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Sunbelt Food Distributors completes the supply chain for newly registered FDA food clients



A new company has been formed to assist many of the ALN and Registros FDA food clients who are looking for “Partners” in the US for distribution of the food items they wish to export to the USA. Sunbelt Food Distributors will act as the importer of record and provide logistical support to our clients at a fraction of the cost of the conventional food distributor.  “This will complete the supply chain for many of our ALN clients with newly FDA registered products.  This means that for many of our customers the goods will be cycled through our network from point of origin to the final store shelf.”

“We expect fast growth due to the growing new import food categories that are yet represented in the US with dynamic quality to price ratios  that US consumers seek.”  The company will work with select import brands that present the best opportunities for the market.

Services include:

Temperature controlled warehousing
Port Drayage and LCL Trucking
Inventory Control


For more information contact:

Tel: 786-246-5285

View the company animation below:

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Registros FDA Corp opens in Quito Ecuador





Registros FDA Corp, a US based FDA consulting group has opened a branch in Quito, Ecuador.

The company is on it’s “fast track” plans of becoming the premier FDA Consulting firm for the Latin market. The local presence will give the market a central country point for all of the services offered by the company for the following industries:

  • Foods
  • Cosmetics
  • Electronic Emitting Devices
  • Tobacco

Additional services include:

USDA registrations – agriculture
Seafood registrations
FDA Audits
Recall Planning
Beef and Poultry Hazard Plans
Seafood Hazard Plans
cGMP – Good Manufacturing Practices
Alcohol registrations and permits


For more information contact:

Attn: Ing Victor Guala Trujillo
Tel: 593 952983698


Registros FDA Corp – Ecuador
1100 y Av 6 de Diciembre
Quito, Ecuador

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US-China Trade Wars Halted – 90 day Cease Fire

(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) — The United States and China reached a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and threatened world economic growth. The breakthrough came after a dinner meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs Jan. 1 on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese agreed to buy a “not yet agreed upon, but very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial” and other products from the United States to reduce America’s huge trade deficit with China, the White House said.

The truce, reached after a dinner of more than two hours Saturday, buys time for the two countries to work out their differences in a dispute over Beijing’s aggressive drive to supplant U.S. technological dominance.

Under the agreement reached in Buenos Aires, the two countries have 90 days to resolve their differences over Beijing’s tech policies. If they can’t, the higher U.S. tariffs will go into effect on the $200 billion in Chinese imports.

U.S. officials insist that the American economy is more resilient to the tumult than China’s, but they remain anxious of the economic effects of a prolonged showdown — as Trump has made economic growth the benchmark by which he wants his administration judged.

A full-blown resolution was not expected to be reached in Buenos Aires; the issues that divide them are just too difficult.

Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the U.S. economy are a key reason why U.S. stock prices have been sinking this fall.

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List of Chinese products assessed additional 25% duty


On May 29, 2018, the President made the following statement:

“Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the `Made in China 2025′ program. The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018, and tariffs will be imposed on those imports shortly thereafter.” Statement on Steps to Protect Domestic Technology and Intellectual Property from China’s Discriminatory and Burdensome Trade Practices(​briefings-statements/​statement-steps-protect-domestic-technology-intellectual-property-chinas-discriminatory-burdensome-trade-practices).

On July 6, 2018, any product listed in Annex A shall be subject to an additional duty of 25 percent ad valorem. The rates of duty applicable to products of China that are provided for in new HTSUS heading 9903.88.01 shall apply in addition to all other applicable duties, fees, exactions, and charges .

Exception: any product that is eligible for admission under `domestic status’ as defined in 19 CFR 146.43, which is subject to the additional duty imposed by this determination, and that is admitted into a U.S. foreign trade zone on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on July 6, 2018, only may be admitted as `privileged foreign status’ as defined in 19 CFR 146.41. Such products will be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valoremrates of duty or quantitative limitations related to the classification under the applicable HTSUS subheading.

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[FR Doc. 2018-13248 Filed 6-19-18; 8:45 am]


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Trump imposes new steel tariffs as high as 25%

Trump imposed steep tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum imports to the United States [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Trump imposed steep tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum imports to the United States
[Leah Millis/Reuters]

In a controversial move on Thursday which several industry trade groups have warned could spark a trade war, Trump imposed steep tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum imports to the United States.

The trade sanctions will come into force in two weeks time. Trump temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from the newest measures.

Trump signed proclamations at a ceremony at the White House while surrounded by steelworkers.

“A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security, absolutely vital,” Trump said. “Steel is steel. If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country.

“Our industries have been targeted for years and years – decades in fact – by unfair foreign trade practices leading to the shuttered plants and mills, the laying off of millions of workers and the decimation of entire communities. And that’s going to stop.”

Trump said that the “aggressive” foreign trade amounted to an “assault” on the United States but that he would also show flexibility with friendly countries, possibly removing tariffs for some.

Trump also indicated that military allies, including NATO countries that spend at least two percent of GDP on defence could see a reduction in these tariffs.

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FDA announces recall of dietary supplements after opioid declaration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday announced a recall of dietary supplements that contain kratom, a herb the agency has classified as an opioid.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also urged manufacturers to stop selling products intended for human consumption if they contain kratom.

“The extensive scientific data we’ve evaluated about kratom provides conclusive evidence that compounds contained in kratom are opioids and are expected to have similar addictive effects as well as risks of abuse, overdose and, in some cases, death,” Gottlieb said in a statement.

“At the same time, there’s no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday announced a recall of dietary supplements that contain kratom, a herb the agency has classified as an opioid.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also urged manufacturers to stop selling products intended for human consumption if they contain kratom.

“At the same time, there’s no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.”

Last week, the FDA released findings showing kratom acts like an opioid and can be dangerous and addictive.

Gottlieb said the FDA oversaw the destruction and recall of supplements containing kratom and being sold by Divinity Product Distribution, based in Missouri.

While the supplements had been intended to be used to help people with weight loss, there have been reports of people using them as an alternative to prescription opioids.

“We know that some patients are using kratom because they believe it can help treat their opioid dependency, but there’s no reliable evidence to support kratom’s effectiveness for this use; and we’re deeply committed to making sure patients have access to safe, effective treatment options,” he said.

Gottlieb said there are no FDA approved therapeutic uses of kratom and the agency has evidence that it poses “significant safety issues.”

He noted that there have been 44 reported deaths associated with kratom use.

The herb is also linked to an outbreak of salmonella in 20 states.

Kratom grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

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Rubber bands subject of new Antidumping investigation.

The nation’s leading producer of rubber bands, a small company in Arkansas, is worried that imports from China, Thailand and Sri Lanka are putting its 150 workers in jeopardy. It petitioned the Commerce Department to start an investigation, which began Thursday.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sounded like he had already made up his mind.  “The department will act swiftly,” Ross said in a statement, promising a fair review. “The Trump administration is committed to the enforcement of America’s trade laws that ensure U.S. businesses and workers have a fair chance to compete.”
Commerce officials and the independent U.S. International Trade Commission must determine whether foreign rubber bands are being sold in the United States at prices so low that they box out the Arkansas business, Alliance Rubber Company.

Commerce acted quickly on the case: The company filed its petition just three weeks ago.

If both Commerce and the ITC agree that China, Sri Lanka and Thailand are dumping rubber bands in the United States at unfair prices, the Trump administration will impose tariffs from 27% to 133%, depending on the country and the type of rubber band.

Commerce reported that each country’s government provides its rubber producers with generous subsidies that allow them to sell rubber bands on the cheap.

The United States imported nearly $20 million of rubber bands from those three countries combined last year. The case isn’t particularly big, and probably won’t matter much to trade relations. But it illustrates the Trump administration’s desire to get tougher on trading partners.

Since Trump took office, Commerce has launched nearly 100 investigations into various imports. That’s up 81% from the prior year, according to a recent Commerce report.

The ITC will make its preliminary decision by March 16.

The Alliance Rubber Company had no immediate comment. According to its website, it produces the vast majority of rubber bands made in the United States. In its January petition, it accused foreign producers of selling rubber bands at 60% less than the normal value.

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Internet Purchases

Your Responsibility and Liability

The Internet has made it easy to find and purchase items from almost anywhere in the world. However, many people are discovering that getting a foreign-bought item successfully delivered to the United States is much more complicated.

When goods move from any foreign country to the United States, they are being IMPORTED. There are specific rules and regulations that govern the act of importing – and they can be extremely complex and confusing – and costly.

That artisan cheese from Italy may be a snap to find and buy on the Internet, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection could seize your purchase because certain regulations prohibit the importation of dairy products from particular countries without a permit.

Your great auction purchase of gorgeous linen products? Depending upon the country of origin, quota restrictions could hold them up in CBP for a long time. And storage charges in such cases can be expensive.

In other words, “Buyer, Beware.” When you buy goods from foreign sources, you become the importer. And it is the importer – in this case, YOU – who is responsible for assuring that the goods comply with a variety of both state and federal government import regulations. Importing goods that are unsafe, that fail to meet health code requirements, or that violate quota restrictions could end up costing you quite a bit of money in fines and penalties. At the very least, such goods would be detained, and possibly destroyed, by CBP.

Knowing what is admissible is just part of the story. The other part is knowing how to import. Depending upon what you are importing and its value, the procedures can be very complicated.

It does not matter whether you bought the item from an established business or from an individual selling item in an on-line auction. If merchandise, used or new, is imported into the United States, it must clear CBP and may be subject to the payment of duty as well as to whatever rules and regulations govern the importation of that particular product into the United States.


Keep the following questions in mind before you buy something from a foreign source. The answers will have far-reaching CBP implications (explained below) that could influence your decision to buy.

  • Can the goods be legally imported? Are there restrictions on, or special forms required, for your purchase’s importation?
  • Are you buying the item(s) for your personal use or for commercial purposes?
  • Will you be responsible for shipping costs? If so, you should discuss with the seller how your purchase will be shipped. The choices are freight, courier service or international postal service. If you’re not careful, transportation and handling costs could far outweigh the cost of your purchase. Sometimes, the seemingly cheaper methods can be more expensive in the long run because they are more susceptible to theft, misdeliveries and logistical problems.
  • You should discuss with the seller what the exact delivery arrangements will be. If the seller does not make arrangements for postal or door-to-door delivery, you will either need to hire a customs broker to clear your goods and forward them on to you, or go the port of entry and clear them yourself.
  • Can you trust the seller to provide accurate information about the item being shipped in the Customs section of the shipping documents? Giving misleading or inaccurate information about the nature of the item and its value is illegal. And it is the importer – YOU– who could face legal action and fines for this violation!

The following is a brief primer on the various factors that can impact the clearance of your goods through CBP.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declarations

All paperwork for sending packages internationally has a section for providing CBP information. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration is a form obtainable at most foreign post offices. This declaration form should include a full and accurate description of the merchandise, and should be securely attached to the outside of your shipment. Declaration forms vary from country to country, and they don’t all ask for the information required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. You should ask the seller to provide the following information, whether or not it is asked for on the paperwork.

  • Seller’s name and addressDescription of the item(s) in English (a legal requirement). For example, antique silver teapot, silk kimono, 18-karat gold rope necklace. It is very important that this information be detailed and accurate. What is described here will determine the classification number and duty rate that Customs assigns the item when it arrives in the United States. If this information is inaccurate, you could end up paying the wrong duty rate for what you purchased. If it is inaccurate enough to seem deliberately misleading — keep in mind that CBP does randomly inspect packages — your goods could be seized and you may be assessed a fine.
  • Quantity of each type of item being shipped. For example, two watches (14-karat gold, 17 jewel), one leather purse.
  • Purchase price in U.S. dollars. Provide both the unit price, and if more than one unit was purchased, the total value for all like items. Fudging or miscalculating the price paid for goods is a bad idea. Many sellers offer to misrepresent costs in an effort to save the purchaser from having to pay duty, but this is illegal. Others sellers are wary of package handlers and do not want them to know how valuable something may be, which could result in its theft. The most common legal precaution against theft is to insure the package when sending it. You should discuss insurance options with your seller, keeping in mind that misrepresenting the value of an item on the Customs declaration is illegal.
  • Weight of the item(s).
  • Country of origin of the product itself. Be aware that this is not necessarily the country where the item was purchased.

Note: It is important to know that foreign shipments that are not accompanied by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection declaration form and an invoice may be subject to seizure, forfeiture or return to sender.

Postal Service, Couriers and Freight

There are three ways goods can be sent to you from abroad. In order to avoid costly problems, you and the seller of your goods should agree on which will be used the international postal service, a courier service, or freight carriers.

  1. International Postal Service: Merchandise shipped through the international postal service is forwarded upon its arrival in the United States to one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection International Mail Branches for clearance. If the item is less than $2,000 in value and is not subject to a quota or is not a restricted or prohibited item, a CBP official will usually prepare the paperwork for importing it, assess the proper duty, and release it for delivery. This procedure is generally referred to as a mail entry. Packages whose declared value is under $800 ($100 if being sent as a gift to someone other than the purchaser) will generally be cleared without any additional paperwork prepared by CBP. However, CBP always reserves the right to require a formal entry for any importation and generally exercises this option if there is something unusual about the importation, or if important documents such as an invoice or bill of sale do not accompany the item.

If any duty is owed, CBP will charge a processing fee for clearing your package. Duty and the processing fee are usually paid at your local post office, where your package is forwarded.

Hint: To speed a package through CBP examination at a port’s International Mail Branch, the seller should affix a completed CN 22 or CN 23 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form) to the outside of the package. This form may be obtained at local post offices worldwide.

Plus: Pretty economical.

Pitfalls: If the item’s value is more than $2,000, it may be held at the mail facility until you can arrange for a formal entry. This may require either hiring a customs broker to clear your goods or you may file the paperwork yourself.

Lost packages are hard to find. Since most packages sent through the mail do not have tracking numbers unless they are insured or you’ve paid to have a tracking number, it can be impossible to trace a “lost” package. If a package is lost a “tracer” should be initiated by the sender of the package.

  1. Courier Shipping: Goods shipped by courier, express, or other commercial service usually are expedited through CBP by a customs broker hired by that commercial service and then delivered seamlessly to your door. Customs brokers are not CBP employees. There are a number of different charges associated with these services, including shipping and handling, the fees charged by the service for clearing the merchandise through CBP, as well as any Customs duty and processing fees that may be owed on your importation.

Pluses: Get seamless delivery. All you have to do is sign for the package when it arrives. In most cases delivery is quick and reliable. When there’s a problem, there is a tracking number that can help resolve the matter.

Pitfalls: Many people have found the various charges and fees levied to be higher than they expected, and sometimes exceed the cost of their purchase(s).

Buyers often have the misunderstanding that when the purchase price includes shipping and handling, all the costs associated with clearing the package through CBP are covered by the seller. They don’t realize that brokers fees and CBP duties may be an additional charge that the buyer is responsible for.

  1. Freight Shipping: Merchandise shipped by freight can arrive in the United States at an air, sea or land port. If your goods are being shipped by freight, you should ask the seller to instruct the freight company to forward them to your doorstep, which may entail the shipper’s use of a customs broker to clear your goods. Alternatively, ask that the goods be forwarded to a port of entry near where you live so that you can clear or “enter” them yourself (advisable only if the shipment is under $2000 in value. See Formal Entry below.)

Pluses: Can be economical, particularly, if you’re prepared to handle the logistics of clearing the goods through Customs yourself. Also, the best way to handle large bulky purchases.

Pitfall: If the freight company has not been instructed to forward your goods, they could end up sitting on the dock at the port where they first entered the country.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not inform importers of the arrival of cargo or freight. When cargo or freight arrives at a U.S. port of entry, it is the responsibility of the shipper or a designated agent to inform the importer of its arrival. However, proper notification does not always happen, particularly, if the shipper has incomplete contact information for you, the importer. Therefore, it is important to find out the scheduled arrival date of your import and follow-up.

If you are not notified that your goods have arrived and you or your broker have not presented the proper paperwork to CBP within 15 days of your goods’ arrival, your goods will be transferred to a warehouse, and you will be liable for storage charges. If you have not claimed your goods within six months of their arrival in the USA, they could be sold at auction. (See the Checklist under item #3.)

Importing Process Paying Duty: The importer is ultimately responsible for paying any duty owed on an import. Determining duty can be very complicated, and while shipping services will often give an estimate for what the duty rate on an item might be, only CBP can make a final determination about what is owed. You should not be misled into thinking your purchase price includes duty because the seller cannot say with absolute certainty what the duty will be. As a rule, a purchase price that includes shipping and handling does not include duty or any costs associated with clearing the goods through CBP. First time importers are often surprised by bills they receive for duty, U.S. Customs and Border Protection merchandise processing fee, and something referred to as “customs fees,” which are actually charges for the services of the broker who cleared your goods through CBP.

How you pay duty depends on how your goods were shipped. If your goods were shipped through the International Postal Service, you will need to pay the mail carrier and/or go to your local post office to pay any duty and processing fees owed when your package arrives at that post office. If your goods were sent by a courier service, that service will either bill you for the duty they paid on your behalf or require payment on delivery.

If your goods were sent by freight, there are two possible scenarios for paying duty.

If no arrangements were made to forward the goods to your door, you will need to either clear them through CBP yourself, in which case you will pay duty directly to CBP at the port where your goods arrived. Alternatively, you will need to arrange for a broker to clear your goods. If you hire a broker, they will bill you for their services and any duty they paid on your behalf.

If arrangements were made to forward your goods to you, you will be billed for any duty owed, and for the services of the broker who cleared them through CBP.

Reminder: U.S. Customs and Border Protection holds the importer – YOU – liable for the payment of duty not the seller.

  • Personal vs. Commercial Use: Many import regulations only apply to goods imported for commercial – business or resale – purposes. For instance, most goods imported for personal use are not subject to quota. The one exception to this is made-to-measure suits from Hong Kong, which are subject to quota restrictions regardless of the use they are imported for. On the other hand, import restrictions that are based on health, safety and protecting endangered species apply across the board.

Note: U.S. Customs and Border Protection is authorized to make judgment calls about what qualifies as personal use. Several suits that are identical or a number of very similar handbags will have a hard time passing the credibility test as items for personal use.

For Commercial Purposes: Goods imported for commercial purposes must comply with a variety of special requirements, such as marking of country of origin, which vary depending upon the particular commodity. Please see our publication, “Importing Into the United States,” for more detailed information. Be particularly aware that an invoice should always accompany commercial shipments.

  • Informal Entries: If the value of your purchase(s) is less than $2500 and your goods are being shipped by mail or freight, they may, in most cases, be imported as an informal entry. However, there are exceptions to this. For instance, if the importation is determined to be for commercial purposes, the value limit for filing an informal entry for many textile items is either $250 or $0 – depending on whether or not the item is subject to Quota (see below). Clearing goods through CBP as an informal entry is less arduous a process than clearing them by filing a formal entry. Essentially, when goods are cleared as an informal entry, CBP will prepare the paperwork, including determining the classification number and duty rate for your merchandise.

The duty rate for many items typically bought in an on-line auction is zero, however, CBP may charge a small processing fee for mail imports that do require the payment of duty.

If your goods are sent by a courier or express service, their brokers will usually handle the paperwork, and bill you for their services. If your goods are being shipped by freight, and you want to clear them through CBP yourself, be sure the shipping company has instructions to deliver them to a port near you. Otherwise, you will need to arrange for someone else to clear the goods for you when they arrive. Your alternative is to ask the seller to make arrangements to have your goods forwarded to your door, in which case you should expect to pay for the services of the customs broker who coordinates this when your goods arrive in the U.S.A.

  • Formal Entries: If your goods are valued at more than $2500, or for commercial textile shipments (clothes/materials) regardless of value, you will be required to file a formal entry, which can require extensive paperwork and the filing of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection bond. As mentioned above and for various reasons, CBP may require a formal entry for any importation. CBP, however, rarely exercises this right unless there is a particular concern about the circumstances surrounding an importation.

Because filing a formal entry can be complicated, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends importers consider hiring a customs broker to complete the transaction. Lists of brokers can be found on the port pages of CBP web site.

One of the most difficult things about filing formal entries is accurately identifying the correct classification number of the item being imported. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) lists classification numbers for every conceivable item under the Sun. The HTSUS is the size of an unabridged dictionary, and specialists train for months to learn how to correctly classify goods.

The classification number of an item determines many requirements pertaining to that item’s importation such as its duty rate, eligibility for special import programs like the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and whether or not the item is subject to quota restrictions.

Failure to correctly classify an item can result in fines and/or delays in delivery. You may write to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a binding ruling, and/or contact an import specialist at your local port for help to identify the proper classification number for your imported item.

  • Quota: Many kinds of goods imported for commercial use may be subject to a quota limit. It is the classification number of the article as identified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and the country of origin that determine whether or not an item is subject to quota requirements.

In some cases, the quota is absolute, meaning that once the quota is filled – because the quota has reached its limit for that particular period of time – no additional quantities of that item may be imported until the next open period. Such merchandise must be warehoused or exported. Other quotas are tariff-related, which means that a certain quantity of goods may enter at a low rate of duty, but once that threshold is reached – during a specified period of time – a higher duty rate will be assessed for any additional quantities of that particular imported good. Unlimited quantities of some merchandise subject to tariff-rate quota may, however, enter at over the quota rates.

If you are importing goods for commercial use or resale, it’s a good idea to contact your local port of entry for more specific information.

Fill levels for quotas are currently posted on the CBP Electronic Bulletin Board in the file called Quota Threshold Status. Fill levels for textile items can be found in the Quota section of Importing/Exporting.

The Quota program is generally applied only to commercial importations. While the importation of many goods imported under “personal use” quantities are not affected by quota restrictions, there is one exception; made-to-measure suits made in Hong Kong, which are restricted for both personal and commercial use.

  • Prohibited Merchandise: Purchasers should also be aware that some products might be considered contraband and cannot be brought into the United States under any circumstances. This includes the obvious, such as narcotics and child pornography, as well as less obvious items such as tainted food products, and other items, a list of which can be found in “Importing Into the United States.” Such merchandise can be seized by CBP, and attempts to import it may subject the importer to civil or even criminal sanctions. If you have any question at all about your purchase, you should contact your closest CBP port and get an opinion before you complete the transaction.
  • Restricted Merchandise: Many items cannot be imported into the United States unless the importer has the proper permit or license from the appropriate regulatory authority. Some of the most common restricted items include food, plant and dairy products; alcohol and tobacco products; birds, fish or animals and products thereof, goods from embargoed countries, firearms and ammunition, cultural artifacts from certain countries, and copyrighted materials.

The entry of prescription medicines is restricted and subject to the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Depending on the FDA review of the medicine, it may be released to the addressee or seized. There are, however, provisions allowing passengers to hand carry prescription drugs into the United States if they enter through a land border with Canada or Mexico.

  • Electronic Transmission Information: Materials downloaded from the Internet are not subject to duty. This applies to any goods or merchandise that are electronically transmitted to the purchaser, such as CDs, books, or posters. However, the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted items could subject you to prosecution. Downloading child pornography is also a crime. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the authority to investigate and prosecute persons involved in this and other illegal activities.


If you are sending goods to someone outside the United States, you should be aware that most countries have similar regulations governing the importation of goods into their territory. If you are selling goods on a “Payment on Delivery” basis, you might want to contact the Customs authority of the country where the goods are being shipped to make sure they can legally be imported into that country. In addition, some commodities sold for export are subject to enforcement requirements of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other U.S. government agencies. In particular, cars and goods with potential military applications, including some electronics and software, must be cleared through CBP before they are exported. And if you export goods worth more than $2,500, you will have to follow formal export procedures.

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Importing a Motor Vehicle

Prior Arrangements
The owner must make arrangements for shipping a vehicle. Have your shipper or carrier notify you of the vehicle’s arrival date so that you can make arrangements to process it through CBP. Shipments are cleared at the first port of entry unless you arrange for a freight forwarder abroad to have the vehicle sent in bond to a CBP port more convenient to you.

Law prohibits CBP officers from acting as agents or making entries for an importer. However, you may employ a commercial CBP broker to handle your entry.

For CBP clearance you will need the shipper’s or carrier’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported. Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear manufacturer’s label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact. For vehicles that lack such a label, the CBP inspector at the port of entry may require proof of eligibility to import under the EPA exemptions or exclusions specified on form 3520-1.

Vehicles that do not meet all U.S. emission requirements, unless eligible for exemption or exclusion must be imported through an independent commercial importer (ICI). EPA will not allow the vehicles’ release to the vehicle owner until ICI work is complete. The ICI will perform any EPA-required modifications and be responsible for assuring that all EPA requirements have been met. Some vehicles cannot be successfully imported or modified by an ICI, however, and in general, ICI fees are very high.

Cleaning the Undercarriage
To safeguard against importation of dangerous pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the undercarriage of imported cars be free of foreign soil. Have your car steam-sprayed or cleaned thoroughly before shipment.

Your Car is Not a Shipping Container
For your own safety, security, and convenience, do not use your car as a container for personal belongings.

  • Your possessions are susceptible to theft while the vehicle is on the loading and unloading docks and in transit.
  • Many shippers and carriers will not accept your vehicle if it contains personal belongings.
  • The entire contents of your car must be declared to CBP on entry. Failure to do so can result in a fine or seizure of the car and its contents.
  • Your vehicle may be subject to seizure, and you may incur a personal penalty, if anyone uses it as a conveyance of illegal narcotics.

Dutiable Entry
Foreign-made vehicles imported into the U.S., whether new or used, either for personal use or for sale, are generally dutiable at the following rates:






either free or 2.4%

Duty rates are based on price paid or payable. Most Canadian-made vehicles are duty-free.

As a returning U.S. resident, you may apply your $800 CBP exemption and those of accompanying family members toward the value of the vehicle if it:

  • Accompanies you on your return;
  • Is imported for personal use;
  • Was acquired during the journey from which you are returning.

For CBP purposes, a returning U.S. resident is one who is returning from travel, work, or study abroad.

After the exemption has been applied, a flat duty rate of 3% is applied toward the next $1,000 of the vehicle’s value. The remaining amount is dutiable at the regular duty rate.

Free Entry

  • U.S. citizens employed abroad or government employees returning on TDY or voluntary leave may import a foreign-made car free of duty provided they enter the U.S. for a short visit, claim nonresident status, and export the vehicle when they leave.
  • Military and civilian employees of the U.S. government returning at the end of an assignment to extended duty outside the CBP territory of the U.S. may include a conforming vehicle among their duty-free personal and household effects. The auto must have been purchased abroad and be in its owner’s possession prior to departure. Generally, extended duty is 140 days or more. Navy personnel serving aboard a U.S. naval vessel or a supporting naval vessel from its departure from the U.S. to its return after an intended overseas deployment of 120 days or more are entitled to the extended-duty exemption. Conforming vehicles imported under the duty-free exemption are dutiable if sold within one year of importation. Duty must be paid at the most convenient CBP office before the sale is completed. Conforming vehicles so imported may remain in the U.S. indefinitely once a formal entry is made for EPA purposes.
  • Nonresidents may import a vehicle duty-free for personal use up to (1) one year if the vehicle is imported in conjunction with the owner’s arrival. Vehicles imported under this provision that do not conform to U.S. safety and emission standards must be exported within one year and may not be sold in the U.S. There is no exemption or extension of the export requirements.

Cars Imported for Other Purposes
Nonresidents may import an automobile or motorcycle and its usual equipment free of duty for a temporary stay to take part in races or other specific purposes. However, prior written approval from the EPA is required and such approval is granted only to those racing vehicles that EPA deems not capable of safe or practical use on streets and highways. If the contests are for other than money purposes, the vehicle may be admitted for 90 days without formal entry or bond if the CBP officer is satisfied as to the importer’s identify and good faith. The vehicle becomes subject to forfeiture if it is not exported or if a bond is not given within 90 days of its importation. Prior written approval must be obtained from DOT. A vehicle may be temporarily imported for testing, demonstration, or racing purposes. A vehicle may be permanently imported for show or display. Written approval from DOT is required and should be obtained before the vehicle is exported from the foreign country to the U.S. Information on how to import a vehicle under show or display is available at DOT’s NHTSA Vehicle Importation Regulations website. A vehicle permanently imported for show and display must comply with all U.S. emission requirements as well, and in general must be imported through an EPA-authorized ICI for modification and testing. EPA will not allow the vehicle to be released to its owner until ICI work is complete.

Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards
Importers of motor vehicles must file form HS-7 at the time of vehicle is imported to declare whether the vehicle complies with DOT requirements. As a general rule, motor vehicles less than 25 years old must comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in order to be imported permanently into the United States. Vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1978, must also meet the bumper standard, and vehicles beginning with model year 1987 must meet the theft-prevention standard. For more information, please contact the DOT import hotline at (202) 366-5291.

Vehicles manufactured to meet these standards will have a certification label affixed by the original manufacturer near the driver’s side door. If you purchase a vehicle abroad that is certified to U.S. standards, you may expedite your importation by making sure the sales contract identifies this fact and by presenting the contract to CBP at the time of importation.

A vehicle must be imported as a nonconforming vehicle unless it bears the manufacturer’s label certifying that it meets U.S. standards. If it is a nonconforming vehicle, the importer must contract with a DOT-registered importer (RI) to modify the vehicle and certify that it conforms to all applicable FMVSS. The importer must also post a DOT bond for one and a half times the vehicle’s dutiable value. This bond is in addition to the normal CBP entry bond. Copies of the DOT bond and the contract with the RI must be attached to the HS-7 form.

Before a RI can modify your vehicle, however, it must first be determined whether the vehicle is capable of being modified to comply with the FMVSS. If a vehicle has not previously been determined to be eligible for importation, it must go through a petition process to determine whether it’s capable of being modified for such compliance. If the vehicle under petition is not similar to one sold in the United States, the process of bringing it into compliance becomes very complex and costly. A  List of Nonconforming Motor Vehicles that are Eligible for Importation (By or Through a Registered Importer may be obtained from a RI or from NHTSA’s website.

The cost of modifying a nonconforming vehicle and the time required to bring it into conformance may affect your decision to purchase a vehicle abroad. NHTSA strongly recommends discussing these aspects with a RI before buying and shipping a vehicle purchased overseas.

Federal Tax
Certain imported automobiles may be subject to the gas-guzzler tax imposed by section 4064 of the Internal Revenue Code. An individual who imports an automobile for personal use, or a commercial importer, may be considered an importer for purposes of this tax and thus liable for payment of the tax.

The amount of the tax is based on a combined urban/highway fuel-economy (miles per gallon) rating assigned by the EPA for gas-guzzler tax purpose. This EPA rating may be different from fuel-economy ratings indicated by the manufacturer.

If the EPA has not assigned a gas-guzzler fuel- economy rating for the model automobile you import, a rating must be independently determined. No tax is imposed on automobiles that have a combined fuel-economy rating of at least 22.5 miles per gallon.

Information on determining fuel-economy rating and liability for the tax are contained in section 4064 of the Code, Revenue Procedure 86-9, 1986-1 Cumulative Bulletin 530, Revenue Procedure 87-10, 1987-1 Cumulative Bulletin 530, Revenue Procedure 87-10, 1987-1 Cumulative Bulletin 545, and Revenue Ruling 86-20, 1986-1 Cumulative Bulletin 319.

The gas-guzzler tax is reported on Form 720, Quarterly federal Excise Tax Return, and form 6197, Gas-Guzzler Tax. Additional information may be obtained from your local district office of the Internal Revenue Service.

Emission Standards
The following passenger cars, light-duty trucks, heavy-duty engines and motorcycles are subject to federal emission standards:

  • Gasoline-fueled cars and light-duty trucks originally manufactured after December 31, 1967.
  • Diesel-fueled cars originally manufactured after December 31, 1974.
  • Diesel-fueled light-duty trucks originally manufactured after December 31, 1975.
  • Heavy-duty engines originally manufactured after December 31, 1969.
  • Motorcycles with a displacement more than 49 cubic centimeters originally manufactured after December 31, 1977.

Vehicles must be certified to U.S. federal emission standards by their manufacturers for sale in the U.S. Vehicles that do not meet these requirements are considered nonconforming. A currently certified ICI, a list of which is available from the EPA, must import Nonconforming vehicles for you. The only EPA-authorized ICIs are located in the U.S. It is therefore recommended that you contact an ICI to discuss costs for modification and testing before you decide to import a nonconforming vehicle. The ICI will be responsible for assuring that your car complies with all U.S. emission requirements. (As of July 1, 1998, EPA no longer has the one-time exemption for vehicles five or more model-years old.) Be aware that EPA will deny entry to certain makers, models, and model year if an ICI is not certified or is unwilling to accept responsibility for the vehicle(s) in question.

You may obtain additional information on emission control requirements or on ICIs from the U.S. EPA Vehicle Programs and Compliance Division/Imports at (734) 214-4100, fax (734) 214-4676; or visit the website.

Individual state emission requirements may differ from those of the federal government. Proper registration of a vehicle in a state may depend upon satisfaction of its requirements, so you should contact the appropriate state authorities prior to importation. Be aware, however, that EPA will not accept compliance with a state’s emission requirements as satisfying EPA’s requirements.

A Word of Caution
Both the DOT and the EPA advise that although a nonconforming car may be conditionally admitted, the modification required to bring it into compliance may be so extensive and costly that it may be impractical and even impossible to achieve such compliance. It is highly recommended that these prohibitions and modifications be investigated before a vehicle’s purchased for importation.

  • Re-Importing A Previously Exported Vehicle
    A vehicle taken from the United States for non-commercial, private use may be returned duty free by proving to CBP that it was previously owned and registered in the United States. This proof may be a state-issued registration card for the automobile or a bill of sale for the car from a U.S. dealer. Repairs or accessories acquired abroad for your vehicle must be declared on your return and may be subject to duty.
    In some countries, it will be difficult or impossible to obtain unleaded fuel for your vehicle. If the vehicle is driven using leaded gasoline, it will be necessary for you to replace the catalyst and oxygen sensor upon its return to the U.S. To avoid the expense of replacing these parts you may obtain authorization from EPA to remove the catalyst and oxygen sensor before the vehicle is shipped overseas. The EPA telephone number for these authorizations is (202) 564-2418. When the vehicle returns to the U.S., the original catalyst and oxygen sensor will need to be reinstalled. However, you may now reenter your U.S. version vehicle into the U.S. without bond, upon your assurance that you will have the reinstallation performed.
  • Using Conveyances to Transporting Goods of a Commercial/Personal Nature
    Goods of a commercial nature that are being transported in a privately owned conveyance will require the purchase of a user fee decal and the payment of duty may be required.
    Goods being transported for personal use within a privately owned vehicle do not require the purchase of this decal. However, the payment of duty may be required.
    Rental vehicles may be used to transport personal goods without the purchase of a decal if the driver has not been paid to operate the vehicle.

The following vehicles need not conform to emission or safety requirements but may NOT be sold in the U.S. and may require EPA and DOT declarations:

  • Those imported by nonresidents for personal use not exceeding one year. The vehicle must be exported at the end of that year – there are no exceptions or extensions.
  • Those belonging to members of foreign armed forces, foreign diplomatic personnel, or other individuals who come within the class of persons for whom free entry has been authorized by the Department of State in accordance with international law.
  • Those temporarily imported for testing, demonstration, or competition, provided they are not licensed for use, or driven on public roads. These vehicles may be operated on public roads or highways provided the operations are an integral part of the test. Parties responsible for such vehicles must submit proper documents – forms EPA 3520-1 and DOT HS-7 – to CBP at the time entry is made. Also, applicable written approvals from these agencies must be obtained in advance and presented to CBP along with these forms. Remember, the cost to return vehicles that have been refused prior approval can be very high and must be borne by the vehicle owner(s).

Driver’s Plates and Permits
Imported cars should bear the International Registration Marker. The International Driving Permit, issued in five languages, is a valuable asset. Consult an international automobile federation or your local automobile club about these documents.

  • U.S. residents importing a new or used car should consult the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in their state of residence about temporary license plates and what documentation their DMV would require from CBP.
  • Nationals of Central and South American countries that have ratified the Inter-American Convention of 1943 may drive their cars in the U.S. for touring purposes for one year or for the period of the validity of the documents, whichever is shorter, without U.S. license plates or U.S. driver’s permits, provided the car carries the International Registration Marker and registration card, and the driver has the International Driving Permit.
  • Motorists visiting the United States as tourists from countries that have ratified the Convention on International Road Traffic of 1949 may drive in the U.S. for one year with their own national license plates (registration tags) on their own national license plates (registration tags) on their cars and with their own personal drivers’ licenses.
  • Motorists from Canada and Mexico are permitted to tour in the U.S. without U.S. license plates or U.S. driver’s permits, under agreements between the United States and these countries.
  • Motorists from a country not a party to any of the above agreements must secure a driving permit in the U.S. after taking an examination.
  • Foreign nationals employed in the U.S. may use their foreign license tags from the port of entry to their destination in the U.S.
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CBP Announces Web Posting for Official Notices of Extension, Suspension, and Liquidation

US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has announced their webpage for official liquidation notices, titled “Official Notices of Extension, Suspension, and Liquidation” (C16 Bulletin), is now available.

NOTE: CBP is working to resolve an issue with the site that causes a warning to show up in browser windows. “This warning is being addressed, and users will still be able to access the site successfully in the interim,” it said. “Please click through these warnings to continue navigating to the site.”

As previously announced, CBP’s official notices of liquidation, suspension and extension will no longer be physically posted at the ports.

CBP advises the trade community may ask questions by contacting 1-800-927-8729, or

If you have any questions please contact or our regulatory affairs department at