Copper Hill Inc. Announces the Addition of Daniel Cruz as Director, Mexico Operations

Daniel Cruz has over 15 years of experience in foreign trade. His expertise is with Free Trade Agreement qualification, country of origin determination, supplier solicitation, managing multiple worldwide trade agreements, fiscal warehouse, classification, IMMEX, pre-entry audit, post-entry audit, and broker management.

Throughout his career, Daniel has worked for a wide range of different industry sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, medical, and pharma, getting experience and leading teams for the various requirements that each industry demands.

Daniel has an International Bachelor Degree in International Business Administration from Tecnologico de Monterrey.

Copper Hill, Inc. Expands into European Market with New Office in Warsaw, Poland

 

This expansion into Europe marks a significant milestone in our growth strategy and underscores our commitment to providing world-class trade compliance services to clients around the globe. Want to learn even more? See the full press release below:

 

Best Practices During a Customs Audit/How to Ensure You Have a Compliant Operation

Effective Post-Entry Processes for Maintaining Compliance with U.S. Customs in Global Trade

Compliance audits conducted by U.S. Customs can be a daunting prospect for any business engaged in global import and export trade. Mitigating the risk of a failed compliance audit should be a priority for organizations seeking to run a compliant operation. The key to a compliant customs audit is to remain organized in post entry processes. Ensuring comprehensive document management, process accuracy, and visibility into import data are critical steps along the path to a successful compliance audit.

What are the standard requests during a CBP compliance audit?

When it comes to trade compliance audits conducted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), standard requests often include a variety of documents. CBP will usually make inquiries about a company’s internal policies involving its compliance framework, as well as the steps taken in regard to payment systems and processes used for the import or export of goods.

Conversations between the auditor and personnel involved with trade compliance may cover the specifics of product descriptions, inventory tracking methods, or even drawing attention to potential areas of risk that could require additional diligence when conducting business over international borders.

  • Are there any existing prior disclosures with Customs? If a company discovers an error in their import transactions, it’s advisable to inform CBP instead of waiting for them to discover it. By submitting a Prior Disclosure, which acknowledges the import law violation with no intention to harm, CBP is likely to impose less severe penalties compared to if the company attempts to conceal the mistake.
  • Are there documented policies and procedures? If yes, please provide a copy. It is essential to have documented policies and procedures for global trade to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. These policies and procedures should cover topics such as export controls, sanctions compliance, customs compliance, and anti-corruption measures. Having clear and comprehensive policies and procedures not only helps to avoid legal and financial risks but also contributes to building trust with customers and stakeholders. It is recommended that companies regularly review and update their global trade policies and procedures to stay current with changing laws and regulations.
  • Is there a post entry review process that is implemented? Post entry review processes are designed to ensure compliance with customs regulations and to identify any errors or discrepancies in trade documentation that may result in penalties or delays in shipments. Post entry reviews typically involve a thorough examination of trade data, including import and export declarations, invoices, and other supporting documents.

What does a compliant operation look like?

A compliant global trade operation is one that adheres to all applicable international trade regulations, laws, and policies while still efficiently and effectively conducting business across borders. Such an operation would have robust compliance programs that ensure all aspects of their global supply chain, from sourcing and procurement to shipping and delivery, are fully compliant with trade regulations. It would also maintain accurate and complete compliance documents of all transactions and communications and have a system in place to regularly review and update its compliance policies and procedures. In addition, a compliant global trade operation would have a culture of compliance and ethics that is ingrained at all levels of the organization and upheld by all employees and stakeholders. Ultimately, a compliant global trade operation is one that prioritizes legal and ethical trade practices, ensuring that it maintains a positive reputation and avoids legal and financial risks.

The Key Areas of Global Trade Risk Management

  • Risk – How do you classify? How do you ensure the correct value is declared to Customs? What process do you use to qualify for FTAs? What documentation do you use to qualify? Are you being proactive in this process?
    Let me know if you have any questions.
  • Savings – How are you utilizing the HTS and FTA tools? Strategies i.e. duty deferral.
  • Efficiencies – Do you utilize a centralized location for part information? Or are you using separate documentation to qualify? Are you opening yourself up to risk by using multiple companies/teams when one company/team could handle it all?

Steps for managing a CF28 – a formal request of information from CBP

If you’ve imported goods into the United States, there’s a possibility of receiving a Customs Form 28 (CF-28) related to your entry. When dealing with a CF-28 (Request for Information) from Customs, it is important to react fast and efficiently to avoid any potential delays or penalties. Here are some tactics that can help in dealing with a CF-28:

  • Have an action plan for receiving a CF-28: As a business, you should have an established action plan in place to deal with CF-28 requests from Customs. This includes identifying the person responsible for handling such requests, establishing a timeline for responding, and ensuring that all necessary documents and information are readily available.
  • Respond immediately: When you receive a CF-28 from Customs, it is important to respond immediately. The clock starts ticking as soon as you receive the request, and delaying your response can result in further inquiries, penalties, or even seizure of goods.
  • Call Customs about their inquiry: If you have any questions or concerns about the CF-28, it is important to contact Customs as soon as possible. This can help you clarify any doubts you may have and ensure that you are providing the correct information.
  • Talk with your Customs Broker, Trade Consultant or Legal Counsel: If you have a Customs Broker, Trade Consultant or Legal Counsel, it is important to involve them in the process. They can provide valuable insight and advice on how to handle the CF-28 and ensure that you are complying with all Customs regulations.
  • Fully answer all parts of the CF-28: It is important to fully answer all parts of the CF-28 and provide all requested information. Failing to do so can result in delays, penalties, or further inquiries from Customs. Ensure that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date, and that all necessary supporting documents are included.

How can an importer ensure they are managing a compliant operation?

Any importer can achieve compliance with the expertise of the professionals at Copper Hill Global Trade Compliance. The Copper Hill team can assess the importer’s current trade practices to identify areas where improvements can be made to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and laws. Based on this assessment, we create a customized compliance program that is tailored to the importer’s specific needs. This program includes a range of tools and resources to support the importer in managing and monitoring their trade activities, including training, software, and ongoing support. By working with Copper Hill, the importer can be confident that they are following best practices and meeting all regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of penalties or legal action.

Contact Copper Hill for all your customs risk management needs!

Who Is Ultimately Responsible for Correct Product Classification?

Product classification is essential for international trade. The correct classification code must be used to ensure that the product is properly classified and meets all the requirements for importing and/or exporting. The World Customs Organization (WCO) has developed a hierarchical nomenclature known as the Harmonized System (HS). The first six digits of the HS are universal for those countries that utilize the WCO HS. The remaining digits are country-specific and are used to further break down the classification of a particular product.  Many countries, including the US and Canada, utilize 4 additional digits to create the country specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The full HTS length varies by county. To obtain the proper HTS classification for a product, it is necessary to consult not only the HTS language but also the legal notes, general rules of interpretation, explanatory notes and country specific rulings and logic.

The different entities involved in the product classification process 

There are several different entities that can be involved in the process of classifying products for import and export. These include the importer/exporter, government agencies, customs brokers, third-party consultants, and ultimately an international tribunal. 

What responsibilities each entity has in ensuring correct product classification 

In most cases, the responsibility for ensuring correct product classification lies with the importer or the customs broker. The responsible party will need to consult the country specific HTS to obtain the correct code. Once the HTS code has been determined, it can be used to identify the applicable duties and taxes as well as any product specific import requirements. 

When bringing goods into the United States, the importer of record is responsible for the HTS and other import requirements. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the law enforcement organization responsible for facilitating trade into/out of the United States. CBP may issue a request for information and/or notice of action to an importer. It is vital to respond to any CBP request timely and thoroughly. It is important that all entities involved in international trade take product classification seriously to avoid any potential delays or penalties. 

How to resolve disputes when different entities disagree on a product’s classification 

In cases where there are disagreements between different parties on the product classification, a formal dispute resolution process may be necessary. This could involve requesting guidance from, or submitting a protest to, the local customs authorities. In some cases, the dispute could be raised to an international court or arbitration panel.  

The importer/exporter should familiarize themselves with applicable laws and regulations, consult experts where necessary, and document their efforts to resolve any disputes to minimize risks associated with incorrect product classification. By doing so, they can help ensure smooth international trade operations and compliance with all applicable regulations.  

The benefits of accurate product classification for businesses and consumers alike 

Accurate product classification is essential for both businesses and consumers alike. For businesses, it allows them to accurately calculate taxes and duties associated with their imports and exports. It also helps to ensure additional import requirements are met- reducing delays in the supply chain.  

For consumers, accurate product classification ensures that they get the right product at the right price. Proper classification ensures goods meet safety regulations while also reducing the risk of counterfeit products entering the market. Accurate product classification allows for an efficient flow of goods across borders, which is beneficial for both businesses and consumers in the domestic and international markets.  

Professional assistance for correct product classification 

For businesses engaging in international trade, enlisting the help of professional experts is essential for ensuring accurate product classification. These experts can aid with understanding and complying with all applicable laws and regulations, while guiding you through the classification process. Professional assistance can help businesses operate efficiently and compliantly.   

For professional product classification services you can trust, contact the team at Copper Hill!

 

Copper Hill, Inc. Welcomes Three New Members To The Executive Team

Copper Hill, Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of Julissa Jaime, LCB, to our team as Vice President of Brokerage; Agnieszka Borowka, LCB, to our team as Director of Operations for Copper Hill Poland Sp. z o. o.; and Kathleen Hernandez, LCB, CCS, to our team as Vice President of Global Classification.

USITC TO INVESTIGATE EFFECTS OF ACTIVE SECTION 232 AND 301 TARIFFS ON U.S. INDUSTRIES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is undertaking a new factfinding investigation that will examine the impact of tariffs on U.S. imports under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. 1862) and section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2232) in effect as of March 15, 2022, as reflected in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The Commission’s report will provide detailed information on U.S. trade, production, and prices in the industries directly and most affected by these tariffs.

350 Changes to the US HTSUS Starting January 2022

The World Customs Organization (WCO) recently made 350 amendments to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System), which will impact U.S. imports. This five-year HTS update, which was intended to be effective on January 1, 2022, is now postponed until further notice from CBP. You may remember the last major update was back in 2017. Importers need to have their classifications reviewed and updated by January to avoid delays. 

As a signatory of the Harmonized System Convention, the United States agreed to use a uniform set of six-digit classification codes. The U.S. additionally has eight and ten-digit codes to further classify items for increased specificity and statistical analysis. These codes are about to change for many industries. 

The reasons for changing the codes include technological advances, emerging product streams, changes in trade patterns, environmental and health safety, and anti-terrorism efforts. Changes may also be made for a combination of reasons or to clarify previous decisions. 

Industries affected include:

  • Fishing 
  • Dairy products 
  • Agriculture 
  • Tobacco products
  • Chemical products and construction materials 
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Waste management, especially electronic waste
  • Textiles 
  • Furniture 
  • Machinery, appliances, and tools
  • Automotive 

This list is by no means exhaustive. Make sure you review the Recommended Modifications in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, 2021 before the end of the year. Appendix B has the list of proposed changes and Appendix C has the concordance table. Remember to watch for a Presidential Proclamation and also a Federal Register announcement when these updates to the HTSUS will be effective. 

We know the end of the year is an extremely busy time for many industries. We are here to make sure you experience zero delays. Contact your Copper Hill, Inc. representative today to ensure you will be in compliance.

 

More Manpower from CBP Taking Aim at Forced Labor

Force labor issues among importers are not going away. The CBP announced at the end of September that they will be expanding to include two investigative branches, one of which will specifically focus on forced labor operations. 

Their aim is to diversify the geographic locations of the investigations, to include more than just Asia. Asia will remain a primary concern, while additional resources and manpower clear up room for CBP officials to also investigate Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. 

It is more important than ever for you to know your supply chain intimately. This includes the mining, production, and manufacturing of goods entering the United States. 

The CBP released seven WRO’s so far in 2021. That might not sound like much, but for anyone impacted by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region WRO, those seven had a significant impact. In the past year, 696 shipments were detained. 

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labor can include:

  • Abuse of vulnerability
  • Restriction of movement
  • Isolation
  • Deception
  • Retention of identity documents
  • Physical and sexual violence
  • Withholding of wages
  • Debt bondage
  • Abusive working and living conditions
  • Excessive overtime
  • Intimidation and threats

To avoid delays due to forced labor investigations, see our article on the documentation you may need. 

Most importantly, keep your Copper Hill representative updated on any supply chain changes or questions. 

 

How Could Afghanistan’s Fall Impact U.S. Trade?

It has been quite a month. The US pulled all troops out of Afghanistan and the results were devastating for many families here in the US and abroad. The fallout will likely have long-term impacts on foreign relations, which will inevitably include trade. 

Afghanistan is the 147th largest supplier of goods to the US, so it will not directly have a significant impact on imports. The top imports to Afghanistan are precious metal and stones, carpets and textiles, and edible fruit and nuts. These industries will be inconvenienced, at worst. 

More importantly, we will be watching the countries that may be impacted secondarily. 

As said in Forbes magazine, foreign trade is mostly about “good products at good prices, with politics of secondary or tertiary consequence.” The US will be fighting a political battle for trade deals and foreign relations, having lost credibility on the world stage. This political battle could impact US imports in the future. 

Certainly, the impact of China’s decisions in the coming months will be the most impactful on trade. South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines could be among those impacted by Chinese pressure to rethink US commitments. It’s no secret that Chinese-US relations were already strained. Now China has an open door to politically impact US trade. 

Additionally, imports from India will take a hit. India received vital imports from Afghanistan which may no longer be available. Their economy will be impacted, and we still don’t know if or how that will trickle down to US imports from India. 

No matter what happens, the Copper Hill team is here to help guide you through customs compliance. We stay on top of the latest import news to make sure you don’t get caught off guard.

How Forced Labor Issues May Impact Your Imports

As we have seen from previous legislation, the U.S. government is taking a strong stand against forced labor practices. Recently, that has impacted imports coming from the Xinjiang province in China, where the Uyghurs (an ethnic minority) have been detained. Rumors of forced labor have led to restrictions on imports from that area. This includes gloves, hair products, textiles, thread and yarn, tomatoes, and some solar products.

If you import one of these goods from the Xinjiang province in China, your imports may be at risk.

The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority in the Xinjiang province in China who are primarily Muslim. They have been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) with the U.S. going as far as using the word “genocide”.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that at least 100,000 Uyghurs are being forced into production lines. This led Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Je  Merkley (D-Ore.) to sponsor The Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, which passed the Senate on July 14, 2021.

This legislation stated that all imports from Xinjiang are assumed to be made by forced labor unless there is sufficient evidence otherwise. This places a huge burden on importers to demonstrate that their supply chains are free of forced labor practices. At least three major companies have been pressing Congress to amend the act.

What This Means for Your Imports

If any of your goods come fully or in part from the Xinjiang province in China, there will be delays in your supply chain potentially starting in November 2021. After that time, you will need documented support that the goods were not made by forced labor. Goods will be automatically denied entry into the United States if they were “mined, produced, or manufactured” in Xinjiang. Exceptions can be granted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Sufficient evidence that your imports meet this exception must include at least the following:

  • A comprehensive supply chain pro le. Documentation must include the full supply chain from raw materials to any subcontractors to the final assembly; a risk assessment of forced labor including site visits; and industry-specific stakeholder initiatives.
  • A written code of conduct. A formal written code of conduct must include all international interactions; be shared with all suppliers and with each purchase order, contract, or letter of credit; and establish minimum labor standards as specified by the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) and other relevant stakeholders in your industry.
  • A robust internal control process. Internal controls must meet recognized audit standards; deter and detect violations of the code of conduct and best practices; include regular compliance audits, including internal and external personnel; cover the full supply chain; and have corrective actions for violations.

This documentation will be reviewed by the CBP and then they will make a determination and public report.

Contact your Copper Hill representative today to ensure you have this documentation ready for November.