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 E-Merchants Trade Council, Inc.

Simplifying Global E-commerce 

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IRS Tax Calendar for Small Business 

Online Tax Calendar | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

  • Sat, March 25, 2023 1:42 PM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    Thanks to Barnes, Richardson for this article.  A well-meaning packer earning close to minimum wage abroad is bracing your merchandise in a shipping container with wood that he is cutting to length. A marked piece of wood is cut, and the leftover bit without marking fits just right, securing your merchandise in the container. Customs sees this unmarked piece of wood on importation. Now you face a penalty of three times the domestic value of the merchandise in the container and must bear the costs of returning the whole shipment to its country of origin.

    Solid wood packaging materials (WPM) have become the target of increased concern and scrutiny over the past year. Importers face potential liquidated damages, penalties, denial of a shipment’s entry, and the costs associated with returning the shipment back to its country of origin. WPM are pieces of wood used to support, brace, protect, or carry cargo including but not limited to crates, pallets, packing blocks, boxes, drums, cases, and skids. There are significant pest risks associated with WPM that threaten the U.S.’s agriculture and natural biomes. Pests, such as the Asian Longhorn BeetlePine Shoot Beetle, and Emerald Ash Borer, have entered the U.S. through shipping and caused billions of dollars in damages to the agricultural and lumber industries on top of the billions of dollars spent by Federal and local governments to control the pests’ spread. This is all before one considers the effect on America’s ecosystems and biodiversity, which have been found to heavily outweigh any financial hardship of the importer.

    WPM are regulated by United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). There are two treatment options: heat treatment or fumigation. For heat treatment, WPM must be heated to a minimum wood core temperature of 56°C for a minimum of 30 minutes. For fumigation, the WPM must be fumigated with methyl bromide in an enclosed area for at least 16 hours at the regulated dosage. The marking indicating WPM has been properly treated must be permanent and legible. Unmarked, inappropriately marked, and infested WPM does not comply.

    When non-compliant WPM is discovered, Customs will issue an Emergency Action Notification (“EAN”), usually demanding the immediate re-exportation of the entire shipment containing the non-compliant WPM and assessing a penalty of 3 times the domestic value of all the associated merchandise. In addition to this substantial penalty the importer is responsible for ALL expenses related to the movement, inspection, separation, safeguarding, storage, and ultimate disposition of the non-compliant WPM and its associated merchandise and, Customs may issue liquidated damages if an importer fails to comply with an EAN.

    Mitigating and aggravating factors can greatly influence the penalty owed. The list of mitigating and aggravating factors is non-exhaustive. However, two mirroring factors are notable: 1) exceptional cooperation with CBP and APHIS and 2) clear documentary evidence of immediate remedial action taken to prevent further WPM violations are mitigating factors; while 1) lack of Cooperation with CBP or APHIS and 2) failure to take immediate remedial action to prevent further WPM violations are aggravating factors. Thus, it is very important to act quickly and in the appropriate manner when an EAN is received. What can importers do to reduce their risk?

    Prospective steps:

    • Ask your supplier or WPM packer if WPM is ISPM 15 compliant and accredited;
    • Provide your supplier or WPM packer information on the ISPM 15 standard;
    • Require supplier or WPM packer employees undergo WPM training periodically;
    • Discuss and develop compliance procedures with suppliers or WPM packers;
    • Put WPM compliance mechanisms into the contract with suppliers;
    • Create a rating/penalty system for suppliers and inspect imports for WPM compliance on importation; and

  • Fri, March 24, 2023 2:53 PM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is poised to boost intra-Africa trade. One of the key challenges in achieving this mandate is Non-Tariff Barriers. To resolve this important issue, the AfCFTA Secretariat has produced the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) Online Reporting, Monitoring, and Elimination Mechanism which is an excellent tool for reporting unnecessary obstacles when trading goods across intra-African borders.

    This web-based tool, available to micro, small, medium and large companies, informal traders, women and youth business operators, enables the private sector and traders to report any challenges encountered when trading goods across intra-African borders. Whether it's excessive delays, ad hoc fees at the border, cumbersome document requirements, or restrictive product standards and regulations, the AfCFTA NTB Online Mechanism empowers you to take action.

    To ensure that this mechanism is utilized to its fullest potential, the AfCFTA Secretariat recently convened an Awareness Raising Workshop on the AfCFTA Online Mechanism for identification and reporting of Non-Tariff Barriers for the Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS) State Parties. The workshop was attended by representatives from ECCAS countries, the NTB Focal Points, and representatives of the private sector.

    The main objective of the workshop was to assist State Parties with targeted comprehensive outreach, visibility, and communication of the AfCFTA NTB Online Mechanism to enhance its uptake, usage, and stakeholder understanding of its benefits to the private sector. The main expected outputs of the AfCFTA NTB Awareness Raising Campaigns are enhanced visibility of the AfCFTA NTB Online Mechanism, triggering acceptance by stakeholders in these State Parties, and legitimate NTBs reported on the AfCFTA NTB Online Mechanism.

    The NTB Online Mechanism is available at https://lnkd.in/eGrUV_8J. Let's work together to enhance trade and remove non-tariff barriers to trade in Africa.

  • Fri, March 24, 2023 2:08 PM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    GUEST COMMENT The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning are drastically changing the face of ecommerce  - Internet Retailing

    Will AI be  your new demand planner?  ChatGPT your customer service team?  Do bots have ethics?

  • Fri, March 24, 2023 1:51 PM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    How the IRS says to handle 1099-K reporting mistakes on tax returns (cnbc.com)

    If you received a 1099K the IRS has tax tips for you 

  • Fri, March 24, 2023 9:31 AM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)
  • Thu, March 23, 2023 8:54 AM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    Amazon closing AmazonSmile to focus its philanthropic giving to programs with greater impact (aboutamazon.com)

    In case you were looking- Amazon Smile program ended February 20, 2023


  • Thu, March 23, 2023 8:43 AM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    How we’re helping Etsy sellers grow in 2023 - Welcome to the Etsy Community

    Etsy is suggesting 3 focus areas to support its sellers. This article includes a survey for the Etsy seller community.  Etsy indicated in its Wall Street report that it will add home furnishings to its offerings.    

  • Mon, March 20, 2023 11:46 AM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)

    Meta laying off 10,000 more workers, four months after Facebook parent cut 11,000 – GeekWire

    As marketplaces layoff employees how will e-sellers be impacted? 

  • Mon, March 20, 2023 11:41 AM | Karen Kelly (Administrator)
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