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CBP Issues Several Publications on the USMCA Rules of Origin

USMCA interim rule

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) took effect on July 1, 2020. To provide guidance, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued several publications regarding the rules of origin for those seeking USMCA preferential tariff treatment.

USMCA Interim Final Rule

The interim final rule, concerning the USMCA’s rules of origin, was published in the Federal Register on July 1. This rule creates the framework for “regulations that provides further guidance regarding the rules of origin for those seeking USMCA preferential tariff treatment and includes the text of the Uniform Regulations regarding rules of origin”. The interim rule creates new Part 182 to the Customs regulations for USMCA.

This rule also amends the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) regulations, under 19 CFR Part 181 and establishes that “NAFTA provisions do not apply to any goods entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse consumption on or after July 1, 2020.”

Many of the regulations included in the interim final rule reproduce the rules of origin provisions of the Uniform Regulations agreed upon and released in early June.

USMCA Implementing Instructions (Updated)

CBP has issued the updated USMCA Implementing Instructions, CBP Publication Number 1118-0620. This memorandum offers guidance to file your preferential tariff claims under USMCA.

USMCA Published in HTSUS

USMCA is now published in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (2020) in General Note 11.

CBP expects additional updates to the regulations to be published by July 1, 2021, a year after USMCA’s enaction. If you have any questions, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Nora Klinowski


New HTS Code for Medical Face Masks

Face Mask New HTScode

Following the release of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on July 1, 2020, a series of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) updates were released that directly impact the importation of safety and medical masks.

In the HTS Revision 14, plastic material masks and face shields now have an HTS of their own. Instead of using HTS 3926.90.9990, importers must use 3926.90.9950—Face masks and shields, medical positioning or transport pads, medical waste containers or disinfectant wipes dispensers—and “other” for plastic articles has been updated to 3926.90.9985. The HTS code 3926.90.9990 is now discontinued.

New tariffs have also been added to 6307.90.98XX to provide specific classifications for textile based N95 and other respirators, as well as other textile face masks—non-disposable and disposable.

If you have any questions on how these changes impact your business, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Fact Sheets: Differences Between USMCA & NAFTA

USMCA Fact Sheet

With the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) taking effect on July 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has posted a series of fact sheets on the requirements and differences between USMCA and the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAFTA has been in place since January 1994 and will end following the implementation of USMCA, the new modernized free trade agreement. CBP’s fact sheets offer guidance and are for comparison or advisory purposes only and are not legally binding. These fact sheets provide information on provisions, which include customs duties, temporary admission, treatment of customs duties, most favored nation, tariff rates, indirect materials, intermediate materials, and more.

Listed below is a list of CBP fact sheets:

For help with following and understanding USMCA provisions contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Nora Klinowski


UPDATED:Changes to Export Regs & AES Filing Effective June 29—Impact China, Russia, and Venezuela

Export regs-china-russia-ven

UPDATE: 6/26/20—The BIS has delayed certain elements of the regulatory changes impacting China, Russia and Venezuela scheduled for June 29, 2020. The requirement for EEI (AES) filings for all shipments, regardless of value or ECCN, destined for the three countries has been updated to require filings for shipments of any value for ECCNs listed in Supplement 2 to Part 744 of the EAR. This is in addition to existing AES filing requirements.

The alert also states that the requirement of EEI filings for all items destined to China, Russia and Venezuela is postponed to September 27, 2020, a three-month extension.


Effective June 29, 2020, changes to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) will directly impact U.S. exporters and U.S. origin goods transported to and within China, Russia, and Venezuela. The changes have three key elements as defined by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), in two notices—first notice, second notice—both dated April 28 2020.

The most significant impact to exporters, of all sizes, is that any and all exports to China, Russia, and Venezuela will now require an Automated Export System (AES) filing of Electronic Export Information (EEI) data. Prior to June 29, the regulations have called for filings to only be done when a shipment has items with Harmonized Tariff (HTS)/Schedule B numbers over $2,500 in value, or if shipping against a license or certain license exceptions. With the update, not only will all values to the three countries require filings, but the Export Commodity Control Number (ECCN) must be listed for EAR99 shipments; previously, it was acceptable to leave the ECCN field blank, if the commodity was EAR99.

Exporters of low value exports, who will face this new requirement, must use great caution to assure that their ECCN is correct—some commodities may not be EAR99 and may or may not trigger a licensing requirement.

Expansion of Military End User and End User Controls   

Also, effective June 29, 2020, the BIS is expanding license requirements on exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of items intended for military end use in China, Russia, or Venezuela to align with the objectives of national security strategies. The rule now expands to cover “military end users” in addition to “military end use” in China. This means that U.S. exporters will need to perform intense due diligence on Chinese parties for licensing requirements; not only will they need to review the use of the product but also the possibility of the facility being engaged in activity for direct benefit of the Chinese military. As China has a significantly widespread civil-military integration, this review will need to be cautious and well documented.

The current definition of military end use refers both to direct use and indirect use. This rule broadens the definition of military end use beyond any item for the ‘‘use,’’ ‘‘development,’’ or ‘‘production’’ to include any item that supports or contributes to the operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, refurbishing, ‘‘development,’’ or ‘‘production,’’ of military items.  The updated definition is intentionally broad in scope, which forces more opportunities for government review, through the licensing process, prior to distribution into the Chinese market.

The intent of this change is to support the national security and foreign policy objectives of the United States by broadening the United States government’s visibility into and ability to deny or condition exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) involving certain items on the Commerce Control that are destined to military end users or end uses in China, Russia, or Venezuela.

This rule will also add new ECCNs to Supplement No. 2 to part 744 of the EAR, “List of items subject to the military end-use license requirement of 744.21”.  Some of the categories to be added or updated include materials processing, electronics, telecommunications, information security, sensors and lasers, and propulsion.  The change will add ECCNs 2A290, 2A291, 2B999, 2D290, 3A991, 3A992, 3A999, 3B991, 3B992, 3C992, 3D991, 5B991, 5A992, 5D992, 6A991, 6A996, and 9B990 to the currently listing as well as expand the range of items under ECCNs 3A992, 8A992, and 9A991.

Removal of License Exception Code CIV (Civil End Users)

Effective June 29, 2020, license exception CIV will be removed from the EAR and parts 740.5 will be reserved for future use. CIV currently authorizes exports and reexports of items on the Commerce Control List (CCL)—Supplement No. 1 to part 774 of the EAR—to civilian end users that have a license requirement to the ultimate destination pursuant to the Commerce Country Chart—Supplement No. 1 to part 738 of the EAR—for national security reasons only. The applicability of this exception was limited to a group of countries known as D:1 but is primarily utilized for China.

The removal of this code has been discussed in recent years. Leading up to this, the BIS has raised concerns over the due diligence of CIV movements and the red flag of in-country transfers to military parties. In the April 28 Federal Register notice, the BIS explains, “many countries seek to align civil and defense technology development for many reasons—to achieve greater efficiency, innovation, and growth. This can present an economic challenge to nations that export high-tech products, including the United States, as individual country goals could also directly support military modernization goals contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”  It is the expectation that with the removal of CIV more license applications will be reviewed by the BIS, allowing for a deeper review of possible diversion to military parties in countries working to the contrary of U.S. national security policy.

These changes will pose due diligence and auditing risks to U.S. exporters, as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of export reform. Exporters must be confident in the ECCNs of their product, submit accurate filings on new instances of AES filings and conduct thorough due diligence of Chinese customers to assure compliance with the new definition of military end user.

As fines, penalties and revocation of export privileges can happen, any exporter who is new to these areas should reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors for advice and file for commodity rulings, where necessary.

By Kristen Morneau, Senior Advisor


CBP Updates USMCA Implementation Instructions

USMCA Interim Instructions (1)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has published updated US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) interim implementing instructions. The additions and updates are listed below.


  • Phase I Implementation – First Six Months upon Entry into Force – (July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020)
  • Drawback Entry (Entry Type 47)
  • Reconciliation Entry (Entry Type 09)


  • Making a Preference Claim & Entry Procedures

These instructions are intended to be early guidelines to allow importers to begin preparing for USMCA. They are not final and are subject to further revision. The Final Implementing Instructions will be released prior to the USMCA’s effective date and will include the Trade and Field with additional details on the USMCA entry, compliance, and other requirements.

If you have any questions, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


33 Parties Added to Entity List for Chinese Violations & Risks

Entity List

On June 5, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) followed through on their May 22 press release to add 33 parties, and their aliases, to the Entity List for ties to weapons of mass destruction and military activity within China, or human rights abuses in the Xinjian Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

What does it mean to be on the Entity List?

The Entity List, Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), contains foreign persons, businesses, research institutions, government and private organization that pose a significant risk of being, or becoming, involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States of America.

These parties are subject to specific additional licensing requirements and often face a presumption of denial. Exporters who ship to those on the Entity List, without a license, could face jail time, fiscal penalties and lose their export privileges entirely.

Who was added?

In the matter of human rights violations and abuses, China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co. were added to the Entity List for engaging in said violations and abuses. Seven additional commerce entities were added for enabling China’s high technology surveillance in the XUAR. Those parties are CloudWalk Technology; FiberHome Technologies Group and the subsidiary Nanjing FiberHome Starrysky Communication Development; NetPosa and the subsidiary SenseNets; Intellifusion; and IS’Vision.

These nine parties join 28 others who were added to the Entity List in October 2019, for engaging in the XUAR repression campaign. Their licensing requirement is listed as a case-by-case review for ECCNs 1A004.c, 1A004.d, 1A995, 1A999.a, 1D003, 2A983, 2D983, and 2E983, and for EAR99 items described in the Note to ECCN 1A995 and a presumption of denial for all other ECCNs.

The other 24 parties, based in China, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom (UK), were added on the basis of their procurement, or believe of their intent to be become involved in the procurement of U.S. origin commodities and technologies for military end-use in China. These parties all face a presumption of denial in export licensing.

Ten of the entities are owned by, operated by, or directly affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), which is the technology complex responsible for the research, development and testing of China’s nuclear weapons and has been on the Entity List under the destination of China since June 30, 1997 (62 FR 35334).

The 24 entities that were added to the Entity List for WMD and military activity are:

  • Beijing Cloudmind Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Beijing Computational Science Research Center
  • Beijing Jincheng Huanyu Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research
  • Chengdu Fine Optical Engineering Research Center
  • China Jiuyuan Trading Corporation
  • Cloudminds (Hong Kong) Limited
  • Cloudminds Inc.
  • Harbin Chuangyue Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Harbin Engineering University
  • Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Harbin Yun Li Da Technology and Development Co., Ltd.
  • JCN (HK) Technology Co. Ltd.
  • K Logistics (China) Limited
  • Kunhai (Yanjiao) Innovation Research Institute
  • Peac Institute of Multiscale Science
  • Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Qihoo 360 Technology Company
  • Shanghai Nova Instruments Co., Ltd.
  • Sichuan Dingcheng Material Trade Co., Ltd.
  • Sichuan Haitian New Technology Group Co. Ltd.
  • Sichuan Zhonghe Import and Export Trade Co., Ltd.
  • Skyeye Laser Technology Limited
  • Zhu Jiejin

Harbin was added to the list for acquiring and attempting to acquire U.S. technology for Chinese missile programs for use by the People’s Liberation Army. The BIS notices to the Federal Register indicate that Shanghai Nova Instruments Co., Ltd., K Logistics (China) Limited, and Zhu Jiejin have been involved in the procurement of items subject to the EAR for possible use in missile and unmanned aerial vehicle applications in China without the licenses required pursuant to §§ 744.3 and 744.21 of the EAR.  JCN (HK) Technology Co. Ltd. is co-located with Reekay Technologies, which was added to the Entity List on November 12, 2015 (80 FR 69856) for supplying U.S.-origin items for the Iranian defense industry.

Other modifications were made to the Entity List that added new addresses for existing Chinese parties on the EL that include the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (commonly known as CETC 38 and 55) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics.

If you export to any of these entities and have questions on obtaining the correct licensing, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Kristen Morneau, Senior Trade Advisor


USTR Publishes Official USMCA Uniform Regulations

USMCA Uniform Regs

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has published the official U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Uniform Regulations, which go into effect on July 1, 2020.

The Uniform Regulations cover the following chapters,

  • Chapter 4 Origin Procedures and Rules of Origin
  • Chapter 5 Obligations of Importers and Exporters, Origin Procedures
  • Chapter 6 Textile and Apparel Goods
  • Chapter 7 Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation

If you have any questions, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Other helpful resources:

CBP’s USMCA webpage

CBP’s Interim Implementing Instructions




From Civil to Criminal: Increased Enforcement of Forced Labor Violations

export violation (1)

In the latest series of developments, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to launch criminal investigations—within the next two years—against executives whose companies have benefited from forced labor in their supply chains. This is a considerable step up from limiting prosecutions to civil penalties, as criminal proceedings could end in 20-year prison sentences for executives who had knowledge or should have had knowledge of forced labor violations within their supply chains. It has become more important than ever to know your supply chain inside and out to avoid violations and potential criminal investigations.

Clarifying the Criteria: How to Pin Down a Violation

The government has adopted the International Labor Organization’s criteria (see Other Resources) to pin down violations amid broadly written laws, including worker passport retention, isolation, and excessive overtime. However, many cases involve more than one of these criteria. Companies most at risk are the ones who have either found violations and retained the supplier or companies that will intentionally seek out suppliers other companies have dropped following the discovery of violations.

This Can Happen to You

More companies are at risk for forced labor violations than it appears. It has been noted that 84 percent of cotton grown in China is in the same province as Uighur detention camps, so it is likely that Uighur prisoners have picked some percent of the cotton found in all cotton or cotton blend garments purchased from China. Factors like this are critical for companies to consider when sourcing production facilities, as raw materials also count for criminal liability.

Addressing Your Risk

How can you make sure that your company takes an active role in vetting current and potential suppliers? It is recommended that companies thoroughly examine their supply chain recruitment practices, especially if third party recruiters are being used.

Avoiding forced labor violations is critical, and companies must take an active role in protecting their supply chains in order to prevent civil or criminal prosecution. To learn more about vetting suppliers and managing your risk of incurring forced labor violations, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Other Helpful Resources

Mitigating the Risk of Forced Labor

CBP Responsible Business Practices on Forced Labor

Responsible Sourcing Tool


Discovering Export Violations: 13 Things to Watch Out For

export violation

Though United States border protections and national security are getting better by the day, shippers are often the first critical point of contact for export violations. It is important that exporters stay alert and know the signs that a shipment may be destined for an inappropriate use, user, or destination by potentially blocked individuals.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has recently updated their list of “red flags”, or indicators that exporters can reference if they believe a shipment may contain a violation. Though the list covers many circumstances, it is not all-inclusive and simply serves as an overview of situations that could be cause for reasonable suspicion that a transaction is in violation of Export Administration Regulations.

What to Watch Out For

  1. The customer or address listed matches or is similar to one found on the Commerce Department’s List of Denied Persons, Unverified List, Entity List, Specially Designated Nationals & Blocked Persons List, Debarred List, and/or Nonproliferation Sanctions List.
  2. The customer or agent seems hesitant about answering questions regarding item end-use.
  3. The product is not commonly appropriate for the buyer’s line of work, such as “an order for sophisticated computers for a small bakery” (BIS).
  4. The item in question has inappropriate levels of capability compared to the technical level of the country it is being shipped to, such as “semiconductor manufacturing equipment being shipped to a country that has no electronics industry” (BIS).
  5. Though the terms of sale might commonly require financing, the customer is willing to pay cash for a very expensive item.
  6. The customer has no background or experience in business.
  7. The customer knows little to nothing about the performance characteristics of the item, but still wants it anyway.
  8. The customer declines routine installation, training, maintenance, or any other similar services.Delivery dates are uncharacteristically vague and/or deliveries have been planned for obscure destinations.
  9. The product’s final destination is listed as a freight forwarding firm.
  10. The shipping route is not appropriate for the product and destination.
  11. The product packaging does not match with the stated method of shipment or the destination.
  12. The buyer is evasive and reluctant to answer questions clearly about whether the product is intended for domestic use, export, or reexport.

Additional guidance on knowing your customer has been provided by the BIS. If a shipment you are being asked to export is consistent with any of these red flags, please contact BIS directly at 1(800)-424-2980 or fill out the confidential lead form regarding your customer.

If you have any further questions regarding export violations and how you can help by being aware of indicators, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

This content was derived from the Bureau of Industry & Security’s website and compiled by Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Penalties Increase for Export Violations

civil penalty increase

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

Here is a summary of the penalty increases:

The maximum amount for an EAR civil violation is now $307,922 or two times the value of the transaction (50 U.S.C. 1705(b)), effective January 15, 2020.

Penalties for late AES filings are now $1,419 per day; with the maximum per violation increasing to $14,194. All other AES violations are now $14,194 (13 U.S.C. 304 & 13 U.S.C. 305(b)), effective January 15, 2020.

The penalty for Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) civil penalties has increased to $1,183,736 per violation (22 U.S.C. 2778 (e)), effective January 14, 2020.

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.


U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement: Preferential Tariff Treatment


The U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement is effective as of January 1, 2020. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued the requirements for those looking to claim preferential treatment under this trade deal.

In order to receive preferential treatment, goods must originate and meet all the requirements under the agreement. The filing instructions are as follows:

  • From January 1, 2020 through January 13, 2020, importers must pay duties on qualifying goods under the Agreement and request a preferential tariff retroactive claim by filing a post summary correction (PSC) to request the duty refund. The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will accept the new special program indicator ‘JP’ as a prefix to the eligible tariff number on January 14, 2020.
  • On or after January 14, 2020, ACE will accept the new special program indicator ‘JP’ as a prefix to the eligible tariff number. Importers claiming preferential treatment under the Agreement must include on the entry, the special program indicator “JP” as a prefix to the eligible tariff number for each qualifying good requesting such preference.

To claim preferential tariff treatment under the U.S.–Japan Trade Agreement, the following requirements must be met:

  • Country of Origin must be ‘JP’
  • Country of Export must be ‘JP’
  • Once programmed in ACE, the Special Program indicator ‘JP’ must be placed before the eligible tariff number to make the claim.
  • Claims for preferential treatment under this Agreement are not exempt from the merchandise processing fee (class code 499 and class code 311).
  • The tariff-rate quota allocation for beef from Japan is modified as follows:

The country specific Japan beef quota (200,000 kg) is eliminated and added to “other countries.” This updates the “other countries or areas” limit to 65,005,000 kg.

There is no change to the entry filing process. The ACE quota module will process eligible beef from Japan under the “Other countries or areas” quota.

If you have questions, please reach out to your Mohawk Global customer service representative.


U.S. and Japan Trade Deal: Tariff Reductions to Take Effect Jan 1


An initial trade deal between the U.S. and Japan was officially signed on October 7. This new deal will reduce or eliminate tariffs on $7 billion worth of U.S. agricultural exports. The trade deal sets forth the same agricultural access in exports that the U.S. would have received in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tariff reductions are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2020.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), tariffs will be removed from the following exports:

  • Almonds
  • Blueberries, cranberries and prunes
  • Sweet corn, broccoli and sorghum
  • Food supplements

The below exports will receive gradual reductions throughout the elimination process:

  • Wine
  • Cheese and whey
  • Cherries and oranges
  • Tomato paste
  • Egg products
  • Frozen potatoes
  • Specific beef and pork product

Japanese imports on machinery, musical instruments, bicycle parts, televisions and turbines will have duties either reduced or eliminated on January 1, 2020. A second round of reductions and elimination is currently scheduled to take place April 1, 2020. Import duties on these items could be reduced or removed either immediately, or over the course of 10 years.

Import restrictions of Section 232—which adds additional tariffs on steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent) imports—on auto parts have not been discussed as part of the initial trade deal according to the USTR. The trade deal also includes a $40 million digital trade agreement that forbids certain customs duties.

As further negotiations continue, a comprehensive list of tariff lines effected by the trade deal is available.

If you have questions on how this will impact your business, please reach out.

U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Negotiations




Do I Need an Export License?

do I need an export license

As an exporter it is your responsibility know if you need an export license. On top of that, it is your responsibility to know who you’re exporting to and to watch for red flags. To help, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has published guidance for exporting to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. But what if you don’t export to those countries? Luckily, these guidelines apply to all exports.

Export Due Diligence

Research any new or unfamiliar customers. Exporters should exercise increased due diligence when vetting new customers. If you notice any of the following red flags, then those customers merit extra scrutiny.

  • A new customer places an unexpected and/or high-value order for sophisticated equipment.
  • The customer is a reseller or distributor. In such cases, you should always inquire who the end-user is.
  • The customer has no website or social media and is not listed in online business directories.
  • The customer’s address is similar to an entity listed on the U.S. Government’s Consolidated Screening List (CSL), or the address indicates the customer is located close to end-users of concern, including co-located with an entity listed on the Entity List.
  • Your customer places an order ex-works and makes all shipping arrangements through a freight forwarding service. In such cases, request that the freight forwarder provide you a copy of the Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing to ensure the information is accurate.

Assess the potential applications of your products. Whenever you identify red flags indicating a potential concern about your customer, or if you are unable to confirm the bona fides (i.e. legitimacy and reliability) of your customer, you should consider potential dual-use applications of your products.

File true, accurate, and complete export control information. True, accurate, and complete EEI must be filed in accordance with Sections 758.1 and 758.2 of the EAR, as well as the Foreign Trade Regulations (15 C.F.R. Part 30). In the case of exports made under the terms of a letter of credit (LoC), BIS has noticed that the parties to an export transaction may be inadvertently misrepresented on EEI filings due to differences between commercial document requirements and EEI requirements.

It is imperative for you to know who you’re exporting to. If you are still unsure, the BIS also has guidance on ways to ensure you know your customer. It is highly recommended that you check if your customer is on the Consolidated Screening List.

Need help identifying if your shipment needs an export license and if so, how to get one? Reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, we’ll walk you through it.

Helpful Resources:

How to Survive an Export End-Use-Check

My Goods are EAR99. Why Do I Have to Screen?


What to Expect with New Chinese Tariffs: Our Expert Answers 3 Big Qs

10 percent 3 questions

President Trump announced that as of September 1, 2019, there will be 10 percent additional tariffs on everything imported from China that has not already been covered under Section 301. This has left companies brimming with unanswered questions.

Robert Stein, Vice President at Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, answers the three big questions on everyone’s mind.


Q: What is the likelihood that the 10% tariff will be applied September 1, 2019?

A: I would say the likelihood is very high. President Trump appears to feel that increasing tariffs is a winning strategy and nothing in his recent actions make me feel like he will not follow through. Also, it does not appear that the Chinese will capitulate anytime soon, so a badly needed trade agreement is not likely to materialize.


Q: Will 10% be applied across the board to all items?

A: You can review the HTS codes on list 4 in the Federal Register Notice. The 10 percent will be applied to all affected HTS codes, except for any exclusions that might be granted in the future. We don’t know if an exclusion process will be allowed, but my guess is that they will only allow exclusions if and when the duty rate moves from 10 to 25 percent.


Q: Will it be applied by entry date? Or all entry’s after a certain date? Or will the government use a ship date?

A: This is the big unknown right now. We are going on the assumption that this will be based on entry date, since it appears the impact of this move was designed to hit goods already on the water. However, there has not been any indication from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding how they will want this to be handled.

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.



Get BIS’s Annual Export Controls Conference Presentations

BIS Presentations

Looking for an information packed resource for export controls? Look no further, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has published the presentations from its annual conference, which was held July 9-11 in Washington.

The presentations include the following topics.

  • “600 series”
  • Air and Space (BIS)
  • Air and Space (NASA)
  • Air and Space (NOAA)
  • Census—ACE Export Reports
  • Census—Global Market Finder
  • Compliance—BIS
  • Compliance—DDTC Compliance Program
  • Compliance—OFAC
  • DDTC Update
  • Deemed Exports
  • Encryption
  • Freight Forwarders and Routed Transactions
  • Proscribed Parties and Catch-All Controls
  • Regulatory Update
  • Sanctions
  • Section 232

Why the Court of International Trade Punished a First-Time, Small Importer with Over $250K in Fines


Importers are facing ever-evolving constraints from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decisions now more than ever. Achieving and maintaining compliance through Reasonable Care and proper documentation is pertinent to avoid penalties, seizures of cargo, or criminal charges.

“A Tangled Web of Changing Stories and Disputed Consequences”

On April 22, 2019 the Court of International Trade (CIT) found a one-time importer, Titan Metals, liable for $141,984.98 in penalties plus $146,368.64 in unpaid duties. The case examined the Government’s claims that the small business based in Houston, Texas made false statements and omissions on entry documentation to avoid antidumping duties on imports of steel flanges from India.

In 2003, Titan Metals first imported steel flanges from India with documentation that the goods originated from India and were eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences benefit (free of antidumping duties). Six years later, in response to a CBP penalty notice, the company’s lawyer then claimed the goods were “U.S. goods returned,” to avoid further penalties.

While the CIT acknowledged that Titan Metals is a first-time offender with limited resources as a five-employee company, the falsified documentation and resistance to cooperate with the CBP lead to the penalty of 50% of the legal maximum.

What are Antidumping duties?

Antidumping duties (ADD) were created under the Antidumping Act of 1974 to prevent the sales of goods at a lower price than what the goods would be valued in the country of origin. If it is determined that an imported product is being sold at a less than fair value in the U.S., and an antidumping duty is imposed.

How Do I Avoid These Penalties?

As an importer you must truly understand the scope of the ADD order and cannot only rely solely on the HTS classification to determine if the product imported is subject to antidumping duties.

CBP is dedicated to conducting targeted antidumping analysis and auditing of imported products. Mohawk Global Trade Advisors provides import compliance programs to ensure you are abiding by the expansive CBP regulations. Our experts create customized programs for importers which include:

  • Helping you to understand your responsibilities under Reasonable Care
  • Review and analysis of your existing import compliance program and tariff classifications, including discovery of gaps.
  • Written import compliance manuals customized to your business model.
  • Individual policies and procedures for classification, documentation, valuation, recordkeeping, free trade agreements, and more.
  • Checklists, templates, forms, and other tools to help your staff easily manage and maintain standard processes.
  • Training your key import staff in all aspects of import compliance.

Contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors today to start building a better import compliance program.


MSC Suspended from CTPAT for 90 Days

MSC CTPAT Suspended

As of June 18, 2019 MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has been suspended from the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program (CTPAT). At this time, the suspension period is set to last for 90 days. The suspension comes as a result of this week’s incident, where shipping vessel MSC Gayane was discovered to be carrying over 16 tons of cocaine. U.S. Customs has not provided any additional information at this point regarding the status of MSC’s CTPAT certification and is continuing its investigation.

For any questions regarding this incident, please contact your Mohawk customer service representative.

MSC’s official press release.


New Minimum Security Criteria in CTPAT Portal


As of May 3, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released the CTPAT program’s new minimum security criteria (MSC) in the CTPAT portal. Companies are expected to implement the new criteria by their annual review date in 2020. CBP has mentioned that there will be a phased roll out, although the details are still unclear.

The new MSC include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Protection against agricultural contaminants and pests
  • Prevention of trade-based money laundering and terrorism financing
  • Security technology used to fortify existing physical security requirements

So far, no specific dates or guidelines have been announced but we will provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions, reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


5 Building Blocks to an Effective Sanction Compliance Program

Santions compliance guidelines

How do you ensure your company is compliant when dealing with sanctions? Need guidelines on how to put a sanction compliance program together? You’re in luck. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has published framework for developing an effective sanctions compliance program (SCP). This framework outlines five essential components.

  1. Senior management commitment
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Internal controls
  4. Testing and auditing
  5. Training

Senior Management Commitment

  • Senior management reviews and approves the organization’s SCP.
  • Senior management ensures that its compliance units have sufficient authority and autonomy to deploy effective policies and procedures. As a part of this, senior management ensures direct reporting between senior management and compliance units, including routine and periodic meetings.
  • Senior management ensures that compliance units have adequate resources.
  • Senior management promotes a “culture of compliance,” throughout the organization. This includes:
    • The ability of personnel to report sanctions related misconduct by the organization or its personnel to senior management without fear of reprisal.
    • Senior management messages and takes actions that discourage misconduct and prohibited activities and highlight the potential repercussions of non-compliance with OFAC sanctions.
    • The ability of the SCP to have oversight over the actions of the entire organization, including but not limited to senior management, for the purposes of compliance with OFAC sanctions.
  • Senior management demonstrates recognition of the severity of apparent violations and of the laws and regulations enforced by OFAC.

Risk Assessment

OFAC recommends that organizations take a risk-based approach when designing or updating an SCP. One approach is for organizations to conduct a routine “risk assessment” for the purposes of identifying potential OFAC issues. While there is no “one-size-fits all” risk assessment, the exercise should generally consist of a holistic review of the organization from top-to-bottom and assess its touchpoints to the outside world. For example, an organization’s SCP may assess the following:

  • Customers, supply chain, intermediaries, and counter-parties.
  • The products and services it offers, including how and where such items fit into other financial or commercial products, services, networks, or systems.
  • The geographic locations of the organization, as well as its customers, supply chain, intermediaries, and counter-parties.

Internal Controls

According to the framework, an effective SCP should include policies and procedures to identify, interdict, escalate, report, and maintain records of potential OFAC violations. The criteria for effective internal controls are based on the following:

  • The organization maintains written policies and procedures outlined by the SCP.
  • The organization implements internal controls that adequately address its risk profile. These internal controls should enable an organization to identify, interdict, escalate, report, and maintain records of potential OFAC violations.
  • The organization enforces the policies and procedures that it implements through internal and/or external audits.
  • The organization ensures that it adheres to adequate OFAC-related recordkeeping policies and procedures.
  • The organization ensures that upon learning of a weakness in its internal controls, it takes immediate and effective action to identify and implement compensating controls, including determining the root cause of such weakness and remedying the root cause.
  • The organization clearly and effectively communicates the SCP policies and procedures to relevant staff, including gatekeepers and business units operating in high-risk areas (e.g., customer acquisition, payments, sales, etc.), and to external parties performing SCP responsibilities on behalf of the organization.
  • The organization appoints personnel to integrate the SCP policies and procedures into the daily operations of the organization.

Testing and Auditing

OFAC recommends a comprehensive, independent, and objective testing or audit function as part of the SCP. This function should enable organizations to be aware of how the SCP is performing and when updates, enhancements or recalibrations may be needed to account for a changing risk assessment or sanctions environment. A testing and auditing function should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The organization commits to ensuring that testing or auditing is (i) accountable to senior management, (ii) independent of the audited activity or function, and (iii) endowed with sufficient authority, skills, expertise, and resources.
  • The organization commits to ensuring that it employs testing and auditing procedures that are sufficiently sophisticated and that such procedures are comprehensive and objective.
  • The organization confirms that upon learning of a negative testing result or audit, it will take immediate and effective remedial action to identify and implement compensating controls that correct the root cause of the shortcoming.


OFAC stresses that providing an effective training program to all appropriate employees and stakeholders is an integral component of a successful SCP. An effective training program will consist of the following:

  • The organization commits to ensuring that its OFAC-related training program provides adequate information and instruction to employees and relevant stakeholders (e.g., clients, suppliers, business partners, and counter-parties).
  • The organization commits to providing OFAC-related training with a scope and frequency that appropriately reflects the risk profile of the organization.
  • The organization commits to ensuring that upon learning of a negative testing result or audit, it will take swift and effective action to provide training or other corrective action with respect to the relevant personnel.
  • The materials and resources that are part of the training program are easily accessible to applicable personnel.

The ABC’s of Tariff Classification


When it comes to classifying your imports or exports, the tariff book can appear daunting and much too complicated to approach. How do you classify a part? What about a set with several products? Fear not, the experts at Mohawk Global Trade Advisors are here to break down the process of tariff classification to the basics.

Why is classification so important?

Classifying commodities under the correct tariff codes for both export and import shipments is essential to avoid a jump in duty rates, antidumping duties and most importantly, penalties for careless or negligent behavior. Correct classification is also important to determine if the use of a free trade agreement for preferred duty rates is possible and in assuring compliance with customs reporting.

Why is classification so tricky?

General Rules of Interpretation – the rules that establish how correctly choose tariff codes – can be very difficult to understand and use, especially for products that are considered parts or sets. Relying on internal company classifications that may be outdated and inaccurate is extremely risky, so it’s important to understand how the tariff book works and to maintain the most updated classification resources.

How Mohawk Global Trade Advisors can help

Our experts provide seminars to take you through each step of the classification process. The seminar workbook acts as a guide to decoding the tariff book and classification process. Each seminar concludes with a hands-on workshop to give participants the opportunity to practically apply the skills they’ve learned, which we believe is critical for proper training. While tariff classifications may not be as simple as your ABC’s, our advisors are here to make sure you know the best way to classify your commodities and understand what tariff classification is all about.

Contact us today to schedule a training session or to learn more about our training services.


Do You Ship to India? Here are the New India Invoice Requirements

The India flag overlooking an Indian city.

Shipping to India? A new regulation has gone into effect, as of February 18, 2019, that requires invoices to have the unit of measurement for each line item. Per Indian regulations, this unit of measurement must declare the Standard Unit Quantity Code (SUQC), which is the unit mentioned for each Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) code under the Indian Customs Tariff Headings (CTH). Some examples of these units are number (NOS), kilograms (KGS), and square meter (SQM).

To prevent delays in your shipments, it is important to comply with these new requirements. If you have any questions, please reach out to Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.


Unit Quantity Codes for all Customs tariff headings.


By Danielle Leonard


Is this Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Trademark Authentic? The Onus is on Importers to Know for Sure

UL Mark

If you purchase and import products that bear the UL trademark, the onus is on you as the importer to ensure the supplier applied for and received UL certification for these products prior to import. With certification also comes the authorization, or license, to use the UL mark on said products. Importers bear all the risks here and must make this determination before these products reach U.S. borders.

The importance of this is highlighted here in a recent court case, ICCS USA v. United States. Briefly, ICCS USA imported products which were released to them by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Subsequent to release, ICCS USA received a notice from CBP directing them to redeliver those products as they were UL marked but found not to be on the UL list of verified products. As one of their Priority Trade Issues (PTI), CBP enforces certification marks at our borders. Because ICCS USA was unable to redeliver the entire shipment, CBP assessed thousands of dollars in damages for those products not redelivered. ICCS USA challenged the notice in the Court of International Trade (CIT), which sided with CBP. 

How Can Importers Be Sure?

Importers can gain assurance by working closely with all their suppliers to ensure products not only bear the UL mark, but also that the products are UL certified, giving the supplier authorization to use the mark. Importers can request a copy of the UL certificate from suppliers as proof. However, this is not enough. Importers must take additional steps to verify the authenticity of the certificate being provided since counterfeit markings and certificates are known to exist. It stands to reason that any products with unauthorized or counterfeit markings did not go through the rigorous testing standards followed by UL. As a result, the potential to expose consumers to dangerous, unsafe products can be high. 

Also, it is important to note that UL certification for one product does not necessarily extend to other similar products that the supplier sells. Importers must ensure suppliers submit a certificate for each different product – no matter how similar they may be. Ensure the UL certificate is for the exact product being imported. 

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Markings and Why They’re Important 

According to its website, UL has been empowering trust dating back to 1894. Trust is the foundation of its business model. 

UL is a global organization that operates independently, setting strict safety standards and ensuring products are safe from potential risk to consumers for personal injury. UL subjects products to rigorous testing and evaluations based on these strict safety standards. Products are not certified until they meet these established standards. 

The primary focus of UL is rooted in connecting people around the globe to safer, more secure products. Consumers have come to rely on and trust in the safety and security of products that display the UL mark when they arrive at our seaports. 

UL, Customs and Border Protection & Zero Tolerance 

Importers bear all the risks. Not taking the proper steps to ensure compliance can be very problematic for importers and detrimental to their business. The highly regarded UL mark is synonymous with trust – the foundation of UL’s very existence. UL protects this marking vigorously and has a zero-tolerance policy for its misuse – intentional or not.

It’s important to keep in mind that other markings on the product are certifications as well. For example, Bluetooth, HDMI and Non-GMO to name a few. It’s a good idea to verify all markings displayed.

Again, this is a PTI for CBP and, as such, they support and enforce UL’s zero-tolerance policy as well.

Once products arrive in a U.S. port, and if they are subsequently deemed to have unauthorized UL marks, the products will be destroyed, and importers will not be reimbursed. Importers can also be fined and, worse yet, find themselves the subject of an unfavorable press release. We cannot stress it enough – Zero-Tolerance. Take adequate steps to ensure UL marks are approved and certified.

Steps to Take to Compliancy

  1. The first step is for importers to work closely with their suppliers and ask them to provide a UL Certificate for the exact products they are importing. Keep in mind other markings on the products should have certifications as well.
  2. The next – and most important – step for importers to take is to verify the certificate using a freely available, public tool.

To learn more about our import compliance services, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

 By Yvonne Scott-Younis


Section 301 Tariff Increase Delayed

301 delayed mgta

President Trump has announced that the Section 301 tariff increase will be postponed again. This is due to “substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues.”

The tariffs were scheduled to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1 and were delayed to March 1. Now, they have been delayed further but a new effective date has not been set.


NAFTA 2.0, What’s Different?

USMCA Article

Announced on September 30th, the United States, Mexico and Canada renegotiated NAFTA and forged a preliminary trilateral trade agreement. This new agreement is known by USMCA and as NAFTA 2.0. 

In anticipation of NAFTA 2.0, let’s look at a few highlights of what’s different in this proposed agreement: 

Rules of Origin:

Under USMCA, some industries will see no changes to their rules of origin. Note: The rules of origin allow a good to qualify under the USMCA. Other industries like the chemical industry will see an easing of rules to qualify their goods, provided it meets one of the eight rules of the chemical or allied industries. For example, a good produced through a chemical reaction in the territory in one or more of the countries will be treated as originating.

However, the auto manufacturing industry will see a tightening of NAFTA’s already complex rules of origin which dictate the requirements to qualify for duty free or zero tariffs. The new agreement calls for even more car components to be manufactured in North America than previously under NAFTA, even if those parts cost more than other sources outside of North America. Specifically, motor vehicles and trucks must have at least 75-percent of their parts (up from 62.5-percent) manufactured in the USMCA region. If manufacturers cannot meet this requirement, they will have to pay a 2.5-percent duty. In addition, 30-percent (40-percent by 2023) of autos must be produced by workers earning an average production wage of at least $16.00 per hour.

Streamlined Certificate of Origin:

The very formal Exporter’s Certificate of Origin will no longer need to be completed. Instead a free trade declaration can be completed in any format provided it contains the minimum data elements in Annex 5-A of the agreement (attached). It can even be on the commercial invoice or electronically. It can be a single or blanket declaration and will be good for up to 12 months. Customs will allow for a declaration for low value shipments (LVS) for shipments at US $1,000 or less.

Effects on Duty Drawback and Duty Deferral Programs:

No change to previous duty drawback and duty deferral rules in the NAFTA (Article 2.5). However, automakers who are unable to hit the 75-percent threshold and find themselves having to pay the 2.5-percent duty on U.S. imports and then subsequently exported their cars, would have an uptick in duties eligible for drawback refund.

De Minimis: 

  • De Minimis is now 10-percent up from 7-percent in the previous agreement.
  • For express shipments, the de minimis threshold for duty-free and tax-free shipments is set at US$100 for the US, at US$100 for Mexico, and for Canada at C$150 (customs duties) and C$40 (taxes).

Final Thought:

In summary, it is important to understand that NAFTA is still in effect. USMCA is expected to be signed by the three parties later this year or in early 2020. After that, it must be ratified by the U.S. Congress and the Canadian and Mexican legislatures. This may take months and, therefore, the agreement is not expected to take effect until January 1, 2020. Until then, continue to issue NAFTA certificates.

ANNEX 5-A Attachment


By Jim Trubits


Importers & Forced Labor Risk: The Onus Is on You to Know the Labor That Your Suppliers Use

Workers at garment factory in Southeast Asia

Earlier in March we shared an article on the importance of knowing your suppliers titled, Forced Labor and Chocolate: Do You Know Your Suppliers? The focus of that article was to inform U.S. importers of possible consequences they can face if they underestimate the importance of Reasonable Care, and to reinforce the importance of practicing due diligence in understanding what’s going on in their global supply chain.

As a follow up, this article serves as a best practice guide for U.S. importers to ensure their supply chains have no forced labor. Specifically, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) recently posted recommendations as a best practice to follow to eradicate the importation of goods produced with prohibited forms of labor (forced or child labor, including dangerous child labor and the slave labor of trafficked children).

Have you taken measures to ensure your imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with forced or child labor? Here are some principles to create a social compliance system that mitigates your risks and builds on your internal controls as a best business practice and avoid an enforcement action:

Comprehensive Supply Chain Profile

  • Does the U. S. importer have a comprehensive understanding of the natural supply chain from sourcing of raw materials to subcontracting manufacturing to the assembly of finished goods destined for the U.S.?
  • For their products, has the U.S. importer conducted a comprehensive risk assessment of forced labor in the global supply chain and conducted onsite production visits to the factory, farm, or mine for high-risk countries?
  • Is the U.S. importer engaged with industry specific multistakeholder initiatives?

Written Code of Conduct

  • Has the U.S. importer developed and applied a formal written code of conduct for all international interactions associated with the sourcing of foreign goods?
  • Is the code of conduct shared with all suppliers in the global supply chain as a stand-alone document or as addendums to purchase orders, contracts, or letters of credit?
  • Does code of conduct include specific language as to minimum labor standards as specified by the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO), other intergovernmental organizations, or multi-stake holder initiatives?

Robust Internal Control Process

  • Are the internal controls established according to professionally recognized objective audit standards?
  • Does the U.S. importer have sufficient internal controls in place to effectively deter and detect instances of noncompliance with the code of conduct and other best practices?
  • Does the U.S. importer conduct periodic compliance audits using in-house personnel or external audit professionals?
  • Does the U.S. importer’s internal control process cover every level of the product supply chain including relevant business documents?
  • Does the U.S. importer have adequate corrective action plans to address noncompliance and deter weak business practices?

The CBP is actively enforcing trafficking in supply chains and confiscating goods coming into ports under suspicion that they were produced with forced labor. To counteract items of child and forced labor from entering into your sales channel and global supply chains, you should have and follow established best business practices to ensure your global supply chain partners and vendors utilize no forms of forced or child labor.

To learn more about our import compliance services, or to simply talk about how we can help your organization develop its own forced labor best practices, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

 By Yvonne Scott-Younis


Effective October 1, 2018, Merchandise Processing Fees to Increase for Fiscal Year 2019

Cash settlement. American currency with gavel. Law, legal, financial, savings.

In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) will increase user fees effective October 1, 2018 by 4.886 percent to adjust for inflation for Fiscal Year 2019.

One fee affected by this increase is the “Minimum” and “Maximum” Processing Fees. Specifically, the “Minimum” and “Maximum” Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) have increased. See below table of the current fees and the adjusted fees:

Minimum Merchandise Processing Fee

Current rate – $25.67

New MPF Minimum – $26.22

Maximum Merchandise Processing Fee

Current rate – $497.99

New MPF Maximum – $508.70

This fee relates back to Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST). FAST was signed into law on December 4, 2015. Section 13031 of this act amended COBRA and requires certain COBRA fees and corresponding limitations to be adjusted by the Secretary of the Treasury to reflect increases in inflation.

For the full official agency notice, click here.

 By Yvonne Scott-Younis


Tariffs on $200 Billion Worth of Chinese Imports Go Into Effect 9/24


The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released the official list of about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports subject to additional tariffs. This list contains 5,745 full or partial lines of the original 6,031 tariff lines that were announced back in July. Starting September 24, 2018 these items will be subject to a 10 percent tariff, which will increase to 25 percent starting January 1, 2019.

Some of the products that have been removed from the original list include certain consumer electronics such as smart watches and Bluetooth devices; certain chemical inputs for manufactured goods, textiles, and agriculture; certain health and safety products including bicycle helmets, and child safety furniture such as car seats and playpens.

If you have questions about these tariffs and how they may affect your business, reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

By Danielle Leonard


New Tariffs Causing Insufficient Bonds

A calculator on top of paper with finances and a pencil.

U.S. Customs Border and Protection (CBP) recognizes that Section 232 and 301 tariffs are having a significant impact on continuous bond amounts and expect to see an increase in insufficient bonds in the coming months. In the meantime, CBP is urging importers, brokers, and sureties to be mindful when determining bond sufficiency based on Section 232 and 301 tariffs.

How Bonds are Being Impacted

Continuous bonds—for dutiable goods that are not subject to a participating government agency (PGA)—are normally based on 10% of the projected amount of duties, taxes, and fees that an importer is expected to pay over a 12-month period. This means, a company’s predetermined bond may now be insufficient due to duty increases related to the new tariffs. One steel importer stated they had a bond that went from $200,000 to $11 million, according to the JOC.

To assist brokers, sureties, and importers, CBP will be sending an email—to each surety—to discuss helping them with their long-term projections, to ensure importers will be sufficiently bonded for the 12-month period.

Insufficient bonds can hamper an importer’s ability to release their cargo at U.S. ports and cause them to incur demurrage, because CBP can hold shipments that have an insufficient bond.

This bond issue is expected to escalate as importers across a range of sectors determine whether the additional $200 billion in tariffs from China affect their goods. It is crucial to make sure your company has sufficient Customs bonds in place. If you need assistance, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.



CTPAT – To Participate or not to Participate


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

Are these benefits not enticing enough?

  • less CBP examinations
  • front of the line inspections
  • possible exemption from Stratified Exams
  • shorter wait times at the border
  • assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist
  • access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  • a secure supply chain (hence your reputation)

Here are a couple of incentives that may sway your company’s mind: Trusted Trader status and the loss of business opportunities.

Trusted Trader Status

Trusted Trader is the integration of the CTPAT and (ISA) Importer Self-Assessment Program. Although Trusted Trader status is not operational yet, it may be as early as the fall of 2018.

This status will consist of multiple tiers, and importers who participate in both CTPAT and ISA will be at the highest tier and have the maximum Trusted Trader status. Currently, an importer cannot apply for ISA unless they are CTPAT certified. Participating in CTPAT is the first level of Trusted Trader status and the first step to gaining the full benefits listed above.

A Loss of Business Opportunities

U.S. Customs strongly advises all CTPAT partners to encourage their business partners to participate in CTPAT. Many importers have taken this message to heart and are requiring importers they purchase from domestically to also be CTPAT certified, in order to do business with them. Why? 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 your company should participate in C-TPAT, ask yourself this: can we afford additional exams because we are not a Trusted Trader? 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, Dominican Republic, EU, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan.

By Beverley Seif, Vice President and General Manager


China Goes Head-to-Head with Additional Tariffs on U.S. Goods

China goes head to head 580

In response to the Trump administration’s recent proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, China has announced their own proposed list of additional 10 percent tariffs. Some of the major items by value on this 10 percent tariff list are food preparations, lasers other than laser diodes, and cast glass sheets.

These are China’s current lists of U.S. goods to be affected by tariffs.

The implementation dates will be announced separately, according to China’s announcement. However, it has been confirmed  that the 25 percent tariffs on additional $16 billion worth of imports from the U.S. will be imposed August 23.

International Trade Centre Data tweeted that China has removed crude oil and some chemicals from its updated $16 billion retaliation list and has added items such as cars, waste products, coal, and medical instruments.

If you have questions about these tariffs and how they may affect your business, reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

By Danielle Leonard


USTR Announces Official Second List of Section 301 Tariffs

Second list of section 301 tariffs 580

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has finalized list two of Section 301 tariffs on Chinese products. The list contains 279 tariff lines—about $16 billion worth of imports from China—and will be subject to a 25 percent additional tariff. Customs will start collecting these additional duties on August 23, 2018. A Federal Register notice will also announce a process to request product exclusions for items subject to these additional duties.

If you have questions about these tariffs and how they may affect your business, reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

You can find the official announcement here.

Section 301 Product Exclusion Request Form

By Danielle Leonard


CTPAT Members—Your Chance to Submit Feedback on MSC

FeedBack (1)

The updated Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) Workbooks for members has been released and has entered into a commenting period, as of July 25. Over the next 90 days CTPAT members are advised to log into the CTPAT portal and review the updated MSC workbooks in the portal’s Document Section under Public Library.

How to Provide Feedback

In the portal, members can submit a MSC feedback form that will be sent directly to the CTPAT Field offices. There is also a schedule of workshops available and although it is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that members attend one.

The updated criteria include the following

  • Agricultural Security/Personnel Security Issues
  • Cybersecurity
  • Non-IT Security technology
  • High Security Seals/Highway Carrier Issues
  • Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing/Risk Assessment
  • Security Management and Administration

It is crucial for members to familiarize themselves with the workbook and submit their input within the allotted 90 days. If you have any questions regarding the updated MSC or how to provide feedback, contact MGTA.

 By Danielle Leonard


Country of Origin: What Every Importer Should Know

Country of Origin

Before we can tackle country of origin, we first must take a step back in history to understand its roots.

In 1994 Congress passed the Customs Modernization Act, also known by its abbreviation Mod Act. A legal requirement of the Mod Act obligates importers to exercise reasonable care when importing goods into the United States (the fifty states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico).

Duty of Importers

An important requirement of reasonable care is rules of origin. What exactly are rules of origin? Simply put, these rules that legally obligate importers to determine the country of origin for merchandise that they import into the United States.

Rules of origin legally shift responsibility from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to importers, making it the importer’s responsibility to provide CBP with accurate information regarding not only country of origin, but also admissibility, tariff classification, and value of the imported goods. To be fully compliant, importers must also ensure the merchandise is marked conspicuously, legibly, indelibly, and permanently with the country of origin, plus ensure that the correct country of origin is on the Customs documents. Marking cannot happen until country of origin is determined.

Country of Origin Challenge

Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast. Determining the country of origin can be quite a complicated undertaking because of today’s complex, globalized supply chains and growing trade business among many countries of the world. However, it is something that all parties involved in importing merchandise into the United States must do.

First and foremost, it cannot be overemphasized enough: country of origin does not always equal country of exportation.

According to CBP, the country of origin is determined by “the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin.” Considering that a particular article can have raw materials and parts sourced from multiple countries, and then subsequently undergo manufacturing and processing in others, it’s easy to see how

Made In China Fan difficult it can be to make the final determination of that article’s country of origin. But it must be determined—and determined accurately. Unmarked or inaccurate markings can turn into profit-killing border delays or detainments, lost sales, third-party warehouse service fees, fines or penalties, and even outright entry denials.

Substantial Transformation Test

Applying the substantial transformation test is the principle legal way to determine country of origin. Unfortunately, this is not a foolproof test that can be applied across the board for all products that originate in multiple countries. This test must be applied on a case-by-case basis.

According to the CBP, “an article that consists in whole or in part of materials from more than one country is a product of the country in which it has been substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, and use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so transformed.”

Let’s look at an example for a popular consumer item – jeans. Approximately 450 million jeans are sold in the U.S. each year. Did you ever stop to think about the journey they take? By the time jeans enter the U.S., they could have feasibly traveled up to 40,000 miles. Here are a few steps along the way:

  • Cotton is grown in and sourced from India, Pakistan, Korea, Hungary or Northern Ireland
  • Pumice stone (stonewash) is sourced from Turkey
  • Cotton is dyed in Spain
  • Brass rivets are sourced from Germany
  • Zippers are sourced from Japan
  • Jeans are manufactured in Tunisia

As you can see, jeans have parts sourced in certain countries, components from others, and processing in additional countries. However, the country of origin is Tunisia because this is where the substantial transformation took place, resulting in the end product – jeans.

Free Trade Agreements

COO Flowchart

Understanding the country of origin also helps you to determine if your merchandise qualifies for preferential treatment under one of the several Free Trade Agreements and associated specific rule of origin.

What Can Be Done Prior to Import

It is highly recommended that importers of merchandise—that does not originate wholly from one single country—into the United States seek guidance and consultation from a licensed Customs broker, an attorney, or accountant to help navigate the plethora of regulations and applicable laws, and to ensure compliance.

Importers can also consult CBP’s U.S. Rules of Origin compliance publication.

Need help ensuring your products are compliant? Contact one of our many expert trade advisors.

By Yvonne Scott-Younis


A Chance for Product Exclusions from Section 301 Tariffs

Product exclusions 580

Good news for importers. Companies are being given the chance to obtain product exclusions from list 1 of Section 301, according to the announcement made on July 6, by the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office.

For each request, the USTR may consider the following

  • Whether a product is available from a source outside of China.
  • If the additional duties would cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other U.S. interests.
  • If the particular product is strategically important or related to Chinese industrial programs including “Made in China 2025”.

The public will have until October 9 to file a request for a product exclusion. Once a request is filed and posted on regulations.gov, public responses will be collected for 14 days, with an additional seven days for rebuttals.

Exclusions will be effective for one year upon the publication of the exclusion determination in the Federal Register and will apply retroactively to July 6, 2018.

Since exclusions will be made on a product basis, a particular exclusion will apply to all imports of the product, regardless of whether the importer filed a request. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will apply the tariff exclusions based on the product.

By Danielle Leonard


USTR Announces Proposed List of Additional Section 301 Tariffs

Additonal 301 tariffs july mgta

On Tuesday, July 10, the Trump administration announced a list of additional 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

This new list contains 6,031 tariff lines and is, “a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices,” according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

These tariffs will not go into effect immediately, as they must undergo a two-month review process, with public hearings that will take place August 20-23.

If you have questions about these tariffs and how they may affect your business, reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

For an excel version of the tariff list please reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

By Danielle Leonard


Official Section 301 Tariff List Announced

Caution road sign with Tariffs Just Ahead written on it.

In April, the Trump Administration proposed tariffs on 1,333 items under Section 301 and stated that the official list would be announced June 15, 2018.

That official list of products has been announced and separated into two sets. The first set contains 818 items of the originally proposed 1,333 items. These products will be subject to a 25 percent tariff, beginning July 6, 2018.

The second set contains 284 items that are still undergoing further review, including a public hearing. Once this process is completed, the USTR will issue a final list of products from this list that will be subject to additional duties.

If you have questions about these tariffs and how they may affect your business, reach out to your Mohawk customer service representative.

By Danielle Leonard


Get Duty Drawback on Section 301 Duties

duty drawback and section 301

In a message  from Customs, it has been officially announced that Section 301 duties are eligible for duty drawback. This is great news for importers.

Section 301 Background

In April, the Trump Administration proposed tariffs on 1,333 items under Section 301 and stated that the official list would be announced June 15, 2018.

That official list of products has been announced and separated into two sets. The first set contains 818 items of the originally proposed 1,333 items. These products will be subject to a 25 percent tariff, beginning July 6, 2018.

The second set contains 284 items that will be subject to additional duties, effective July 6.

Duty Drawback

How it works

  • Merchandise is imported into the U.S.
  • Duties are paid on the merchandise.
  • Merchandise is resold and exported to a foreign buyer.
  • U.S. Customs refunds 99% of the duties previously paid.

We offer a wide variety of drawback services including:

  • Free Drawback Eligibility Assessment.
  • Drawback Application Setup and Submission.
  • Filing of Drawback Claims and Claims Management.
  • Expedited Drawback Refunds.

Learn more about our duty drawback program.

If you have questions about how to take advantage of drawback on Section 301 duties, contact Mohawk Global Trade Advisors.

By Danielle Leonard


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



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


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


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



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


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