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Reminder on Ozone-Depleting Chemicals Tax on Imports

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently increased its scrutiny of importers who are subject to the Ozone-Depleting Chemicals (ODC) excise tax. They are conducting audits, and proposing multi-million dollar assessments for compliance failures. Since 1989, an excise tax is imposed on any imported ozone-depleting chemical (“ODC”) and any imported products in which an ODC was used in the manufacturing process (“Imported Taxable Products”).

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Duty Refund Opportunity for Importers of Certain Apparel and Footwear

On March 31, 2011, the Court of International Trade (“CIT”) designated a new “test” case contesting the duty rates assessed on importations of certain apparel and footwear items. The basis for the claim is that the duty rates for one gender are higher than the duty rates for the other gender for the same category of goods. The contention is that it is unconstitutional to have such a distinction based on gender. (e.g. women’s leather upper footwear is dutiable at 10% where as men’s leather upper footwear is dutiable at 8.5%). The litigation of the new test case is likely to determine the outcome of all other pending gender cases.

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New Trademark Protections Offered by CBP

Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has upgraded their trademark protection tools for importers. In the past, an importer could record their trademarks with CBP to obtain protection of their mark. The recording of a trademark with CBP helps the agency to police the importation of infringing goods. CBP recently added a new function to its Intranet, and permits importers to provide their Product Identification Guides for upload to CBP’s Intellectual Property Rights internal Search system (IPRiS).

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Export Compliance Certifications to Be Imposed on U.S. Employers of Foreign Nationals

Effective on February 20, 2011, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (“USCIS”) will impose new export control certification requirements for companies in the United States who petition that agency seeking authorization for an alien to come to the United States temporarily to perform services or to receive training.

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