Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trade Compliance News

Former Port Director Convicted

Lorraine Henderson, who was responsible for inspection and admission of foreign parties seeking entry into the U.S. and preventing entry of illegal aliens, was convicted for encouraging an illegal alien to reside in the U.S. while knowing it was in violation of the law. Henderson, the former port director of the New England area, employed an illegal alien to clean her home during her tenure as port director. Even after another CBP Officer warned Henderson in 2006 that she was employing an illegal alien, Henderson ignored the warning and continued the employment. Henderson faces up to 5 years imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Where Are TSA Uniforms Made?

TSA, Border Patrol, CBP and other law enforcement officers stand on the front line of America’s borders to protect U.S. citizens from terrorists and other “bad guys.” What happens if those uniforms get into the wrong hands? Could someone impersonate a government officer and make their way into the U.S.? Let’s hope that we don’t find out the hard way. Additionally, our taxes are paying foreign parties to manufacture the TSA uniforms. Tell me it’s not true! So, our tax money is being sent overseas and foreign parties are manufacturing the uniforms worn by the government agents protecting the U.S.? Bingo!

The “Berry Amendment” requires that military uniforms be made in the United States; however, this amendment only applies to the DoD and U.S. Coast Guard. In 2009, the "Kissell Amendment“was added to the stimulus bill, requiring that all Homeland Security uniforms be made in the U.S. However, some of the foreign countries affected were not properly notified so the Department of Homeland Security said it would allow the TSA uniforms to be made in one of those countries.

Obviously, these issues upset some of the U.S. textile manufacturers and taxpayers. However, there are some details of the contract that require a certain percentage of the uniforms to be manufactured in the U.S. Additionally, the patches and other emblems for the agency are not sourced from foreign countries or attached to the uniforms in these countries. Perhaps some of these details might help taxpayers feel better about how their money is being spent and the security of the uniforms.

Consider this possibility. If the U.S. importer is a member of C-TPAT, it's possible that the foreign factories may be as secure, if not more secure than some of the U.S. facilities. Government uniforms could be stolen from any location, regardless of the country.

The whole issue makes for a nice debate, so feel free to post comments and respond to the latest poll question.

Should the government require that Homeland Security uniforms be 100% made in the United States?

HERE to search opportunities to bid on government contracts and view contracts that have been awarded.

Internal Audit for FCPA Violations

With the increased discovery and prosecution of FCPA violations by U.S. companies, one such company voluntarily initiated an internal audit of its FCPA practices. In October, 2008, Avon disclosed its investigation to the Justice Department and the SEC. The investigation started with travel and entertainment expenses in China, but has expanded to other countries. Four executives have been suspended. Other countries have encountered FCPA issues in China – Daimler, Avery Dennison and UTStarcom. In light of these recent events and the potential penalties, here are some questions to consider.

· Is your company doing business with China?
· How strong is your FCPA program?
· Are transactions with China and other countries audited for potential FCPA violations?
· Would your company disclose violations if detected during an internal audit?


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