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Importing Chapter 8

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS


37. PROHIBITIONS, RESTRICTIONS, OTHER AGENCY REQUIREMENTS

The importation of certain classes of merchandise may be prohibited or restricted to protect the economy and security of the United States, to safeguard consumer health and well-being, and to preserve domestic plant and animal life. Some commodities are also subject to an import quota or a restraint under bilateral trade agreements and arrangements.

Many of these prohibitions and restrictions on importations are subject, in addition to Customs requirements, to the laws and regulations administered by other United States government agencies with which Customs cooperates in enforcement. These laws and regulations may, for example, prohibit entry; limit entry to certain ports; restrict routing, storage, or use; or require treatment, labeling, or processing as a condition of release. Customs clearance is given only if these various additional requirements are met. This applies to all types of importations, including those made by mail and those placed in foreign trade zones.

The foreign exporter should make certain that the United States importer has provided proper information to (1) permit the submission of necessary information concerning packing, labeling, etc., and (2) that necessary arrangements have been made by the importer for entry of the merchandise into the United States.

It may be impracticable to list all articles specifically; however, various classes of articles are discussed in this chapter. Foreign exporters and U.S. importers should consult the agency mentioned for detailed information and guidance, as well as for any changes to the laws and regulations under which the commodities are controlled. Addresses, phone numbers, and Web sites for these agencies are listed in the appendix.

AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES

1. Cheese, Milk, and Dairy Products. Cheese and cheese products are subject to requirements of the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. Most importations of cheese require an import license and are subject to quotas administered by the Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, DC 20250 (see Chapter 39).

The importation of milk and cream is subject to requirements of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Import Milk Act. These products may be imported only by holders of permits from the Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Food Labeling (HFS-156), 200 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20204; and the Department of Agriculture.

2. Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts. Certain agricultural commodities (including fresh tomatoes, avocados, mangoes, limes, oranges, grapefruit, green peppers, Irish potatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, dry onions, walnuts and filberts, processed dates, prunes, raisins, and olives in tins) must meet United States import requirements relating to grade, size, quality, and maturity (7 U.S.C. 608(e)). These commodities are inspected and an inspection certificate must be issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture to indicate import compliance. Inquiries on general requirements should be made to the Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250. Additional restrictions may be imposed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of that department, Washington, DC 20782, under the Plant Quarantine Act, and by the Food and Drug Administration, Division of Import Operations and Policy (HFC-170), 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

3. Insects. Insects in a live state which are injurious to cultivated crops (including vegetables, field crops, bush fruit, and orchard, forest, or shade trees) and the eggs, pupae, or larvae of such insects are prohibited importation, except for scientific purposes, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

All packages containing live insects or their eggs, pupae, or larvae, which are not injurious to crops or trees, are permitted entry into the United States only if covered by a permit issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture and are not prohibited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

4. Livestock and Animals. Inspection and quarantine requirements of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) must be met for the importation of (1) all cloven-hoofed animals (ruminants), such as cattle, sheep, deer, antelope, camels, giraffes; (2) swine including the various varieties of wild hogs and the meat from such animals; (3) horses, asses, mules, and zebras; (4) all avian species including poultry and pet birds; (5) animal by-products, such as untanned hides, wool, hair, bones, bone meal, blood meal, animal casings, glands, organs, extracts, or secretions of ruminants and swine (if animal by-products for food, drugs, or cosmetics, they are also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration); (6) animal germ-plasm, including embryos and semen; and (7) hay and straw. A permit for importation must be obtained from APHIS before shipping from the country of origin.

In addition, all animal imports must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate. Entry procedures for livestock and animals from Mexico and Canada (except for birds from Mexico) are not as rigorous as those for animals from other countries. Entry of animals is restricted to certain ports that have been designated as quarantine stations. All nondomesticated animals must meet the requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

5. Meat and Meat Products. All commercial shipments of meat and meat food products (derived from cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and horses) offered for entry into the United States are subject to the regulations of the Department of Agriculture and must be inspected by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of that department prior to release by U.S. Customs. Meat products from other sources (including, but not limited to wild game) are subject to APHIS regulations; the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

6. Plant and Plant Products. The importation of plants and plant products is subject to regulations of the Department of Agriculture and may be restricted or prohibited. Plants and plant products include fruits, vegetables, plants, nursery stock, bulbs, roots, seeds, certain fibers including cotton and broomcorn, cut flowers, sugarcane, certain cereals, elm logs, and elm lumber with bark attached. Import permits are required. Further information should be obtained from APHIS. Also, certain endangered species of plants may be prohibited or require permits or certificates. The Food and Drug Administration also regulates plant and plant products, particularly fruits and vegetables.

7. Poultry and Poultry Products. Poultry, live, dressed, or canned; eggs, including eggs for hatching; and egg products are subject to the requirements and regulations of the Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture.

Except for live poultry and poultry products entering through land ports from Canada, permits are required, as well as special marking and labeling; and in some cases, foreign inspection certification. The term "poultry" is defined as any live or slaughtered domesticated bird, e.g., chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, swans, partridges, guinea fowl, pea fowl, non-migratory ducks, pigeons, and doves. Other birds (e.g., commercial, domestic, or pen-raised grouse, pheasants and quail, and migratory birds) as well as certain egg products are subject to APHIS regulations and to the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration. Inquiry should also be made to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC 20240, about their requirements, restrictions, and prohibitions.

8. Seeds. The importation into the United States of agricultural and vegetable seeds and screenings is governed by the provisions of the Federal Seed Act of 1939 and regulations of the Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture. Shipments are detained pending the drawing and testing of samples.

ARMS, AMMUNITION, AND RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS

9. Arms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Implements of War. These items are prohibited importations except when a license is issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC 20226, Tel. 202.927.8320, or the importation is in compliance with the regulations of that department. The temporary importation, in-transit movement, and exportation of arms and ammunition is prohibited unless a license is issued by the Office of Defense Trade Controls, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, or unless a license exemption is available as set forth in 22 CFR 123.4 and other sections of 22 CFR. Any questions about exporting shotguns should be referred to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Exporter Assistance Staff, Washington, DC 20230.

10. Radioactive Materials and Nuclear Reactors. Many radioisotopes, all forms of uranium, thorium, and plutonium, and all nuclear reactors imported into the United States are subject to the regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in addition to import regulations imposed by any other agency of the United States. Authority to import these commodities or articles containing these commodities requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Washington, DC 20555. (Refer to 10 CFR Part 110.)

Radioisotopes and radioactive sources intended for medical use are subject to the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration.

In order to comply with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements, the importer must be aware of the identity and amount of any NRC-controlled radioisotopes, or uranium, thorium, and plutonium, and of any nuclear reactor being imported into the United States. To assure passage through Customs, the importer must demonstrate to U.S. Customs which Nuclear Regulatory Commission authority the controlled commodity is being imported under. The authority cited may be the number of a specific or general license, or the specific section of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations which establishes a general license or grants an exemption to the regulations. The foreign exporter may save time for the prospective importer by furnishing the importer with complete information concerning the presence of NRC-controlled commodities in U.S. importations.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS-ENERGY CONSERVATION

11. Household appliances. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended, calls for energy standards for certain major household appliances and for labeling them to indicate expected energy consumption or efficiency. The Department of Energy, Office of Codes and Standards, Washington, DC 20585, is responsible for test procedures and energy performance standards. The Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, Washington, DC 20580, regulates the labeling of these appliances. The Act covers the following household appliances: (1) refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers; (2) room air-conditioners; (3) central air-conditioners and central air-conditioning heat pumps; (4) water heaters; (5) furnaces; (6) dishwashers; (7) clothes washers; (8) clothes dryers; (9) direct heating equipment; (10) kitchen ranges and ovens; (11) pool heaters; and (12) flourescent lamp ballasts.

12. Commercial and industrial equipment. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) calls for energy performance standards for certain commercial and industrial equipment. The Department of Energy, Office of Codes and Standards, Washington, DC 20585, is responsible for test procedures and energy performance standards. The EPACT covers the following equipment: (1) small and large commercial-package air-conditioning and heating equipment; (2) packaged terminal air-conditioners and heat pumps; (3) warm-air furnaces; (4) packaged boilers; (5) storage water heaters; (6) instantaneous water heaters; (7) unfired hot-water storage tanks; (8) large electric motors (one to 200 horsepower) whether shipped separately or as a part of a larger assembly; (9) 4-foot medium bi-pin, 2-foot U-shaped, 8-foot slimline, and 8-foot high-output flourescent lamps; and (10) incandescent reflector lamps. In addition, the EPACT calls for water conservation standards for the following plumbing products: (1) lavatory faucets; (2) lavatory replacement aerators; (3) kitchen faucets; (4) kitchen replacement faucets; (5) metering faucets; (6) gravity tank-type toilets; (7) flushometer tank toilets; (8) electromechanical hydraulic toilets; (9) blowout toilets; and (10) urinals.

Importation of these products must comply with the applicable Department of Energy and Federal Trade Commission requirements. Importers should contact these agencies for requirements which will be in effect at the time of anticipated shipment. It should be noted that not all appliances are covered by requirements of both agencies.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS-SAFETY

Any consumer product offered for importation will be refused admission if the product fails to comply with an applicable product safety standard or regulation or with a specified labeling or certification requirement or is determined to present a substantial product hazard. These requirements are administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Washington, DC 20207.

13. Toys and Children's Articles. Toys and other children's articles cannot be imported into the United States if they fail to comply with applicable regulations issued under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The major regulations dealing with toys are described below. Toys or other articles intended for children under three years of age cannot have small parts that present choking hazards to small children. The Child Safety Protection Act (an amendment to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act) and its implementing regulations require warning labeling on toys for children who are at least three years of age, but less than six years of age, and that present choking hazards from small parts. These regulations also cover balloons, small balls (small balls for children under age three are banned), and marbles. Electric toys, rattles, pacifiers, and cribs are also subject to specific safety regulations. CPSC's regulations contain tests used to define hazardous sharp edges and points on toys and other children's articles. Lawn darts are banned.

14. Lead In Paint. Paint and other similar surface coating materials intended for consumer use are banned if they contain more than 0.06 percent lead. This ban also applies to furniture with paint that exceeds 0.06 percent lead and to toys or other articles intended for use by children with paint that exceeds 0.06 percent lead. Such products cannot be admitted into the United States. Although this ban applies to "surface coatings," CPSC can take action, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, against other lead-containing products if the lead content results in a substantial risk of injury or illness.

15. Bicycles and Bicycle Helmets. Bicycles cannot be admitted unless they meet regulations issued under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The CPSC also has mandatory safety standards for bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets imported after March 10, 1999, will not be admitted unless they meet CPSC's final Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets. At that time, bicycle helmets will need to be accompanied by a Certificate of Compliance. Bicycle helmets currently imported must meet one of several interim standards.

16. Fireworks. The fireworks regulations issued under the Federal Hazardous Substance Act set labeling requirements and technical specifications for consumer fireworks. Large fireworks, such as cherry bombs and M-80s, are banned for consumer use. Large reloadable mortar shell fireworks are banned, and large multiple-tube mine and shell fireworks are subject to specific requirements to prevent tip-over. Fireworks not meeting any of these requirements cannot be imported into the United States.

17. Flammable Fabrics. Any article of wearing apparel, fabric or interior furnishing cannot be imported into the United States if it fails to conform to an applicable flammability standard issued under the Flammable Fabrics Act. These flammability standards cover general wearing apparel, children's sleepwear, mattresses (including futons), and carpets and rugs. Certain products can be imported into the United States, as provided in Section 11(c) of the Act, for the purpose of finishing or processing to render such products not so highly flammable as to be dangerous when worn by individuals, provided that the exporter states on the invoice or other paper relating to the shipment that the shipment is being made for that purpose.

18. Art Materials. Art materials cannot be imported into the United States unless they meet the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) of 1988, which is an amendment to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. LHAMA requires that chronically hazardous art materials carry the warning labeling specified in an industry standard, ASTM D-4236. This standard also requires that art materials carry a label certifying that they have been reviewed by a toxicologist and identifying any known hazards.

19. Cigarette Lighters. Disposable and novelty cigarette lighters cannot be admitted into the United States unless they meet a safety standard issued under the Consumer Product Safety Act that requires them to be child-resistant. All nonrefillable lighters, and refillable lighters whose customs value is less than $2.00 and that use gas as a fuel, are considered to be "disposable lighters" and are covered by the standard. Novelty lighters are lighters (using any type of fuel) which have entertaining audio or visual effects or that depict articles commonly recognized as intended for use by children under five years of age. Manufacturers must test lighters, keep records and report the results to CPSC. A Certificate of Compliance must accompany each shipping unit of the product, or otherwise be furnished to the distributor or retailer to whom the product is de livered by the manufacturer, private labeler or importer.

20. Other Regulations and Standards. CPSC has issued a number of other safety standards and regulations. These have generally been of less interest to the importing community because fewer of these items are imported. These include:

  • Architectural glazing,
  • Matchbooks,
  • CB and TV antennas,
  • Walk-behind power lawn-mowers,
  • Swimming pool slides,
  • Cellulose insulation,
  • Garage door-operators,
  • Unstable refuse bins,
  • Flammable contact adhesives,
  • Patching compounds with asbestos,
  • Emberizing materials with asbestos,
  • Household chemicals,
  • Refrigerator doors,
  • Poison Prevention Packaging Act (requires child-resistant packaging of certain drugs and household chemicals).

ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS

21. Radiation-Producing Products, Including Sonic Radiation. Television products that incorporate a cathode-ray tube, cold-cathode gas discharge tubes, microwave ovens, cabinet and diagnostic x-ray equipment, laser products, ultrasound physical therapy equipment, sunlamps, CD-ROMs, cellular and cordless telephones, and other electronic products for which there are radiation performance standards, are subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Chapter V, Subchapter C-Electronic Product Radiation (formerly called the Radiation Control Health and Safety Act of 1968). An electronic product (a) for which there is a radiation performance standard and (b) that is imported for sale or use in the United States may be imported only if a declaration (Form FDA 2877) is filed with each importer's entry notice. Form FDA 2877 is available from the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Rockville, MD 20850.

The declaration must describe the compliance status of the product. The importer must affirm that the product was (1) not subject to a standard (e.g., manufactured prior to the effective date of the applicable federal standard), or (2) complies with the standard and has a label affixed by the manufacturer certifying compliance, or (3) does not comply with the standard but is being imported only for purposes of research, investigation, study, demonstration, or training, or (4) does not now comply with the standard but will be brought into compliance. The provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Chapter V, Subchapter C-Electronic Product Radiation-apply to electronic products manufactured in the United States as well as to imported products.

22. Radio Frequency Devices. Radios, tape recorders, stereos, televisions, citizen band radios or combinations thereof, and other radio frequency devices are subject to radio emission standards of the Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554, under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Importations of such products may be accompanied by an FCC declaration (FCC 740) certifying that the imported model or device is in conformity with, will be brought into conformity, or is exempt from, the Federal Communication Commission requirements.

FOODS, DRUGS, COSMETICS, AND MEDICAL DEVICES

23. Foods, Cosmetics, etc. The importation into the United States of food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics is governed by the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which is administered by the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD 20857. That Act prohibits the importation of articles that are adulterated or misbranded, including products that are defective, unsafe, filthy, or produced under unsanitary conditions. The term "misbranded" includes statements, designs, or pictures in labeling that are false or misleading, or that fail to provide required information in labeling. The Act also prohibits the importation of pharmaceuticals that have not been approved by the FDA for admission into the United States.

Imported products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration are subject to inspection at the time of entry. Shipments found not to comply with the laws and regulations are subject to refusal. They must be brought into compliance, destroyed, or re-exported. At the discretion of the Food and Drug Administration, an importer may be permitted to bring a nonconforming importation into compliance if it is possible to do so. Any sorting, reprocessing, or relabeling must be supervised by the Food and Drug Administration at the importer's expense.

Various imported foods such as confectionery, dairy products, poultry, eggs and egg products, meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables are also subject to requirements of other agencies as discussed in this book. Certain aquatic species may also be subject to the requirements of the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration of the Department of Commerce, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

24. Biological Drugs. The manufacture and importation of biological products for human consumption are regulated under the Public Health Service Act. Domestic and foreign manufacturers of such products must obtain a U.S. license for both the manufacturing establishment and the product intended to be produced or imported. Additional information may be obtained from the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD 20857.

Biological drugs for animals are regulated under the Virus Serum Toxin Act, which is administered by the Department of Agriculture. The importation of viruses, serums, toxins and analogous products, and organisms and vectors for use in the treatment of domestic animals, is prohibited unless the importer holds a permit from the Department of Agriculture covering the specific product. These importations are also subject to special labeling requirements.

25. Biological Materials and Vectors. The importation into the United States for sale, barter, or exchange of any virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, or analogous products, or arsphenamine or its derivatives (or any other trivalent organic arsenic compound), except materials to be used in research experiments, applicable to the prevention, treatment, or cure of diseases or injuries of man is prohibited unless these products have been propagated or prepared at any establishment holding an unsuspended and unrevoked U.S. license for such manufacturing issued by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. Samples of the U.S.-licensed product must accompany each importation for forwarding by the port director of Customs at the port of entry to the Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, 1401 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20852.

A permit from the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, is required for shipments of any etiological agent or insect, animal or plant vector of human disease or any exotic living insect, animal, or plant capable of being a vector of human disease.

26. Narcotic Drugs and Derivatives. The importation of controlled substances including narcotics, marijuana and other dangerous drugs, is prohibited except when imported in compliance with regulations of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the Department of Justice, Arlington, VA 22202. Examples of some of the prohibited controlled substances are amphetamines; barbiturates; coca leaves and derivatives such as cocaine; hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, mescaline, peyote, marijuana and other forms of cannabis; opiates, including methadone; opium, including opium derivatives such as morphine and heroin; synthetic substitutes for narcotic drugs, and anabolic steroids.

27. Drug Paraphernalia. Items of drug paraphernalia are prohibited from importation or exportation under Section 863, Title 21 of the United States Code. The term "drug paraphernalia" means any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance, possession of which is unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act (Title II of Public Law 91-513). Items of drug paraphernalia include, but are not limited to, the following items:

  • Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls;
  • Water pipes;
  • Carburetion tubes and devices;
  • Smoking and carburetion masks;
  • Roach clips; meaning objects used to hold burning material, such as a marijuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand;
  • Miniature spoons with level capacities of one-tenth cubic centimeter or less;
  • Chamber pipes;
  • Carburetor pipes;
  • Electric pipes;
  • Air-driven pipes;
  • Chillums;
  • Bongs;
  • Ice pipes or chillers;
  • Wired cigarette papers; or
  • Cocaine freebase kits.

GOLD, SILVER, CURRENCY, AND STAMPS

28. Gold and Silver. The provisions of the National Stamping Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 291-300) are enforced in part by U.S. Customs and by the FBI. Articles made of gold or alloys thereof are prohibited importation into the United States if the gold content is three one-thousandth parts below the indicated fineness. In the case of articles made of gold or gold alloy, including the solder and alloy of inferior fineness, three one-thousandth parts below the indicated fineness is permitted. Articles marked "sterling" or "sterling silver" must assay at least 0.925 of pure silver with a 0.004 divergence allowed. Other articles of silver or silver alloys must assay not less than 0.004 part below the indicated fineness thereof. Articles marked "coin" or "coin silver" must contain at least 0.900 part pure silver with an allowable divergence of 0.004 part below.

A person placing articles of gold or silver bearing a fineness or quality mark such as 14K, sterling, etc., in the mail or in interstate commerce must place his name or registered trademark next to the fineness mark in letters the same size as the fineness mark. The trademark or name is not required at the time of importation; therefore, Customs has no direct responsibility for enforcement of the law. Persons making inquiry or seeking advice or interpretation of the law should consult the Department of Justice.

Articles bearing the words "United States Assay" are prohibited importations. Articles made wholly or in part of inferior metal and plated or filled with gold or silver or alloys thereof and which are marked with the degree of fineness must also be marked to indicate the plated or filled content, and in such cases, the use of the words "sterling" or "coin" is prohibited.

All restrictions on the purchase, holding, selling, or otherwise dealing with gold were removed effective December 31, 1974, and gold may be imported subject to the usual Customs entry requirements. Under the Hobby Protection Act, administered by the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission, any imitation numismatic item must be plainly and permanently marked "copy"; those that do not comply are subject to seizure and forfeiture. Unofficial gold coin restrikes must be marked with the country of origin. It is advisable to obtain a copy of the legal proclamation under which the coins are issued, or else an affidavit of government sanction of coins should be secured from a responsible banking official if the proclamation is unavailable.

29. Counterfeit Articles. Articles bearing facsimiles or replicas of coins or securities of the United States or of any foreign country cannot be imported. Counterfeits of coins in circulation in the United States; counterfeited, forged, or altered obligations or other securities of the United States or of any foreign government; plates, dies, or other apparatus which may be used in making any of the foregoing, are prohibited importations.

30. Monetary Instruments. Under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, 31 U.S.C. 5311 et seq., if a person knowingly transports, is about to transport, or has transported, more than $10,000 in monetary instruments at one time to, through or from the United States; or if a person receives more than $10,000 at one time from or through a place outside the United States, a report of the transportation (Customs Form 4790) must be filed with the U.S. Customs Service. Monetary instruments include U.S. or foreign coin, currency; traveler's checks in any form, personal and other checks, and money orders, either in bearer-negotiable form or endorsed without restriction; and securities or stocks in bearer form. A bank check or money order made payable to a named person but not endorsed, or which bears a restrictive endorsement, is not considered to be a "monetary instrument." The Department of the Treasury regulations governing the report of monetary instruments are set forth at 31 CFR part 103.

PESTICIDES, TOXIC, AND HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

31. Pesticides. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as amended, 1988, provides the statutory authority governing the importation of pesticides and devices into the United States. Promulgated under Section 17(c) of this authority, the U.S. Customs Service regulations at 19 CFR Parts 12.112-.117 describe the procedures governing the importation of pesticides and devices. Among the requirements described in these regulations, importers must submit a Notice of Arrival that has been submitted for review and approved by the EPA prior to the importation. Pesticides must be registered in accordance with FIFRA Section 3 or they will be refused entry into the United States. Devices are not subject to product registration, but the labeling of both pesticides and devices must bear the producer establishment's number registered with the EPA. In addition, pesticides and devices will be refused entry if they are identified as adulterated or misbranded, if they in any other way violate the provisions of FIFRA, or if they are otherwise injurious to health or the environment.

32. Toxic Substances. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), effective January 1, 1977, regulates the manufacturing, importation, processing, distribution in commerce, use or disposal of any chemical substances or mixtures that are broadly defined in Section 3 of TSCA. Section 3 specifies that certain substances are excluded from the definition of "chemical substance" based upon their use. These substances include, but are not limited to, foods, drugs, cosmetics, and active ingredients in pesticides. Importations will not be released from Customs custody unless proper certification is presented to Customs that the import "complies with" or "is not subject to" the requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act, or if it is already identified as a food, drug, or active pesticide ingredient. For further information from EPA, call the TSCA Assistance Information Service, Tel. 202.554.1404.

33. Hazardous Substances. The importation into the United States of dangerous, caustic or corrosive substances in packages suitable for household use and of hazardous substances is regulated by the Hazardous Substance Act; the Caustic Poison Act; the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and the Consumer Product Safety Act. The marking, labeling, packaging, and transportation of hazardous materials, substances, wastes, and their containers is regulated by the Office of Hazardous Materials Transportation of the Department of Transportation, Washington, DC 20590. Hazardous waste is a special sub-category of hazardous substances and is regulated by the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act, which requires a special EPA manifest for both imports and exports.

TEXTILE, WOOL, AND FUR PRODUCTS

33. Textile Products. All textile fiber products imported into the United States shall be stamped, tagged, labeled, or otherwise marked with the following information as required by the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, unless exempted from marking under Section 12 of the Act:

  • The generic names and percentages by weight of the constituent fibers present in the textile fiber product, exclusive of permissive ornamentation, in amounts of more than five percent, in order of predominance by weight, with any percentage of fiber or fibers required to be designated as "other fiber" or "other fibers" appearing last. Fibers present in amounts of five percent or less must be designated as "other fibers."
  • The name of the manufacturer or the name or registered identification number issued by the Federal Trade Commission of one or more persons marketing or handling the textile fiber product. A word trademark, used as a house mark, registered in the United States Patent Office, may be used on labels in lieu of the name otherwise required, if the owner of such trademark furnishes a copy of the registration to the Federal Trade Commission prior to use.
  • The name of the country where processed or manufactured.

In order to enforce the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, a commercial invoice covering a shipment of textile fiber products exceeding $500 in value and subject to the labeling requirements of the Act is required to show the information noted in Chapter 10, in addition to the information ordinarily required on the invoices.

In addition to labeling requirements, the importation of textiles and textile products may, pursuant to Section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, be subject to quota, visa or export-license requirements and additional entry requirements including declarations identifying the fabricated components.

Regulations and pamphlets containing the text of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act may be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.

34. Wool. Any product containing woolen fiber imported into the United States, with the exception of carpet, rugs, mats, upholsteries, and articles made more than 20 years prior to importation, shall be tagged, labeled, or otherwise clearly marked with the following information as required by the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939:

  • The percentage of the total fiber weight of the wool product, exclusive of ornamentation not exceeding five percent of the total fiber weight, of: (1) wool, (2) recycled wool, (3) each fiber other than wool if the percent by weight of such fiber is five percent or more, and (4) the aggregate of all other fibers.
  • The maximum percent of the total weight of the wool product, of any nonfibrous loading, filling, or adulterating matter.
  • The name of the manufacturer or person introducing the product into commerce in the United States; i.e., the importer. If the importer has a registered identification number issued by the Federal Trade Commission, that number may be used instead of the individual's name.

For the purpose of enforcing the Wool Products Labeling Act, a commercial invoice covering a shipment of wool products exceeding $500 in value and subject to the labeling requirements of the act is required to show the information noted in Chapter 10.

The provisions of the Wool Products Labeling Act apply to products manufactured in the United States as well as to imported products.

Pamphlets containing the text of the Wool Products Labeling Act and the regulations may be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.

36. Fur. Any article of wearing apparel imported into the United States and made in whole or in part of fur or used fur, with the exception of articles made of new fur of which the cost or manufacturer's selling price does not exceed $7, shall be tagged, labeled, or otherwise clearly marked to show the following information as required by the Fur Products Labeling Act:

  • The name of the manufacturer or person introducing the product into commerce in the United States; i.e., importer. If the importer has a registered identification number, that number may be used instead of the individual's name.
  • The name or names of the animal or animals that produced the fur as set forth in the Fur Products Name Guide and as determined under the rules and regulations.
  • That the fur product contains used or damaged fur where such is the fact.
  • That the fur product is bleached, dyed, or otherwise artificially colored when such is the fact.
  • That the fur product is composed in whole or in substantial part of paws, tails, bellies, or waste fur when such is the fact.
  • The name of the country of origin of any imported furs contained in a fur product.

For the purpose of enforcing the Fur Products Labeling Act, a commercial invoice covering a shipment of furs or fur products exceeding $500 in value is required to show the information noted in Chapter 10.

Dog or cat fur. The importation, exportation, transportation, distribution, or sale of any product that consists, or is composed in whole or in part, of any dog fur, cat fur, or both, is prohibited. Any such product that is imported, exported, transported, distributed, or sold will be seized and forfeited, and penalties may be imposed against any person who violates this law. In addition, anyone found to have violated this prohibition may be barred from importing or exporting any fur product. This prohibition does not apply to the importation, exportation, or transportation, for noncommercial purposes, of personal pets that are deceased, including a pet preserved through taxidermy.

The provisions of the Fur Products Labeling Act apply to fur and fur products in the United States as well as to imported furs and fur products. Regulations and pamphlets containing the text of the Fur Products Labeling Act may be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.

TRADEMARKS, TRADE NAMES, AND COPYRIGHTS

37. Trademarks and Trade Names. Articles bearing counterfeit trademarks are subject to seizure and forfeiture. A counterfeit trademark is defined as a spurious trademark that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a registered trademark. Marks that copy or simulate a registered trademark that has been recorded with Customs are subject to detention and possible seizure and forfeiture. The importation of "parallel" or "gray market" goods is restricted where the registered trademark has been recorded with Customs and gray-market protection has been afforded. In such instances, gray-market merchandise is subject to detention and possible seizure and forfeiture. The U.S. Customs Service also affords similar protection against unauthorized shipments bearing trade names that are recorded with Customs pursuant to regulations.

A personal exemption for merchandise bearing an infringing mark is provided for articles accompanying any person arriving in the United States when such articles are for his or her personal use and not for sale. Only one infringing item of each type bearing a registered trademark is permitted. An individual may take advantage of this exemption only once within a 30-day period (19 U.S.C. 1526 (d); 19 CFR 148.55).

38. Copyrights. Articles imported into the United States that are piratical of a registered copyright are subject to seizure and forfeiture.

WILDLIFE AND PETS

39. Wildlife and Pets. The importation of live wildlife (i.e., game animals, birds, plants) or any part or product made therefrom, and of birds' eggs, is subject to certain prohibitions, restrictions, permits and quarantine requirements of several government agencies. Imports or exports of wildlife, their parts or products must be declared at designated ports of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, unless an exception is granted prior to the time of import or export. The Assistant Regional Director of Law Enforcement for the region in which the import or export will take place should be contacted for additional information or to request an exception to designated port permit.

Any commercial importer or exporter (with some exceptions) importing or exporting wildlife must obtain a license from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Applications and further information may be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Assistant Regional Director for Law Enforcement, for the region in which the importer or exporter is located.

Endangered species of wildlife and certain species of animals and birds are generally prohibited entry into the United States and may be imported or exported only under a permit granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Specific information concerning permit requirements should be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, or by calling 1.800.358.2104.

Antique articles (at least 100 years old) may be exempt from certain requirements of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, should be contacted for details.

The taking and importation of marine mammals and their products are subject to the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, as amended in 1994. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service have jurisdiction under the MMPA for certain species and import activities. Additional requirements of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) may apply. Prior to importing, both agencies should be contacted to learn the exact import requirements. Other NMFS import requirements may also apply for certain species covered by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, e.g., Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Certain mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, snails, clams, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, other invertebrates and plants may be prohibited entry without the prior issuance of a permit either from the foreign wildlife authority or from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority.

The importation into the United States of any wildlife, their parts or products is prohibited if the wildlife was captured, taken, shipped, or possessed contrary to the laws of the foreign country.

The importation of feathers or skins of any bird, except for scientific and educational purposes, is prohibited, except for the species noted in this paragraph. This prohibition does not apply to fully manufactured artificial flies used for fishing or to personally taken, noncommercial game birds. Feathers or skins of the following species are permitted entry: chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, geese, ducks, pigeons, ostriches, rheas, English ring-necked pheasants, and pea fowl not taken from the wild.

On October 23, 1992, the Wild Bird Conservation Act became effective. This act focuses on live bird species listed in the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Now, if you import live birds, you must meet the requirements of this law in addition to existing requirements of CITES, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, or other applicable regulations. Import permits must be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority.

Live birds, their parts and products that are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act may be imported into the United States for scientific purposes or certain propagating purposes only under permits issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Migratory Birds, located in the region where the importation will occur or where the importer resides.

Imports of birds (pets, migratory birds, falcons) are subject to the quarantine requirements of the USDA and Public Health Service. Quarantine space must be reserved in advance of import. Prior to export, health certificates must be obtained. Inquiries should be addressed to the appropriate agency.

On June 9, 1989, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a ban on the importation of most African elephant ivory and any products made from it. The ban covers all commercial and noncommercial shipments, including personal baggage accompanying a tourist. There are limited exceptions for antiques, trophies, and personal household effects. For further information, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, Tel. 1.800.358.2104.

The importation of birds, cats, dogs, monkeys, and turtles is subject to the requirements of the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Quarantine Division, Atlanta, GA 30333; of the Veterinary Services of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture, Hyattsville, MD 20782; and of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The importation of live turtles, tortoises, and terrapins with a carapace length of less than four inches, and the viable eggs of turtles, tortoises and terrapins, is allowed by the U.S. Public Health Service only under strict requirements as to purpose and quantity. The U.S. Public Heath Service does not allow the importation of live, non-human primates, including monkeys, as pets.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED MERCHANDISE

White or yellow phosphorus matches, fireworks banned under federal or state restrictions, pepper shells, switchblade knives, and lottery tickets are prohibited.

40. Foreign Assets Control Restrictions. The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers regulations (31 CFR, Chapter V) which generally prohibit the importation of merchandise or goods that contain components from the following countries: Taliban (Afghanistan), Cuba, Iran (see note below), Iraq, Libya, Serbia (see note below), and Sudan. These restrictions apply to the country of origin, regardless of where the item was acquired.

These proscriptions do not apply to informational materials such as pamphlets, books, tapes, films, or recordings, except those from Iraq.

There are also strong restrictions on the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone, Angola, and Liberia. Contact your local port for more information on these so-called "conflict diamonds."

Note regarding Iran: The embargo on Iranian goods is being revised to allow the importation of carpets and foods for human consumption such as caviar and pistachios. Please check with your local port to find out when the new regulations are scheduled to take effect. Until the new regulations are published, the complete embargo is still in force.

Note regarding Serbia (Yugoslavia): The U.S. trade embargo against Serbia (Yugoslavia) has been partially lifted to permit the importation of Serbian merchandise. However, certain individuals or groups remain subject to the trade embargo. Refer to OFAC's Web site or contact the OFAC Licensing Division at 202.622.2480 for a complete listing of prohibited parties.

Specific licenses are required to bring prohibited merchandise into the United States, but they are rarely granted. Foreign visitors to the United States, however, may usually be permitted to bring in small articles for personal use as accompanied baggage, depending upon the goods' country of origin.

Travelers should be aware of certain travel restrictions that may apply to these countries. Because of the strict enforcement of these prohibitions, those anticipating foreign travel to any of the countries listed above would do well to write in advance to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC 20220, or to call 202.622.2500.

41. Obscene, Immoral, Seditious Matter and Lottery Tickets. Section 305, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, prohibits the importation of any book, writing, advertisement, circular, or picture containing any matter advocating or urging treason or insurrection against the United States, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States, or containing any threat to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the United States; or any obscene book, writing, advertisement, circular, picture or other representation, figure, or image on or of paper or other material, or any instrument, or other article which is obscene or immoral, or any drug or medicine for causing unlawful abortion unless otherwise authorized by law (e.g., FDA-approved), or any lottery ticket (except if printed in Canada for use in a U.S., or, in some cases, other foreign-lottery).

42. Petroleum and Petroleum Products. Importations of petroleum and petroleum products are subject to the requirements of the Department of Energy. An import license is no longer required, but an import authorization may be needed. These importations may be subject to an oil import license fee collected and administered by the Department of Energy. Inquiries should be directed to the Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585.

43. Products of Convict or Forced Labor. Merchandise produced, mined, or manufactured, wholly or in part by means of the use of convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor under penal sanctions is prohibited from importation, provided a finding has been published pursuant to section 12.42 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.42), that certain classes of merchandise from a particular country, produced by convict, forced, or indentured labor, were either being, or are likely to be, imported into the United States in violation of section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1307).

44. Unfair Competition. Section 337 of the Tariff Act, as amended, prohibits the importation of merchandise if the President finds that unfair methods of competition or unfair acts exist. This section is most commonly invoked in the case of patent violations, although a patent need not be at issue. Prohibition of entries of the merchandise in question generally is for the term of the patent, although a different term may be specified.

Following a section 337 investigation, the International Trade Commission may find that unfair methods of competition or unfair acts exist with respect to the importation of certain merchandise. After the International Trade Commission has issued an order, the President is allowed 60 days to take action to communicate his approval or disapproval of such determination. Should the 60 days expire without Presidential action, the order becomes final. During the 60-day period, or until the President acts, importation of the merchandise is allowed under a special bond, but it must be recalled by Customs if appropriate under the conditions of the order when it becomes final. If the President determines that entry of the merchandise is not in violation of section 337, the bond is canceled.

45. Importations of articles bearing the title, abbreviations, initials, symbols, emblems, seals, or badges of any subdivision of the Department of the Treasury, or likeness thereof, are prohibited unless the subdivision has authorized the use of the symbol, initials, etc. See 31 U.S.C. 333(c).

46. Artifacts/Cultural Property. A number of U.S. laws are applicable to importations of artifacts such as archaeological and ethnological objects. For example, U.S. law prohibits the importation of pre-Columbian monumental and architectural sculpture and murals from countries in Central and South America without proper export permits from the country of origin. U.S. Customs will not accept an export permit from a third country. Also, importations of certain archeological and ethnographic material from El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Mali, and Canada are specifically restricted from entering the United States unless they are accompanied by an export certificate issued by the country of origin. The U.S. Customs Service has published import restrictions on objects and artifacts of this nature in the Federal Register; these restrictions may also be viewed at the U.S. Information Agency's Web site. These restrictions are aimed at deterring the pillage of other countries' cultural heritage and at fostering opportunities for access to cultural objects for legitimate scientific, cultural, and educational purposes.

Federal law also prohibits the importation of any article of cultural property stolen from museums or from religious or secular public monuments. Importers should be aware that a treaty exists between the United States and Mexico on cultural property recovery. Would-be buyers of such property should be aware that, unlike purchases of customary tourist merchandise, purchases of cultural objects do not confer ownership should the object be found to be stolen. The U.S. National Stolen Property Act may be applicable in such cases, particularly if a country of origin declares by law that it owns all cultural objects, known or unknown, within its present-day political boundaries.

Purveyors of such merchandise have been known to offer fake export cerificates. Prospective buyers should be aware that Customs inspectors are expert at spotting fraudulent export certificates that accompany cultural property. Customs inspectors will also examine declaration forms to determine whether any false information has been entered, since this also constitutes a violation.

For current information about countries for which the United States has issued specific import restrictions, contact the United States Information Agency, Washington, DC, Tel. 202.619.6612, or visit USIA's Web site. For information about how these restrictions are enforced, contact the U.S. Customs Service Intellectual Property Rights Branch, Tel. 202.927.2330.

47. United States Trade Representative Actions. As authorized by the Trade Act of 1974, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) administers Section 301 complaints against foreign unfair trade practices that harm U.S. exporters. USTR actions that may directly affect U.S. importers include the suspension of concessions. For example, the USTR may suspend the normal-trade-relations rate of duty and substitute a substantially higher rate of duty on designated products from a foreign country that is found to be discriminating against U.S. products.

Importers and Internet shoppers should monitor the USTR web site (http://192.239.92.165/index.html) on a regular basis to determine whether their products may become subject to a substituted rate of duty. The USTR will normally propose a list of products and provide a comment period for businesses that may be affected by a higher duty rate.

The International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce has set up a notification system that will advise importers of USTR actions that may affect imported products. Importers who wish to receive such notification should sign up at the following URL: http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/industry/otea/301alert/form.html.

Importers should be advised that once the USTR has taken a Section 301 action, U.S. Customs is responsible for implementing the action as directed by USTR.

Information on USTR actions that U.S. Customs is currently implementing is located at the following Internet address: http://www.customs.treas.gov/impoexpo/ustract.htm.

38. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Any person or firm wishing to engage in the business of importing distilled spirits, wines, or malt beverages into the United States must first obtain an importer's basic permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC 20226, Tel. 202.927.8110. That agency is responsible for administering the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

Distilled spirits imported in bulk containers of a capacity of more than one gallon may be withdrawn from Customs custody only by persons to whom it is lawful to sell or otherwise dispose of distilled spirits in bulk. Bulk or bottled shipments of imported spirits or distilled or intoxicating liquors must, at the time of importation, be accompanied by a copy of a bill of lading or other documents such as an invoice, showing the name of the consignee, the nature of its contents, and the quantity contained therein (18 U.S.C. 1263).

U.S. Customs will not release alcoholic beverages destined to any state for use in violation of its laws, and the importation of alcoholic beverages in the mails is prohibited.

The United States adopted the metric system of measurement with the enactment of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. In general, imported wine must conform with the metric standards of fill if bottled or packed on or after January 1, 1979. Imported distilled spirits, with some exceptions, must conform with the metric standards of fill if bottled or packed on or after January 1, 1980. Distilled spirits and wines bottled or packed prior to the respective dates must be accompanied by a statement to that effect signed by a duly authorized official of the appropriate foreign country. This statement may be a separate document or may be shown on the invoice. Malt beverages including beer are not subject to metric standards of fill.

MARKING

Imported wines in bottles and other containers are required to be packaged, marked, branded, and labeled in accordance with the regulations in 27 CFR Part 4. Imported malt beverages, including alcohol-free and nonalcoholic malt beverages, are also required to be labeled in conformance with the regulations in 27 CFR Part 7. The labeling regulations governing imported distilled spirits can be found in 27 CFR Part 5.

Each bottle, cask or other immediate container of imported distilled spirits, wines, or malt beverages must be marked for Customs purposes to indicate the country of origin of the alcoholic beverage contained therein, unless the shipment comes within one of the exceptions outlined in Chapter 32 of this book.

CERTIFICATE OF LABEL APPROVAL

Labels affixed to bottles of imported distilled spirits, wine and malt beverages must be covered by certificates of label approval issued to the importer by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Certificates of label approval or photostatic copies must be filed with Customs before the goods may be released for sale in the United States. Certificate-of-label approval requirements must also be met for fermented malt beverages if similar to the federal requirements (27 CFR Parts 4, 5 and 7).

FOREIGN DOCUMENTATION

Importers of wines and distilled spirits should consult the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms about foreign documentation required, for example, certificates of origin, age, etc. Wines or distilled spirits from certain countries require original certificates of origin as a condition of entry.

REQUIREMENTS OF OTHER AGENCIES

In addition, the importation of alcoholic beverages is subject to the specific requirements of the Food and Drug Administration. Certain plant materials, when used for bottle jackets for wine or other liquids, are subject to special restrictions under plant quarantine regulations of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. All bottle jackets made of dried or unmanufactured plant materials are subject to inspection upon arrival and are referred to the Department of Agriculture.

Public Law 100-690, codified under 27 U.S.C. 213-219A, requires the following health warning to appear on the labels of containers of alcoholic beverages bottled on or after Nov. 18, 1989:

Government Warning: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery and may cause health problems.

39. MOTOR VEHICLES AND BOATS

AUTOMOBILES, VEHICLES AND VEHICLE EQUIPMENT

Safety, Bumper, and Emission Requirements. As a general rule, all imported motor vehicles less than 25 years old and items of motor vehicle equipment must comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in effect when these vehicles or items were manufactured. A Customs inspection at the time of entry will determine such compliance, which is verified by the original manufacturer's certification permanently affixed to the vehicle or merchandise. An entry declaration form, HS-7, must be filed when motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment are entered. The HS-7 can be obtained from customs brokers or ports of entry.

Certain temporary importations may be exempt from the requirements for conformance if written approval is obtained in advance from both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. This includes vehicles brought in for research, demonstrations, investigation, studies, testing or competitive events. Also, EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7 must be submitted to Customs at the time entry is made for such vehicles.

Vehicles imported for temporary use by certain nonresidents or by members of foreign governments or foreign armed forces may not be required to comply with safety, bumper, emission, or theft-prevention standards. Nonconforming vehicles imported by nonresidents for personal use must be exported at the end of one year. Vehicles described in this paragraph may also require EPA and DOT declarations (forms 3520-1 and HS-7, respectively).

A DOT bond in the amount of 150 percent of the vehicle's dutiable value must be posted at the port of entry when a noncertified or nonconforming vehicle is imported for permanent use. The importer must also sign a contract with a DOT-registered importer, who will modify the vehicle to conform with all applicable safety and bumper standards, and who can certify the modification(s). A copy of this contract must be furnished to the Customs Service with the HS-7 at the port of entry. Furthermore, the vehicle model and model year must be determined to be eligible for importation.

For additional information or details on these requirements, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Director of the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (NEF-32), 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20590 Tel. 1.800.424.9393.

The Clean Air Act, as amended, prohibits the importation of any motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine not in conformity with emission requirements prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This restriction applies whether the motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine is new or used, and whether it was originally produced for sale and use in a foreign country or originally produced (or later modified) to conform to EPA requirements for sale or use in the United States. In addition to passenger cars, all trucks, multipurpose vehicles (e.g., all-terrain vehicles, campers), motorcycles, etc., that are capable of being registered by a state for use on public roads or that the EPA has deemed capable of being safely driven on public roads, are subject to these requirements. The term "vehicle" is used below to include all EPA-regulated vehicles and engines.

Nonroad Engine Imports

In accordance with the Clean Air Act and implementing regulations, "40 CFR Parts 89, 90 and 91," the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating certain nonroad diesel and gasoline engines, requiring that they meet federal emission standards beginning January 1, 1996.

"Nonroad," also referred to as "off-road or off-highway" is a term that covers a diverse group of engines and equipment. The nonroad category includes lawn and garden equipment, outdoor power equipment, recreational equipment, farm equipment, construction equipment, marine engines, and locomotives.

Prior to importation into the United States, regulated nonroad engines must be covered by an EPA issued Certificate of Conformity. The Certificate is issued by EPA to the engine manufacturer which declares that the engine family named on the Certificate conforms with all applicable emissions standards and other requirements. It also permits the manufacturer to sell, offer for sale, introduce into commerce, or import into the United States, the named engine family. Certificates are issued for only one model year at a time. A label, confirming that the engine meets emission standards must be affixed to the engine and readily visible.

Upon request, an importer must provide an EPA Form 3520-21 to Customs at the time of entry into the United States. This form must contain the following information about the engine: model, model number, serial number, horsepower, build date, and manufacturer. It must also include a description of the equipment/vehicle containing the engine, including the equipment manufacturer, equipment serial number, and the location of the EPA Emissions Label and engine serial number.

To obtain additional information and specific guidelines regarding the importation of nonroad engines subject to the EPA emissions standards, please refer to EPA's Web site, entitled Enforcement Alert. To obtain technical assistance, please contact Office of Regulatory Enforcement, Air Enforcement Division, at 202.564.8673 or 202.564.1019.

U.S.-Version Vehicles

Any person may import U.S.-version vehicles. All such 1971 and later models are required to have a label in a readily visible position in the engine compartment stating that the vehicle conforms to U.S. requirements. This label will read "Vehicle Emission Control Information" and will have a statement by the manufacturer that the vehicle meets U.S. EPA emission requirements at the time of manufacture. If this label is not present, the importer should obtain a letter of conformity from the manufacturer's United States representative-not from a dealership-prior to importation.

Non-U.S.-Version Vehicles

Individuals are not permitted to import non-U.S.-version vehicles (unless otherwise excluded or exempted; see next sections). These vehicles must be imported (entered) by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) having a currently valid qualifying certificate of conformity for each vehicle being imported. The ICI will be responsible for performing all necessary modifications, testing and labeling, as well as providing an emissions warranty identical to the emissions warranty required of new vehicles sold in the U.S.

A list of approved ICIs is available from the EPA. Vehicles at least 21 years old are exempt from these provisions and may be imported without modification.

WORDS OF CAUTION:

  • Not all nonconforming vehicles are eligible for importation, and ICIs are not required to accept vehicles for which they have qualifying certificates of conformity.
  • EPA certification of ICIs does not guarantee the actions or work of the ICIs, nor does it regulate contractual agreements and working relationships with vehicle owners.
  • EPA strongly recommends that prospective importers buy only U.S.-version (labeled) vehicles, because of the expense and potential difficulties involved with importing a non-U.S.-version vehicle.
  • EPA strongly recommends that current owners of non-U.S.-version vehicles sell or otherwise dispose of them overseas rather than ship and import them into the U.S., because of the expense and potential difficulties involved with importing a non-U.S.-version vehicle.
  • Before shipping a nonconforming vehicle for importation, EPA strongly recommends that the importer either make final arrangements with an ICI for modifications and testing or obtain EPA approval in writing for importation. Storage fees at the ports are costly, and the vehicle may not be eligible for importation.
  • The EPA policy that permitted importers a one-time exemption for vehicles at least five years old has been eliminated.
  • EPA considers a U.S.-version vehicle that has had modifications to its drive train or emission control system to be a non-U.S.-version vehicle, even though it may be labeled a U.S.-version vehicle.

For Further Information: Environmental Protection Agency, Investigation/Imports Section (6405-J), Washington, DC 20460; Tel. 202.564.9660; Fax 202.565.2057.

Final Word of Caution. Modifications necessary to bring a nonconforming vehicle into conformity with the safety, bumper, or emission standards may require extensive engineering, be impractical or impossible, or the labor and materials may be unduly expensive. It is highly recommended that these modifications be investigated before a vehicle is purchased for importation.

BOAT SAFETY STANDARDS

Imported boats and associated equipment are subject to U.S. Coast Guard safety regulations or standards under the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. Products subject to standards must have a compliance certification label affixed to them. Certain hulls also require a hull identification number to be affixed. A U.S. Coast Guard import declaration is required to be filed with entries of nonconforming boats. Further information may be obtained from the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, DC 20593.

DUTIABILITY

Vessels brought into the United States for use in trade or commerce are not dutiable. Yachts or pleasure boats brought into the United States by nonresidents for their own use in pleasure cruising are also not dutiable. Yachts or pleasure boats owned by a resident or brought into the United States for sale or charter to a resident are dutiable. Further information may be found in the U.S. Customs pamphlet Pleasure Boats.

RESTRICTIONS ON USE

Vessels that are foreign-built or of foreign registry may be used in the United States for pleasure purposes and in the foreign trade of the United States. However, federal law prohibits the use of such vessels in the coastwise trade, i.e., the transportation of passengers or merchandise between points in the United States, including carrying fishing parties for hire. Questions concerning the use of foreign-built or foreign-flag vessels should be addressed to:

Chief, Entry and Carrier Rulings Branch
Office of Regulations and Rulings
U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20229

40. IMPORT QUOTAS

An import quota is a quantity control on imported merchandise for a certain period of time. Quotas are established by legislation, by directives, and by proclamations issued under the authority contained in specific legislation. The majority of import quotas are administered by the U.S. Customs Service. The Commissioner of Customs controls the importation of quota merchandise but has no authority to change or modify any quota.

United States import quotas may be divided into two types: absolute and tariff-rate. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there are tariff-preference levels, which are administered like tariff-rate quotas.

Tariff-rate quotas provide for the entry of a specified quantity of the quota product at a reduced rate of duty during a given period. There is no limitation on the amount of the product that may be entered during the quota period, but quantities entered in excess of the quota for the period are subject to higher duty rates. In most cases, products of Communist-controlled areas are not entitled to the benefits of tariff-rate quotas.

Absolute quotas are quantitative, that is, no more than the amount specified may be permitted entry during a quota period. Some absolute quotas are global, while others are allocated to specified foreign countries. Imports in excess of a specified quota may be held for the opening of the next quota period by placing it in a foreign trade zone or by entering it for warehouse, or it may be exported or destroyed under Customs supervision.

The usual Customs procedures generally applicable to other imports apply with respect to commodities subject to quota limitations.

The quota status of a commodity subject to a tariff-rate quota cannot be determined in advance of its entry. The quota rates of duty are ordinarily assessed on such commodities entered from the beginning of the quota period until such time in the period as it is determined that imports are nearing the quota level. Port directors of Customs are then instructed to require the deposit of estimated duties at the over-quota duty rate and to report the time of official presentation of each entry. A final determination is then made of the date and time when a quota is filled, and all port directors are advised accordingly.

Some of the absolute quotas are invariably filled at or shortly after the opening of the quota period. Each of these quotas is therefore officially opened at noon Eastern Standard Time, or the equivalent in other time zones, on the designated effective date. When the total quantity for these entries filed at the opening of the quota period exceeds the quota, the merchandise is released on a pro rata basis, the pro rata being the ratio between the quota quantity and the total quantity offered for entry. This assures an equitable distribution of the quota.

Merchandise is not regarded as presented for purposes of determining quota priority until an entry summary or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption has been submitted in proper form and the merchandise is located within the port limits.

COMMODITIES SUBJECT TO QUOTAS ADMINISTERED BY CUSTOMS

As provided in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, the commodities listed below are subject to quota limitations in effect as of the date of publication of this book. Local Customs officers can be consulted about any changes.

Information may also be obtained by contacting the Quota Staff, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20229, Tel. 202.927.5850.

Tariff-Rate Quotas

Anchovies
Brooms
Broom corn brooms
Ethyl alcohol
Lamb
Line pipe
Milk and cream
Olives
Satsumas (mandarins)
Tuna
Upland cotton
Wire rod

NAFTA

Presidential Proclamation 6641 implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement and established tariff-preference levels on the following qualifying imported goods:

Imported from Mexico:

  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VI, U.S. Note 4 (99 USN 4)-Milk and cream
  • 99 USN 5-Dried milk and dried cream
  • 99 USN 6-Dried milk and dried cream
  • 99 USN 7-Milk and cream (condensed and evaporated)
  • 99 USN 8-Cheese
  • 99 USN 9-Tomatoes
  • 99 USN 10-Tomatoes
  • 99 USN 11-Onions and shallots
  • 99 USN 12-Eggplants
  • 99 USN 13-Chili peppers
  • 99 USN 14-Squash
  • 99 USN 15-Watermelons
  • 99 USN 16-Peanuts
  • 99 USN 18-Sugars derived from sugar cane or sugar beets
  • 99 USN 19-Blended syrups
  • 99 USN 20-Sugars derived from sugar cane or sugar beets
  • 99 USN 21-Orange juice
  • 99 USN 22-Orange juice
  • 99 USN 25-Cotton
  • 9906.96.01-Brooms

Section XI Additional U.S. Notes-cotton or man-made fiber apparel, wool apparel, cotton or man-made fiber fabrics and made-ups and cotton or man-made fibers yarns.

Imported from Canada:

  • Section XI Additional U.S. Notes-cotton or man-made fiber apparel, wool apparel, cotton or man-made fiber fabrics and made-ups and cotton or man-made fibers yarns.

Tariff-Rate Quotas-GATT:

Presidential Proclamation 6763 implemented the GATT Uruguay Round Agreements for the following tariff-rate commodities:

Chapter 2, Additional U.S. Note 3 (2 AUSN 3)-Beef

  • 4 AUSN 5-Milk and cream
  • 4 AUSN 9-Dried milk and dried cream
  • 4 AUSN 10-Dairy products
  • 4 AUSN 11-Milk and cream (condensed or evaporated)
  • 4 AUSN 12-Dried milk, dried cream, and dried whey (in excess of 224,981 kilograms)
  • 4 AUSN 18-Canadian cheddar cheese
  • 12 AUSN 2-Peanuts
  • 17 AUSN 5-Sugar (including sugar cane)
  • 17 AUSN 7-Articles containing more than 65 percent by dry weight of sugar described in 17 AUSN 2
  • 17 AUSN 8-Articles containing more than 10 percent by dry weight of sugar described in 17 AUSN 3
  • 17 AUSN 9-Blended syrups
  • 18 AUSN 1-Cocoa powder
  • 18 AUSN 2-Chocolate
  • 18 AUSN 3-Chocolate and low-fat chocolate crumb
  • 19 AUSN 2-Infant formula
  • 19 AUSN 3-Mixes and doughs
  • 20 AUSN 5-Peanut butter and paste
  • 21 AUSN 4-Mixed condiments and mixed seasonings
  • 21 AUSN 5-Ice cream
  • 23 AUSN 2-Animal feed
  • 24 ASUN 5-Tobacco
  • 52 AUSN 5-Cotton
  • 52 AUSN 6-Harsh or rough cotton
  • 52 AUSN 7-Cotton
  • 52 AUSN 8-Cotton
  • 52 AUSN 9-Card strips made from cotton
  • 52 AUSN 10-Fibers of cotton

Tariff-Rate Quotas: U.S.-Israel Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products Presidential Proclamation 6962 implemented the U.S.-Israel agreement for the following agricultural products:

  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VIII, U.S. Note 3-Butter, fresh or sour cream
  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VIII, U.S. Note 4-Dried milk
  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VIII, U.S. Note 5-Cheese and substitutes for cheese
  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VIII, U.S. Note 6-Peanuts
  • Chapter 99, Subchapter VIII, U.S. Note 7-Ice cream

TEXTILE ARTICLES

The U.S. Customs Service administers import controls on certain cotton, wool, man-made fiber, silk blend and other vegetable-fiber articles manufactured or produced in designated countries. The U.S. Customs Service administers the Special Access Program and the Andean Trade Preference Act on certain products which are made of U.S.-formed-and-cut fabric. These controls are imposed on the basis of directives issued to the Commissioner of Customs by the Chairman of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

Information concerning specific import controls may be obtained from the Commissioner of Customs. Other information concerning the textile program may be obtained from the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.

Textile Visa and Export License Requirements

A textile visa is an endorsement in the form of a stamp on an invoice or export control license that is executed by a foreign government. It is used to control the exportation of textiles and textile products to the United States and to prohibit the unauthorized entry of the merchandise into this country. A visa may cover either quota or nonquota merchandise. Conversely, quota merchandise may or may not require a visa depending upon the country of origin. A visa does not guarantee entry of the merchandise into the United States. If the quota closes between the time the visa is issued in the foreign country and the shipment's arrival in the United States, the shipment will not be released to the importer until the quota opens again.

Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) ELVIS is the electronic transmission of visa information for textile merchandise from a specific country to the U.S. Customs Service.

QUOTAS OR LICENSES ADMINISTERED BY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

Watches and Watch Movements

There are no licensing requirements or quotas on watches and watch movements entering the United States unless the watches and watch movements are produced in the insular possessions (U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam). The Departments of Commerce and the Interior administer a program that establishes an annual allocation for watches and watch movements assembled in the insular possessions to enter the United States free of duty under statistical notes (91/5) to Chapter 91 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Licenses are issued only to established insular producers. Further information on the insular watch program may be obtained from the Statutory Import Programs Staff, Import Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.

Dairy Products

Certain dairy products are subject to annual import quotas administered by the Department of Agriculture and may be imported at the in-quota rate only under import licenses issued by that department. Detailed information on the licensing of these products, or the conditions under which limited quantities of the products may be imported without licenses, may be obtained from the Dairy Import Group, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250, Tel. 202.720.9439.

Chapter 4, Additional U.S. Note 6 (4 AUSN 6)-Butter and fresh or sour cream
4 AUSN 7-Dried milk
4 AUSN 8-Dried milk or dried cream
4 AUSN 12-Dried milk, dried cream or dried whey (up to 224,981 kilograms)
4 AUSN 14-Butter substitutes
4 AUSN 16-Cheeses and substitutes for cheese
4 AUSN 17-Blue-molded cheese
4 AUSN 18-Cheddar cheese (except Canadian cheddar)
4 AUSN 19-American-type cheese
4 AUSN 20-Edam and Gouda cheese
4 AUSN 21-Italian-type cheese
4 AUSN 22-Swiss or Emmentaler cheese
4 AUSN 23-Cheese and substitutes for cheese
4 AUSN 25-Swiss or Emmentaler cheese

The above products may be imported at the over-quota rate without an import license.
 
 
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