Sunday, November 22, 2015

Deemed Liquidation and Notice

[UPDATE: Sometimes, Congress fixes things. That is the case here. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 includes, at § 911 a fix for the issue discussed in this post. The relevant amendment changes the existing law "by striking 'on which notice of the original liquidation is given or transmitted to the importer, his consignee or agent' and inserting 'of the original liquidation'.” This should make the relevant date the date on which the deemed liquidation occurs, not the date of notice, which is how it should be (if you ask me).]

The second recent case from the Court of International Trade involves the deemed liquidation of an entry. It is United States v. Great American Insurance Company of New York. This is a collection case in which the United States is seeking $50,000 from a surety for unpaid antidumping duties, plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

For purposes of my own time management, I am just going to give you the take-aways. If you want more detail, read the decision.

The first question is whether Customs and Border Protection can reliquidate a deemed liquidation within the 90-day period set in 19 USC 1501. A deemed liquidation occurs when Customs fails to liquidate an entry within the time allotted by statute. In the ordinary case, this is one year from the date of entry. See § 1504(a). Under 1504(d), an entry that has been suspended is deemed liquidated if not liquidated within six months of the lifting of the suspension. In this case, the defendant argues that Customs cannot reliquidate an entry deemed liquidated under § 1504(d). The Court of International Trade disagreed, noting that since 2004, § 1501 has specifically referenced § 1504. That reference covers deemed liquidations under both § 1504(a) and § 1504(d).

The second question was when the 90-day clock starts to run for the voluntary reliquidation. The defendant asserted the entirely reasonable position that it starts to run on the date of the deemed liquidation. That would make the reliquidation in this case untimely, and therefore void. The Court found the statute specifies that the relevant date is the date of notice, not the date of liquidation. In this case, the notice was provided some 10 months after the liquidation date. Using the notice as the start date, the reliquidation was timely. Further, the 10-month delay was not unreasonable.

If you were in law school, taking notes on this decision, that is what you would write down.

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