South Africa Ends Small Package Tax Exemption

June 19, 2024 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced this month that it will discontinue its small packages exemption from tax and value-added tax (VAT). Starting July 1, 2024, imports valued under 500 South African rands will be taxed at the same rate as other imports.

The current 20% import duty on small packages will increase to 45%, matching the rate for other imports, with an additional 15% VAT on the total amount. Read more from Reuters.

USDA to Mexico: Health Inspections Suspended Until Further Notice

June 19, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has suspended health inspections of avocados and mangos imported from Mexico “until further notice,” due to security concerns. The USDA announcement came after two USDA staff members were involved in an incident last Friday.

In a statement, U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar said the inspectors had been “assaulted and detained while on duty in Michoacan inspecting avocados.” Read more from Reuters.

CBP Publishes Upcoming COAC Meeting Documents

DHS: Volkswagen Sets Example by Self-Reporting Forced Labor

June 19, 2024 – The head of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) stated last week that Volkswagen “did the right thing” by self-reporting a component from a company recently added to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List.

Under Secretary Robert Silvers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaking at a Consumer Technology Association event, warned that companies not following Volkswagen’s example “may find that they are very suddenly subject to enforcement.” Read more from International Trade Today (paywall).

Panelists Call for Stronger Strategy Against Chinese Forced Labor

June 19, 2024 – The U.S. government has more tools available to combat Chinese forced labor, according to panelists at the Hudson Institute event, “Tackling the Uyghur Forced Labor Challenge.” The suggestions provided during last week’s panel include a stronger diplomatic strategy, adding companies like Temu to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List, and imposing sanctions on companies and individuals profiting from forced labor. 

Eric Choy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection highlighted the agency’s challenge of China relocating forced labor outside the Xinjiang region. Listen to the event audio for details.