S. firm, but the manufacturer provided on the line is a foreign firm. Verify the correct LST was provided.

Product Code does not match
The product code transmitted for the entry did not match the product code on file for the listing number transmitted. Verify that the correct LST was provided and/or that the product code matches the LST.

Submission # does not match
The Pre-market notification or Premarket approval (PM#) transmitted for the entry did not match one of the numbers on file for the listing number transmitted. Verify that the PM# provided matches the product being introduced for import.

Firm name does not match
The firm name provided in the entry did not match the firm name on file for the listing number transmitted. Verify that the firm listed on the entry matches the firm used for the LST.

Registration does not match
The registration number provided in the entry did not match the registration number on file for the transmitted listing number. Verify the DEV provided matches the LST provided.

UNK is declared as IUC and the AofC REG supplied instead of DEV
When the Intended Use Code (IUC) is declared as unknown (UNK), inappropriate Affirmation of Compliance (AofC) qualifiers can be transmitted causing a lookup failure. Example: AofC provided was for Drug Registration (REG) not Device Manufacturer Registration (DEV) or Device Foreign Exporter Registration (DFE) as required for a device entry. Make sure when submitting a foreign device registration number that either DEV (manufacturer) or DFE (exporter) is used. 

We understand the complexity of creating and maintaining a seamless compliance process. Contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors to talk about how we can help you build a better Import Compliance Program.

FDA’s Medical Device Common Entry Errors.

PREDICT Fact Sheet.


FTZ Savings Calculator Updated


You might have heard about Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) and that your company could save a substantial amount of money by operating within one, but is it worth it?

Estimate what these savings might be with our FTZ Savings Calculator, which has been updated to reflect the new maximum Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) of $497.99.

Simply plug in a few numbers and this calculator will evaluate your potential duty savings—from deferred, reduced, and eliminated duties—as well as possible savings from using an FTZ weekly entry procedure.

Need help analyzing FTZ costs and benefits? Contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors today and talk to one of our FTZ experts.

By Danielle Leonard


BIS Clarifies EAR License Exceptions GOV and STA

Sign posts pointing in different directions indicating support, advice, help, guidance, assistance.

Intending to assist exporters, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule, on November 1, that gives guidance on two Export Administration Regulations (EAR) license exceptions. This rule makes three clarifications to license exception Governments, International Organizations, International Inspections under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the International Space Station (GOV). It also adds five notes, along with other minor clarifications, to license exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA). The BIS has noted that these updates do not alter the EAR requirements.

Clarifications for License Exception GOV

  • Explains the term contractor support personnel, which is defined as, “individuals who are providing support within a U.S. government owned, operated facility, or under the direct supervision of a U.S. government employee.” The rule further clarifies that private security contractors are not considered contractor support personnel.
  • Defines how the BIS interprets the meaning of temporary. The note clarifies that temporary means, within no more than four years from the date of an item’s initial export, reexport, or transfer (in-country), it must be returned to the exporter, reexporter, or transferor.
  • Describes civil intergovernmental organizations, e.g. the European Space Agency (ESA), in which the membership is limited to national governments, as cooperating governments. This means that if an export, reexport, or transfer was made directly to any of the organization’s national government members, license exception GOV would be available.

Clarifications for License Exception STA

  • Expresses why transfers (in-country) are included in license exception STA and describes how this term is applied in the context of this license exception.
  • Clarifies that 600 series items authorized under license exception STA must be provided to an eligible ultimate end user, such as a Country Group A:5 military, to stay in compliance with the original authorization.
  • Replaces the terms shipment and shipped with export and reexport or transfer (in-country).
  • Stipulates that a prior consignee statement must be obtained before making any export, reexport, or transfer, including those that are intangible.
  • Identifies that when multiple consignees who form a network engaged in a production process—or other type of collaborative activity—will be receiving items under this license exception, the existing BIS policy allows the use of a single consignee statement identifying multiple consignees, as long as all the applicable requirements of the license exception are met.
  • Excludes Country Group A:5 and A:6 government consignees from the requirement to sign or provide a prior consignee statement to an exporter, reexporter, or transferor under this license exception.
  • Specifies that intangible exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) made under this license are not subject to certain notification requirements.

If you have questions or need help understanding the final rule, contact our team for export compliance support.

By Danielle Leonard


New Minimum Security Criteria Coming for CTPAT


The recent CTPAT 2017 Conference in Detroit, Michigan offered insight into updates coming to Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) as well as workshops and other informative seminars. Abby Frank, Associate Advisor for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, attended the conference and told us that aside from the dash being removed from the program name, her biggest takeaway was the introduction of new minimum security criteria. These requirements are set to roll out October 2018 in phases. Although some of the new criteria were left open-ended—as the details are still being worked out—they include

• Cyber security

• Terrorism financing

• Wood packing materials and pests

• Money laundering

• Agro terrorism (intentional and unintentional)

• Human rights

We will give updates as these new requirements are implemented. In the meantime, if you have any questions or are interested in joining CTPAT, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Leonard


Three Export Compliance Questions to Go with those Engineering Change Orders

An engineer writes an Engineering Change Order

Constant innovation and performance enhancements are the foundation of any solid growth strategy, especially for the industrial, high tech, and aerospace sectors. Your product is only as good as it’s last Engineering Change Order (ECO), the documentation that tells the story of the components, materials, and processes that will be altered by new product changes.

What many American companies may not realize is that those Engineering Change Orders (ECO) may be poking holes in the company’s export compliance track record. Certain changes to a product can mean the product needs to be reclassified.

Here are three questions manufacturers should be asking themselves with every ECO created:

  1. Have we communicated these changes to our export department?
  2. Have we reevaluated the classification of the product after the change was made?
  3. Have we ever exported a product that we changed but didn’t re-classify?

The risk of not considering these questions is an increased likelihood of a U.S. export violation—or worse, multiple violations.

Companies looking for a more proactive approach may also want to consider training their engineers in export commodity jurisdiction and classification. Learn more about this and other export compliance training topics, here.

By Michelle Kelley


How to Report an Incorrect Certificate of Origin to Customs

Certificate of origin with world map in background

U.S. exporters are required to inform all recipients, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, of incorrect certificates of origin. In the past, the only way to notify Customs of an incorrect certificate was in writing. However, in a recent post, Customs provided a new procedure for communicating this via email.

If you need to submit a notification to Customs regarding an incorrect certificate of origin for the CAFTA-DR, Colombia TPA, Korea FTA, Panama TPA, or Peru TPA, the notification should be sent to fta@dhs.gov with the following included:

  • Copy of the incorrect certificate of origin.
  • Copy of the reissued certificate of origin (if any).
  • Explanation of the error (provide details as appropriate).
  • Names and emails of all parties that have received the offending certificate of origin.
  • Statement that each party that has received the incorrect certificate of origin has been notified.

Failure to notify recipients of the incorrect certificate of origin, including Customs, could result in penalties. For help with certificate of origin compliance, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Leonard


CBP Issues Final Rule for Consumptive Demand Clause

Dirty hands signifying forced labor and child labor

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued their final rule on June 8, which will remove the consumptive demand clause from section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The clause allowed the importation of forced labor goods if the demand for those goods in the U. S. exceeded the capacity of domestic production.

According to this fact sheet provided by Customs, repealing the consumptive demand clause is intended to promote the following:

  • Enhanced ability for CBP to prevent products made by forced labor (i.e., slave, convict, indentured, or forced or indentured child labor) from being imported into the U. S.
  • Increased ability to safeguard human rights and improve labor standards in the global supply chain through CBP’s enhanced authority to address violations and prevent future abuses from forced labor.
  • Expedited review; after CBP determines that sufficient information has been provided to warrant a withhold release order, consumptive demand considerations will no longer hinder issuance of the order.

It’s important to practice due diligence and understand where and how your products are produced. The Department of Labor has provided a useful tool where importers can search for known entities subject to an active Withhold Release Order.

By Danielle Passage


U.S. Customs Offers Guidance: What to Do When There is No Equivalent Tariff Change Rule

Tariff Change Rule Guidance with containers in the background

According to this CSMS message from U.S. Customs, there are a limited amount of tariff items in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) that do not have equivalent free trade agreement (FTA) tariff change rules (TCRs). The reason for this is that the tariff items were negotiated using a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) that was later modified in 2007, 2012, or 2017.

Customs has provided guidance to work around this issue until corresponding tariff change rules have been implemented.

Tariff Shift Origination Analysis

  • Classify the good and its materials using the most recent HTSUS in which the tariff item has a corresponding tariff change rule and perform the origination analysis using that year’s HTSUS.

Certificate of Origin

  • Indicate both the current HTSUS number and the previously corresponding HTSUS number used to perform the origination analysis in parenthesis and with wording to that effect.

The example statement Customs provides is, “Origination analysis performed using HTSUS xxxx.xx.xxxx (2016) since no TRC for item number yyyy.yy.yyyy in 2017 HTSUS.”

If you need assistance in with reviewing your origination analysis or confirming compliance of your free trade agreement claims, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

FTA Origination Analysis and Certification Guide (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

By Danielle Passage


Don’t be Caught in the Dark with Antidumping and Countervailing Duties

Flashlight lighting up money

There’s never been a better time to be aware of antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties for your products. A recent Executive Order signed by President Trump has put these particular duties in the spotlight. Now more than ever, importers need to be cognizant of possible AD/CV orders for their existing and new products, as the government will be more vigilant in collecting these duties.

According to the Executive Order, as of May 2015, $2.3 billion in antidumping and countervailing duties remained uncollected. To recover these revenues, the Executive Order calls for U.S. Customs to develop a plan to impose appropriate bond requirements on certain items based on risk assessment criteria.

Don’t be caught in the dark—these duties can come back to haunt you. Take a look at our white paper where we discuss these issues and how to make sure you are prepared if your product is covered under an antidumping or countervailing order.

By Danielle Passage


Calculate What You Could be Saving with Duty Drawback

Calculator with drawback on the screen and below states calculate your drawback savings

Each year, there are about $2.5 billion in unclaimed duty drawback refunds. Wouldn’t you want to know if your company could recover some of that $2.5 billion? Take this case study for example, where we were able to help a client recover over $50,000 in duties annually.

How much could you save?

Try our drawback calculator and find out how much you could be saving. Then schedule a free duty drawback eligibility assessment with MGTA’s Duty Drawback Manager, Robyn Moore.

By Danielle Passage


Be Aware of Your Exports: BIS and DDTC Cracking Down on Export Violations to Russia

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Russia

Shipments to Russia and Ukraine are still being heavily scrutinized by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. State Department of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). The inspection has increased since new sanctions were issued to Russia and Ukraine in December 2016. Therefore, to avoid export violations it is crucial to ensure your organization practices due diligence in regards to U.S.-origin items being transshiped or reexported to these areas.

Here are a few preventative measures you can take to minimize the chances of unknowingly enabling illegal diversion of your exported goods to Russia. The full version can be found here.

  • Pay attention to any discrepancies between the destination country and country from which an order is placed or payment is made. If the countries do not match, it’s possible that someone is planning to illegally divert your exported goods to a different country, such as Russia.
  • Be wary if a freight forwarder’s office or address is listed as the item’s final destination. It is your duty, by law, to investigate further. Do not proceed with the transaction before asking the purchaser about the item’s end user, end use, and ultimate destination.
  • When looking into the end destination of the item, an exporter should take a close look at the e-mail address, telephone number country codes, and languages used in customer communications or websites. If any of these details suggest a destination country other than what you have been told by the customer, you should be cautious about going through with the transaction.
  • Exporters are advised to always screen their customers. The U.S. government has provided a user-friendly tool to help in the consolidated export screening process.

Do you need help with developing your export compliance manual? Reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Passage


What Documents are Required to Qualify for Duty Free Return of Foreign Goods?

Cargo ship with money faded in background

Back on April 25, 2016, Customs announced changes to U.S. tariff number 9801.00.10 that allow for duty free return of foreign goods that are returned within three years of being exported. We previously wrote about this topic here. However, at the time, Customs was unclear as to what documents were mandatory to present at time of entry. They have since updated the requirements in a message sent January 31, 2017.

The following are the documents needed at time of entry for certain items.

  • A Foreign Shipper’s Declaration is required if the U.S. origin or foreign origin goods are valued $2,500 or greater.
  • A manufacturer’s affidavit is required to confirm that the articles were made in the United States. (Applicable to U.S. origin goods only.)
  • One of the following documents will be deemed sufficient proof of export from the United States for both U.S. origin or foreign origin goods:
    • Copy of the entry into the foreign country.
    • U.S. export invoice or bill of lading/airway bill.
    • Electronic Export Information (EEI) or the Automated Export System (AES) filing exemption.
  • A formal entry packet is required, regardless of value, along with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) Partnership Government Agency (PGA) message set, for U.S. origin goods that were originally exported under a Department of State license that are now being re-imported.

The following are the documents needed at time of entry for aircraft returns.

  • A CBP Form 3311, or its electronic equivalent may be used, as stated in 19 CFR § 10.1, for aircraft and aircraft parts and equipment returned to the United States.
  • A formal entry packet is required if any maintenance is being performed on the aircraft while in the United States.
  • For U.S. manufactured aircraft returning to the United States that were sold to a foreign government under the Foreign Military Sales program, where modifications or enhancements will be made to the aircraft, then the following is required for the import and subsequent export of the aircraft:
    • A formal entry packet.
    • At the time of export, the EEI submission that cites the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls export license (DSP-5).

For assistance with developing processes and procedures for returning foreign goods, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Passage


Prepare for New TSCA Reporting Requirements

Toxic sign

Effective March 21, there will be a revised import certification process for commodities subject to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). The Federal Register announced the upcoming changes on December 27, 2016, found here. The original effective date for these changes was January 26 but was postponed to March 21 per a message in the U. S. Customs Cargo Systems Messaging System (CSMS).

Removing Paper-Based Blanket Reporting

The paper-based blanket reporting requirements, described under 19CFR 12.121(a)(2)(ii), will no longer be effective as information will be submitted electronically with each entry. Previously, importers could provide an annual paper blanket certification to U.S. Customs to cover multiple shipments of the same chemical during a one-year period at one port of entry. Elimination of the paper document supports the continuing effort to reduce paperwork by collecting and processing information electronically.

Importers may wish to provide blanket information to their Customs broker for repeated use on their chemical imports. A TSCA positive or negative statement can be prepared and submitted to your Customs broker for use on each applicable customs entry as needed. At a minimum, this information should be reviewed and updated annually.

Additionally, importers will be required to include three new data elements on their TSCA certifications.

• Certifying individual’s name

• Certifying individual’s phone number

• Certifying individual’s email address

Mandatory Certification Statement

A positive or negative certification statement will be required at time of entry. These statements serve to verify either that the chemical is subject to TSCA and complies will all rules and orders or that it is not subject to TSCA. The language for these are shown below per 19CFR 12.121(a).

TSCA Positive Statement:

“I certify that all chemical substances in this shipment comply with all applicable rules or orders under TSCA and that I am not offering a chemical substance for entry in violation of TSCA or any applicable rule or order under TSCA.”

TSCA Negative Statement:

“I certify that all chemicals in this shipment are not subject to TSCA.”

Need Guidance?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has advised that it is the importer’s responsibility to determine whether an imported product is subject to TSCA and must be reported at time of entry. They suggest that importers call the TSCA Hotline at 202-554-1404 for assistance and that providing the CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) numbers for your products will expedite the Hotline review process.

If you need help updating your compliance processes or in understanding the TSCA import reporting process, contact us.


By Adrienne Graddy


Responsible Sourcing Tool Added to CBP’s Forced Labor Fact Sheet

Responsible sourcing tool screen

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has revised the Forced Labor Enforcement fact sheet. This fact sheet aims to inform and therefore combat the risks of forced labor within companies’ operations and global supply chains. The update adds a link to the Responsible Sourcing Tool, which can help supply chain owners visualize each country’s risk of child labor and forced labor.

If you need guidance on starting or enhancing a social compliance system for your company, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.



Twitter Contest: Win a Dictionary of International Trade


Enter our Twitter contest for a chance to win a FREE Dictionary of International Trade 10th Edition ($78 value). Follow the two easy steps below to qualify!

How to enter:

  1. Follow us @MohawkGlobalTA
  2. Tweet #MGTAContest2017

End Date will be February 8th at 11:59 pm EST.
Winner will be announced February 10th.

Contest Rules:

  • Mohawk Global Logistics and Mohawk Global Trade Advisor employees are not eligible.
  • Winner must be located in the United States.
  • You cannot enter more than once.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • The winner’s Twitter handle will be mentioned.
  • The winner’s company name and last name will not be made public.

Have You Received a Letter From U.S. Customs?

Business man mulls over the contents of an Informed Compliance Publication letter from U.S. Customs

If you’ve recently received a letter from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) with the seemingly mundane subject line, “Distribution of Informed Compliance Publications and Other Informative Documents,” sit up and take note—your company may be at risk for a CBP audit or investigation.

A reliable source close to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors has informed us that CBP’s Office of Regulatory Audit in Houston is issuing such letters to the top 1000 U.S. importers.

What’s in these letters?

Although each letter is different, they all mention

  • that as part of CBP’s responsibility for Informed Compliance (under the Mod Act), they are providing information to your company to ensure future compliance;
  • a specially selected list, specific to your company, of Informed Compliance Publications—guides for the trade, written by and available for download from CBP, which cover general compliance topics, such as recordkeeping, the Valuation Encyclopedia (which was updated in 2015), and rules of origin, as well as specific commodities, such as ball bearings, gaskets and textiles;
  • 19 USC § 1592(c)(4), Penalties for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence, and 19 CFR §162.74, Prior disclosure. The letter does not require an importer to make a Prior Disclosure, but if an importer elects to do so, penalties may be reduced under certain circumstances;
  • since CBP has provided this information, future violations could result in seizure, forfeiture, and/or monetary penalties;
  • and, a request for the signature of a “responsible official” to acknowledge receipt of the items listed in the letter.

Why are these letters being issued?

First, it’s important to understand that these letters are not being issued arbitrarily. Importers who receive these letters are at risk for a CBP audit or investigation. It’s also important to note that the Informed Compliance Publications listed in the letter are not random; out of the 95 listed on their website, CBP has identified those with topics that relate to your transactions. You’ll need to carefully examine these areas.

Recommended steps for your organization

Based on the details available for these Informed Compliance Publication letters, there are some recommended steps that your organization can take.

  • Do not assume that participation in the Importer Self Assessment (ISA) program excludes you from audits related to these letters.
    Even if you are an ISA participant, and had been taken out of the audit pool, you are not excluded from this new targeting pool.
  • Determine how likely it is for your company to receive such a letter.
    Our sources tell us that CBP is currently mailing letters to companies in the top 1000 U.S. importers. Although no list of the top 1000 exists, CBP has published a list of the top 5000, which can be found at: https://www.cbp.gov/document/top-5000. Finding your company on this list may indicate if there is potential for you to receive the letter.

If you receive a letter, here are some recommendations for your organization to take.

Review data in your ACE portal based on the topics of the Informed Compliance Publications indicated in the letter.
There are many reports available in ACE that allow you to review discrepancies, HTS, exam results, free trade agreements, and entry summaries. The first ten pages of the ACE Portal Reports Dictionary for Importers provide a summary of reports and information they contain. And while you’re in the ACE portal, confirm that your company information is up to date.

Find out when your company last did a risk assessment or gap analysis.
The assessment/analysis should have included:

  • whether you have a written compliance manual and if your employees know where it is and how to use it
  • if any of your imports are the subject of Priority Trade Issues, such as antidumping/countervailing, free trade agreements, textiles, or related party transactions (valuation)
  • the number of post entry corrections made and Prior Disclosures submitted since your last analysis
  • whether you’ve received any Requests for Information (CBP 28s/29s) or communication from the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE)

Give careful consideration as to whether the letter should be signed.
Be aware that potential liability for violations may increase after the letter is signed. Should your company wish to prepare a reply that may reduce the risk of an audit, the following approach is recommended.

  • Start by utilizing the services of a consultant or Customs attorney who can provide guidance and best practices.
  • Before you respond, review and understand the issues related to any Requests for Information (CBP 28s/29s), and if pertinent, any Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) correspondence; as well as take a close look at internal audits and post entry reviews to understand the results, observations, and required process improvements.
  • When composing your response, if your company filed a Prior Disclosure before receiving the letter, advise CBP that you are already reviewing these areas, have done your due diligence, etc.

One final important consideration: who in your organization will get this letter? Will it languish in the mail room because no one knows what it is or where it should go? Will it sit on the desk of someone in the accounting department for weeks before it is even opened? You can decrease the chances of these scenarios by asking your staff to send any documentation with a CBP logo or return address to the appropriate party as soon as possible.

Do you need guidance on an Informed Compliance Publication letter you received? We can help. Contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors and ask for assistance with your letter.

By Adrienne Graddy, Senior Advisor


MGTA Presents Country of Origin & Marking Webinar on 12/1

Executive holding webinar sign

You can’t mark goods without knowing the correct country of origin (where they were made). Step through the process of determining a product’s origin during this webinar, presented by Robert Stein and Jim Trubits of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

This webinar includes visual examples to explain marking methods and requirements, giving attendees a vivid understanding of the real world scenarios they may encounter.

Country of Origin & Marking Webinar
December 1, 2016
1-2:30PM ET
1.5 CCS Credits
Hosted by the NCBFAA

$50 – NCBFAA members
$75 – Non-members

Register Now


C-TPAT and Canada’s PIP Joining Forces?

Two men forging on an anvil with an American and Canadian flag in the background

During the latest Canadian Society of Customs Brokers National Conference, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) discussed implementing a new system that will require certain importer data to be electronically submitted in a specific timeframe. This will be similar to our Import Security Filing requirement for U.S. importers.

When Canada deploys this new system, companies involved in Customs-Trade Partners Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) could be allotted more time, about 96 hours total, to transmit their data. Those not participating in these programs will have only 24 hours to submit their import data, which may encourage more companies to join C-TPAT and PIP.

What is C-TPAT

C-TPAT is a voluntary program free of cost to join. When a company joins C-TPAT, they are considered to be of low risk and their cargo is less likely to be examined by Customs at a U.S. port of entry. That may seem like benefit enough to join but there are many other advantages to joining as well.

Mutual Recognition Arrangements

Mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) have been established between PIP and C-TPAT. In other words, both countries consider the programs equivalent and recognize each other’s members, meaning they may grant them similar benefits when importing into the country. The U.S.-Canada arrangement has been in place since June of 2008. Canada and the U.S. are currently working towards joining PIP and C-TPAT into one, which will further enhance the benefits for members by having only one application process, one site visit performed, and a single point of contact to manage their membership in both programs. Here are the differences between the harmonization and the MRAs. This will benefit eligible members by removing duplicated efforts and ultimately save both cost and time.

If you are interested in learning more about C-TPAT and how you might benefit from becoming a member, Mohawk Global Trade Advisors has the resources and answers.


Congress Adjusts Exporter Penalties

Gavel and money

Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, Congress has mandated, effective August 1, 2016, a one-time catch-up adjustment to civil monetary penalties for export violations, in order to account for inflation. The last time such an increase occurred was in 1985. Going forward, it is important to note that these penalties are not one-time increases but will be subject to an annual adjustment for inflation, to be implemented no later than January 15 of each year.

It is imperative to recognize that these new penalty amounts are retroactive and can be charged against each violation, regardless of when the violation occurred. This is bad news if you are charged by U.S. Customs, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), or the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) after August 1, 2016, as they can now use the revised penalty rates. These penalty increases raise the stakes for exporters to meet their regulatory obligations.

Here is a summary of the penalty increases:

  • The maximum amount for an EAR civil violation is now $284,582 or two times the value of the transaction (50 U.S.C. 1705(b)).
  • Penalties for late AES filings are now $1,312 per day; with the maximum per violation increasing to $13,118. All other AES violations are now $13,118 (13 U.S.C. 304 & 13 U.S.C. 305(b)).
  • The penalty for DDTC civil penalties has increased to $1,094,010 per violation (22 U.S.C. 2778).

The adjusted penalty amounts serve as a reminder to keep your export compliance program and training up to date. Make sure you monitor your export transactions and processes, and if you do discover an export violation, consider making a voluntary disclosure.

By Jim Trubits, Vice President


Trade Fest Recap

Trade Fest

A special thanks to Diane Cima, Compliance Specialist, for providing some of the pictures.

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) had a great turn out at Trade Fest in Geneva, NY. We’d like to give a sincere thank you to all of the attendees, speakers, and sponsors for making the event a complete success.

The day was filled with insightful seminars discussing various topics such as, surviving import audits, securing your cargo with SOLAS, understanding ATA Carnet, and saving money with duty drawback and foreign trade zones. The event was live tweeted by Mohawk’s marketing team; here’s a preview.









Thank you again to our Trade Fest speakers Amanda Barlow of Roanoke Insurance Group; Jon Yormick of Philips Lytle LLP; Bill Kaufman of Customs and Border Protection; John Manzella of WTC Buffalo Niagara; Jodi Earle of Crossman Corporation; Mary Slack of Spectracom Corporation; Rhonda Augustine of Seal & Design; and Rich Roche, Nathan Holsing, Robert Stein, Jim Trubits, Robyn Moore, Sue Nans, Cindi Kavanaugh, and Kristen Morneau of MGTA.


A special thank you to our sponsors Mohawk Global Logistics, High Tech Rochester, Philips Lytle LLP, Avalon Risk Management, Questaweb, Roanoke Insurance Group, Western New York FTZ Operators, and Ontario County FTZ 289. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.

Sponsor Tables at Trade Fest

By Danielle Passage


Kristen Morneau and Robyn Moore to speak at Maine Import Forum

Know your docs: Kristen Morean and Robyn Moore to speak on Oct 13 at Maine Import Forum

MGTA’s own Kristen Morneau and Robyn Moore will be speaking at the Import Forum at University of Southern Maine on October 13.

The Import Forum will cover what Maine’s small- and medium-sized businesses need to know about importing including valuable import entry procedures, how to minimize risks of penalties and pitfalls, and best practices to maximize your import profits.

Kristen and Robyn will be presenting on import documentation, FTZ, and duty drawback during the “Logistics: From Docks to Docs” segment of the program, in conjunction with MGTA’s local partners, OceanAir.

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors is a proud sponsor of this event.

Event Details
Import Forum
When: October 13, 2-5pm
Venue: University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME 04101
Cost: $45 for MITC members, $65 for non-members
Registration: Advanced registration required. Click here to register.

Kristen Morneau is Senior Advisor for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Kristen.

Robyn Moore is Duty Drawback Manager for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Robyn.


Catch Jim Trubits on Oct. 19 at Youngstown State University

Foreign Goods Returned: Save on duties, taxes, and fees. With Jim Trubits on Oct 19.

Join Jim Trubits, of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA), on October 19 in Youngstown, OH for “Importing for Successful Exporters,” a panel discussion hosted by the Ohio Small Business Development Centers.

The panel will be speaking about the key finance, compliance, and logistics issues that many small business exporters run into when importing components and accepting returns into the U.S.

As a licensed Customs broker with decades of experience, Jim will be explaining how to implement strategies to reap significant savings on the duties, taxes, and fees for foreign goods returned.

This event is proudly sponsored by Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

Event Details
Importing for Successful Exporters
October 19, 9am-noon
Venue: Williamson College of Business at YSU, Room 3423
Cost: $25
Parking: Free parking available. See flyer for details.
Registration: Click here to register. Registration closes October 13.

Jim Trubits is a licensed Customs broker, certified Customs specialist, and Vice President for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. He is endorsed by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) as a Certified Global Business Professional. Click here to learn more about Jim.


Get Ready to Blend Destination Control Statements

Blender with 2 documents going into it

Effective November 15, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will enforce new requirements for the destination control statements needed under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The revisions will combine both destination control statements, used for EAR and ITAR, to make one statement. This will help to alleviate perceived concerns for exporters of non-600 series and non-9×515 ECCNs under the EAR.

Destination Control Statements

Currently under the EAR, exporters are required to include a destination control statement on certain transactional documents, such as commercial invoices, ocean bills of lading, and air waybills, which is similar to the ITAR requirements, with the exception of a few words. The purpose of the destination control statements, for both cases, is to alert that the item is subject to the EAR/ITAR. This means that an item exported to a specific destination, must not deviate from that destination.

The Wording of the New Destination Control Statements

Per the amended 15 CFR 758.6,

“These items are controlled by the U.S. government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations.”

What the Revision Will Do

The joined destination control statements will use phrasing that can apply to EAR and ITAR exports, making only one statement necessary. By harmonizing these rules, the one destination control statement will only be required on commercial invoices and will no longer have to be included on air waybills, bills of lading, or other export control documents. Additionally, destination control statements will only be required for items exported in “tangible form,” such as physical goods. However, if a commercial invoice does exist for an “intangible export,” such as software, schematics, engineering plans, etc., it is still recommended by the BIS to include a destination control statement or other relevant export control-related information. Having only one destination control statement will make it easier to automate documents since the same destination control statement can be used for both EAR and ITAR shipments.

What to Take From This

Only your commercial invoice is required to have the destination control statement on it. However, it is a best business practice to have the destination control statement on quotes, pro forma invoices, or order confirmations you might send to customers. Additionally, the BIS recommends that you include a destination control statement on other relevant export control-related information such as, on applicable drawings and other “intangible items” sent in electronic format.

By Danielle Passage


Catch Export License Issues with AES Before They Occur

Person frustrated at a laptop with the symbol AES on it

A new AES function, deployed by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), with help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, assists filers with tracking decrementing license values. If the license quantity or value has been or will be met, filers will receive one of the following messages straightaway:

  • The BIS license value has been met or exceeded by a prior filing.
  • The BIS license value has been exceeded by the current filing.
  • The allowable shipping tolerance (10% over BIS license value) has been exceeded by the current filing.
  • The remaining value on the BIS license may be negative.

These messages will not prevent the issuance of an ITN, nor will they result in a fatal error. However, if you do receive any of these warnings, it means you have the ability to stop the export from shipping and apply for a new license. Otherwise, you may end up with a penalty, if the issue is not properly handled prior to export.

Keep a Positive Outlook

Although it may not seem like it, these messages from the AES system are a positive addition to the process, since they provide exporters with timely feedback as to what is wrong with their shipment. Before this update, you could have found yourself, months later, caught up in the middle of an investigation and facing a possible export violation. Now, the new function will allow exporters to better manage their commerce licensed exports, making it easier to catch a problem before there is an export violation.

Communicate Internally

It will be imperative to take a second look at your internal process to prepare in the event you receive one of the messages above. Communication between your compliance and shipping departments, and your authorized agent handling your AES filings, is crucial. If your shipping department or agents receives one of these license condition messages, it is important that they inform you, to ensure that everyone is on the same page to prevent a potential export violation.

Keep in Mind

For BIS-licenses obtained prior to July 28, this decrementing will not reflect previously declared values or quantities filed in AES.

 By Danielle Passage


Bureau of Industry and Security Revises Penalty Guidelines

Definition of penalty with the bureau of industry and security logo

Effective July 22, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has officially revised their penalty guidelines to align with those of the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).

What has changed?

The base penalty amount will now depend on whether the violation is determined to be egregious or non-egregious. The revised guidelines will also take into consideration whether or not the case resulted from a qualifying voluntary self-disclosure. The Office of Export Enforcement will first set the base penalty amount and then look at mitigating and aggravating factors to determine whether the penalty amount should be adjusted.

Who benefits most from these changes?

Exporters that have an established export compliance program will reap the most benefits. Failing to have an export compliance program makes it more difficult to mitigate a penalty. If you don’t have one or it needs updating, this is a great time to establish or update your export compliance program. The importance of having an Export Management and Compliance Program that incorporates at least the 9 core elements, outlined by BIS, will help minimize your compliance risk.

Great Weight Penalty Reductions

One of the significant changes made, has to do with voluntary self-disclosures which are provided for in Part 764.5 of the EAR. They will no longer be listed as a mitigating factor. To encourage the submission of disclosures, BIS will extend “great weight” in the form of a 50% mitigation to the penalty case if it is based on a disclosure. The good news is that the majority of penalty cases made through a disclosure will only result in a warning letter and only 3% of the disclosures submitted actually will be issued a civil penalty.

The key points to take away from these changes are:

  • Establish and maintain an Export Management and Compliance Program that incorporates, at minimum, the 9 core elements outlined by BIS.
  • Monitor your export activity for possible violations.
  • Make a voluntary self-disclosure if you suspect a possible violation.

Let us know if you need assistance with setting up your Export Management and Compliance Program, training, or filing a voluntary self-disclosure.

By Jim Trubits, Vice President


ITAR Compliance Pop Quiz

business man with his head in the sand


You’ve heard the phrase, what you don’t know, won’t hurt you; well in this case, not knowing can hurt a lot more than you’d expect. Undetected ITAR violations can not only negatively impact your company’s bottom line, but it can also hurt its exporting future. By going through these questions, you can uncover what you don’t know and confirm what you do know about your process in identifying ITAR violations.

  1. Have you reviewed the new definitions for export, re-export, and retransfer?
  2. Have you confirmed or re-classified all your products in accordance with export control reform changes?
  3. Does “specially designed” apply to any of your products?
  4. Do you subscribe to and receive regulatory email updates from the DDTC (Directorate of Defense Trade Controls), DOS (Department of State), and BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security)?
  5. Do you fully understand the order of review process?
  6. Do you have a process to segregate and control your ITAR technical data?
  7. Have you renewed your DDTC registration within the last year?
  8. Do you screen all guests prior to arrival at your facility and, if necessary, have licenses in place for foreign national plant visits?
  9. If you use ITAR exemptions, have you reviewed them for proper usage?
  10. Within the last three years, have your ITAR processes and procedures been audited by an independent party?

It’s what you don’t know that can hurt you. If you have answered no or need further light shed on ITAR compliance, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors today.

By Danielle Passage


Ghosts in the Machine

Hooded figure as ghost in the machine (ACE)

MGTA’s Robert Stein was recently interviewed by American Shipper about the trade’s trials and tribulations with ACE, excerpted below.

“In general, the ACE roll out is making progress. But we struggle day to day because there’s still so many ghosts in the machine that we’re constantly on the phone with Customs and the PGAs,” Mohawk’s Stein said. “We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to transmit the data. Then once we learn, we spend time dealing with transactions that don’t process. Sometimes the bugs are in Customs’ system. Sometimes they are in our software. And sometimes, it’s difficult to differentiate.”

You can read Eric Kulisch’s “Ghosts in the Machine” in its entirety, here.

Robert Stein is Vice President for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. He’s a licensed Customs broker and certified Customs specialist. Read more about Robert here.

By Michelle Kelley


Robert Stein Reveals How to Use FTZ as an Export Tool at Ohio NEOTEC Seminar

Robert Stein presents "Using FTZ as an Export Tool" at May 15 NEOTEC seminar in Ohio

Come listen to one of MGTA’s best speakers, Robert Stein, Vice President, as he presents at the upcoming Exporting and Foreign Trade Zone Toolbox seminar, hosted by by the Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium (NEOTEC) and U.S. Commercial Service.

Mr. Stein will be speaking from 2-3pm at the May 12 event in North Canton, Ohio. His topic is “Using the FTZ Program as an Export Tool”.

Other speakers will present on opening global markets, export financing and letters of credit, and the basics of FTZ operations.

Event details

Exporting and Foreign Trade Zone Toolbox Seminar
May 12, 2016, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Kent State University Stark Conference Center, North Canton, OH
Fee: $95 (includes breakfast and lunch)
Registration is open until May 10.

For more information or to register, click here.

For more information about MGTA’s FTZ services, click here.



Mohawk Global Trade Advisors Expands Presence to Serve Importers and Exporters of Greater Chicago

Adrienne Graddy, local Customs broker, leads MGTA’s Midwest development

Adrienne GraddyITASCA, Ill., April 25, 2016 (PR NEWSWIRE)–Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA), an international trade consulting firm, announces the addition of Adrienne Graddy to its team.

Following MGTA’s enormous success in the Northeast—requiring it to more than double its staff in the last two years—the firm has focused on expanding its presence to neighboring regions. In her new role as Senior Advisor for MGTA, Adrienne will serve the firm’s growing Midwestern clientele, providing training, guidance, and expertise on U.S. import-export compliance programs, manuals, and other supply chain enhancing initiatives from the Chicago office of parent company Mohawk Global Logistics.

A native to the windy city, Adrienne is a licensed Customs broker and author of numerous trade compliance training programs in use by enterprises across greater Chicago. Her previous experience includes managing the regulatory divisions at several of Chicago’s most prominent businesses, including a Fortune 500 company.

“Few can match Adrienne’s expertise and history of corporate leadership in the Chicago market,” says Bev Seif, Vice President & General Manager for MGTA. “I’m couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone of her caliber serving our clients in the Midwest,” she says.

About Mohawk Global Logistics
Mohawk Global Logistics, the parent company of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, is a freight forwarder and Customs broker with offices in Illinois, New York, and Ohio. The company is headquartered in Syracuse, NY. For more information, visit www.mohawkglobal.com.

About Mohawk Global Trade Advisors
Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) provides import-export compliance consulting, assistance with foreign trade zones, C-TPAT certification services, duty drawback programs, and a variety of supply chain solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across the United States. Its team consists of some of the international business community’s most sought after speakers on topics such as U.S. Customs audits, export controls, and NAFTA. For more information, visit www.mohawkglobalta.com.

Bev Seif
Vice President & General Manager
Mohawk Global Trade Advisors
(315) 552-5477



Are You Making a Made in USA Marking Mistake?

In order to be transparent and fair in the marketplace, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ensures that a product advertised as Made in USA requires an “all or virtually all” standard. This means all or virtually all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin, having no, or negligible foreign content.

The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin. All products of foreign origin imported into the U.S. are required to be marked with the name of the country of origin.

Click here to learn about a recent case regarding an American-made flatware company taking legal action to expose companies that falsely advertise their products as being American-made. The Sherrill, NY flatware company’s true selling point is being misused by competitors who are abusing the Made in USA claim.

Complying with the Standard

According to the FTC, an example of a qualified Made in USA claim could look like any of the following:

  • 60% U.S. content
  • Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts
  • Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame

It is apparent that these products above are not entirely of domestic origin, and we can tell because that is indicated appropriately.

The Commission considers factors like how much of the total manufacturing costs can be assigned to U.S. parts and processing, and how far removed any foreign content is from the finished product.

In some cases, a small portion of the total manufacturing costs are attributable to foreign processing, but that processing represents a significant amount of the product’s overall processing. For example, a table lamp assembled in the U.S. from American-made brass and an American made lampshade, but has an imported base. The base counts for a small percentage of the total cost of making the lamp, however it is a significant part of the final product. Therefore, a Made in USA claim is inappropriate.

Made in America marking mistakes

Below you will find three common marking mistakes:

1. An American brand name or trademark by itself does not suffice as a U.S. origin claim. For example, you may recognize a manufacturer as a known U.S. entity, however the manufacturer’s established name does not constitute as a claim of U.S. origin.

2. Not only do products have to be physically labeled correctly, but they also have to be marketed appropriately. The Commission issued an Enforcement Policy Statement (see page 1) on U.S. origin claims to provide guidance to marketers on the difference between a qualified and unqualified Made in USA claim under the “all or virtually all” standard.

Therefore, the Enforcement Policy Statement applies to marketing claims too, including marketing through the Internet or e-mail (see page 19).

For example, if an email campaign was promoting the “Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame,” it would be misleading to use any of the following slogans:

  • Made in USA
  • Our products are American-made.
  • USA

These phrases could lead a reader to believe that the product advertised is entirely of U.S. origin.

3. If a company uses U.S. symbols or geographic references, such as the American flag, when advertising a product that is not entirely of domestic origin, the impression is likely to convey to consumers that the product is of U.S. origin. This type of promotion is deceiving, quite possibly without companies knowing their ignorance.

Does the FTC pre-approve Made in USA claims?

The Commission does not pre-approve advertising or

labeling claims. A company does not need approval from the Commission before making a Made in USA claim. However, a manufacturer or marketer may make any claim as long as it is truthful and substantiated.

The rules and regulations for Made in USA products can get tricky. To learn more about how to comply with FTC’s standards, click here.

By Lauren Felasco 


Robyn Moore Joins MGTA

Robyn MooreMohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) is excited to announce a new team member.

Robyn Moore joins MGTA as a Duty Drawback Manager. She has experience with Customs brokerage, and processing import entries on the Canadian border. She has completed drawback work for prestigious names in the fashion industry.

At MGTA, Robyn will be in charge of implementing and assisting in creating drawback programs. She will be working closely with Customs compliance, while training sales staff in duty drawback recovery.

Read more about Robyn Moore here.

By Lauren Felasco 



Security Awareness in Business: Who Me?

Office workers looking upAny successful business–small or large–exists based on revenue growth and loss prevention. We all have seen cases where criminals, spies, and terrorists have targeted businesses. Vulnerabilities in physical, supply chain or cyber security can cause down-time and loss of business and reputation if such situations are not handled appropriately and quickly. This may, in turn, impact the company’s bottom line and ultimately impact profits. Further, prohibited or restricted imports or exports can lead to confiscation of goods, penalties, and poor public perception by clients as well as government agencies.

Security Comes First

Firms often find the task of keeping the business functions aligned with security processes highly challenging, especially during economic downturns.  However, the reality is that security should be a primary issue. For example, a computer virus outbreak or a network breach can cost your business thousands of dollars. In some cases, it may even lead to legal liability and lawsuits.

Awareness and Knowledge

Identifying, managing, and exploiting risk across an organization and throughout the global supply chain—from product development to receipt and payment—has become increasingly important to the overall success and longevity of any business. The first defenses are awareness and knowledge.

A part of operations security is a precautionary step known as a general risk assessment. This assessment would include protecting proprietary information that would cause harm. In addition, these assessments defend against threats from criminals, terrorists, and others from obtaining goods or discovering critical information about company’s activities, business processes, or employees.

Important Steps in Security

1. Complete a Risk Assessment

  • identify parties responsible for conducting the assessment
  • analyze all possible threats
  • quantify and document risks
  • apply countermeasures
  • monitor your results

2. Develop Company Policies

A. Operations Security

  • secure on-site and offsite property/goods
  • document inventory controls
  • monitor third party providers (i.e truckers, warehouses and employees)

B. Physical Security

  • plan and map escape routes
  • address procedures for backup generators and off-site backup I.T. systems
  • secure documents in locked cabinets and document shredding
  • secure single monitored public entrance, cameras, access controls and monitoring by outside services
  • process visitors, maintain logs and escort guests

Note: FEMA recommendations are published in technical reports/bulletins and training on building science including building codes, flood proofing, earthquake standards, wind design requirements, etc.

C. Training on security incidents, natural disasters, and cyber security

  • provide awareness training for employees, including those travelling abroad
  • conduct monthly audits
  • develop a crisis communications policy for key personnel
  • periodically review and update disaster recovery plan

D. Insurance

  • insure flood and fire damage
  • insure inventory equipment
  • insure employees’ laptops, mobile devices, USB’s etc.

E. Human Resources

  • establish an employee screening policy
  • maintain a list of emergency contacts (management, local emergency services), employee escape routes, first aid equipment, fire extinguishers, emergency tool kits, flashlight, batteries and firearms (if permitted)

F. I.T.

  • keep a log of hardware/equipment
  • develop security protocols for network access
  • document procedures for monitoring/detecting malware, viruses, etc.

G. Supply Chain Security

  • follow best practices for container seals
  • develop standard operating procedures for supply chain partners and vendors
  • map your supply chain from end to end

To learn more about security awareness in buisness and training on protecting your corporate identity, click here.

By Diane Cima 


Maintaining False Hit Lists for Export Screening

False Hit Lists

Exporters, it’s that time of the year. It’s a good time to review those compliance practices you haven’t looked at in a few months. MGTA wants to provide you with some helpful tips to ease this year’s process. False hit lists, kept by exporters, entail the names of companies/people that are similar or identical to entries on government screening lists. Let’s take a look at how to make false hit lists more compliant.

The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) issued a False Hit List Guidance Report. Since U.S. economic sanction programs are complex and ever changing, the report provides measures that are helpful in keeping false hit list entries fresh and compliant.

  • When there are implementations of new sanctions programs, false hit lists will be amended as needed.
  • For customers already on the false hit list, any changes that are made to the customer’s information—like a change in place of business, will trigger a review of a false hit list entry.

Read the full list of tips here. Contact us today for assistance with your export screening procedures.

By Lauren Felasco 



3 Sources Needed for Your C-TPAT Country Risk Assessment

At MGTA the risk assessment for C-TPAT is part of what we do. C-TPAT extends supply chain security to facilitate safe trade from one business to another and from one country to another. As part of our C-TPAT certification package, we conduct a country threat assessment. To view what else our C-TPAT certification package includes, click here. This article will focus on how you can research the information needed to assess security threats to your international supply chain.

This evaluation, also known as a threat assessment, is necessary for C-TPAT partners because it allocates the risks associated with the country your business would be purchasing from. However, researching information on business prospect countries may be overwhelming. Where should you start? What information should you search for? How would you make sure the information you are receiving is legitimate? The following paragraphs offer three sources that are reputable enough to yield information that will help to perform a C-TPAT country threat assessment.

U.S. Department of State



The Department of State’s site provides “Trafficking in Persons Reports”, so that users can research troublesome areas in specific countries. For example, you could use the “Country Narratives” [PDF] section to research the status of human trafficking in China. It is noteworthy to understand the State Department, along with other reputable sources, may be unable to provide more recent information due to political instability within certain countries.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

UNODC provides information on the global issues of illicit drugs, crime, and terrorism. The UNODC website design, domain, and credentials have historically proven to be reliable since 1997. Imagine, once again, you are researching the risk factor of human rights compliance in China. UNODC provides reports on human trafficking specific to countries. The site displays the information on China through pie charts and other graphs.


For example, the pie chart above illustrates statistics about Chinese victims of human trafficking as reported by Thai authorities.


As one of the world’s largest international multimedia news agencies, Reuters is an excellent source for country specific information related to many topics, including human rights compliance.

Reuters CTPAT risk

A search for “human rights compliance and China” returns 272 results. The most recent result was posted just five days before the search.

MGTA’s commitment: Your assessment is safe with us

Experts at MGTA have the knowledge needed to perform a thorough country risk assessment as part of our professional C-TPAT certification package. MGTA reviews human rights compliance and all other threat factors according to guidelines established by CBP for country risk assessments.

To learn more about the guidelines MGTA follows to perform country risk assessments, click here or contact us today.

By Lauren Felasco  


How to Spot Boycott Language

U.S. exporters stop boycott language

U.S. exporters, do you know what type of boycott language to look out for in your letters of credit, invitations to bid, or purchase orders involving foreign buyers?

U.S. law discourages, and in some cases directly prohibits, U.S. businesses/companies from participating in any type of a business boycott. In order to comply with the law, U.S. exporters need to be aware of the ways in which a foreign company might indicate boycott practices. The language of the documents needs to be examined closely for indications of a boycott, which may be very subtle.

Examples of boycott language might look like this:

  • “In the case of overseas suppliers, this order is placed subject to the suppliers being not on the Israel boycott list published by the central Arab League.”
  • “Goods of Israeli origin not acceptable.”
  • “A signed statement from the shipping company, or its agent, stating the name, flag and nationality of the carrying vessel and confirming … that it is permitted to enter Arab ports.”
  • “Certificate issued by the shipping company or its agent testifying that the carrying vessel is allowed to enter the Lebanese port…”
  • “All goods to be supplied as a part of this order must comply with the Israel boycott rules stipulated by the Royal Oman Police.”
  • “Certificate from insurance company stating that they are not blacklisted.”
  • “Quotation should not include items manufactured by firms who are under Israeli Boycott list.”

On the Lookout

U.S. exporters, if this type of language is discovered in business contracts or other documents for a proposed transaction, do not continue to do business with the foreign buyer. As a U.S. exporter, the transaction with the foreign buyer should not be taken any further. Remember exporting is a privilege that can be taken away by the U.S. government!

Antiboycott Screening

In Part 760 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), there is a requirement that you review your letters of credit, invitations to bid, purchase orders, contracts, etc. for foreign boycott requests. EAR encourages American companies not to support the foreign policies of nations that are counter to that of the United States. American companies must comply with the laws of the U.S to continue to export and complete transactions.

While reviewing for foreign boycott requests, it is important to check for antiboycott language. For more information about antiboycott compliance, visit www.bis.doc.gov.

By Lauren Felasco 


Check Your Supplier’s Work Before You Make that NAFTA Claim

U.S. importer reviewing NAFTA certificate of origin with their supplier.

Attention U.S. importers: is your supplier providing you with inaccurate NAFTA certificates? Would you be able to tell if they were? Not being careful when it comes to double-checking your certificates of origin can potentially force you to dish out money for penalties. By understanding NAFTA’s requirements and asking your supplier the right questions, you can prevent unnecessary spending.

One common error for NAFTA certificates of origin is wrong preference criterion (field #7). NAFTA has six different preference criteria, identified by the letters A-F, which define how goods qualify for preferential tariff treatment. For example, preference criterion B is only applicable when goods have been made entirely in a NAFTA country and the rules of origin have been satisfied.

Asking how your supplier qualified the goods for NAFTA is an imperative, precautionary step. You need to make sure your supplier has the necessary backup documentation to support the qualification. What counts as backup documentation?

  • supplier’s NAFTA certificate for purchased parts that go into the product listed on the importer’s NAFTA certificate
  • a costed bill of materials from when NAFTA was declared
  • written documentation of the supplier’s method for determining how the goods qualified for NAFTA

You should not be relying on the supplier’s certificate as the sole proof that your product qualifies. When reviewing certificates of origin, these cautious steps are ones that can save you from repaying back duties, interest, and fines in the event of a Customs audit.

Experts at MGTA are able to help clarify NAFTA products from non-NAFTA products. Contact us today to learn more about item qualification and certificates of origin.

By Lauren Felasco 


Highlights from Trade Day

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) sincerely thanks all the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and staff who helped make this year’s International Trade Day at Casa Larga Winery in Rochester, NY an absolute success.

Grapes on the vine

Lush greenery from the surrounding vineyards.

Casa Larga wine barrels.

Signature Casa Larga wine barrels.

Our speakers shared insights into everything from deciphering Mexican Customs issues, finding help on the ACE Portal, and saving with duty drawback, to understanding how engineers are crucial for export compliance, dealing with mixed ITAR and EAR shipments, and minimizing the impact of potential export violations.

Daniel B. Hastings, III at podium

Daniel B. Hastings, III of Daniel B. Hastings Inc. (at podium) captivates the crowd with a rare look at Mexico’s clearance process.

A special thank you goes out to all Trade Day speakers. You were the stars of the show! Thank you to Anne Jordanek of Deringer Logistics Consulting Group; Bill Kaufman and Peter Russell of U.S. Customs & Border Protection; Jodi Earle of Crosman Corporation; Daniel B. Hastings III and David Hastings of Daniel B. Hastings Inc.; Jim Dusel of Laub International; Jon Yormick of Phillips Lytle; Mike Frail of Pulsafeeder; Mary Slack of Spectracom; and Jim Trubits, Robert Stein, Gar Grannell, and Sue Nans of MGTA.

Peter Russell of CBP presenting during MGTA Trade Day

Peter Russell of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (center) gives the inside scoop on recent changes to ACE.

Robert Stein (MGTA), Anne Jordanek (Deringer Logistics Consulting Group), Jodi Earle (Crosman Corporation), and Jim Dusel (Laub International Inc.)

Our expert panel gets pumped for their upcoming discussion of duty savings programs. From left to right, Robert Stein (MGTA), Anne Jordanek (Deringer Logistics Consulting Group), Jodi Earle (Crosman Corporation), and Jim Dusel (Laub International Inc.).

Peter Russell of U.S. Customs & Border Protection talks to Wayne Slossberg of QuestaWeb

Peter Russell (left) of U.S. Customs & Border Protection talks one-on-one with Wayne Slossberg (right) of QuestaWeb during a refreshment break.

Trade Day would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors. MGTA thanks Arrow Transportation, represented by Chris Dewey; Avalon Risk Management, represented by Kathy Schricker; Roanoke Insurance Group, represented by Amanda Barlow; Laub International, represented by Jim Dusel; and Phillips Lytle, represented by Jon Yormick; for sponsoring the wonderful gourmet lunch served during the event. We also thank Descartes, represented by Tom Kuerbs; and QuestaWeb, represented by Wayne Slossberg; for the beautiful wine reception we had at the close of the event.

Amanda Barlow of Roanoke Trade with Dean Maciuba of 4Front Consulting Group

Amanda Barlow of Roanoke Trade (left) shares the finer points of ATA carnets with Dean Maciuba of 4Front Consulting Group (right).

MGTA also acknowledges all of the internal staff members who worked behind the scenes on Trade Day. We appreciate all of your hard work and support. Thank you Ross Twaits, Abby Frank, Bev Seif, Cindi Kavanaugh, Diane Cima, and Michelle (Sardella) Kelley.

Luis Esqueda Payan (Boutique Legal Internacional), Jon Yormick (Phylips Lytle LLP), Enrique Acosta Saenz (Boutique Legal Internacional), and Gar Grannell (MGTA)

Clockwise from bottom left: Luis Esqueda Payan (Boutique Legal Internacional), Jon Yormick (Phillips Lytle LLP), Enrique Acosta Saenz (Boutique Legal Internacional), and Gar Grannell (MGTA) talk shop at the evening wine reception.

We hope to see everyone next year at the second annual International Trade Day. Until then, keep your compliance manuals fresh and your wine properly chilled!

By Michelle (Sardella) Kelley


Use HR to Help Prevent Export Violations Involving Foreign Nationals

An anonymous figure overlays technical drawings

Is your human resources department asking job candidates the right questions when it comes to citizenship or immigration status?

In order for your company to protect information about ITAR or EAR controlled products, that is to remain private, your HR department needs to confirm each applicant’s citizenship status.

The problem arises when employees are committing export violations unknowingly. Disclosing details about controlled exports to foreign nationals, without proper licensing to do so, is considered an export violation by the U.S. government. Technical details, designs, and software are all examples of export controlled items.

How can we prevent these violations?

Violations exist because company information that is intended to remain enclosed within the company can be spread outside of the workplace for the wrong reasons. Other persons, companies, or services could use this leaked information in harmful ways. Through knowledge and communication, export violations and other restrictions can be prevented; through knowing which staff members are foreign nationals and knowing which type of information needs to remain confidential, HR and staff members can work together to prevent violations from occurring.

There is a high priority need for HR to alert a company’s empowered official, the top person responsible for the company’s export compliance policies and procedures, whenever any foreign national is hired. However, since U.S. law also prohibits employers from discriminating against job candidates based on their citizenship status, HR may find it necessary to consult with an attorney before making any changes to the hiring process. It should be noted that this an area where employment law overlaps with export compliance regulations. Navigating through the requirements while staying within the confines of the law is no simple task. Companies should seek guidance from a legal expert, such as a trusted attorney, under these circumstances.

Understanding and following regulations on export control can be complicated. When it comes to your company’s export controlled products or services, MGTA’s consultants can provide professional export process review and gap analysis to help with keeping confidential information safe.

Be prepared and procedure ready

Is your staff properly trained on the necessary precautions? Contact us today to learn more about our export process reviews and onsite training.

By Lauren Felasco 


Explore the Possibilities with Our FTZ Savings Calculator

Business woman contemplating

Regardless of industry, most business decisions can be boiled down to a few essential considerations. Is it worth it? What do we have to gain?

Likewise, these questions should be some of the first to ponder when a company is looking into operating in a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). Many companies become interested in pursuing an FTZ because of the potential for duty and other savings opportunities.

Our FTZ Savings Calculator can help you estimate your company’s potential savings from operating within an FTZ. Simply provide your

  • total number of Customs entries filed annually
  • annual value of imports
  • annual duties paid
  • average ad valorem duty rate on finished products
  • average broker fee per entry
  • annual value of re-exports
  • percentage of scrapped imported merchandise
  • interest rate

With this data, the calculator will estimate your potential duty savings (from deferred, reduced, and eliminated duties) as well as possible savings that could be yielded from using an FTZ weekly entry procedure. You can then use the results to gauge whether or not its worth your while to further pursue an FTZ for your company.

Download FTZ Savings Calculator (PDF)

Is your company considering an FTZ? MGTA can help you with FTZ cost/benefit analysis, feasibility studies, FTZ setup/activation, and more. Learn more about our FTZ services or contact us today for a free quote.

Disclaimer: Additional savings opportunities may be available. Other factors not captured within this calculator may affect potential savings (e.g. use of special trade programs, industry activity, etc.). Calculations do not include time quantification of direct delivery savings of expediting merchandise movements, production equipment savings, inventory growth, handling of quota/visa merchandise, or NAFTA transactions.

By Michelle Sardella


The Benefits Exporters Have Been Waiting For: C-TPAT Export Entity Update

C-TPAT update

As a follow up to last month’s article, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that C-TPAT benefits have been extended to exporters that ship to Canada, the EU, and Japan. Eventually, CBP plans to have the same benefits available for exports to all countries that have a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) with the U.S.

In the works

The current status of applicants is a total of nine export-only companies, however not one has been certified as an exporter entity yet. CBP is working with MRA partners in obtaining similar export benefits for current C-TPAT importers that also export to the following countries: New Zealand, Jordan, Singapore, Mexico, Taiwan, Israel, and South Korea.

Apply to become a part of C-TPAT now

MGTA provides consulting to help companies become C-TPAT certified. Contact us for more information about our C-TPAT services.

By Lauren Felasco 



Sue K. Nans and Cindi Kavanaugh Join MGTA

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) is excited to introduce two of its newest Senior Trade Advisors.

Sue K. NansSue K. Nans joins MGTA as a Senior Trade Advisor after being an Empowered Official in the manufacturing industry.

For over 15 years, Sue mentored and trained employees at Anaren, Saab Sensis, M. S. Kennedy and all new export control employees at Lockheed Martin. She spent several years as a Personal Consultant assisting local companies through voluntary disclosures, auditing export programs, and formulating new compliant processes. Sue has degrees from Dunlap-Stone University and Columbia College.

Read more about Sue K. Nans here.

Cindi KavanaughCindi Kavanaugh joins MGTA as a Senior Trade Advisor. Cindi is a licensed Customs broker, certified Customs specialist, and certified classification specialist. She has previously worked for a Fortune 500 firm for almost 11 years as a Trade Compliance Manager. Her expertise includes qualifying products for free trade agreements and drawback processing.

Read more about Cindi Kavanaugh here.

By Lauren Felasco 


The Time Is Now: C-TPAT Open to U.S. Exporters

Secure container yard with worker

Exporters can now apply for C-TPAT membership, as announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) earlier this month. Although there is no cost to participate, exporters must first complete a lengthy application and certification process before they can reap the benefits of the program.

Why join C-TPAT?

The benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Prioritized export shipments
  • Global security partnerships
  • Heightened facilitation from mutually recognized customs partners
  • Access to C-TPAT sponsored security seminars
  • Reduced examinations

To learn more about the benefits of joining C-TPAT, check out the C-TPAT Exporter Entity Factsheet provided by CBP.

Take steps toward C-TPAT certification with MGTA. Mohawk can prepare and help you with your:

  • Supply Chain Risk Assessment
  • Country Risk Assessment
  • Cargo Flow Table
  • Security Profile
  • C-TPAT Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Template
  • C-TPAT Training

For more information about C-TPAT and to access the application, click here.

Ready to become a part of C-TPAT?

Don’t lose business opportunities because your company isn’t C-TPAT certified. Get your company C-TPAT ready today with MGTA. Click here to learn more about our C-TPAT services or contact us to speak with one of our C-TPAT experts.

By Lauren Felasco


Is that a Legitimate Export Customer or an Illegal Front Company?

St. Basil's Cathedral

The U.S. government remains concerned about efforts by front companies and other intermediaries, who are not the true final end users, to transship or reexport U.S.-origin items to the Russian Federation in violation of current export controls.

To prevent unauthorized reexports to Russia, especially for transactions involving nationally security-controlled items or items listed in Supplement No. 2 to Part 744 of the EAR, the Bureau of Industry and Security has published additional guidance for U.S. exporters.

Here are a few preventative measures you can take to minimize the chances of unknowingly enabling illegal diversion of your exported goods to Russia. You can read the full version here.

  • Pay attention to discrepancies between the destination country and the country from which an order is placed (or the country from which payment is made). If the countries do not match, it’s possible that someone is planning to illegal divert your exported goods to a different country, such as Russia.
  • If a freight forwarder’s office/address is listed as the export’s final destination, you are required by law to investigate the situation further. Do not proceed with the transaction or even think about shipping out the goods before asking the purchaser about the item’s end user, end use, and ultimate destination.
  • Before shipping the item, go through the emails you’ve previously received from the customer, taking note of any mention of other email addresses or telephone number country codes. Do any of these details suggest a destination country other than what you’ve been told by the customer? If so, you should be wary of going through with the transaction.
  • Always check that your customer is not listed on the U.S. government’s consolidated export screening list. You can also use the International Trade Administration’s new online tool to search the list by entity name or address.

Russia Due Diligence Guidance (Bureau of Industry & Security)

By Michelle Kelley


Think ACE Is Irrelevant? Think Again.

ACE secure data portal

If you think U.S. Customs & Border Protection will never implement the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), think again. It appears Customs is charging ahead with its plan to fully launch ACE, according to an interim rule included in the Treasury Department’s spring regulatory agenda.

The rule requires all entry/entry summary information to be filed electronically in ACE starting November 1, 2015. In effect, you would no longer be allowed to file this data in the Automated Commercial System (ACS).

Following the change on November 1, U.S. Customs plans to institute the remaining portions of the cargo process in ACE on October 1 of next year. To read more about ACE mandatory use dates, click here.

Since these major transition dates are not far away, it’s imperative that members of the trade community, especially U.S. importers and exporters, familiarize themselves with ACE as soon as possible.

Learn how to use ACE during our 6/24 webinar, Acing Your Import Compliance. We’ll show you how to use ACE for classification, valuation, reporting, and more. Click here to register and for more information.

By Michelle Sardella


Get a Year’s Worth of AES Filing Records for Free

Business man at desk in office

U.S. exporters can request 12 months of AES filing records from the Census Bureau for free every year.

Submitting the request is easy and recommended for companies that rely on a freight forwarder to file their Electronic Export Information (EEI) in AES.

By obtaining these records directly from Census, exporters have the advantage of seeing exactly what Census sees, including inaccuracies.

Our guide will walk you through it step-by-step. Download it here..

Interested in learning more about taking control of your AES compliance? Consider attending one of our AES Best Practices seminars this May in Upstate New York. Click the dates below for more details.

AES Best Practices

5/12 Albany, NY »

5/13 Syracuse, NY »

5/14 Rochester, NY »

5/19 Buffalo, NY »


Writing a Website Disclosure that Complies with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act

Boy behind bars

The California Attorney General has released a new resource guide that aims to help companies comply with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.

Enacted in 2010, the Act requires large retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose on their websites their efforts to stop human trafficking and slavery within their supply chains. The law applies to companies with annual worldwide gross receipts totaling more than $100 million and that identify themselves on a California tax return as a retail seller or manufacturer.

The Resource Guide explains the Act’s requirements, what should be included in website disclosures, and how the information should be formatted. Example statements are provided for each of the five mandatory disclosure categories

  • verification
  • audits
  • certification
  • internal accountability
  • training

There are also examples of how NOT to write a proper disclosure, such as this:

As a part of our extensive vetting process, we require each vendor to adhere to our Code of Conduct. Additionally, our unannounced, third-party audits provide current data on sourcing factories’ working conditions, including our company’s standards for trafficking and slavery in supply chains, compliance with local and international labor laws, and management policies. The audits are conducted quarterly. Further, we provide company employees and management who have direct responsibility for supply chain management training on human trafficking and slavery.

Most companies would see nothing wrong with using the above disclosure on their website. Yet, according to the Resource Guide, this disclosure is insufficient for a number of reasons. For instance, only two of the five mandatory categories are covered; there is nothing about the company’s verification, certification, or internal accountability practices. Also, although training is mentioned, there is no explanation as to the extent of their training activities.

Learn how to avoid these types of mistakes with The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act: A Resource Guide. It’s worth a read even if the law doesn’t apply to your business. There is increasing demand among many consumers (not just those in California) for this type of information. According to the Resource Guide, “a recent survey of western consumers revealed that people would be willing to pay extra for products they could identify as being made under good working conditions.”

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act: A Resource Guide


By Michelle Kelley


Seal Procedures for Every Link in Your Supply Chain

CBP officer inspects container with seal.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) recently released a draft guide for container seal best practices, outlining recommended procedures for different links and activities within the supply chain.

The guide includes procedures for

  • U.S. importers
  • exporters
  • manufacturers
  • consolidators
  • cross border highway carriers
  • domestic highway carriers (in the U.S. and abroad)

Despite the fact that CBP has labeled this a “draft” version, the guide is surprisingly thorough, covering procedures from the point of sealing, to the point of receipt.

Click here to download the guide.


By Michelle Sardella



Exporter Boycott Checklist

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) require companies to report any boycott requests they receive on a quarterly basis. Not sure what’s considered a “boycott request”? Here are five example questions you could include in your process to check for any such requests.

  • Do I know of agreements to refuse or actual refusals to do business with Israel or with blacklisted companies?
  • Do I know of agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality?
  • Am I aware of requests for furnishing information about business relationships with Israel or with blacklisted companies?
  • Am I aware of requests for furnishing information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person?
  • Do I know of requests for paying, or otherwise implementing letters of credit that include requirements to take boycott related actions prohibited by the antiboycott regulations?

For more recent examples of boycott requests that have been reported to the Office of Antiboycott Compliance, click here.

This checklist is just one example of the information we provide to attendees during our Export Control Basics seminar. Increase your export compliance know-how and receive a packet of useful forms, guides, and other resources by attending one of our seminars this March or April.

Export Control Basics
$50, 1.5 CES Credits

3/11 Rochester, NY

3/12 Buffalo, NY

3/24 Cleveland, OH

4/22 Albany, NY

4/23 Syracuse, NY



MGTA Launches Partnership with New England’s OCEANAIR

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) is now partnering with local forwarder OCEANAIR to bring a different kind of offering to international companies in the New England area: Trade consulting independent from brokerage and forwarding.

Unlike many other local trade consulting firms, MGTA will operate independently from its local brokerage and forwarding partner, OCEANAIR. This allows for greater transparency in MGTA’s consulting operations, negating any possible conflict of interest.

Along with unprecedented access to some of the country’s foremost thought leaders on trade regulations, MGTA will provide area companies with import and export audits, compliance manuals, and C-TPAT services.

MGTA’s team members are some of the most sought after speakers for industry conferences, trade groups, and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, Canadian Consulate, and National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America. Staff credentials include Certified U.S. Export Compliance Officer, Certified Export Specialist, Certified ITAR Professional, licensed U.S. Customs Broker, and Certified Customs Specialist.

Founded in 1983, OCEANAIR provides Customs brokerage and freight forwarding services to clients throughout New England.

Click here to learn more about our new partnership with OCEANAIR.


CBP Announces US-Singapore Mutual Recognition and Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements

Customs' Secure Trade Partnership Signing Agreement with Signapore

CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and Singapore Customs Director General Ho Chee Pong sign a U.S.– Singapore CMAA and MRA between CBP and Singapore’s Customs’ Secure Trade Partnership.
(Photo by: U.S. Department of State)

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced the signing of a mutual recognition agreement and a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) between Singapore and the United States, effective as of December 1, 2014.

A mutual recognition agreement between the United States’ C-TPAT program and another country’s customs program—in this case Singapore’s Secure Trade Partnership (STC)—certifies that the foreign customs program’s requirements, regulations, and security standards are similar to those of C-TPAT, and produces benefits for companies operating in the mutually recognized countries.

A Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement establishes and facilities increased information-sharing between the two countries, allowing partners in the CMAA to more easily and effectively enforce their customs laws.

The institution of a mutual recognition agreement, as well as a CMAA between the U.S. and Singapore allows the processes pertaining to importing and exporting between the two countries to become more simplified, while also enabling both countries to better regulate their customs processes, respectively.

Additionally, mutual recognition agreements and CMAAs result in their own set of benefits. Partners in mutual recognition agreements enjoy the following benefits as a result of each country acknowledging the similarities between its own customs program and that of its partner country:

  • Faster validation process
  • Fewer exams on cargo
  • Common security standards
  • Higher level of customs efficiency
  • Front-of-the-line processing
  • Marketability

At the same time, partners in a CMAA are better able to protect themselves from the negatives associated with trade, such as terrorism-related events/activities, trafficking, money-laundering, duty evasion, and proliferation because of the increased communication between partner countries that a CMAA establishes.

The U.S. also has mutual recognition agreements with the following Supply Chain Security programs: New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, Jordan, the European Union, Taiwan, Israel, and Mexico.

Source: U.S. Customs & Border Protection

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator


Personalize This Export Compliance Poster

Export Compliance Poster

Promote a pro-compliance culture at your company with this free poster, courtesy of the Bureau of Industry & Security.

The poster reminds staff of the need to be vigilant when dealing with export transactions, eluding to questions that should be asked as part of a red flags check.

We’ve added form fields to the poster so that you can enter details for your internal export compliance contact before printing.

Post the sign in several places throughout your office for the maximum benefit.

Export Compliance Poster [PDF]



CBP Announces US-Mexico Mutual Recognition Agreement

Mexican flag

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced the establishment of a mutual recognition agreement between Mexico and the United States, as of October 17, 2014.

A mutual recognition agreement between the U.S. C-TPAT program and another country—in this case Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT)—certifies that the foreign customs program’s requirements and regulations are similar to those of C-TPAT, and produces benefits for companies operating in mutually recognized countries.

In particular, the US-Mexico mutual recognition agreement provides for increased cooperation between C-TPAT and SAT’s New Certified Companies Scheme (NEEC), the Mexican equivalent to C-TPAT.

Mutual recognition between the U.S. and Mexico allows processes pertaining to importing and exporting between the two countries to become more simplified. Imports and exports exchanged between the U.S. and Mexico are subject to the following benefits as a result of the mutual recognition agreement:

  • Faster validation process
  • Fewer exams of cargo
  • Common security standards
  • Higher levels of customs efficiency
  • Front-of-the-line processing
  • Marketability

Additionally, the U.S. has mutual recognition agreements with the following supply chain security programs: New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, Jordan, the European Union, Taiwan, and Israel.

For information on how to allow C-TPAT to share company information with SAT, and to read CBP’s original publication regarding the US-Mexico Mutual Recognition Agreement, click here.

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator


Canceled: Robert Stein to Speak in Watertown, NY on Nov 19

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled for another date.

MGTA’s Robert Stein will speak on November 19 at a half-day seminar on import compliance at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Watertown, NY. The seminar is sponsored by Jefferson County Economic Development and Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

Importing 101
November 19, 2014
9-11:30 AM
Comfort Inn & Suites, 110 Commerce Park Drive, Watertown, NY
Price: Free

Keeping up with importer rules and regulations is a lot like walking through a minefield. The wrong move can have dire consequences. Get in-the-know by getting a grip on the right way to handle import compliance during this half-day seminar.

This workshop will cover:

  • The role of classification and valuation
  • How to spot the most common invoice errors
  • Must-haves for any free trade agreement claims
  • The ins-and-outs of import marking

There will also be plenty of time for Q&A on issues of specific concern to your company.

About the Speaker

Robert Stein

Robert Stein
Vice President, Mohawk Global Trade Advisors
Click here to read more about Robert.


Duty Savings Achieved with TIB

TIB Container

By Jim Trubits

Astute importers and exporters can benefit from the numerous duty avoidance, deferral, and recovery programs offered by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP).

Temporary Importation Bonds (TIB) are a great way to avoid paying thousands of dollars in duty. Here’s how it works: Under certain conditions, goods are imported into the U.S.—for a limited time—duty free. Instead of paying duties, the importer posts a bond for 110% or twice the amount of duties, taxes, etc. that would be due if the goods were entering without the TIB.

Most TIB goods must be re-exported or destroyed within one year. Two one year extensions may be granted. When using a TIB, it’s important to understand that the goods cannot be sold in the U.S. and must be re-exported within the allotted time frame. Many importers prefer using a TIB instead of setting up a duty drawback program, as they don’t have to wait months to recovery their duties.

When to use a TIB

TIBs are most useful for goods subject to high duties that will be imported for testing/repair before being re-exported. They are commonly used for medical devices that have yet to be approved by the FDA.

Keep in mind that CBP has strict requirements for goods that qualify for TIB. If your goods fail to meet these conditions, you could face a penalty of 110% or double the duties and user fees due, depending on which TIB provision was used.

Are you TIB ready?

Before ever making entry under a TIB, make sure

  • your goods qualify under one of the 14 TIB provisions
  • you’ve carefully reviewed the Customs requirements for TIBs
  • you’ve consulted with an expert or obtained a binding ruling, if necessary
  • your Customs documentation indicates that it’s a TIB shipment
  • you’ll be able to supply the necessary supporting documentation and records to account for the imported goods, including the required proof of export/destruction

Come learn more about TIB and other duty savings programs during one of our seminars on Duty Deferral & Recovery Strategies this November.


Chicago, IL – 11/4/14
[Register/more info]

Rochester, NY – 11/12/14
[Register/more info]

Syracuse, NY – 11/13/14
[Register/more info]

Albany, NY – 11/20/14
[Register/more info]

Jim Trubits is Vice President for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Jim.



Sanctions Against Russia Put Squeeze on U.S. Exporters

By Mike Frail, Senior Advisor

As if export control reforms weren’t enough of a burden, U.S. exporters now have their plates pretty full with various sanctions imposed against Russia. U.S.-Russia relations have been strained since the annexation (or occupation) of Crimea, rebel fighting in eastern Ukraine, and the tragic downing of Malaysian Flight MH17. These circumstances have led the U.S. to ratchet up sanctions against Russia.

The first wave of sanctions came in March with the annexation of Crimea. In response, President Obama issued the first of three Executive Orders, blocking property interests and authorizing economic sanctions against any persons undermining the democratic processes in the Ukraine. That was quickly followed by a second executive order, which was aimed at Russian government officials and people providing them material support. It also began addressing the amount of ownership in companies that certain individuals and entities had (7 total). The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) then followed suit by sanctioning additional entities.

With all these sanctions coming out the woodwork, U.S. exporters were no doubt becoming all the more wary of business partners in Russia. Of course, since every U.S. exporter dutifully complies with denied party screening requirements, I would contend that there was no need to worry, right? To which my exporting readers would respond, “Yes, Mike!” (Good answer).

It didn’t take long for the situation to escalate with Russia. In late April, the Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS) imposed limits on exports and re-exports of high technology that had the potential to enhance Russia’s military capabilities. Any licenses to export or re-export said items were denied and already issued licenses meeting those criteria were revoked. 13 companies were also added to the Entity List. Can you see the pattern developing here?

As the crisis in eastern Ukraine continued to worsen, the Treasury Department in mid-July instituted additional sanctions, which were imposed on Russia’s financial and arms-related sectors. Then, on July 17, Flight MH17 was tragically shot down by what is believed to have been a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launched from rebel territory in eastern Ukraine. There were no survivors and it’s been argued that Russia continues to arm the rebels and may have stationed soldiers in the field with them. The shooting down of Flight MH17 led to additional Treasury Department actions against three of Russia’s largest banks, and the blocking of assets owned by United Shipbuilding Corporation, which is involved in both military and civilian ship construction.

The latest round of export restrictions by the BIS limits energy sector exports to Russia, specifically those related to exploration, production from deep-water (greater than 500 feet), arctic offshore, and shale projects that have the potential to produce oil. There also was one addition to the Entity List, United Shipbuilding.

With the tightening of these sanctions, exporters must now be concerned with specific commodities and ECCNs. Click here to read the ruling. Companies who have subsidiaries overseas, specifically in the EU, should bear in mind the EU has Russia sanctions as well, which address many of the same export concerns as the U.S. government. i.e. OFAC, BIS, etc.

In all, the latest sanctions affect several sections of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR Parts 732, 738, 740, 742, 744, 746 and 774). That’s a lot of material! Now some cargo carriers are asking for exporters to confirm that they are abiding by European Union sanctions on Russia.

So, what does all this mean? Simply put, it’s going to get progressively more difficult to export to Russia. Exporters need to be aware of the sanctions against Russia and understand how they apply to American business operations. Sanctions aren’t to be taken lightly, as one could easily find an export violation hidden in the weeds. Recent action taken by U.S. Customs & Border Protection finds the agency carefully scrutinizing cargo bound for Russia, including increased container examinations.

Exporters should continue their due diligence:

  • know the client
  • screen all parties to the transaction
  • review product classifications
  • maintain export records as required

U.S.-Russia relations certainly don’t appear to be moving in the most positive direction. Unless Crimea is returned to the Ukraine or the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine are defeated, it’s possible this frigid spell between the U.S. and Russia could turn into a second cold war.

Ukraine & Russia Sanctions (U.S. Department of State)

Mike Frail is Senior Advisor for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Mike Frail.





Ew, Bugs! Preventing Pests When Importing Goods

Due to a recent increase in the number of sea carriers found transporting wood packing material (WPM) that violates WPM standards—primarily while crossing the Mediterranean Sea—Customs & Border Protection has released a bulletin reminding importers to work to ensure that any WPM used has been effectively treated to prevent the introduction of invasive pests into the United States.

To learn more about the threat from pests and proper WPM handling, please read, Let’s Get Serious About Wood Packaging Materials, written by Jim Trubits.

Additionally, click here to read CBP’s bulletin.

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator


Understanding Incoterms: When Lightning Strikes


By Jim Trubits

Many international buyers and sellers fail to recognize the positive financial outcomes that can be gained from a well thought out Incoterms strategy.

Your methodology need not be complicated. It can be as simple as having a solid understanding of the role that risk plays in each Incoterms rule. Before expanding of how this strategy works, let’s clarify what “risk” means in the context of Incoterms. Risk refers to who is responsible for paying for damage to the goods that occurs while the shipment is in transit. This responsibility shifts from the seller to the buyer at different points in the transit process, depending on the Incoterms rule that is used.

For example, FOB, CFR, and CIF all assign this responsibility (i.e., risk) to the seller from the time the containerized goods are at the seller’s premises, until the container is placed on board a vessel. Should lightning strike and damage the goods at any time between these two points, the seller is obligated to reimburse the buyer for the damaged goods. Once placed on board the vessel, that responsibility falls solely on the buyer, up to and including when delivery occurs at the final destination.

International sellers can use this understanding of risk to their advantage when discussing Incoterms during sales contract negotiations.

If a seller wanted to minimize their liability for paying for damages (i.e., minimize their risk), they may choose FCA, CPT, or CIP. These three Incoterms rules transfer risk from seller to buyer when the goods are tendered to the first carrier, usually a trucking carrier. This shortens the seller’s exposure to risk, as it normally occurs far earlier in the transit process than when the goods are place on board a vessel.

Jim Trubits is Vice President for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Jim.


Join Jim Trubits and Robert Stein for Country of Origin and Marking Webinar (1.5 CCS Credits)

NCBFAA Webinar: Country of Origin and Marking Requirements
August 5, 2014
12 to 1:30 pm EDT
1.5 CCS Credits
NCBFAA member: $50, Non-member: $75
Register here

You can’t mark goods without knowing the correct country of origin (where they were made). This webinar steps through the process of determining a product’s country of origin and uses visual examples to explain marking methods and requirements. Includes a review of “Best Practices” for meeting reasonable care requirements.

Join Jim Trubits and Robert Stein of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors for this informative webinar!

Webinar hosted by the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA). Register here.


Jim Trubits

Jim Trubits
Vice President

Robert Stein

Robert Stein
Vice President


What Do You Mean That’s Not How You NAFTA?

If my product is made in U.S., doesn’t it automatically qualify for NAFTA/other free trade agreements?

It is not a given that your product will meet one of the rules of origin that would allow it to qualify under a free trade agreement (FTA).

Each FTA is designed to offer importer benefits for products that meet a particular qualifying rule of origin. For example, Customs will allow a producer to use non-originating materials if they satisfy a tariff shift transformation or meet a regional value content requirement under that FTA’s origin rule.

You must also be able to provide this qualifying information to Customs in the event of an FTA verification. Failure to do so may result in denial of preferential tariff treatment, requiring full payment of duties plus interest.

Come learn more at Benefiting from NAFTA & Other Free Trade Agreements on August 12 in Middleburg Heights, OH. Registration for this event is open until 8/5. Click here  to learn more and register. Discounts available for groups of 2 or more.

By Jim Trubits

Jim Trubits is Vice President for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Click here to read more about Jim.


CBP Announces U.S.-Israel Mutual Recognition Agreement

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced a mutual recognition agreement has been enacted between Israel and the United States as of June 27th, 2014.

A mutual recognition agreement between the United States’ C-TPAT program and another country—in this case Israel’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program—certifies that the foreign customs program’s requirements and regulations are similar to those of C-TPAT, and produces benefits for companies operating in mutually recognized countries.

The establishment of a mutual recognition program between the U.S. and Israel allows processes pertaining to importing and exporting between the two countries to become more simplified. Imports and exports exchanged between the U.S. and Israel are subject to the following benefits as a result of each country acknowledging the similarities between its own customs program and that of its partner country:

  • Faster validation process
  • Fewer exams on cargo
  • Common security standards
  • Higher level of customs efficiency
  • Front-of-the-line processing
  • Marketability

Additionally, the U.S. has mutual recognition agreements with the following Supply Chain Security programs: New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, Jordan, the European Union, and Taiwan.

Read CBP’s original publication regarding the U.S.—Israel Mutual Recognition Agreement, here.

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator



U.S. Customs Announces C-TPAT Exporter Eligibility Requirements

Since its implementation in 2001, C-TPAT has historically been open to U.S importers. Customs & Border Protection has now released exporter eligibility requirements, meaning that U.S. exporters will have the opportunity to become C-TPAT certified.

In order to become C-TPAT certified and start receiving C-TPAT benefits, exporters must do the following:

  • Actively export out of the United States
  • Staff a business office in the United States
  • Have an Employee Identification Number (EIN) or Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number
  • Designate an individual within the company to be the main contact for the C-TPAT program, as well as an alternative in place to take over for that individual if need be
  • Uphold agreement to maintain C-TPAT minimum security criteria
  • Create a C-TPAT supply chain security program detailing how the exporter’s internal policy will meet and maintain minimum security criteria
  • Demonstrate compliance with export reporting for a 12-month period leading up to the time of application
  • Be in good standing with government agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, the Department of Treasury, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the DEA, and the Department of Defense

Processes must also be in place for C-TPAT applicants to screen and select potential business partners, so that all aspects of the applicant’s supply chain are secure. For business partners within the supply chain that are eligible for C-TPAT, the applicant must provide proper documentation. If business partners within the supply chain are not eligible for C-TPAT, then the applicant must prepared to show that the business partner is at least meeting C-TPAT security requirements.

Additionally, exporters applying for C-TPAT need to have security plans in place for the following areas:

  • Container security
  • Conveyance tracking and monitoring
  • Physical access controls
  • IT security
  • Personnel and procedural security

Although these eligibility requirements for exporters have been released, there is currently no word on when C-TPAT will officially be open to exporters who wish to apply.

C-TPAT Exporter Eligibility Requirements (U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator





C-TPAT Holiday Safety Alert

Holidays present logistics companies, manufacturers, and facilities with a difficult challenge: the closing of facilities for holiday vacations leave them highly vulnerable to theft. When facilities are shut down during this time, the risk of thieves accessing and stealing cargo increases greatly since facilities are left unattended. In order to prevent cargo loss and theft, Customs recommends the following:

At Facilities:

  • Examine all surveillance equipment to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Make sure all battery-powered doors and phones are in working order.
  • Secure all facility perimeters, including any fencing and barriers.
  • All perimeter lighting should be inspected and any non-working fixtures replaced.
  • Set any time/sensor lights so that they switch on while the facility is closed.
  • Update alarm call list and ensure that anyone responsible responds to all alarm calls while the facility is closed.
  • If desired, set up extra patrols in the facility area with local authorities.
  • All keys should be removed from warehouse equipment.

Freight In-Transit on Long Distance Runs:

  • Tractors and trailers should not be left unattended.
  • Park all vehicles in areas that have adequate surveillance and lighting.
  • Utilize kingpin locks, glad-hand locks, and/or steering wheel locks when vehicles are parked.
  • Secure trailer doors with industrial strength padlocks.
  • Remove all keys from vehicles.
  • Make periodic checks on vehicles when parked.
  • Inform dispatch when and where vehicles have been dropped, as well as estimated time of arrival.

Read Customs & Border Protection’s bulletin regarding this holiday alert.

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator


BIN: A C-TPAT Best Practice at the Port of Antwerp

In February 2014 C-TPAT announced its recognition of a best practice implemented at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, the second largest port in Europe.

In order to close security gaps and increase port security, the Port of Antwerp instituted the Neighborhood Information Network (BIN). This program allows the anonymous reporting of information regarding suspicious activity at the port to local police and the companies participating in BIN, thus opening lines of communication between these companies and law enforcement and allowing the two to work together to increase security and prevent crime at the port.

BIN was implemented in response to an increase in the number of criminal acts perpetrated at the port as a result of a lack of appropriate security. For example, previous to the development of BIN, criminals were able to gain access to port computers and track containers loaded with narcotics. In other cases, criminals stole various companies’ information as a means to arrange the import of narcotics under a legitimate company’s name. Since the initiation of BIN, the number of cases such as these has decreased.

Security, for ports of all sizes, is of utmost importance as it is a means to protect incoming and outgoing cargo from becoming a vehicle for crime and terrorism. C-TPAT works to secure supply chains across the globe and improve security, and as such, recognizes BIN as a best practice.

Read Custom & Border Protection’s bulletin regarding this requirement.

By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator


Jim Trubits to Speak at 2014 Upstate NY Trade Conference

Jim TrubitsJim Trubits, Vice President, will be speaking about export controls at the 2014 Upstate NY Trade Conference & Expo in Rochester, NY on June 19.

Trubits will present A Beginner’s Guide to Export Compliance, which will touch on basic compliance issues for all exporters, including how to determine which export regulations (ITAR or EAR) apply to products. Jim will also be a panelist at the ITAR/EAR Roundtable, where he will be answering questions on recent export control reforms and sharing his insights gained from working with exporters as a freight forwarder.

Jim Trubits is Certified Global Business Professional, licensed Customs broker, and certified Customs specialist. Read more about Jim.

2014 Upstate NY Trade Conference & Expo




How Do You Prove Transaction Value?

Determining the price actually paid or payable for your Customs entry can be quite tricky. Transaction Value rules, pursuant to 19 USC 1401a(b), place responsibility on the importer to exercise reasonable care and accurately provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with the proper declared value.

It’s important to assure that all lawfully mandated payments (additions) and allowable deductions (subtractions) are accounted for in the total entered value on the Entry Summary.

If you are an importer that purchases goods under an INCOTERMS® rule starting with C or D (CIF, CFR, CPT, CIP, DAP, or DDP), you may deduct the freight transportation and other costs (insurance, etc.), provided they are included in the price payable and you have supporting documentation. To help guide importers, CBP has published the Informed Compliance Publication, Proper Deductions of Freight and Other Costs from Customs Value.

Keep in mind that Customs doesn’t consider amounts shown on the commercial invoice as proof of freight transportation paid by the shipper.

What is CBP’s position?
Customs requires transportation and insurance to be deducted as actual—not estimated—costs paid to the international carrier, freight forwarder, insurance company, or other appropriate provider of such services. Again, declaring these amounts without the proper backup may result in CBP disallowing the deductions during an audit or review of the Customs entry.

So what does CBP consider proof?
To prove actual price paid, CBP requires evidence, such as a rated bill of lading, from the service provider showing the actual freight/insurance charges. CBP may allow other types of substantiation as well.

Finally, it’s important for importers to be able to produce the required Customs entry documentation and the supplementary information showing the actual costs to support the entered value. This should be part of every importer’s recordkeeping program.

By Jim Trubits, Vice President, of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Jim is a licensed Customs broker. Read more about Jim here.


C-TPAT Employee Screening Requirements

In order to ensure that Partners are compliant with U.S immigration law, C-TPAT requires the use of E-Verify to certify all employees’ eligibility status to work in the United States.

Read Customs & Border Protection’s bulletin regarding this requirement here: http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/bullentin_feb14.pdf

This system compares completed Form I-9s with data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration in order to confirm that an individual is eligible for hire. In order to meet this requirement and use E-Verify, Partners must complete the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every employee.

U.S. employers face very specific requirements when hiring new employees, so it is crucial that C-TPAT Partners examine and verify potential employees’ eligibility no matter their immigration status through the completion of the Form I-9 and the subsequent use of E-Verify.

If an I-9 violation is discovered by C-TPAT, the Supply Chain Security Specialist will guide the Partner in coming up with an appropriate solution, but will not issue a fine or penalty. If another agency (non-voluntary, unlike C-TPAT) discovers an I-9 violation during review of the Partner, employers may be fined.

Additional Information

Form I-9

Information on E-Verify


By Abby Frank, Consulting Coordinator



C-TPAT-To Join or Not to Join

Is your company still on the fence about participating in Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)?

Are the benefits of 3.5 to 5 times fewer inspections, access to FAST lanes, securing your supply chain (and hence, your reputation), plus the opportunity to participate in other U.S. Customs & Border Protection programs not enough of an enticement?

Here’s an incentive that may sway your company’s mind: the loss of business opportunities.

U.S. Customs strongly advises all C-TPAT partners to encourage their business partners to participate in C-TPAT. Many importers have taken this message to heart, and are requiring importers they purchase from domestically to also be C-TPAT certified in order to do business with them. A well recognized company does not want to be linked with a supplier who experienced a security breach within their supply chain, no matter how small the supplier.

As U.S. Customs continues to mutually recognize the supply chain security programs of other countries*, we are seeing more foreign participants requiring their international trade partners to participate in their own country’s supply chain security program. Foreign manufacturers understand inspection of their cargo is minimal when their entire supply chain is certified in mutually recognized supply chain programs, resulting in quicker processing time of their cargo and availability of their product in the market.

Doing business with companies certified in mutually recognized supply chain programs lessens the burden of work when assessing your supply chain. You don’t have to assess a business partner that is already certified in a supply chain program–they’ve already done that for you, and their Customs agency has confirmed that they’ve done their due diligence by certifying and validating them.

Instead of thinking about whether or not your company should participate in C-TPAT, ask yourself this: can we afford to lose business opportunities because we aren’t certified?

*U.S. Customs & Border Protection mutually recognizes the following foreign supply chain programs: Canada, EU, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

Beverley Seif is Vice President & General Manager of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Read more about Beverley.


New ISO 17712 Standards for High Security Seals

New standards for high security seals will go into effect on May 15, 2014. C-TPAT requires high security seals to meet or exceed PAS ISO 17712:13 standards, although C-TPAT certified partners can continue to use container seals that meet PAS ISO 17712:10 standards until their stock is depleted.

C-TPAT certified partners must advise their business associates of the new container seal requirements to ensure they continue to meet the C-TPAT criteria for seal standards.

All parties who purchase container seals should request conformance certificates provided by an accredited independent lab prior to purchase, as proof that the seals meet PAS ISO 17712:13 standards.

Additional Information

C-TPAT Bulletin – Compliance with ISO’s 17712 Standards for High Security Seals (U.S. Customs & Border Protection)


Bev Seif is Vice President & General Manager for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Chuck Miller Retires, Bev Seif to Head MGTA Team

Beverley Seif will lead the Mohawk Global Trade Advisors’ team following the retirement of Chuck Miller, Vice President, at the end of March.

Bev Seif

Seif, a licensed Customs broker, will head Mohawk’s consulting division as Vice President and General Manager. She previously worked as Senior Advisor for MGTA and from 2004-2013 operated a highly successful C-TPAT consulting firm.

Jim Trubits

Joining Seif will be MGTA’s new head of business development, Jim Trubits, Vice President. Trubits is a licensed broker and previously worked as a Senior Advisor for MGTA.


5 Tips to Remember the Next Time You Classify Using CROSS

CROSS is a search engine of U.S. Customs rulings on tariff classification, country of origin, marking, and trade programs/agreements. See it in action here.

CROSS can be an invaluable compliance tool for U.S. importers—if they know how to use it correctly. In this article, we will focus on search tips for classification rulings.

You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s just like a Google search, right? WRONG. If you’re not careful with how you complete a classification search in CROSS, key rulings could be left out of your search results, making it all the more likely that you will misclassify your product.

How do I effectively search CROSS?

1. Start by searching with as many keywords as possible.

2. Don’t include article words (such as like, with, the, etc.) or you won’t get any search results. For example, searching with the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit with brushes, returns 0 search results because the word with is ignored by CROSS.

Omitting the word with and searching with the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit brushes, returns 1 result, N206317.

3. Complete a second search using less keywords. This will usually return results not included in your first search. In our previous example, we searched using the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit brushes, which returned only one result (Ruling N206317, classification 9603.90.8050). However, if we perform a secondary search with less keywords, using the phrase, gun cleaning kit, we find another ruling not listed in the previous search results, Ruling K88087.


This second ruling confirms the classification of the gun/rifle cleaning kits as 9603.90.8050. So, based on our CROSS search, the cleaning kits would be best described on the commercial invoice as, gun/rifle cleaning kits including brushes and mops, with the HTS classification 9603.90.8050.

4. Use the most recent binding ruling to support your tariff classification decision. Make sure it describes your product closely. The same applies to any discrepancies between a relevant Informed Compliance Publication for your product and past rulings. The importer should defer to the rulings if they were written after the Informed Compliance Publication.

5. When in doubt, seek a binding ruling from U.S. Customs.

Managing your reasonable care

In Informed Compliance Publication: Reasonable Care,U.S. Customs & Border Protection recommends that importers have procedures in place to use CROSS for fulfilling two important components of reasonable care. They are:

  1. Using CROSS to assist in correct tariff classification of imported products.
  2. Using verbiage from CROSS rulings to more accurately describe goods on Customs documentation and to meet importer invoice requirements pursuant to 19 CFR 141.86 and 141.89.


By Jim Trubits, Senior Advisor. Jim is a licensed Customs broker and certified Customs specialist.




3/18, Watertown: How to Do Business in Canada

Senior Advisor Jim Trubits will be speaking about key NAFTA issues at How to Do Business in Canada on 3/18 at the Ramada Inn on Arsenal Street in Watertown, NY.

The event is presented by Jefferson County Local Development Corporation in collaboration with Congressman Bill Owens.

Congressman Owens will also be speaking at the event.

Click here for more event info, including how to register.


Major Consolidations in the Procurement Software Industry

In early October, Accenture, the number 2 global provider of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services announced the acquisition of Procurian, the number 3 provider. This deal positions Accenture to challenge IBM, the world leader in outsourcing services and could have significant implications for clients who rely on these supply chain management services. The Accenture announcement closely follows the announcement of SciQuest’s US $43M purchase of CombineNet, an industry leader in strategic sourcing optimization software.

- Chuck Miller, CPSM, MCIPS


C-TPAT Update

Portal 2.0 which was scheduled for roll out late summer of 2013 has been delayed with no estimated date of release.

Testing by a number of C-TPAT partners has been postponed multiple times due to delays with network and hardware support.

Portal 2.0 promises to be more user friendly and easier to navigate.

- Beverley Seif, LCHB, MGTA Senior Advisor


Diane Cima and Beverley Seif Join Mohawk Global Trade Advisors

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors is excited to announce the addition of two outstanding new members to our international trade consulting team.


Diane Cima joins MGTA in the role of Compliance Specialist, following a highly successful career with United Technologies – Carrier Corporation where she worked in various roles in supply management and trade compliance. For the past 18 years she was Manager of U.S. Customs Compliance for Carrier, reporting to the General Counsel and responsible for customs compliance for over $700 Million in annual imports for the company. Diane led the development of Carrier’s C-TPAT, NAFTA, ISA/ISF, and duty drawback programs, as well as the development of the Import Council for United Technologies Corporation. She is a licensed Customs broker and a graduate of Cazenovia College.

Diane has already become an active member of our consulting team, assisting a number of clients with their import compliance programs. She has also taken the lead in developing and improving new compliance work process tools and templates for our staff to use, as we strive to continuously improve the quality of delivered work for our clients. Diane’s extensive industry experience in managing compliance programs is a real asset to our team.


Beverley Seif joins us as Senior Advisor. Beverley is a licensed Customs broker and one of the most highly respected experts on the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. She is well known in the trade compliance community for her expertise in guiding companies through the C-TPAT supply chain security process. As a full-time member of MGTA, Beverley will lead our growing C-TPAT practice area, perform training, as well as support other import compliance projects.

Beverley comes to Mohawk from InfoTrade, a C-TPAT consulting firm, that she launched and has successfully operated for the past nine years. During this time Beverley has guided dozens of companies through the C-TPAT registration and validation process. She also holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Management from Centenary College.

“We are very pleased to be able to add these two respected and experienced professionals to our world-class consulting staff,” stated Chuck Miller, Vice President. “As our practice continues to grow nationwide, it’s critical that we be able to offer our valuable clients the knowledge and support of the very best talent in the industry. Adding Beverley and Diane to our staff are big steps in that direction.”


Mike Frail Is Now a Certified ITAR Professional

Mike Frail, Senior Advisor, has recently been recognized as a Certified ITAR Professional by the International Import-Export Institute.


This rigorous program of study is the highest level of professional certification for International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Participants must complete a demanding 36-week course on all aspects of ITAR, including documentation, compliance ethics, ITAR exemptions, auditing, Technology Control Plans, and many other requirements.

Mike is the ITAR project leader for Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. He is also a Certified U.S. Export Compliance Officer.

Mike Frail – Senior Advisor
Certified ITAR Professional  |  Certified U.S. Export Compliance Officer

An up-and-coming speaker on export compliance and ITAR, Mike Frail’s specialties include export procedures, security controls, compliance program setup and strategic enhancement. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Science from SUNY Empire State College. He is the Rochester Operations Manager at Mohawk Global Logistics.



Import Compliance and Customs Assists: What’s the Real Cost?

Many of our clients produce molds as part of their manufacturing process.

Did you know?

US Customs requires that importers not only pay duty on the physical product, but also pay duty on “assists” that aided in the production of that product.

According to US Customs, these listed assists should be reported as part of the import value of your products.

  1. Tools, dies, molds, and similar items used in producing the imported merchandise.
  2. Materials, components, parts, and similar items incorporated into the product.
  3. Merchandise consumed in producing the imported merchandise.
  4. Engineering, development, artwork, design work, plans and sketches that are undertaken outside the United States.

Remember: The lump sum value of any assist is considered part of the transaction value of the merchandise. First, the value of the assist is determined; then the value should be declared on the first shipment or alternatively prorated to the unit cost of the imported merchandise.

Stay compliant and avoid unnecessary fines!

Contributed by Jim Trubits, Senior Advisor. Jim Trubits is a licensed Customs broker and certified Customs specialist.


Mohawk Announces New Vice President, Chuck Miller

SYRACUSE NY—Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA) announces that Charles R. Miller has joined the company as Vice President. Miller will be responsible for the business development and day-to-day operations of the new MGTA division of Mohawk Global Logistics.

“Chuck Miller brings over 25 years of international business, technical, operational, and supply management experience to MGTA,” said Mohawk’s President and CEO Gar Grannell.

Prior to joining MGTA, Miller held a number of executive positions in engineering and supply management with United Technologies Corporation. For the past nine years, his supply chain management consulting practice has provided support to U.S. and international companies in the areas of strategic sourcing, supply management, as well as supplier quality and risk management. He has managed strategic sourcing projects across a broad range of commodity categories with suppliers in China, Russia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors is a division of Mohawk Global Logistics, a third-party logistics provider. Founded in 1970, Mohawk Global Logistics is made up of a team of international transportation and trade compliance specialists who work out of offices in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo, New York. Most recently, the company entered into the Cleveland, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts markets. The company has won numerous awards over the years, including being named one of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Central New York,Global Service Provider of the Year, and Export Service Provider of the Year.

For more information about Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, visit www.mohawkglobalta.com.

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