Showing posts from May, 2007

Cool Surface Technology

This new technology from Microsoft (as well as the Apple iPhone) is about the coolest user interface I've seen in a while. Looks like something from a dozen different sci-fi movies including Minority Report.

One Last Thing

I am trying to get more posts onto the blog. It would be easier if I were not buried in cicadas. Here is my front door in the morning. The black spots are all cicadas. That was Monday. It was twice as busy this morning. Here is the ornamental grass in front of my house. Each one of those red-eyed beasts is about an inch and a half long. When they start buzzing, it is going to sound like a convention of chainsaw artists around here.

Counterfeit Progress

Just as Customs and Border Protection announced progress with China on the sticky issue of counterfeit goods, Michael Tonello wrote at the Huffington Post an ode to designer brands and, by implication, the allure of the counterfeit. The U.S.-China agreement seems to be little more than an information exchange. Still, positive steps on this issue are important for many U.S. based companies that depend on the exclusivity of their brand or the novelty of their technology.

Tomb Raiders

NPR ran a series on the traffic in illicit antiquities . It is an interesting look at the international market for archaeological pieces. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for interdicting and seizing this merchandise when imported without legal authority. The US has 11 bilateral agreements designed to protect so-called cultural property of archaeological, ethnological, or cultural significance. The US did this pursuant to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The US implemented this convention through the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. Here is a handy chart showing the status of the agreements. Other protection is afforded under the Pre-Colombian Monumental, Architectural Sculpture or Murals Act of 1972 For its part, Customs has published an Informed Compliance Publication on the topic. I've always been fascinated by this sub-specialty of customs l

Oh Canada! Land of AMPS

Yesterday, I spoke at a CBA event. Normally, when I go to the CBA , I am visiting the Chicago Bar Association. This event, however, was in Ottawa and it was the Canadian Bar Association. The program was on Best Practices Before the CITT (the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ). I spoke on two panels: Export Controls and Penalties. The export piece was fun because I was there to give a very short presentation essentially laying out the U.S. governmental parties involved in export controls. I sounded like something from the Jumbles: BIS at DOC, DDTC at State, OFAC at Treasury. Make sure you confirm the ECCN from the CCL and determine whether your product might be on the USML . You'll need a Schedule B for the SED although you can file electronically under AES . Don't mess up or you could get a call from BIS, CBP , ICE, or the FBI. On a substantive level, I was impressed by the level to which Canada has worked cooperatively with the U.S. to coordinate its export contro

New Stuff

Yes, I am still here. Swamped at work. You've heard it all before. Here are a couple interesting things that crossed my desk recently. First, HQ W968392 asks the fascinating question of whether a stone " Ushabti of Neferhotep ," dating from 1479-1400 BC, are properly classifiable in heading 9703 as original sculptures, 9705 as a collectors piece of historical, archaeological or ethnographic interest or in heading 9706, HTSUS, which provides for antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years, might be more applicable. Good question. It turns out that because this was a relatively common type of object in ancient Egypt, it lacks the quality of artistic originality necessary for 9703. Also, while it is clearly an antique, Customs held that it was better described as a collectors piece of archaeological or ethnographic interest. It must be late, because for some reason, I find this fascinating. I would have loved to have been at the meetings with the client, Sotheby'

Seminar Question

On Monday, I spoke at a Chicago Bar Association CLE event on customs compliance. It was one of the more fun sessions in which I have participated. I knew most everyone on the panel, the moderator did a good job keeping us in check, and the topic was pretty basic so prep was easy. One question, however, was not so basic. The question was asked, "Does the value of an assist include the duties and brokerage fees paid on import to the country of production?" Think that over for a second. It initially stumped the whole panel and we all agreed that we had never been asked that question. At a break, we huddled and reached the following very lawyerly conclusion: It depends. Remember that an assist is something of value given buy the buyer to the seller for use in the production of the imported merchandise. Classic examples include tools, dies, and molds. Most people know that the shipping cost is included in the value of the assist. The status of duties and brokerage is a perf