Traders & Freight Forwarders Request Congress’ Assistance
Compton California, Tuesday May 26th 2014- Immigrant traders and freight forwarders met at the office of Janice Hahn Congressional Representative for the US 44th District of California represented by Michelle Chambers Field Representative for Janice Hahn to complain about a surge in random checks between US Customs and Price Transfer. Present at the meeting were Mr. Charles Anchang, CEO of The Immigrant Magazine Inc., accompanied by executives and owners of A&A International Shipping Inc., American Export Lines and 20 other immigrant traders from Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and Sierra Leone who all had complaints about their run-ins with US Customs officials.
The recent surge in random checks and exorbitant fees charged to freight forwarders and immigrant traders by US customs and Price Transfer from the San Pedro Ports, Long Beach, California has had a negative effect on business and in some cases loss of business, thus creating much suspicion of foul play at the ports. The situation becomes even more stressful when Price Transfer holds containers for constant verification and the fees are transferred to freight forwarders and subsequently to the traders and consumers. The traders are very concerned about this crippling “practice” and want an explanation for these fees especially after little or no contraband or illegal items have been found in their containers.
With an overwhelming sense of frustration and no explanations coming forth, the immigrant traders and freight forwarders have banded together and put forth the following questions:
• The traders want to know why their containers are being held with no explanation.
• Freight forwarders are questioning the hike in fees and random checks especially this year 2014.According to one of the freight forwarders he has in this year alone paid Price Transfer the sum of $250,000 dollars as fees not including other demurrage fees and charges coming from the steam ship lines. In another instance a container with cargo not worth more than $5000 while on course to Nigeria made an about turn back to the USA because the US customs requested a random check resulting in a levy of $18,000.00. Whilst another trader reports that he has paid up to $75,000 in fees even though no illegal items have been found in his containers.
• What therefore the traders want to know is the need for so many random checks despite the availability of very sophisticated and expensive x-ray scanners at the ports.
With the numerous other very embarrassing issues presented to the Congresswoman’s office it almost appears to be a concerted effort by US Customs and Price Transfer to discourage and frustrate US exports to Africa and other countries.
In light of all these issues plaguing the smooth execution of business to and from the USA, immigrant traders are seeking assistance from the Obama Administration. Despite multiple letters written to the White House by some victims they wonder why they seem to have been given deaf ears and left to fend for themselves against an institution that purports to encourage trade between countries and businesses. This practice they say has allowed for very inefficient delivery time schedules of US goods to Africa and other countries where the traders do business. The exorbitant fees to traders have led to loss of jobs in some cases which in turn over time hardly strengthens the US economy and furthermore places it at a competitive disadvantage with other countries doing trade with one another.
Hopefully all is not lost as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles must begin with a first step. As a first step in the right direction, Michelle Chambers the Field Representative for 44th Congressional District in Compton has created a report and promised to do the best she can to assist the traders through the office of Congresswoman Janice Hahn.
The meeting was adjourned with a commitment from Ms. Chambers to see this to the end and a follow-up meeting was immediately scheduled to take place at the Compton City Hall Complex on date to be confirmed on or before June Tenth. The traders and all parties involved are making an appeal to the entire trading community in Southern California to come together and support their efforts in resolving this issue promptly and efficiently. To facilitate the full participation of those interested a registrar will be opened to encourage all victims of these exorbitant custom fees to be a part of the solution by presenting their challenges to Congress.
Please look out for our next press advisory for the next meeting date and location.
Congresswoman Janice Hahn
CEO, VP, The Immigrant Magazine Inc.
Spread the word and be a part of the solution!