CSMS #17-000622
Title: Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Due to Expire December 31, 2017
Date: 9/29/2017 8:58:46 AM
Barring Congressional action, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), special program indicator (SPI) “A,” “A+” and “A*” will expire for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse after midnight, December 31, 2017.

Special Procedures for GSP-Eligible Goods
In the event of a lapse and until further notice, importers are strongly encouraged to continue to flag GSP-eligible importations with the SPI “A,” even as they pay normal trade relations (column 1) duty rates on otherwise GSP-eligible importations. Importers may not file SPI “A” without duties.

CBP is working to have programming in place that, in the event that GSP is renewed with a retroactive refund clause, will allow CBP to automate the duty refund process.

Post-Importation GSP Claims Made via PSCs and Protest
CBP will continue to allow post-importation GSP claims made via post summary correction (PSC) and protest (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174) subsequent to the expiration of GSP, for importations made while GSP was still in effect. CBP will not allow post-importation GSP claims made via PSC or protest subsequent to the expiration of GSP, for importations made subsequent to expiration.

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The pending expiration of GSP has no effect on goods entered with African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preference. Effective January 1, 2017, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United Sates (HTSUS) was modified so that all non-textile, AGOA-eligible tariff items indicate SPI “D” in the “Special” column. As such, since January 1, 2017, all non-textile AGOA claims have been made using the SPI “D”. AGOA preference remains in effect through September 30, 2025, irrespective of any lapse in GSP.

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF)
Since the GSP does not provide an MPF exemption, its expiration has no impact on the collection of the MPF. Goods of least-developed beneficiary developing countries (LDBDCs) listed in HTSUS General Note 4(b)(i) maintain their MPF exemption per 19 CFR 24.23(c)(1)(iv).

Time of Entry
Per 19 CFR 141.68(a)(2) & (3), time of entry can be as early as the time that the entry documents are filed, provided that the merchandise is within the port limits and such has been requested. For additional information on the significance of time of entry and how to calculate it, please see page 11 of the Informed Compliance Publication “What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: Entry” available at

Extension of Liquidation
Requests for the suspension of liquidation under 19 CFR 159.12 pending the pending the reinstatement of GSP will be denied.

Questions concerning this guidance should be directed to the Trade Agreements Branch at

09/25/2017 11:02 AM EDT

Pursuant to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR § 319.40-3 (effective since September 16, 2005), non-exempt wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at approved facilities at places of origin to kill harmful timber pests that may be present. The WPM must display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably in at least 2 sides of the article. The mark must be approved under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade ( Any WPM from foreign origin found to be lacking appropriate IPPC-compliant markings or found to be infested with a timber pest is considered not properly treated to kill timber pests and in violation of the regulation. The responsible party (importer, carrier, or bonded custodian) for the violative WPM must adhere to the Emergency Action Notification stipulations and be responsible for any costs or charges associated with disposition.
The purpose of the WPM requirement is to prevent the introduction of exotic timber pests. Introduced exotic pests lack the natural environmental controls that may be found in their respective native lands to keep them in check. When exotic timber pests go unchecked they can cause widespread tree mortality with detrimental ecological impacts. Additionally, there may be economic impact for the lumber, fruit, and nut industries, as well as the loss of horticultural trees. Eradication efforts can prove to be very expensive and ineffective once an exotic pest is introduced, as is the case with the Emerald Ash Borer which was introduced with infested WPM. Therefore, preventing introduction is critical with these exotic pests.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for enforcing the regulation at ports of entry. To motivate WPM compliance, effective November 1, 2017, responsible parties with a documented WPM violation may be issued a penalty under Title 19 United States Code (USC) § 1595a(b) or under 19 USC § 1592. This is a change from the previous published threshold of 5 violations. There will be no yearly reset for calculating repeat violations as each WPM violation may incur a penalty.


CSMS# 17-000531 - Processing Charitable Contributions for Hurricane Harvey




US Imposes Economic Sanctions on Venezuela
On August 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (“Order”) imposing additional sanctions on Venezuela. The Order states that these sanctions, which primarily target the Government of Venezuela and the Venezuelan oil industry, are in response to the deepening political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Order adds to a growing list of restrictions that apply to Venezuela, which is already subject to a US arms embargo and US licensing requirements on exports and reexports of specific categories of goods, software, and technology to military end-users or for military end-uses in Venezuela. The Order also follows the designation as Specially Designated Nationals of various Venezuelan government officials (including President Nicolas Maduro) pursuant to Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015 (see prior blog post here regarding this order).

In conjunction with this Order, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued four general licenses authorizing certain transactions involving Venezuela, including transactions to wind down existing contracts, that would otherwise be prohibited under the Order. Finally, OFAC published new Frequently Asked Questions regarding these restrictions and general licenses.

Prohibited Transactions

The Order prohibits “US Persons” (i.e., entities organized under US laws and their non-US branches; individuals and entities physically located in the United States; and US citizens and permanent resident aliens, wherever located or employed) from engaging in any transactions related to, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in the following:

  • New debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days of Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (“PdVSA”);
  • New debt with a maturity of greater than 30 days (other than the debt of PdVSA, which is subject to the 90 day limit discussed above) or new equity of the Government of Venezuela (including any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof such as the Central Bank of Venezuela and PDVSA as well as any person owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of Venezuela);
  • Bonds issued by the Government of Venezuela prior to the effective date of the Order (August 25, 2017); and
  • Dividend payments or other distributions of profits to the Government of Venezuela from any entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela.

US Persons are also prohibited under the Order from purchasing, directly or indirectly, securities from the Government of Venezuela, other than securities qualifying as new debt not targeted by the above provisions of the Order because the debt has a maturity of less than or equal to 90 days (for PdVSA) or 30 days (for the Government of Venezuela).

OFAC’s FAQs provide examples of what constitute “new debt” and “new equity” for purposes of the Order and clarify that the above prohibitions apply to entities that are 50% or more owned by the Government of Venezuela.

General Licenses

As noted above, OFAC issued four general licenses to authorize certain transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Order, as follows:

  • General License 1 authorizes US Persons to engage in certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to winding down contracts or other agreements that were in effect prior to the effective date of the Order (August 25, 2017) but that would now be prohibited under the Order. Such wind down transactions may be carried out under this general license through September 24, 2017.
  • General License 2 authorizes US Persons to engage in transactions where the only Venezuelan government entities involved are CITGO Holding, Inc. and any of its subsidiaries.
  • General License 3 authorizes US Persons to engage in transactions related to, provide financing for, and otherwise deal in bonds that (i) are specified in the Annex to General License 3 or (ii) were issued prior to the effective date of the Order by US Person entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela (e.g., CITGO Holding, Inc.).
  • General License 4 authorizes US Persons to engage in certain transactions related to, provide financing for, and otherwise deal in new debt related to the export or reexport from the United States or by US Persons of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, or replacement parts and components for medical devices to Venezuela, or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Venezuela. These exports and reexports must be licensed or otherwise authorized under the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. Parts 730-774.

The foregoing is intended only to provide a general summary of recent developments regarding the expansion of US sanctions targeting Venezuela.  If you have any questions about how these changes might affect your company or if you require advice on any specific transactions or plans, please contact one of the members of Baker & McKenzie’s International Trade Practice Group.


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CSMS# 17-000522 - Local Closure Day for August 30-September 1, 2017 for Ports 2101, 5301, 5309, 5310, 5311


CSMS# 17-000521 - *UPDATE* Guidance to Trade on Cargo Processing during Hurricane Harvey


CSMS# 17-000488 - Entry Specialist Transition to the Centers


CSMS# 17-000489 - CBP Bills for Supplemental Duties, Taxes and Fees, or Vessel Repair Duties


CSMS# 17-000421 - Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1706 created on July 25, 2017


CSMS# 17-000391 - Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)Updated in the Automated Export System


CSMS# 17-000388 - Update to Food and Drug Administration Related Low Value Shipments


CSMS# 17-000387 - Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1705 created on June 30, 2017


CSMS# 17-000327 - Extension of FCC Form 740 Waiver


CSMS# 17-000131 - Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1702 created March 7, 2017


CSMS# 17-000021 - Official Notices of Extension, Suspension, and Liquidation on


CSMS# 16-001048 - Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1615 created December 21, 2016


CSMS# 16-001050 - November 2016 ACE Monthly Trade Update




CSMS# 16-001043 - New ACE Reports Dictionary for Trade Now Available


CSMS# 16-000984 - FDA Food Facility Registration Renewal U.S. Agent Action Required for Foreign Food


CSMS# 16-001021 - Immediate Delivery Procedures at Year-End


CSMS# 16-001006 - Publication of Four FRNs Concerning ACE

Publication of Four FRNs Concerning Liquidation, Drawback and Duty Deferral Filing, Modifications to PSC and PMS, and Reconciliation in ACE.


CSMS# 16-000871 - Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1613 created on October 4, 2016


CSMS# 16-000740 - FDA - Division of Import Operations Launches New Website for Stakeholders


CSMS# 16-000691 - FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP)


CSMS# 16-000646 - Federal Register Notice Published Announcing the ACS to ACE Transition for Protest


CSMS# 16-000648 - Initiation of AD/CVD Investigations: Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from IN, IT and ES


CSMS# 16-000583 - Explanation of FCC Data Requirements for July, 2016


CSMS# 16-000564 - Updated ACE Development/Deployment Schedule Posted to


CSMS# 16-000538 - ACE-Harmonized Tariff Schedule Update & HTS Testing in ACE-Certification

Modifications discussed in this CBP message include the removal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) OGA (Other Government Agency) indicators from various HTS records, effective July 1, 2016.

US Customs CSMS message 16-000499 regarding update on CBP ISF enforcement measures now in the hands of the ports (click here)

US Customs announces a new date for the October 2016 Customs Broker License Examination (click here)