The Laredo Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers Association, Inc.



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  • 11/19/2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    November 18, 2019

    Good afternoon Trade Community (Laredo Field Office AOR), 

    Please review the attached CBP News Release in regards to the federal order that will impact tomato and pepper fruits in the Cargo and Passenger Environment beginning on November 22, 2019 as follows:

    • Cargo Environment – The order will increase inspections and document verifications at time of entry from Mexico, Canada, Israel, and Netherlands.
    • Passenger Environment – The order will prohibit the importation of tomato and pepper fruits from all countries of origin in passenger baggage.

    Further cargo instructions will be provided by Laredo Field Office Trade Division.  If you have any questions, contact Agriculture Operations Manager Jesus Becerra at 956-753-1010, Sup. Program Manager Henry Gutierrez at 956-753-1735, or me at 956-753-1773.

    Thanks,

    Armando Taboada Jr.
    (a)ADFO Trade
    Laredo Field Office
    956-753-1773 – Office
    956-693-8807 - Cell

    Click image to download press release:

    A copy of the Federal Order is posted at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_imports/federal_order/downloads/2019/DA-2019-28.pdf


  • 11/04/2019 8:11 AM | Anonymous

    Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued new penalty mitigation guidelines related to wood packaging material regulations (WPM). CBP says that while they are "not required to grant relief in any specific case, they may reference these guidelines" when appropriate "to determine the mitigation, remission, or cancellation amount."

    For those who have assessed WPM violations, CBP has issued a "three strike" policy where after your third violation, you will no longer be provided mitigation opportunities. If you are a first-time offender, "penalties assessed may be mitigated to an amount between 1 to 10% of the value of the assessed penalty depending on the presence of mitigating and aggravating factors." For second offenders, that amount is raised to 10 to 25% of the value of the assessed penalty. Lastly, third time offenders will receive no lower than 25% of the value of the assessed penalty.

    For more information, make sure to read the mitigation guidelines here.

  • 10/30/2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Today we had our Annual Association meeting and election of officers and directors, we would like to share the results, the following members where elected:

     Monica Salinas  President
     Bo Burge  VicePresident
     Jose (Joe) D.Martinez  Treasurer
     Juan David Gonzalez  Secretary
     Olga Cantu  Board Member
     Dalia Moncivais  Board Member
     Victor Gonzalez  Board Member


    Thanks to everyone that voted and especially those that attended today's meeting.


  • 10/03/2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Dear LLUSCBA Member:

    Our association is stronger than ever with 128 regular members like you. The current LLUSCBA officers and board of directors work for you on an almost daily basis. It is now time to elect officers and board of directors for the 2020-2021 term. 

    In response to a recent allegation about an unfair nomination process for the 2020-2021 LLUSCBA officers and board of directors, I  am putting forth this statement in which I explain our nominations process

    1. Why are elections being held in October? 

    The LLUSCBA bylaws outline the process for elections.  There shall be an annual meeting of the association at such time and place as the President shall designate (Article VI, Section 1). Historically, elections have been held during our association meeting for October.  I, Raul Villarreal, as President, have designated October 30, 2019 as the annual meeting. Officers shall be elected prior to the annual meeting or any adjournment thereof (Article VIII, Section 1). 

    One allegation is that the annual meeting and election must take place in December.  Respectfully, I find no merit and no support for requiring a December election.

    2. What is the LLUSCBA nomination process?

    The LLUSCBA nomination process is outlined in our bylaws. Bylaws are the most important rules that govern our association. Bylaws can't be changed unless you, our members, get previous notice of any proposed change and a large majority is required to enact any proposed change. Bylaws are so important that they can't be suspended even by a unanimous vote. The process for nominations detailed in our bylaws cannot be amended, replaced, or circumvented. 

    The LLUSCBA bylaws require that the nominating committee shall file its report of nominations for the officers of the association to the Secretary. Since the members must receive the notification from the Secretary by September 30, 2019 (30 days prior to the annual meeting of October 30, 2019), the nominating committee must act sooner (Article VIII, Section 2).

    The nominating committee as a matter of policy has sole discretion in the nominations process. This process and discretion end upon submitting nominations to the Secretary. After consultation with the board and committees at a monthly board meeting, the nominating committee chose to solicit nominations from all members via email. An email went out to all members requesting nominations at the LLUSCBA office by COB on August 30, 2019. Nobody challenged the wording of the email prior to the deadline.

    One nomination for each position was timely received (Thursday August 29, 9:40 am in person at LLUSCBA office) and one nomination for each position was received after the deadline (Friday August 30, 9:46pm via email). Rodolfo Delgado, Nominating Committee chair, submitted nominations to the Secretary. He included only the nominations received before the deadline. Upon learning that the deadline had passed, and some nominations were untimely, the entire nominations process went under attack as a violation of the bylaws.

    The allegation was not elaborated in any detail. Simply a blanket accusation of a “violation of bylaws.” As President, I prepared and presented these facts to three professionals experienced in association elections and bylaws. The identities of the nominations were not disclosed as they were not relevant to the analysis. Unanimously,  Ed Greenburg (Legal Counsel for National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America “NCBFAA”), Amy Slavko (Nominations Chairperson for NCBFAA) and Miguel Conchas (President of the Laredo Chamber of Commerce) each concluded that the nomination process that was followed did not violate LLUSCBA Bylaws.

    Our bylaws require that the Secretary deliver the ballot with a proxy form to each regular member not later than 30 days prior to the annual meeting (Article 8, Section 2).  LLUSCBA Secretary Brenda Medina timely emailed the ballot with a proxy form to each regular member on September 27, 2019.

    The nomination process that we followed is consistent with prior years and it complied with our bylaws. Despite the unfounded allegations of an unfair process, we must move forward with the election as scheduled. 

    3. Why does the ballot include a write-in space?

    The board previously voted to use the same format as the prior ballot from 2017. Prior LLUSCBA election ballots include a write-in option. We are currently reviewing whether the write-in option is consistent with our bylaws.

    4. Can the ballot with a proxy form be submitted to LLUSCBA via email?

    Our bylaws state that elections shall be by majority vote; eligible members may vote by written proxy (Article VIII, Section 3). Our bylaws do not address paper versus electronic communications. As technology has advanced, our association has transitioned from paper or fax communications to email for just about everything (notices of meetings, electronic registration for events and seminars, and even for new member registrations). In fact, the late nominations came in via email.

    Furthermore, for at least the last five elections, members have been given the option to submit their ballot with a proxy form to the association office prior to the day of the election.  In the last three elections, the email soliciting votes specifically offered the option of submitting the form via email. Link to evidence to previous years emails

    There is an allegation that LLUSCBA cannot receive ballots early or by email. I do not believe there is any legitimate reason to prevent early voting by email. 

    I will leave this to each member’s discretion on how to submit their vote. If you choose to submit your vote by email, please send it directly to admin@lluscba.org. All ballots received by email will receive a reply confirming receipt.

    You may also choose to submit your ballot in person at the LLUSCBA office no later than Tuesday 29th of October, 2019 at 5:00 pm. 

    Thank you for being an active member of our association. United, we are all working  on common goals of education and advocacy in the customs broker industry. As the 2018-2019 LLUSCBA officers and board of directors wind down their term in office, I humbly ask that you exercise your right to vote.

    I look forward to seeing each of you at our annual meeting on October 30, 2019.

    Sincerely,

    Raul S. Villarreal
    LLUSCBA President 2018-2019
    October 3, 2019

    --------------------------

    Four of the last five LLUSCBA elections were held in October.

    • November 29, 2017 for 2018-2019 due to Southern Border Conference being hosted in Laredo October 25-28
    • October 28, 2015 for 2016-2017
    • October 30, 2013 for 2014-2015
    • October 26, 2011 for 2012-2013
    • October 28, 2009 for 2010-2011

     Evidence of previous years emails 

    Statement in PDF format if you wish to download 

  • 09/20/2019 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    Home

    Tom Karst

    September 19, 2019

    The new normal for U.S. imports of Mexican tomatoes is signed, sealed and delivered.

    With tweaks finalized Sept. 17 by the Commerce Department, representatives of Mexican tomato growers signed a new suspension agreement the early afternoon of Sept. 19. 

    The new agreement will end — likely within a couple of days — the 17.56% duty paid by importers of Mexican tomatoes since early May and replace it with minimum reference prices for U.S. imports of Mexican tomatoes. The agreement, which will be reviewed in five years, also suspends the dumping investigation of Mexican tomatoes into the U.S.

    The Department of Commerce and representatives of Mexican grower groups had initialed a draft Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Duty Investigation on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico on Aug. 20.

    The Department of Commerce said it reviewed comments on the draft agreement and have incorporated changes into the final text, signed on Sept. 19

    “Today’s successful outcome validates the Administration’s strong and smart approach to negotiating trade deals,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a news release.  “The Department’s action brought the Mexican growers to the negotiating table and led to a result that protects U.S. tomato producers from unfair trade. It also removes major uncertainties for the Mexican growers and their workers.”

    The suspension agreement, according to the release, completely eliminates the injurious effects of unfairly priced Mexican tomatoes, prevents price suppression and undercutting, and eliminates substantially all dumping, while allowing Commerce to audit up to 80 Mexican tomato producers and U.S. sellers per quarter, or more with good cause. 

    In addition, the release said the agreement also closes loopholes from past suspension agreements that permitted sales below the reference prices in certain circumstances and includes an inspection mechanism to prevent the importation of low-quality, poor-condition tomatoes from Mexico, which can have price-suppressive effects on the market. 

    The Department of Commerce said the Sept. 19 agreement stems from a Nov. 14 request last year from the Florida Tomato Exchange that Commerce terminate the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico.

    On Feb. 6 this year, Commerce notified the Mexican signatories that it would withdraw from the 2013 Suspension Agreement.  On May 7, the 2013 Suspension Agreement was terminated and, as a result, Commerce continued its antidumping investigation on imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. 

    “Today’s action exemplifies the Trump Administration’s priority of enforcing U.S. trade laws while ensuring that trade agreements are fair, reciprocal, and benefit American farmers, workers, businesses, and consumers,” the release said. “Tomato producers across America, including those in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, will benefit from this agreement.”

    Reaction

    The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas said in a statement that the deal comes with “extreme cost” to importers. The FPAA said importers will face unjustified costs and disruption to business due to the border inspection requirement, which the group called a technical barrier to trade.

    “It is outrageous that Commerce used false justifications to introduce what essentially acts as a quota or volume control method,” Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said in the release.  “It is completely unnecessary to require USDA to conduct quality inspections on an item that has already demonstrated a historical pass rate of 99.76%.”

    The FPAA estimated that constructing new warehouse space for inspections will cost importers more than $200 million upfront, plus another $50 million a year in fees and other costs.

    Jungmeyer said the inspection provision may invite other countries to impose similar requirements on U.S. exports. “All around, this is a total step backward.”

    On the other  hand, the Florida Tomato Exchange said in a statement that the signing of the agreement is a “step in the right direction to stop further injury to American farmers caused by dumped Mexican tomatoes.”
    The statement said the new suspension agreement includes strong monitoring, enforcement and anti-circumvention provisions, including border inspections, “that should help eliminate the injury to American tomato farmers caused by dumped Mexican tomatoes.” 

    “The border inspections will only cover about 66% of imported Mexican tomatoes, but this provision should discourage dumping of low quality and defective tomatoes, which have been depressing prices and injuring U.S. tomato producers for years,” the statement said.

    “The FTE appreciates the very hard work of Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Kessler and Deputy Assistant Secretary Lee Smith, along with their full team, in reaching this new agreement with the Mexican industry,” the group said. “We also appreciate the crucial work by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in helping develop the border inspection system.”

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement that the agreement is a "significant win" for U.S. tomato growers. 

    "I thank President Trump and Secretary Ross for not backing down from their commitment to ensure that tomato growers in Florida and across the U.S. are able to fairly compete in our domestic market,” Rubio said in the statement. “This new agreement includes strong monitoring, enforcement and anti-circumvention provisions to defend American-grown produce and should serve as a model for helping to rebalance agricultural trade with Mexico.”

    Mexican tomato interests expressed satisfaction with the agreement.

    “The agreement was hard-fought, but we were able to secure a number of important provisions that will make this deal work for our distributors and customers,” Mario Robles, director of the Sinaloa growers association, said in a statement released by Mexican tomato growers.

    One of the provisions in the agreement, according to Robles, is the commitment that mandatory inspections required by the deal will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in accordance with its normal practice, including being done in a timely manner and completed within 24 hours. 

    The Department of Commerce also committed that the inspection program – which does not take effect for at least six months – will be developed and implemented in consultation with experts at the USDA, according to the statement.

    “These provisions help relieve our concerns that the U.S. was setting up a de facto quota or volume restriction,” Rosario Beltran, president of the grower association CAADES, said in the statement. “We hope these provisions will give comfort to the many interests in both countries concerned about bottlenecks at the border and supply chain delays.” 

    Mexican tomato growers, according to the statement, were also able to preserve the ability to sell directly to U.S. retailers and otherwise protect the rights of these and other U.S. buyers to seek damages in the “infrequent event” of a breach of warranty. “It was very important to us that our U.S. customers not lose their options and we are happy that Commerce agreed,” Salvador Garcia, president of the Baja growers association, said in the release.

    “Considering that we started the negotiations with Commerce with the Florida Tomato Exchange demanding that the reference prices should be extended downstream to the final sale and that U.S. buyers be stripped of legal rights, we believe we have ended up in a much better place,” Oscar Woltman, President of AMHPAC, Mexico’s largest growers’ association.

    “We take the Department of Commerce at its word that the agreement is not designed to impede trade and we thank the Department’s team for working with us to make important changes to the agreement in the last 30 days,” Antonio Gandara, president of the Sonora growers association, said in the release. “We look forward to continue supplying the best tomatoes in the world to U.S. consumers.”

    The Florida Tomato Exchange said in their statement that the agreement can only work if it is enforced.

    “The FTE looks forward to working with the Commerce Department and the USDA to ensure that the agreement is enforced vigorously and to identify and stop all efforts to circumvent or undermine its provisions, especially the border inspection system,” the group said. The Florida Tomato Exchange member companies produce close to 50% of the fresh-market tomatoes grown in the U.S., the group states. The Florida Tomato Exchange is the domestic petitioner in the antidumping case against fresh tomatoes from Mexico.

  • 09/05/2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Thursday, September 05, 2019
    Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection has amended its regulations regarding statement processing and Automated Clearinghouse to reflect that final statements will be identified as paid upon the completion of the funds transfer for the ACH debit and credit payment processes. CBP is making a related change to its ongoing test of periodic monthly statements. CBP states that these changes only affect its internal accounting procedures and will result in no associated delays, interruptions, or process changes for the trade community.

    Statement processing allows entry/entry summaries and entry summaries to be grouped by importer or filer on a daily basis. Any related duties, taxes, fees, and interest may be paid with a single payment rather than by individual checks for each entry. The preferred method of payment is ACH, except where the importer has provided a separate check for customs charges (mixing of payment methods for a single statement is prohibited).

    There are two ACH payment processes, ACH debit and ACH credit. Currently when CBP accepts the ACH debit authorization it identifies the preliminary statement as paid and posts the appropriate amounts to the related entries. However, the funds transfer is usually not completed until two business days afterward. CBP is therefore removing the requirement to identify the preliminary statement as paid. The preliminary statement will still be issued but CBP will now identify the final statement as paid and post the appropriate amounts to the related entries upon receiving confirmation from the Treasury Department that the funds are available and transferred to CBP, which marks the completion of the funds transfer.

    CBP is making a similar change for ACH credit, which allows a payor to electronically transmit statement processing payments, deferred tax payments, or bill payments directly to the CBP account maintained by Treasury.

    CBP states that these changes do not affect the timeliness of ACH debit or credit payments. Once CBP receives confirmation that the funds are available and have been transferred it will treat the date of its acceptance of the ACH debit or credit authorization as the effective payment date for purposes of determining the timeliness of the payment. This date will also remain the date for the calculation of interest and/or liquidated damages.

    Similarly, CBP is revising its ongoing test of periodic monthly statements, which allows importers to deposit estimated duties, fees, and taxes on a monthly basis, to reflect that when payment is made via ACH it will identify PMS as paid upon the completion of the funds transfer.
  • 09/05/2019 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    To whom it may concern,

    This notice is to advise you that starting immediately a modification in the way we process the agriculture commodities that fall under the National Agriculture Release Program (NARP) at the port of Eagle Pass.

    All NARP commodities entering our port will proceed to the exit gate without having to park at the dock unless selected for inspection.

    You are responsible for submitting the Notice of Arrival to this email address eaglepassagspecialists@cbp.dhs.gov at least two hours before the commodity arrives at our port and also make sure to attach all entry information to DIS.

    If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact one of the CBP Agriculture Specialist Supervisors. 

    Regards,
    Eliseo De La Garza
    Supervisor Agriculture Specialist
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    Eagle Pass, TX
    Office: 830-752-3567
    Cell:    830-213- 0892


  • 09/04/2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Wednesday, September 4, 2019
    Office of Public Affairs
    (202) 482-4883
    publicaffairs@doc.gov

    On Wednesday September 4, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the affirmative preliminary determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of certain fabricated structural steel from China and Mexico, finding that exporters from China and Mexico have dumped fabricated structural steel in the United States at margins ranging from 0.00 percent to 141.38 percent and 0.00 percent to 30.58 percent, respectively. The Department also announced a negative preliminary determination in the AD investigation of certain fabricated structural steel from Canada.

    As a result of Wednesday's decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of fabricated structural steel from China and Mexico based on the preliminary rates noted above.

    In 2018, imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China, and Mexico were valued at an estimated $722.5 million, $897.5 million, and $622.4 million, respectively.

    The petitioner is the American Institute of Steel Construction Full Member Subgroup (Chicago, IL).

    The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump Administration. Since the beginning of the current Administration, Commerce has initiated 182 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 231 percent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.

    Antidumping and countervailing duty laws provide American businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of the unfair pricing of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 492 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

    Commerce is scheduled to announce the final determinations in these investigations on or about January 24, 2020.

    If Commerce’s final determinations are affirmative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will be scheduled to make its final injury determinations on or about March 9, 2020. If Commerce makes affirmative final determinations of dumping, and the ITC makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD orders. If Commerce makes negative final determinations of dumping, or the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.

    Click HERE for a fact sheet on today’s decisions.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.

    Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties. Companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments, such as grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks, or production inputs, are subject to countervailing duties aimed at directly countering those subsidies.

    Source: Department of Commerce


  • 07/25/2019 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Jul 25th, 2019 Falcon Executive Conference Center at Yeary Library 



  • 05/21/2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Please join U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership for a town hall discussion on efforts to facilitate trade in an evolving environment.
    Panelists:

    • Todd Owen – Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations
    • Brenda Smith – Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade
    • John Morris – Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent, Rio Grande Valley Sector, U.S. Border Patrol

    Moderator:

    • Bradley Hayes – Executive Director, Office of Trade Relations

    Details

    • Where - Laredo College; Falcon Executive Conference Room,
      1 West End Washington Street; Laredo, TX 78040
    • When - Friday, May 31, 2018
    • Time - 9:00am – 10:00am
    • Press - Open
    For questions, please email traderelations@cbp.dhs.gov
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