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Showing posts from March, 2007

Off BLog

I'll be off blog for a bit. I'll be back. Give me a week or two.

Design Failure or Tech Triumph?

Where are the internet police when you need them? Where do we go to report an idea gone horribly wrong? Search engines are the critical tool to make the internet useful. Otherwise, you'd have what is essentially a global library, an infinite jukebox, and the contents of Netflix without any way of finding that article on Mongolian Throat Singing you desperately need. Google, Yahoo, MSN, and the other search engines give you the tools to find value in the content. So, explain this to me (click the link). Maybe I need to fine tune my senses of irony and humor. Maybe Ms. Dewey (as in Dewey Decimal ?) is just for fun. Maybe, it is a really impressive implementation of an interactive flash movie. Hmmm. As entertainment with a search engine tossed in, this site might be great. In a customs law context, I'd say this site is a composite good classifiable by essential character. I wouldn't necessarily visit Ms. Dewey for serious research. Let's classify it as enter

Comment Responses

I asked for thoughts on things to address here in the blog and I received three very thoughtful responses. I'll address them here. First, Roly P wants the low down on the first sale rule. For those of you who might be unaware, this is the legal principal that lets importers in multi-tiered transactions report the value of merchandise based on the first bona fide sale of the merchandise to the United States. If there is a middleman in your transaction, the middleman is getting some profit and, therefore, increasing the total landed cost. Under the first sale rule, you don't need to pay duty on the middleman's sale to you. Rather, you can report value based on the transaction from the vendor to the middleman. Seems easy, but its not. If the parties are related, Customs will make it extraordinarily difficult to prove that the first sale price is a legitimate sale to the United States. That's your rock. If the parties are unrelated, it is very unlikely that the mi

Story on the NAU

Just a link to a blog called "The Stupid Shall Be Punished," which features a story on the courageous efforts of the Idaho state government to oppose the so-called NAFTA Super Highway as part of an end-run around the Constitution. I can't (and don't) vouch for anything else on that blog, but this is a good post.

Notes on Blogging

Lately, my posts have been pretty specific to customs law. I can tell from my reader stats that with the exception of my possibly obsessive-compulsive brother, most visitors to this site are interested in technical legal information. I will continue to provide that. However, two things compel me to remind readers that I have covered things as diverse as my bike ride to work and the mystery that is Clifford the Big Red Dog . First, spring is almost here and I have recently dragged my sorry self onto my bike (in a trainer) to get ready for cycling to work and hopefully drop some winter weight. You are likely to hear about these things in the future. Second, I enjoy the blogging process but don't always have really relevant customs-related information to convey. So, be prepared and be patient . I'll flag as off topic these personal asides. Also, as is always the case, if you have suggestions for topics to cover, please let me know either through comments or via e-mail.

Notes on Use and Classification

I did not read The Da Vinci Code . I may be the only literate American who can say that. I did read The Historian , which is an apparently similar tale of following literary and historical clues to unravel an ancient mystery. In the case of The Historian, the mystery is the whether Vlad Tepes (better known as Dracula) still lives. It's an entertaining and engaging book that covers a lot of ground from the Cold War to East-West tensions. Why is this relevant to customs law? Because tariff classification is really a matter of following the literary trail of rules through the Tariff Schedule along with the gloss applied by the Explanatory Notes, CBP rulings, and court decisions. In many ways, it is not all that complicated. The trick is finding all the applicable rules and applying them properly. One question that has come up recently is the meaning of "use" in a tariff term. Here, again, the answer comes from finding the right rule. Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation