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Importation of Illegal Auto Headlamp Conversion Kits Targeted by Customs
October 18, 2011
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By aftermarketNews staff
From AAIA Capital Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Oct. 6 that its Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) is targeting non-compliant, high-intensity discharge (HID) conversion kits, ballasts and light sources illegally imported into the U.S.

Resources are bundled from several federal agencies through CTAC to thwart unsafe products from reaching the public.

The auto headlamps in question have not been designed to accept the HID conversion kits, and if they are installed on vehicles, can create potential glare hazards to other roadway users. The illegal import is driven by the street value of the kits ranging from $150 to $500 per kit. A commercial allegation made in December 2010 alerted CBP, and the agency has since noted hundreds of shipments to be examined at ports of entry in several cities on both coasts.

In a September 2010 operation, CBP and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) seized one shipment of 10,700 HID conversion kits from China at the port of Newark, N.J. The shipment, with a street value of approximately $570,000, was identified by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a potential safety threat to the driving public. Headlamps and replaceable light sources are regulated by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which are enforced by NHTSA. The seized kits were missing all required markings among other compliance violations.

The CBP tally on HID conversion kit and component seizures since October 2009 is more than 400,000 with an approximate value of $5 million. According to CBP, the products often arrive by way of air cargo and express mail from many Southeast Asian countries.