Showing posts from November, 2010

Speaking Of . . . .

Not a half hour after posting about the tiger trade, I saw this press release concerning illegal trafficking in sperm whale teeth and narwhal tusks. The conviction includes a count for violating the Lacey Act.That is up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Somehow, I doubt peddling scrimshaw to tourists in Nantucket was worth it. For what it is worth, in my head, the defendant looks like the sea captain from The Simpsons.  Yar!

WCO Announces Tiger Trade Cooperation

Long-time readers of this blog know I am interested in the illegal trade in animals. Usually, that manifests itself in posting articles about some guy arrested with 20 turtles in his pants or some similar oddity. Despite the News of the Weird aspects of it, the illegal trade in animals is an important issue. The people behind this are depleting the natural diversity of wild animals and threatening the wild population. The buyers of these animals are often simply idiots with little impulse control. Where I might want to splurge on some shiny electronic device, these folks want to own an exotic animal, usually illegally. Today, it was reported that five international enforcement agencies including the World Customs Organization and CITES have formed a consortium to fight the trade in tigers. Here is the press release: WCO - Press . Best of luck.

Judicial Conference in a Nutshell

I always enjoy the Court of International Trade Judicial Conference, and the most recent edition was no exception. Granted, a lot of the personal enjoyment comes from having the opportunity to see friends and colleagues. But, there is plenty of substance to be absorbed as well. For whatever reason, the conference skewed somewhat to trade-related discussions over customs this time around. From a customs lawyer's perspective, it would appear that the single most vexing issue facing the trade bar is the issue of Commerce's policy of publishing liquidation instructions within 15 days of a final agency determination. This causes problems because the parties have 30 days in which to challenge the determination by filing a summons. In the ordinary case, the plaintiff gets to Court and asks for an injunction against liquidation to prevent that from happening.  Sometimes, Customs and Border Protection liquidates entries prior to the filing of a summons and request for an injunction. O

The Primrose Path to Default

Pleading continues to be an issue in Court of International Trade litigation. In any other Court, that would not merit a comment. However, in the last two years or so, the CIT has issued several decisions focused on pleading, and that is a change from prior years. In United States v. Callanish, Ltd. , the United States alleged that the importer entered evening primrose oil without the required FDA approval. Because of this, Customs and Border Protection claimed the entries contained false or misleading statements or omissions, in violation of the penalty statute (19 USC 1592). Callanish, in particular, was the the manufacture of the product in Scotland and shipped the goods to the U.S. Apparently, the claim against Callanish is for aiding and abetting the allegedly fraudulent scheme. After being served with an amended complaint, Callanish failed to defend itself. As a result, the United States moved for a default judgment to the tune of $17 million, the domestic value of the mercha

When is Painting Repair?

Those of you who know me , also know that I spent (and unfortunately continue to spend) a lot of time of a single issue involving the tariff treatment is painting as an operation incidental to assembly under HTSUS item 9802.00.80. So, paint-related issues always catch my eye. Horizon Lines, LLC v. United States is a paint case of a different color. The issue here has to do with whether painting a U.S.-flag ship in a foreign port constitutes repair for purposes of assessing the 50%  duties applicable to repairs. While in China, the Horizon Lines Crusader  was painted above and below the water line. Below the water line, the painting was done in conformity with an international convention relating to the removal or sealing of environmentally destructive antifouling agents. Having had the occasion to apply copper-based antifouling paint to a a relatively tiny hull, I can tell you this is somewhat nasty stuff. Customs and Border Protection applied duty to all of this activity on the gro

Pop Quiz: Counterfeit?

Customs plays an important role in preventing the importation of merchandise that infringes U.S.-held intellectual property rights. That is an important job for the economy as well as for the health and safety of the public. You can usually be pretty certain that a company that is willing to rip off a brand name trademark is not too scrupulous about health and safety requirements. There are lots of dangerous counterfeit products out there, and we should all thank CBP for helping keep them out of the marketplace. But there are also non-counterfeit products that nevertheless infringe someone's trademark, trade dress, or other intellectual property right. Those products may or may not present health and safety concerns as well. But, they are legally different. Specifically, a "counterfeit" product is one bearing a mark that is "identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a registered trademark." 19 CFR sec. 133.21(a). These are the fake Coach and Prada