Tuesday, January 31, 2006

California Crossings

Customs recently posted statstics for California/Mexico border crossings. I wonder whether that includes tunnel traffic?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tunnel Vision

One of the smart lawyers in my office altered me to this article from the New York Times. It reports on a tunnel stretching from Tijuana to Otay Mesa, California. Apparently, the tunnel was quite sophisticated. It sported concrete floors, water pumps, and ventilation. The authorities found several tons of marijuana on the Mexican side. Presumably that was destined for the U.S. On this side of the border, authorities found some marijuana and lots of bays for trucks. Given the limited supply in the U.S., it would appear the operators of the tunnel have adopted a just-in-time inventory system like most modern operations.

There has been a lot going on that I have not had the opportunity to cover. That includes some court decisions. In Wheatland Tubes, the Court of International Trade (via Judge Carman) had to determine whether 201 duties are "import duties" for purposes of calculating export price in an antidumping review. They are. In U.S. v. Ford, Judge Tsoucalas found that the U.S. botched a penalty case by failing to acknowledge receipt of a waiver of the statute of limitations. By failing to do so, the Court found the waiver ineffective and that the SOL had run by the time the U.S. sued Ford. So, Ford squeaked out of another potentially nasty penalty case. Everyone go check your files for letters of acknowledgement, right now.

On top of that, there is movement to implement the Morocco FTA, notice of the intent to enter into an FTA with Peru, restrictions on the importation of Italian antiquities have been extended, and the Port of Rockford, Illinois is going to expand to cover Rochelle, Illinois. How about that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tequila Deal Reached

OK, I know I've been remiss in my duty to keep both of my readers up to date on important developments in customs law. I've been busy. Those of you in the trade will now assume a knowing smirk.

But, I can't delay relaying this big news: The US and Mexico have sealed a deal to keep bulk tequila flowing to US bottlers.

This is more important to those who like the "Presidente Margarita" at Chili's and less important to someone who favors a snifter of Patron reposado or Don Julio anejo. I will not tell you which camp I am in.

More useful info to follow. That sentence is purposefully ambiguous.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Sorta Real Thing

Here is an interesting article on gray market Coke which is quite popular among Latinos in the U.S.

Here is the question I would ask my law school class: Mexican Coke is allegedly formulated differently in that it is made with cane sugar. U.S. Coke is made with high fructose corn syrup. What should Coke's strategy be?

Based on this article, it seems like they are doing the right things by focusing on their distribution contracts. The trademark case is hard unless they can prove the products are materially different. That introduces a problem in their marketing as it undercuts the message that all Coke is the same everywhere in the world.

If they want, the folks at Coke could ask Customs for Lever Bros. protection but that also requires that they admit that the products are different. And, Lever only prevents the importation of gray market products that are not labeled as such. In other words, the irony of Lever protection is that it also tells the importer what they have to do to get the goods past CBP. Go figure.

Friday, January 06, 2006

ICE Recess Appointment

President Bush has made a recess appointment of Julie Myers to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Here is the note from DHS. I guess that means I am not going to get the job. As far as I know, Commissioner of CBP is still open.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Famous Jewish Superheros

When I was a kid there used to be a joke that the shortest book in the library was entitled "Famous Jewish Sports heroes." Of course, we know there are more than a few names in that book including Sandy Koufax, Mark Spitz, and the Houston Astros' Brad Ausmus to whom I am somehow distantly related. My own grandfather Sam Friedman is in the Candlepin Bowling Hall of Fame.

Lately, I have been reintroduced to the universe of comic book superheroes by my soon-to-be five year old. It is almost impossible to follow the history of any one superhero in any coherent way. Although the editors seem to make an effort to keep some sort of continuity, they often fail. Sometimes, they simply reboot a character with a new story line or a new identity. This process is known as retconning from "retroactive continuity." I was shocked to find out that there are at least three guys who have donned the red Flash suit in the DC universe.

The other thing I have discovered is the staggering number of minor characters. These range from the inexplicable Blue Beetle and Lightning Lad to Elongated Man.

Recently, we received an action figure of Atom Smasher. On checking Wikipedia to get his back story, I discovered that Atom Smasher's secret identity is Albert Rothstein who acquired the ability to control his molecules. Unfortunately, it seems that Albert has had a rough time of it and has dabbled in vigilantism.

More important, though, is that he is Jewish and there are actually a number of Jewish superheroes. The most notable being Benjamin Jacob Grimm (AKA "The Thing") of the Fantastic Four. Magneto, who generally torments X-Men turns out to be a death camp survivor. Magneto is generally seen as a villain although he is really a misunderstood anti-hero. So, I'll claim him as a member in good standing. The others listed here are generally lesser known. I have not investigated who might be orthodox or who reform. I'm guessing you would need to be reform to be a superhero as it is often necessary to work weekends. Nor have I seen any of their names in the annual JUF Book. I suspect being a superhero does not pay all that well.

Now, when I say "It's clobberin' time," I'll do so with an extra bit of pride. Happy Hanukkah, Ben.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Good News in the Blogosphere

Underneath Their Robes is back in business. Author David Lat has apparently resigned from the US Attorney's Office and re-started the blog. For background, see here. I have reactivated the link in the right column.