Friday, June 8, 2018

Chinese Telecom Giant, ZTE, Faced with Largest Penalty Ever Levied


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In our previous post, we discussed ZTE’s record penalty for selling technology with US-origin chips to North Korea and Iran, in violation of US trade laws. The company initially received a $1.19 billion in penalties and was ordered to reprimand the executives responsible for the malfeasance's as a condition to re-enter the United States (US) market after a three-year suspension. Despite telling the US government that the guilty executives had been properly punished, it became clear that they were instead rewarded with bonuses. This violation triggered an automatic ban of ZTE from the US market for seven (7) years. As the 4th largest seller of cell phones to the US, the ban on ZTE serves as a means of protecting American production.
After the announcement, the ensuing backlash from Beijing, as well as trade talks in China, President Trump stated that he and Chinese president Xi Jiping are working together to bring ZTE “back into business”.
Now, the Trump administration threw a metaphorical lifeline to this tech giant, seemingly easing tensions with Beijing. Secretary Ross announced a $1.4 Billion dollar settlement with ZTE.
ZTE has agreed to severe additional penalties and compliance measures to replace the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) denial order imposed as a result of ZTE’s violations of its March 2017 settlement agreement.  Under the new agreement, ZTE must pay $1 billion and place an additional $400 million in suspended penalty money in escrow before BIS will remove ZTE from the Denied Persons List. These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement.
The announcement of a deal stirred up controversy in Washington, due to the administration’s uncertain stance towards China. The deal provides ZTE the opportunity to buy American parts, so long as it complies with specific parameters. The US not only levied over 1 Billion in penalties against ZTE, but also placed $400 million in escrow, in the event it reneged on the deal. The agreement will be enforced by a handpicked US compliance team, which will serve at the US Commerce Department for the next decade. The team is tasked with overseeing ZTE’s replacement of its entire board of directors, as well as oversight of general compliance.
The conditions set on ZTE to reenter the US are the toughest sanctions ever to be placed on a public or private company. Although the move faced backlash in Washington, “analysts say the ban is likely to have cost ZTE billions of dollars in lost revenue, tarnished its brand and strained its relationships with customers around the world”. As one of the largest and most profitable companies in China, ZTE, touting over 160 corporate and governmental clients worldwide, plays a vital role in the China’s functioning.
The initial announcement of ZTE’s ban, included “Commodity, Software or Technology” products as items prohibited to be sold or exported to ZTE. Effectively, the ban would do more than just tarnish the brand, rather it would have potentially ended ZTE’s ability to function as a mobile electronics production company.
While seemingly gracious for the Chinese government and the Chinese economy, the deal sets a precedent that sanction violators may never face severe consequences. Although the company must pay over $1 Billion in penalties, it was granted a gift. Assuming that they work within the confines of the deal, the penalties will be a minuscule price to pay, while ZTE maintains its position and its prowess.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Will President Trump Impose New Tariffs on Imported Vehicles?

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Under the direction of President Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross has initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. “The investigation will determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232.”

What are the Section 232 Investigations?

FDA Issues New Guidance to Help Food Facilities Meet Registration Requirements

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On May 25, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Small Entity Compliance Guide (SECG) to help food facilities meet their registration requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

The FD&C Act requires food facilities engaged in manufacturing/processing, packing, or holding of food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the FDA. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) added new registration provisions to the FD&C Act. In 2016, FDA issued a final rule to reflect these changes, which include the following:
  • Facilities are required to provide FDA with assurance that they will be permitted to inspect their facility (in accordance with the FD&C Act).
  • Facilities are required to renew their registration every other year.
  • FDA now has the authority to suspend a facility’s registration.
Under the 2016 final rule, additional information is also required that supports FDA’s ability to respond quickly to food-related emergencies and that will also help the agency more efficiently use the resources it has for inspections.

The SECG explains which types of facilities are required to register, and when and how to do that. The guide also explains the consequences for facilities that fail to register or to renew their registration as required. In addition, the guide explains when FDA can suspend a facility’s registration and the effect of a suspension order. To further assist small facilities, the SECG includes an “At-a-Glance” that summarizes all of the key information in the document.

Diaz Trade Consulting provides both registration and U.S. Agent services to food facilities. To register or find more information about registration, owners and operators of facilities should visit www.FDA-USA.com. For More Information check out the Draft Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (7th Edition)-Revised.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Top International Law Blogs To Follow in 2018

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We're ecstatic to announce Diaz Trade Law's Customs and International Trade Law blog was included in TOP 30 International Law Blogs! We were chosen from thousands of International Law blogs on the web using search and social metrics because we actively work to educate, inspire, and empower our readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

REGISTRATION OPEN - 2018 CBP Trade Symposium

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that the 2018 Trade Symposium will be held on August 14-15,  2018 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GARegistration opened today Tuesday, May 29th at 12:00 p.m. EST.  This year's symposium will include discussions on:

Monday, May 21, 2018

International Trade Day - May 23, 2018 - Port Miami

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Miami World Trade Week is all about showcasing the importance of international trade, logistics, services and port operations to the South Florida economy and promotes Miami as the “Trade & Logistics Hub of the Americas”. World Trade Week includes a full of International Trade information at International Trade Day hosted by the World Trade Center Miami and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Over 300 international executives representing more than 150 companies have registered to attend. Top officials from CBP and other participating government agencies (e.g.  FDA, USDA, APHIS, PPQ, USFWS, CPSC, etc.) will be present and respond to your questions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

ZTE Barred by U.S. Government & ZTE Fights Back!

Background

China-based Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd (collectively “ZTE”) entered a guilty plea and agreed to pay a combined penalty up to $1.19 billion to settle criminal and civil allegations that ZTE violated U.S. export control laws and U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S.-origin items to Iran.

The record-breaking settlement agreement was with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”). The penalty assessed against ZTE included a $100,871,266 civil monetary penalty imposed by OFAC; a $430,488,798 in combined criminal fines and forfeitures; and a $661,000,000 penalty payable to BIS, of which $300,000,000 were suspended for a seven-year probationary period.

CBP Now Issuing Penalties for Wood Packaging Material Violations

Due to the increase in penalties for wood packaging material (WPM) violations – we thought it important to remind the importing community that CBP is issuing WPM penalties and the background as to why.

On September 25, 2017, CBP issued Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) #17-000609 informing importers of CBP’s intent to issue penalties for wood packaging material violations. In the message, CBP states all wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at the place of origin, and contain the appropriate marking upon importation.  CBP is trying to “prevent the introduction of exotic timber pests,” and is encouraging the importing community to look towards alternatives to WPM and to educate your supply chains about ISPM 15 requirements.

Right to Make Entry: Are You Entitled to Import Goods?

Prior to importing goods into the U.S. -it is essential to confirm that the Importer of Record listed on the entry actually has the "Right to Make Entry".

Who is entitled to make entry of goods?

Under U.S. law, the right to make entry for goods is held only by the importer of record.

The term importer of record, provided under Section 484 of the United States Code, was amended by Public Law 97-446.  Under those provisions, the importer of record is defined as

On the Brink of a Trade War: Trump’s New Tariff Plan on Chinese Imports


The Trump administration has engaged in a trade showdown with China, targeting more than $50 billion worth of products.  The administration’s actions are the result of investigations under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”) and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (“Section 232”). 
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