Based upon complaints
filed with U.S. Customs by the Fresh Garlic Producers Association
("FGPA"), the Customs Service will be examining whether fresh garlic
grown in China is being transshipped through Thailand, Vietnam or
other countries. At
present, fresh garlic from China is subject to a 376% antidumping
duty ("AD") rate. The
motive to transship is to avoid paying the exorbitant antidumping
understand that Customs officials have been reviewing imports of
garlic at the port of Long Beach, the primary port for fresh garlic
imports. The U.S. garlic
industry alleges that imports of fresh garlic from Thailand have
dramatically increased in 2001, and that millions of pounds of Chinese
garlic are coming into the United States illegally.
the Customs laws, importers are legally responsible for the correctness
of information shown on their commercial invoices, including the
country of origin and the deposit of any estimated antidumping duties
due. Moreover, under
the law, importers have a statutory obligation to use "reasonable
care" to correctly enter their merchandise.
of the potentially high dumping duties to be assessed and the risk
of transshipment, importers should implement procedures to verify
the origin of the fresh garlic that they are importing.
who import transshipped garlic (whose country of origin is falsely
given as being from another country) may be subject to either civil
penalties or criminal prosecution, and Customs may initiate a criminal
investigation should there be any evidence of transshipment.
Customs determines that the importer knowingly imported transshipped
garlic, Customs can issue criminal sanctions under 18 U.S.C. §1001,
for knowingly making a false or fraudulent statement, which can
include imprisonment and fines.
the civil side, Customs can issue penalties under 19 U.S.C. §1592,
which could range from one to eight times the loss of antidumping
duties. Since there
is a very high antidumping duty rate (376%), the civil penalties
could be very high.
recommend that importers of fresh garlic make an effort to verify
the country of origin of their imported fresh garlic.
would be pleased to review this matter in more detail, should your
company desire additional information regarding this Customs investigation.
you have any questions on the issues raised in this newsletter,
please contact Stephen Spraitzar at (415)-288-0427, or at email@example.com.
by Tuttle Law Offices.
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