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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

Window Narrows for Duty Exclusions, USDA Increases Scrutiny at Ports of Entry

Customs and USDA Conducting More Exams of Arriving Ocean Containers

With a decrease in ocean import container volume (down by over 20% in most ports) Customs and USDA Inspectors are able to commit more time to the examination of imported containers. Across the U.S. we are seeing more frequent exams and we expect this trend to continue in the coming months.

Customs Officers conduct container exams for many reasons including contraband enforcement, terrorism risk mitigation and commercial violation exams. Exams can include x-ray exams right up to full container “strip” and examination. Many exams are randomly conducted however Customs is a law enforcement agency and they have the right to conduct examinations without providing the importer with the reason the exam is needed.

USDA Inspectors or normally looking for pests in the container and in the past decade we have seen a number of dangerous pests enter the US thus these exams are critical to protecting American crops and agriculture. Inspectors check for evidence of insect infestation in the container and oftentimes in the packing materials. If insects are found the Inspectors can order fumigation or other steps to mitigate the risk up to and including the re-exportation of the goods in question.

Importers are fully responsible for the added costs caused by the examinations and Customs and USDA Inspectors are not liable for any damage that occurs during cargo inspection. Importers should speak with their Customs Broker, Freight Forwarder or contact our office for helpful tips to reduce the risk of cargo inspection.

U.S. Trade Representative’s Office Soliciting Comments Regarding Soon to Expire Duty Exclusions

The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office is soliciting comments to determine whether or not to extend the expiration dates for a number of China duty exclusions. Importers who are taking advantage of these exclusions should be sure to give their positive input to the USTR office ASAP – deadline is June 8th to comment.

Contact us at if you have any questions.

Is Your Company Missing Out on Duty Refunds They May Be Due?

We have helped our clients require millions of dollars of refunds from China duty for products that have received exclusions. We can help you file retroactive claims too – don’t miss out as deadlines to recover your duties are quickly approaching. Contact us today for more details.

Please contact us for further information or questions –

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