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After duties on its merchandise surged from zero to $6 million a year, U.S. Customs required Hengli to post a $600,000 bond. Its previous bond was $50,000. Other importers reported similarly sharp increases towncraft cufflinks. Lisa Gelsomino, chief executive officer at underwriting firm Avalon Risk Management, said one client recently had to replace a $50,000 bond with one worth $26 million. The rise in tariffs means that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued thousands of importers with notices that their bonds are inadequate..
The CBP has issued about 3,500 insufficiency notices since January, it said. That compares to an average of 2,070 notices a year for the period between 2006 and 2017, according to data compiled by Roanoke Insurance Group. (Graphic on bond insufficiency notices tmsnrt.rs/2HwR2IM). If importers fail to post a new bond within a month of receiving an insufficiency notice, customs officials can hold the cargo and charge additional fees towncraft cufflinks. The CBP has around 224,000 active bonds on file. No importer can ship goods into the country without posting a customs bond. The bonds are set at 10 percent of the importer’s total estimated annual duties, fees and taxes..
The Trump administration’s 25 percent import tariff on $50 billion of Chinese imported goods, and another 10 percent on $200 billion of imports, has added up towncraft cufflinks. The annual tariff bill on Chinese goods alone stands at $32.5 billion – requiring $3.25 billion in additional customs bonds. Separately, Washington has levied a 25 percent duty on imports of steel and a 10 percent duty on those of aluminum. “You are talking millions of dollars that is going out,” said David Meyer, head of customs brokerage and freight logistics company DJS International Services Inc..
“But you don’t have a million dollar tree that you are shaking in your backyard to make sure that you have got that money..it has definitely become a burden for importers.” towncraft cufflinks. More than half of Meyer’s clients have seen at least a tenfold increase in their bond amounts. What is proving painful for some importers has been a bonanza for the firms that underwrite the bonds. More costly bonds mean higher underwriting fees. They also mean higher collateral requirements. Since underwriters are on the hook if importers fail to pay duties, they want collateral that matches the value of the bond; underwriters usually require 1-1.5 percent of the bond amount to guarantee the bond..
At Roanoke Insurance Group, the workload has increased so much that staff are working on weekends to handle it, said Colleen Clarke, vice president at Roanoke. In one example, she said, Roanoke required $9 million in collateral from a steel importer that was asked to post a $9 million bond after duties on its imports surged from zero to $90 million a year. The steel importer also paid $90,000 in premium for the bond. The end result: the importer needed to come up with just over $99 million a year to continue to import $360 million of steel towncraft cufflinks.