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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

IMPORT Update: Duty Refunds, Penalties, PPE Seizures

Duty Deferral Update

As of today we have not received any further details regarding the program to allow importers to defer duty payments due to COVID19 impact. At present all duty must be paid on time in order to avoid penalties. All we have heard so far are unsubstantiated talk of this duty deferral with no hard facts. We are monitoring this situation closely and will send out an update as soon as further information is available.

Importation of Medical Goods to Fight COVID19

A number of importers have looked to import items like COVID19 test kits, mask, PPE, etc. and the FDA and Customs have given some extra leeway regarding these types of imports. It is important that any importer who plans to import medical devices understands the risks of doing so.

  1. The import of test kits should only be done by importers with experience in dealing with FDA commodities. Customs and FDA have been seizing test kits that are either counterfeit or not properly validated and importers of these items should be prepared for delays and added costs in doing these imports. We strongly urgent any importer who desires to import test kits to speak with an attorney experienced in FDA regulations before doing so.

  2. The import of masks and other PPE has been a bit easier than usual due to an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the FDA. Masks and many PPE items are normally subject to strict FDA and/or CDC (NIOSH) standards and while the standards have been relaxed during this crisis import delays may still occur. Beware of improperly sourced or counterfeit items as this has been an ongoing issue.

  3. Chinese Customs officials have added new restrictions on the export of COVID19 related medical devices from China to the US and other countries. If you choose to work with a supplier in China you should be certain they have the proper export clearance from the Chinese Customs agency.

Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to Increase Regulatory Oversight of Imported Products

The CPSC is working closely with US Customs (CBP) to automate their review process for regulated imports and this may cause delays and increased risk of exams on imports. The CPSC regulates a wide variety of items including children’s and babies’ goods (clothing, toys, furniture, etc), many household goods including drywall, mattresses, batteries, small appliances and certain clothing articles among others. Importers should ensure that the products they import meet all applicable CPSC standards as the failure to do so can result in the seizure and loss of imported products without compensation to the importer.

More information can be found on the CPSC website at

Many Millions of Dollars in Refunds Being Lost

We have worked with many importers to help them recover millions of dollars in Section 301 “China duty” refunds over the past few months. We’ve been shocked to see how many companies aren’t aware of the refunds they are due and how many millions of dollars in refunds are going unclaimed. Refunds are time-limited meaning once the rolling deadline expires the duty refunds are lost and cannot be claimed. Every importer who pays the additional duty (10-25%) on goods from China should take the time to immediately review their products and the exclusions that have been granted to see if they can claim their share of the refunds. We are here to help.

Contact us today at for a free phone consultation to see if you have refunds you could claim. Don’t wait – the time to claim refunds is fast expiring! Contact us today!

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