Late last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 5,101 tablet computers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex that contained counterfeit parts. Although the Trade Secrets Act prevents the disclosure of brand names or parties involved, CBP has confirmed to Mobile Enterprise that the tablets were a popular brand name.
Seized were 4,705 9-inch and 396 7-inch tablets with chargers. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $898,328 with a domestic value of $691,745.
The tablets, en route from China, contained electrical adapters with counterfeit ETL Listed Mark and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety markings. ETL and UL are independent product safety certification organizations which test products for potential risk of fire, shock, and/or personal injury. Products are not certified until they meet established standards.
Mobile Enterprise asked the CBP how it was alerted to the counterfeit tablets.
"As part of its targeting process CBP officers and import specialists use a sophisticated risk model based on statistical analysis of data on imports and past violations to help CBP officers select high-risk shipments for examination while facilitating the clearance of low risk shipments," said Jaime Ruiz, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Health Risk, Security Threat
Ruiz noted that CBP officers and import specialists have targeted and seized an increasing number of counterfeit products that may pose health or safety threats to U.S. residents or national security threats to the country.
"These products range from electrical articles such as power cords and lights that can catch fire or shock consumers, to batteries that may explode or leak mercury, to personal care items such as toothpaste and shampoo that may contain harmful bacteria, to computer network components, semiconductors, and machinery and parts that can cripple infrastructure vital to national security, including financial, telecommunications, defense and other essential systems," she said.
In fiscal year 2011, electrical articles presenting potential safety or security risks, with an estimated domestic value of $10.2 million, represented 17% of all commodities seized by CBP nationwide. The number of tablets seized in the same time span was not available at post time.