CBP seizes textiles for trade violations
U.S. border agents have seized since October more than $10 million in textile products that were misdescribed to evade duties and quotas, the government said.
The import schemes include illegal transshipment through third countries and use of false documents and labels.
Textiles represent 43 percent of all revenues collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Last year CBP stepped up enforcement of textile compliance, including sending inspection teams to foreign factories to verify that apparel produced at locations identified on customs entry documents.
CBP said textile verification teams visited 195 so-called high-risk factories and found that 70 of them were no longer in operation. Another 24 refused entry to the inspectors. CBP considered 50 factories had high potential for transshipment, and found evidence that three were actually engaging in illegal transshipment. The agency said it is in the process of seizing apparel with a domestic value of $1.3 million from any factory that was closed during the sweep.
CBP officials say that inspectors have witnessed a tremendous increase in deliberate misdescriptions of cotton as ramie, which has a much lower duty rate under temporary limits on textiles from China.
CBP audits identified nearly $5 million worth of textiles shipments that violated trade laws in fiscal 2005. The government is also losing money to importers who improperly claim their duties should get preferential treatment under Caribbean and Singapore free trade agreements. Last year the agency recovered $900,000 from classification errors.