Thursday, April 06, 2006

Colombia, El Salvador & NAFTA, In One Post

See what happens when I get busy? I get behind on interesting things. Here are three:

U.S. Moves to Protect Colombian Cultural Property

Museum lawyers, take note: Customs issued a Federal Register notice adding certain Colombian pre-colombian and ecclesiastical period (1530-1830) artifacts to the list of property protected under the UNESCO Convension on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Under the convention, Colombia claims "patrimony" of these artifacts as part of its cultural heritage and unauthorized traffic in these products will be prohibited.

Retroactive CAFTA-DR Textiles Claims

Under the CAFTA-DR, duty preferences are retroactively applicable for certain textile products entered on or after January 1, 2004 when the Office of the USTR makes a determination that the goods are eligible. USTR has done that for El Salvador and Customs published a Federal Register notice saying that claims need to be in by December 31, 2006.

So NAFTA is really odd!

Folks who work closely with NAFTA has always known that there is a quirk in the marking rules. Under the so-called NAFTA Preference Override, it appears that a good might end up having "US" as the country of origin properly stamped on its side (forgetting discussions of FTC issues) while being subject to duty as if it were from Mexico or Canada. Turns out that is, in fact, correct. In this Bulletin (scroll to page 75), Customs is proposing to modify a ruling to reflect that realization. To cut to the chase, Customs says the following:

In NY G86772, based on 19 CFR 102.19(b)(2), CBP ruled that the plastic
space bags were required to be marked to indicate that their country of origin
was Mexico. In reviewing 19 CFR 102.19(b)(2), we now believe that CBP misapplied
the regulation in NY G86772. The plain language of 19 CFR 102.19(b)(2)
indicates that the so-called ‘‘NAFTA Preference Override’’ applies only to
country origin determinations for customs duty purposes, and it does not apply
to determinations of the country of origin for the marking of imported
merchandise under the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part
134.

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