Showing posts from June, 2006

Anti-Boycott Considerations

A reader from Israel sent me an interesting article about the apparent Saudi position on the long-standing Arab League boycott of Israel. By way of background, U.S. law prohibits U.S. entities from engaging in activity that supports foreign-based boycotts not sanctioned by the United States. The primary objective of these laws is to prohibit compliance with the Arab League boycott, limit tax advantages for persons complying with the boycott, and requires the quarterly reporting of requests for compliance. The kinds of activities that run afoul of the anti-boycott laws are: Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies. Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality. Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies. Agreements to furnish

Thwarting Dr. No

Always fighting the last war, CBP has announced a U.S.-Jamaica Declaration of Principals to prevent the smuggling of radioactive and nuclear materials. As everyone of a certain age knows, the British Secret Service took care of this potential problem back in 1962 when an Agent by the name of James Bond foiled a Jamaica-based plot to interfere with American rocket launches. Assisted by CIA-Agent Felix Leiter and in the company of one Honey Rider , Bond succeeded in securing the island and preventing world domination by the evil Dr. No . Many men in matching jumpsuits were found shot to death in a multistory industrial complex conveniently hidden under a volcano. What's next? Is the government worried that Auric Goldfinger is plotting to irradiate all the gold in Fort Knox? Calling Pussy Galore ! Just to be clear, this remains a NetNanny-safe site. Go ahead, click the link. On the serious side, the Container Security Initiative and related programs such as this are expanding and cov

More Celebrity News

Rush Limbaugh has been detained by CBP for carrying Viagra into the US from the Dominican Republic without a prescription. See the news item from Forbes . Rush Limbaugh, the self- important and self-appointed leader of America's shameful brigade of ditto heads was on vacation in the Dominican Republic armed with a supply of Viagra. Apparently, he over estimated his need for what he appears to be treating as yet another recreational drug. Perhaps the female population of the DR has reasonably high standards in men.

David Pogue, You Better be Right

I have had half a Treo 650 for the past 9 months or so. The keyboard got marinated in a skim latte with sugar. Don't ask; I covered this before . So, I have been stuck mostly with Graffiti to enter text. It has been a major pain. But, I have been unable to purchase a replacement. I did not want to waste $150 to cancel my Sprint contract. But, I could get a new 650 for more than $150 less as a new customer at another carrier. Then, I thought, maybe a Blackberry. They are generally cheaper but I don't like the form factor on some and I really like my Treo. The Motorola Q got my attention for a while, then I played with some phones using Windows Mobile 5.0 and decided I like the Palm OS better. Finally, Sprint came out with the 700p. The price was enough to give me pause. Then, I watched David Pogue's video review of the 700p . I like Mr. Pogue. In fact, he is my hero. With the possible exception of CIT Judge, I can't imagine a job more fun than his. My side gig as tech c

NAFTA Drawback on Trial

One of my hobbies is trying to explain NAFTA drawback in 50 words or less. It goes something like this: No drawback for duty paid imports exported to Mexico or Canada in excess of the lesser amount of duties paid the U.S. or the other country. That's amount, not the rate of duty. This prevents non-NAFTA goods from moving among the NAFTA countries duty free. Exceptions apply. That's 47 words. Not bad. The recent decision in Merck & Co., Inc. v. United States, is all about that "exceptions apply" caveat. Under the NAFTA, the U.S. eliminated, with certain exceptions, substitution unused merchandise drawback for exports to Canada or Mexico. Merck imported a chemical with a really long name which will hereinafter be called "stuff." It paid duty on the stuff. Later, it imported more stuff. This time, it was duty free. It then exported some of the duty-free stuff to Mexico and Canada and claimed substitution unused merchandise drawback for duties p

Crazy, Stupid Science

Usually I have no interest in passing on little internet memes . This is an exception. Watch this. No comment necessary.

Speaking of Sweatshops . . .

I need more exercise, but that is not what I had in mind. On June 8, Senator Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill (S. 3485) to bar the importation of goods produced in sweatshops. Apparently trying to stay location neutral (and thus not offend the WTO), the bill also bans selling, transporting, advertising, or otherwise trafficking in sweatshop goods and the product of forced labor. It does this by making a those activities a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. In other words, this bill treats the issue as one of consumer protection, not international trade. Well, OK. I guess there might be sweatshops in the U.S., but don't we already have plenty of laws and enforcement mechanisms to address that problem? Interestingly, the bill gives competitors and investors in offending retailers a private right of action. In other words, every shareholder of every publicly held retailer has a right to sue. And the damages that shareholder might suffer? Well, probably none. Prob

Trade, Labor, & Capt. Kirk

China is the trade bogey man du jour. It used to be non-union shops, then the rural south, then Mexico and the giant sucking sound that turned out to be more of a gurgle. Now, labor's big issue is China. And, it has every right to be worried. Manufacturing and retailing in America is looking for low cost suppliers of parts and merchandise because that is what rational business people do. It is almost unavoidable that in a free market sales will go to the low cost provider of products of equal quality and availability. It is the result of comparative advantages. I sell my plumber legal services because he can't write a will. He fixes my drain because I would kill myself trying to do it. It all works out for everyone's advantage. As long as we play by the rules. On Thursday, the AFL-CIO filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that China keeps its prices the lowest in the world not through comparative advantage but through a system of

Holy Babelfish!

I keep receiving this e-mail. Obviously, I am not endorsing the products being offered. Moreover, I am certainly not endorsing the English-language school the author attended. That school may soon be a defendant in a malpractice case. Actually, I suspect this is a machine translation . Here is the message verbatim; although, I have disabled the links. Do not search pharmacy anymore, its close very close. Just a click away – HERE! There is nothing of inferior quality when you or your family composition bad of have continuous healthiness snags. The unspoiled way is to official visit a scholar but it might take time and of option scholars are luxurious. We compromise you the fastest way to restore your body and rational healthiness. Widest radius of not the same chemicals will recover you in few days. Our entire site is SSL secured to make you feel real comfortable on our pages.

Thanks to Columbia

Columbia University, that is. Columbia's web site includes the helpful bit of information that Columbia University is "In the City of New York." Thanks. I am sure a lot of people have been confused by that and likely disappointed when, after securing housing in Medellin or Arauca, they realized that all their classes would be "in the City of New York." The reason I am thanking Columbia (which, by the way, is not Colombia) is that an anonymous web surfer from that fine institution was visitor 4,000 to this site. Interestingly, to me at least, the Google search that brought the visitor was "'none of this is legal advice' disclaimer." So, this person may be the first visitor to reach my site affirmatively looking for ways to avoid getting free legal advice.

I Don't Do Politics

But, my blogging colleague and linker (for which I thank her), Debbie Schlussel does. For someone outside the trade, Ms. Schlussel has a keen interest in CBP and, in particular, ICE. No doubt Ms. Schlussel and I disagree on many things political. But, I feel compelled to link to this post regarding Assistant Secretary Julie Myers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement . It is not that I agree with Debbie. In fact, I am affirmatively saying that I have no opinion on the topic. When pressed, I will generally confirm that I believe everyone working in both CBP and ICE, along with the USTR, ITC and ITA, and while we are at it, the CIT and CAFC are diligent, hard-working, and smart public servants. But . . . the picture is hysterical.

New Commissioner a Done Deal

As of today, there is a new Commissioner of Customs. He is W. Ralph Basham, former Director of the United States Secret Service and a 28-year veteran of that agency. Clearly, he is an important figure as he has his own Wikipedia entry . You can read his statement on the vote here .