Showing posts from February, 2011

News You Might Want

Been slow on the news front. Here are some things that crossed my virtual desk recently: Customs and Border Protection has July 17th as the date it will start enforcing that rule that any bulk residue in instruments of international traffic entering the U.S. must be properly manifested and entered. CBP has published a FAQ on the topic . There will be a change to the textile rules of origin under the DR-CAFTA. According to a statement on the USTR web site: We approved a series of changes to the Agreement’s rules-of-origin for textile and apparel goods that will facilitate regional trade and integration. These changes will expand opportunities under the CAFTA-DR Agreement and encouraging a vibrant textile and apparel supply chain in the Western Hemisphere to effectively face the challenge that Asian competitors represent. We also agreed to increase the cumulation limits to encourage greater integration of regional production through limited reciprocal duty-free access with Mexico an

Hold the Mayo

Occasionally, and usually without knowing it, the Supreme Court has something to say that might affect customs lawyers and their clients. Mayo Foundation v. United States might be one of those occasions. The issue at the front of the case was whether medical residents are "students" for purposes of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA. As you may notice every month, FICA takes a portion of your wages for Social Security. Students who earn wages, however, are exempt. So, if residents are students, they are exempt. Apparently, there had been a period of uncertainty regarding the application of this rule to residents. As a result, in 2004 the Treasury Department created a regulation saying, among other things, that anyone working 40 hours or more in a week is not a student even if the work is related to an educational objective. The regulation specifically used medical residents as an example of a non-exempt student. Mayo started withholding FICA on its residents

Another Delayed Protest Case

UPDATED TO FIX A TYPO. Thanks, Victor. The Court of International Trade has issued another decision in a case brought by a frustrated importer waiting too long for a protest decision from Customs and Border Protection. The case is Norman G. Jensen, Inc. v. United States . After waiting more than two years for a protest decision, Jensen went to the CIT seeking a writ of mandamus ordering Customs to act on the protests. Mandamus is available where the petitioner has a clear right to some governmental action. Since Customs has a two-year statutory deadline for deciding protests, it makes sense that the importer has a right to a decision. Typically, though, Courts will order the government to complete the action only when it is ministerial or clerical in nature. Since this involved a protest decision, it strikes me that the exercise of legal analysis needed may not have been ministerial, but that was not the peg on which the Court hung its dismissal hat. Rather, the Court dismissed the