On November 27, 2018 CT Strategies’ Partner Allen Gina took part in a webinar hosted by Jennifer Diaz, Founder of the Diaz Trade Law in Miami. The two discussed a wide range of current CBP priorities, including CBP policy on import detentions and seizures, the need to consider U.S. National Security when enforcing laws prohibiting the entry of certain goods, and preventing the entry of goods made using forced labor.
Throughout the webinar, Mr. Gina and Ms. Diaz discussed import detentions and seizures in great lengths. Mr. Gina noted that for many organizations, being transparent with CBP and seeking advance rulings regarding imports could save them substantial time and money. Mr. Gina also noted the uncertainty some importers may have with products in legal ‘gray areas’, such as dual use smoking devices that could be used for tobacco or illegal drugs. The recent legalization of marijuana in Canada and many U.S. states has created additional uncertainty surrounding the importation of what could be perceived as drug paraphernalia. Mr. Gina stressed that while the law is the law, CBP Port of Entry officials would generally consider the totality of risk factors involved when making admissibility decisions.
The topic of forced labor in trade was also discussed. Mr. Gina had recently discussed this topic as the moderator of the Customs Lawyers Association panel on Forced Labor earlier in November. Mr. Gina emphasized the complex nature of identifying forced labor abuses within a supply chain. One of these challenges is identifying with any degree certainty when and where the abuse occurs, particularly in a complex supply chain where the country of origin is far removed from the point of import.
Throughout the discussion, the need for companies and individuals to be transparent and willing to discuss their imports with CBP was emphasized. By having these discussions, cross-border trade can be facilitated more efficiently. Transparency is essential in a world market that increasingly relies on cross-border trade.