Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Starting to Catch Up

I have not been able to devote much time to detailed analysis lately. I hope those of you able to access it have been keeping up with developments via www.twitter.com/customslawblog.

For what it's worth, I'll start the process of catching up here.

On September 2, the President published a notice of changes to the NAFTA Rules of Origin and to the U.S. Israel FTA. That proclamation is here.

The Lacey Act, you will recall, requires importers of wood and plant materials to make a declaration stating the genus and species of the plant material and that it was harvested and exported legally. There are certain exceptions including for common cultivars.

APHIS has amended its schedule for the implementation of the Lacey Act. Under the change, the merchandise covered by Phase III (due to commend October 1, 2009) has been reduced. Phase IV (April 1, 2010) has been substantially revised. An important change is that recycled and reused materials (for example, particleboard and fiber board) is subject to a further enforcement delay of no earlier than September 1, 2010.

APHIS also addressed some concerns that complying with the reporting requirements will result in useless information being provided to the Government and excessive work being done by the importer. This is particularly true for products that may contain a variety of plant materials. For example, SPF is a common type of lumber made from spruce, pine, or fir. In cases where the species is unknown, the law requires a list of all species that may be present in the product. In those circumstances, APHIS appears willing to accept the genus name and the abbreviation "spp." Keep in mind that this can only be done when it is true that any or all species of the genus might be present. APHIS also continues to explore blanket certificates and is running a pilot program to test its feasibility.


I covered this case previously. It involves the classification of almond brittle from China. In a motion for reconsideration, the plaintiff asked the Court of International Trade to consider determining that the product is classifiable in a different, not previously considered, tariff provision.

The motion for reconsideration is an interesting process because it is almost never successful. Reconsideration is appropriate in very limited circumstances including:
  • An error or irregularity;
  • Serious evidentiary flaw;
  • New evidence which even a diligent party could not have discovered in time; or
  • An accident, unpredictable surprise, or unavoidable mistake which impaired a party's ability to adequately present its case
In the absence of one of those factors, the Court denied the request for rehearing and reaffirmed the classification in HTSUS item 2008.19.40.

OK, I know there is not much meat there. I've got other cases to read an blog. I'll do that soon.

1 comment:

Trade-Compliance.org said...

Thanks for the update esp. re: APHIS! Your twitter posts are also really useful too. I agree, it's hard to find time for both...