Archive for the ‘CBP’ Category



Squid Pro Quo: CBP May Ban Imports from Chinese Factories with Nork Workers

Posted by at 12:37 pm on October 6, 2017
Category: CBPNorth Korea Sanctions

160823-NMTC-GF-0318 by Customs and Border Protection via Flickr [Public Domain - Work of U.S. Government]Customs and Border Protection, a federal agency not particularly known for its ability to analyze legal questions and follow the law, has apparently issued a statement that it will block imports of goods which were produced with any North Korean labor even though the North Korean workers were employed outside North Korea. The agency position arises from press reports that North Korean workers were employed in seafood processing plants in China that shipped salmon, squid and cod to U.S. stores, including Walmart and ALDI.

Executive Order 13570, promulgated in 2011, prohibited “the importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from North Korea.” Section 510.201(c) of OFAC’s North Korea Sanctions Regulations prohibits any and all transactions that would violate Executive Order 13570 and thereby also effectively prohibits the import of goods “from North Korea” into the United States without an OFAC license. Certainly, if the squid in question were being processed in North Korea itself, the unlicensed import of the squid into the United States would violate OFAC’s rules.

But nothing in the rules or Executive Order 13570 prohibit the import of items made by North Koreans outside North Korea.  Although the North Korean Sanctions Regulations do not define “North Korea,” Section 4(d) of the Executive Order does, and that definition therefore controls.  The Executive Order defines “North Korea” as “the territory of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Government of North Korea.” It does not define North Korea to include any location where a North Korean, who is not a member of the Nork Government, just happens to be working. An item imported from China does not magically become an item from North Korea because a private Nork citizen in China touched it somewhere along the way.

This, of course, is basic Sanctions 101 and applies to all sanctions regimes. An item made in France does not come from Iran because a private Iranian citizen is employed in the French factory that produces the item. Of course, I understand the policy reasons for not wanting to import items made with Nork slave labor in China as the wages earned by these workers simply go back into Kim Jong Un’s XXXL pockets. But a new legal framework needs to be put in place to accomplish that result.

Permalink Comments (1)

Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2017 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)



Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Posted by at 6:42 pm on January 12, 2016
Category: AESCBP

Checkpoint Charlie Berlin by Francisco Antunes [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Flickr [cropped]Over the holidays I watched on Amazon “The Man in the High Castle,” a television adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award winning novel of the same name about an alternate reality in which Germany and Japan won World War II. So I was a little surprised when, thanks to a reader, I stumbled into an alternate reality in the non-award winning Code of Federal Regulations where the Cold War never ended and the Berlin Wall never fell. The author of this fiction was not an esteemed science fiction writer like Philip K. Dick but instead our very own Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) who are apparently are too busy throwing innocent people in jail to keep up with (vaguely) current events.

Of course, I’m referring to section 19 C.F.R. § 4.75(c) which details countries for which vessels may not be cleared until complete manifests and shippers export declarations are filed. And on that list you will find an entry for this country:

German Democratic Republic (Soviet Zone of Germany and Soviet Zone sector of Berlin)

(Not to mention the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the equally vanished Polish People’s Republic and Czechoslovakia.)  Oddly, the CPB amended these regulations in 2000, more than 11 years after the Soviet sector went poof, and yet the reference to East Berlin, Czechoslovakia, the Polish People’s Republic and the USSR all remained. I’m wondering whether I will find lurking in the somewhere in CPB’s rules a provision dealing with exports to the Confederate States of America.

The practical impact of CPB living more than 25 years in the past may be limited. Under the current rules set forth in 15 C.F.R. § 30.4 the EEI must be filed through AES in all instances prior to the vessel leaving the United States, whether it is bound for England, France, Lilliput, Middle Earth, Flatland, Prussia, Rhodesia, Tattoine, Naboo, Endor, Grand Fenway or Freedonia.

Permalink Comments (1)

Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2016 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)



Look Under Your Tree for a Gift From DDTC. Ho Ho Ho!

Posted by at 8:53 pm on December 21, 2015
Category: CBPDDTC

State Department by Josh [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Flickr [cropped]If you’ve had outbound goods seized because a certain big name shipping company filed your AES on a shipment before you lodged the license with Customs, raise your hand. I thought so. A bunch of you have had that happen.

And I see a number of you mumbling and grousing that this high-profile shipping company, after learning of the seizure, ran out of the room like a scalded dog, leaving you with the pleasure of paying off Customs an absurd amount to get your goods released (after, on average, 37.245 years). When your lawyers wrote the company, it sent back a note saying that under your contract with them, you had absolved them from all liability, even if they opened up your package, substituted weapons of mass destruction, exported them and you were later, as a result, criminally indicted and sentenced to  13 years in jail.

Well, Merry Christmas. Just days before Santa dispenses his gifts to all children (except U.S. children because of his continued insistence on providing gifts to Cuban children), the State Department has given you the biggest gift of all. Effective immediately, you no longer have to lodge DDTC export licenses. This is possibly the best news since Disney announced that J.J. Abrams would direct the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise.

The notice of the elimination of this requirement appears on the front page of the DDTC site today (and, apparently nowhere else, so that if DDTC changes it mind, it can delete the notice and take the gift back). This Christmas present was not entirely unexpected because, as the web notice states, DDTC, having finally discovered how computers work, has been sending licensing data daily to Customs thus effectively ending the need for exporters to hand off a dead tree copy of the license to the Pony Express for delivery to your closest Customs port.

Permalink Comments (2)

Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2015 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)