Showing posts from January, 2009

CITBA Winter Luncheon Meeting

If you are in DC February 10, please come to the Customs and International Trade Bar Association luncheon meeting.  Here are the details: CUSTOMS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE BAR ASSOCIATION WINTER LUNCHEON AND SEMINAR   Date:                February 10, 2009 Place:                Willard Inter-Continental                         1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.                         Washington , D.C. Time:                Reception:        12:00 p.m.                         Luncheon:        12:30 p.m.                         Seminar:           2:00-3:30 p.m.   Luncheon Speaker:       To Be Announced                                                                               Afternoon Seminar:     “ITC and WTO Approaches to Injury Determinations in Subsidy Cases”                                                             Panel:   Moderator:   Joseph Dorn, Esq., King & Spalding                         John Greenwald, Esq., WilmerHale Jim Lyons, Esq.,

Supreme Court Reverses Eurodif

As with most things in administrative law, it is all about Chevron.  The upshot of this case is that Commerce's interpretation that the contract for the enrichment of uranium and the return of low enriched uranium falls within the ambit of the antidumping laws is permissible. Darned deference to the agency.  It always gets in the way of a good argument. Here is the opinion .  I'll read it and post a more thoughtful analysis soon.  Here is a news story to keep you happy in the meantime.

Buy American Controversy in Stimulus

It seems the Obama Administration is about to walk into its first test on trade policy. The House-passed stimulus package includes a provision requiring that certain materials (including steel) used in stimulus-funded infrastructure programs come from the US. This is an expansion of existing rules under the Buy American Act . Specifically, Section 1110 says: USE OF AMERICAN IRON AND STEEL. 7 (a) IN GENERAL.—None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is produced in the United. The Senate plan apparently has even tougher rules that require the equipment used on the projects be American. While this strikes some as a simple measure intended to ensure that stimulus money stay in the US, others are concerned that it is a step toward protectionism. Further, it likely violates our commitments unde

File Your Report

Brokers know that they are required to file a report with Customs and Border Protection stating that they are continuing to work as a broker and their address.  That's in the customs regulations at sec. 111.30(d) .  They also have to pay the applicable $100 fee .  The report is due February 1, so if you are a broker, get your ducks in a row and do your filing. If you don't, you may be in trouble.  I know this because the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has recently decided Schick v. United States .  Mr. Schick lost his license because of a failure to file his triennial report.  He then appealed to the U.S. Court of International Trade, which held that it had jurisdiction to here his appeal.  On that narrow point, the Federal Circuit reversed. According to the Court of Appeals, the revocation of a license for failing to file the report is not reviewable by the Court of International Trade because it is not an action that is specified in 28 U.S.C. sec. 1581(a)-(h).  Most

10 + 2 is a Go

Sources within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have confirmed that late Friday a decision was made by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) not to delay the implementation date for the 10+2 rule.

Hold Everything

UPDATE: CHECK OUT THE DISCUSSION IN COMMENTS. I MAY HAVE JUMPED THE GUN A BIT. UPDATE 2: HERE IS THE MEMO . The Obama Administration has halted the implementation of all pending regulatory changes until they are reviewed. This throws lots of Customs and Border Protection activity into limbo. For now, the Importer Security Filing (AKA 10 + 2), aspects of the Lacey Act, the country of origin rules, etc. are on hold. I suspect that these things will move forward unless there is a coordinated outpouring of opposition from the trade. In the big picture, I think these issues are not likely to strike the new administration with the same force as, for example, putting a drilling rig on every beach from Maine to Florida. But, all we can do is wait and see. Another thing to watch will be action or inaction on trade agreements. Columbia, Korea, and others have been stalled. The Obabma people have not been kind to FTAs until this point. So, we wait on that as well.

Peru FTA Effective Feb. 1, 2009

Here is a press release from the Office of the United States Trade Representative regrading the February 1 implementation of the Peru FTA.  Expect an immediate uptick in the importation of llamas. In more Peru news , portions of the Nazca lines have been damaged by rainfall.  This, of course, presents serious problems for aliens returning to earth who use lines for navigation and landing.  It must be true, I read that here .  

C-TPAT Year in Review

Customs and Border Protection has published a 2008 year in review of its Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.  Here are some interesting 2008 statistics: Certified 1,448 new members Validated 3,469 supply chains Added 50 supply chain specialists Suspended 121 members Removed 118 members Completed 52 appeals (26 denied, 18 approved, 8 reduced suspensions For those of you who may not know, C-TPAT is a voluntary program under which members agree to undertake reasonable steps to secure their supply chain from container stuffing to delivery to the ultimate consignee.  The program requires considerations of physical security to the merchandise, plant location security, network access security, and personnel policies including background checks at hiring and appropriate measures when an employee leaves. The benefits of membership include fewer intensive examinations at the time of entry and the possible participation in the Importer Self Assessment program. And, as they say,

Breaking Ice

I went into the office today despite our being officially closed for MLK, Jr. Day. I feel like I need to catch up a bit as I will be out Thursday through Monday for various work and non-work events. While sitting at my desk working on a paper about res judicata and stare decisis, I heard an unfamiliar rumbling noise. Looking out the window, I saw a City of Chicago fire boat breaking ice on the Chicago River. Thinking it was cool, I snapped the following pictures. Hopefully, WAYLA-guy will forgive the intrusion onto his blog beat.

News You Can Use

FDA Starts Pilot Program for Safety of Drugs Made Outside U.S. - This is great news for spammers. Now you'll be able to trust those internet "pharmacies" promising to deliver your important (and recreational) medicines to your door. It's probably also good news for lots of people who have a hard time paying for their medications. COOL Shrimp Tests Baffle Authorities Some how or another, Customs and Border Protection has developed a test to determine the country of origin of shrimp. The shrimp were declared to be from Indonesia but tested as Chinese. According to the article, the test results led to a 112% antidumping duty being applied. 2 Mexican Soldiers Stopped on U.S. Side How exactly does one accidentally cross a bridge that is heavily guarded at 2:00 pm and end up in the middle of El Paso by accident? Oh, they were looking for help clearing some vendors off the bridge. That makes sense. How do you say GPS in Spanish?

Stare Decisis in my Eyes

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about stare decisis.  [Hence the title.]  Those of you who saw my panel at the Court of International Trade Judicial Conference probably know why.  It turns out that I will be discussing much the same territory at the 2009 International Trade Update at Georgetown Law (March 5-6). I was, therefore, interested to see Outer Circle Products v. U.S. , from the CIT.  The case involves the classification of zipper wraps for bottle and jugs of various sizes.  You've likely seen these at picnics or tailgate parties.  They sound similar to the foam or foam and fabric jackets you can wrap around a beer bottle to keep it cool and your hands warm and dry.  Customs and Border Protection classified the merchandise in heading 4202, the provision covering trunks, suitcases, bottle cases , etc. and similar containers.  The specific provision used at liquidation carried a 10.3% rate of duty.  The importer argued for classification as tableware, kitchenware, and ot

While I'm On Tech . . . .

This page lists U.S. Government information sources on Twitter. One agency that is not mentioned is Customs: Remember, if you want to follow me, I am at . But seriously, I'm not sure I'd want to follow me. Here to help.

It's a Tech Post

Been a while. Have I mentioned that I love my Zune? Last time I discussed it, I was upset about having lost mine. I subsequently replaced it and went with the 120 GB version. The hardware is cool and works just like it should. Not really that different than an iPod once you get the hang of the touch pad. What I really like is the software, especially since the upgrade to the new version. I have iTunes in my house. I know this might start a flame war (at least it would if I had a significant number of readers), but the Zune software interface is head and shoulders easier to manage than iTune. I am always having to fiddle with iTunes to manage podcasts manually. With my Zune, I plug it in and everything happens just they way I expect it to. Thus, I was a little concerned when I read this morning reports that the Zune was on its way to the grave. Happily, I also read that Microsoft is committed to the product . Let's hope its true.

CAFTA-DR Refunds

One side effect of Costa Rica finally implementing the Central American Free Trade Agreement is that the clock has started to run on certain retroactive claims for duty-free treatment. As implemented in 19 CFR 10.699, the Agreement permits retroactive application of the duty preferences and, therefore, refunds of excess duties paid on goods that qualify.  There are lots of requirements for this work: The merchandise must be a textile or apparel good entered on or after January 1, 2004 and before January 1, 2009 (the implementation date for Costa Rica).   The good qualifies as originating Duties in excess of the preferential rate were paid The request for a refund must be made to the port of entry within 90 days.  So . . . go look at those Central American entries and see if there is anything on which you paid duty that might be the subject of a refund.  The refund request has to contain information confirming the originating status of the merchandise.  That means you will likely need c

Treaty Schmeaty

Right now, I am grading papers for my John Marshall Class on NAFTA and other US Free Trade Agreements.  A theme running through a few is whether NAFTA is constitutional.  The most common argument against constitutionality is that NAFTA is a treaty.  The Constitution requires treaties to be negotiated by the President and ratified by the Senate by a 2/3 vote.   NAFTA, on the other hand, is the product of the fast track process.  Under fast track, the President (of his proxies) negotiate the deal and bring it to Congress.  Congress then considers the deal in the form of standard legislation and votes on it in both houses.  If it passes by a simple majority, it becomes the law.  New law, no treaty necessary. Some have argued that this process, and similar congressional-executive agreements, are unconstitutional in that they are an end run around the Treaties Clause.  In reality, they are a reasonable delegation of congressional authority to the President.  Congress, we must remember, has

Customs News of the Weird

Here is a short news story from the AP: A federal judge in Brooklyn has rejected a Liberian woman's religious reasons for smuggling endangered monkey meat into the country. U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie ruled Wednesday that Mamie Manneh's faith didn't preclude her from applying for permits to import exotic food or explain why she misled officials. Manneh was charged with smuggling the meat three years ago after customs agents seized a shipment of primate parts as it passed through Kennedy Airport on the way to her home in Staten Island. Manneh's lawyers claimed a First Amendment right, arguing that some Liberian Christians eat monkey meat for spiritual reasons. Her lawyer didn't respond to phone messages Saturday. She faces up to five years in prison and deportation if convicted.

Desk Clearing: ITC Study on First Sale

Updated to fix link. Thanks Pfitz. I am back from a brief vacation and clearing my virtual and physical desktops before I have to go to Washington on Monday. Thus, I pass along this notice from the United States International Trace Commission announcing the formal commencement of its study of customs valuation using the "first sale methodology." According to the notice, the period of the review will be entries from September 2008 to August 2009. The ITC is accepting comments through April 30, 2009.

Welcome to CAFTA-DR

Dear Costa Rica: Welcome to the table as of January 1, 2009.  We are very happy to welcome you to full participation in the CAFTA-DR. On behalf of no one, let me extend my best wishes for a long and prosperous relationship. Larry P.S. Here is what USTR Schwab had to say on the topic.