Friday, July 20, 2012

TTB Issues Interim Policy for Labeling Gluten-Free Spirits

On May 24, 2012, U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued an Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wines, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages (TTB Ruling 2012-2).
Currently, there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation that defines the term “gluten-free (despite the GF communities outcry for one!).
FDA proposed to define gluten free as:
  • an ingredient that is a species of wheat, rye, barley, or a crossbred hybrid of these grains;
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten;
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten in the food; or
  • 20 ppm or more gluten.
Pending the issuance of a final rule by FDA, TTB is providing interim guidance on the use of the term “gluten free” on alcohol beverage labels and advertisements subject to TTB’s authority. 
Alcohol Products Made from Gluten-Free Materials

TTB’s position is that the term “gluten-free” will be interpreted by consumers of alcohol beverages to mean that the product contains no gluten. TTB provided the example of wine fermented from grapes, or vodka distilled from potatoes. If there are good manufacturing practices – meaning no cross-contamination, no additives, no yeast, and no storage materials with gluten – a ‘gluten-free’ claim in the labeling of the alcohol beverage will be permissible in the interim period awaiting FDA’s final rule.
Alcohol Products Made from Gluten-Containing Materials 
FDA and TTB both assert that there are currently no scientifically valid testing methods to determine the gluten content of fermented products. This includes companies that undertake a process to remove the gluten from its alcohol beverages.
TTB’s position is that these methods cannot be used to substantiate a “gluten-free” claim at this time. Further, a “gluten-free” statement on labeling for a product made from gluten would be misleading.
However, the following statement is permissible: "Processed/Treated/Crafted to Remove Gluten". This statement must be accompanied with a conspicuous qualifying statement informing the consumer:
“Product fermented from grains containing gluten and [processed or treated or crafted] to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”
- OR -
“This product was distilled from grains containing gluten, which removed some or all of the gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.” 
The full interim policy can be found here

For more information regarding your company's strategy for remaining in compliance with FDA and TTB in order to break into the gluten-free consumer market, contact attorney Jennifer Diaz at (305) 260-1053 or by email at

Jennifer Diaz is the Chair of the Customs and International Trade Department at Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. She earned her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in the state of Florida and is board-certified in International Law by the Florida Bar.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

China Sourcing Fair - How to Solve U.S. Customs Issues When Importing From China

 The rewards of sourcing from China are well known, but succeeding at it is far from simple. With a sluggish global economy resulting in unpredictable market changes, cost-effective sourcing is important.

To help you build or sharpen your China sourcing strategies, I am thrilled to be part of a new series of "How to Source from China" conferences at the China Sourcing Fair (July 10-12, Miami)!

The conferences are led by industry experts, and reveal real-life sourcing risks in China. We will share actionable knowledge at every step as the project moves from concept to delivery, and the conference will offer in-depth insights and practical tips on do's and don'ts of China sourcing. Whether you're a beginner or veteran buying professional, the FREE conference program is your chance to learn how to source efficiently and effectively from the "world's factory".

Register now to enhance your importing skills and knowledge today! Conference seats are limited and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

I will be speaking on "How to Solve U.S. Customs Issues When Importing From China".
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are a priority trade initiative for U.S. Customs. Most confiscated China imports violated US Customs' IPR laws, which should serve as a reminder when buying from China.

In my seminar, we will look at ways of preventing and dealing with these issues. In particular, we will cover:
  • Trademark / copyright violations (What U.S. Customs looks for)
  • Top compliance tips in advance of importation (What you need to know before your goods go!)
  • Statistics of seizure cases (concentrating on China statistics)
  • How cases progress with U.S. Customs
Join this session and you'll leave with a better understanding!
Register now to confirm your seat!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Free Trade Zones Expanding in Miami-Dade County

PortMiami wants free trade zones (FTZ’s) throughout Miami-Dade county.

As we know, PortMiami is currently dredging to 50 feet in pursuit of the post Panamax ships, and wants to prepare for the massive amounts of cargo PortMiami looks forward to receiving as a result of the dredging project.  In preparation, PortMiami is looking to the South Florida business community to get engaged and prepared as well.

Under PortMiami's plan, any business north of Southwest Eighth Street could apply for free-trade status (under FTZ 281) and be exempt from import duties (for example, for cargo heading abroad). There are many benefits to an FTZ, ultimately resulting in duty savings.

The Miami Herald reported that PortMiami’s application is expected to receive approval by the summer (UPDATE - PortMiami has officially been approved and operates FTZ 281), which will allow local businesses the opportunity to apply for foreign-trade zone status, enabling them to utilize their FTZ for duty savings, as goods shipped into a FTZ that are destined for export are exempt from paying CBP duties.  Many companies use South Florida as a transhipment hub, purchasing goods from China, using South Florida as a distribution center, and then selling those goods to customers in South America.  Using a FTZ saves the importer from having to pay customs duties on imports for exports.

The Beacon Council – Miami-Dade County's official economic development partnership – has coined trade/logistics and aviation as two of the ‘seven pillars’ of Miami-Dade County in the One Community, One Goal (OCOG) initiative. The others include International Banking & Finance, Education, Creative Design, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and Life Sciences & Health Care.

In 2010, Miami-Dade County had $95,380,550,601 in International Trade revenue (both import and export). Wholesale trade alone accounts for 9,383 businesses in Miami-Dade County, employing 62,407 people with an average salary of $64,984. With these proposed FTZ expansions, these numbers are only going to grow... If you want to take advantage and get your application in for your FTZ, please contact Jen Diaz at (305) 260-1053 or by email at

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CBP's Pointers on Exporting Used Vehicles

Last week, I attended a seminar hosted by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at the Miami Free Zone regarding exportation of used vehicles such as cars and automobiles. Here are the highlights:

CBP's '72-Hour Rule'

CBP regulations require the exporter of a vehicle to submit all export documents to the port of entry from which the vehicle will be exported at least 72 hours prior to export. Documentation for U.S.-titled vehicles include an original certificate of title. For used, self-propelled vehicles a current Certificate of Title or a Salvage Title issued by any jurisdiction in the United States is required.

What if the car has 'Foreign Title'?

For vehicles that are registered or titled abroad, the owner must provide to CBP the original document that provides satisfactory proof of ownership (with an English translation of the text if the original language is not in English), and two complete copies of that document (and translation, if necessary). Important Note: Failure to have translated copies on hand will result in CBP delaying your importation.
What if it’s a 'Junk' car?
Junk Cars mean vehicles not to be sold as a whole. Junk cars require salvage title or a certificate of destruction. Destruction documentation is provided on the state level. Note: Certificates of destruction can only be reassigned twice in the State of Florida.

What if there is a 'Lien'?
If the car has an issue with title, like a lien, the interested third-party (lien holder’s) must provide a letter of authorization. The letter may be either signed or a stamp is acceptable. Note: You cannot import or export an automobile with a lien without this documentation.
CBP Emphasized the following: To import a vehicle under 19 C.F.R. §192, the vehicle must be:
  1. Used;
  2. Self Propelled; and
  3. Sold to someone other than a dealer. 
What qualifies as ‘Used’?
Used” refers to “any self-propelled vehicle the equitable or legal title to which has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser”. Note: Do not use the phrase ‘dealer to dealer’ when communicating with CBP because once a vehicle is classified as used once, CBP will never define it as ‘new’ again.

But what IS a ‘Self-Propelled’ vehicle’?
Self-propelled includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motor home, self-propelled agricultural machinery, self-propelled construction equipment, self-propelled special use equipment, and any other self-propelled vehicle used or designed for running on land but not on rail. Snowmobiles, ATV’s, and motorcycles are also vehicles under CBP regulations.

What is NOT a 'Self-Propelled' vehicle?
Jet skis and boats fall under ‘watercraft’, and are not required to be presented as used vehicles under 19 CFR § 192. CBP does not consider trailers vehicles because they are not self-propelled. Trailers must be attached to a self-propelled vehicle to qualify. Trains are not considered vehicles, either.

What does “Someone Other Than a Dealer” mean?
A ‘dealer’ is defined at the state level in state laws. The ultimate purchaser cannot be a dealer. “Ultimate purchaser” means the first person, other than a dealer purchasing in his capacity as a dealer, who in good faith purchases a self-propelled vehicle for purposes other than resale. The thing to remember here is the ultimate purchaser cannot be a dealer. Note: A dealer cannot reassign title to itself. Further, Non-dealers cannot reassign Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). If you are a dealer, you can reassign the same MSO over and over again and it is okay. More information on CBP’s vehicle importing regulations can be found here.

For more information regarding the requirements for exporting used vehicles and solutions to CBP compliance issues, contact attorney Jennifer Diaz at (305) 260-1053 or
Jennifer Diaz is the Chair of the Customs and International Trade Department at Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. She earned her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in the state of Florida and is board-certified in International Law by the Florida Bar.