Showing posts from July, 2011

Judge Wallach Nominated to Federal Circuit

Usually, I do not cover breaking personnel news, but this is interesting, relevant, and good news for the customs and trade bar. Here is an article from The Blog of Legal Times  stating that Judge Wallach may be moving to the Federal Circuit. Here is what the White House had to say (which is easier than writing something myself): WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama nominated Judge Evan Jonathan Wallach to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Judge Wallach is currently a judge on the United States Court of International Trade. “Judge Wallach has distinguished himself throughout his legal career in both the public and private sectors,” said  President Obama .  “He possesses a keen intellect and a commitment to fairness and integrity that will serve him well as a judge on the Federal Circuit.” Judge Evan Jonathan Wallach:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judge Evan Jonathan Wallach has been a judge on the United Stat

Hillary Clinton Agrees with Me

Secretary of State Clinton was quoted in the New York Times today warning our Asia trading partners to avoid a multitude of inconsistent and complicated trade deals. Rather, she encouraged a broader regional approach to avoid creating difficulties for businesses. According to Mrs. Clinton: "There is now a danger of creating a hodgepodge of inconsistent and partial bilateral agreements which may lower tariffs, but which also create new inefficiencies and dizzying complexities,” Mrs. Clinton said. “A small electronics shop, for example, in the Philippines might import alarm clocks from China under one free trade agreement, calculators from Malaysia under another, and so on — each with its own obscure rules and mountains of paperwork — until it no longer even makes sense to take advantage of the trade agreements at all. Instead, we should aim for true regional integration." Think about that for a minute.  Mrs. Clinton is so far into the pot calling the kettle black territor

How Do You Classify a Diaper Machine? Depends.

The question in National Presto Industries v. United States , is whether an adult diaper-making machine is classified in 8441 as other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper, or paperboard or in 8479 as other machinery having an individual function, not specified or included elsewhere in Chapter 84. Typically, one would assume that 8441 will apply because it is more specific than 8479, which is a basket provision. But, that analysis skips past General Rule of Interpretation 1. If the goods fit in 8441, they go there. Presto, the plaintiff in this case, reasoned that because Customs classifies diapers as articles of paper pulp, the machine that makes a diaper must fall within 8441. Presto backs this up with Customs and Border Protection rulings saying that paper pulp provides the essential character to diapers. In addition, the Explanatory Notes to 8441 broadly state that 8441 covers machinery for producing made up articles of paper pulp. The government, argues that because paper

T. Boone Pickens Invokes NAFTA

According to this article , U.S.-based energy guy T. Boone Pickens feels that he has been unfairly cut out of a deal for the sale of electricity to Canada via wind production. I have no idea about the underlying facts, but I am always happy to see investors invoking the NAFTA Chapter 11 provisions, the corresponding investment provisions in other Free Trade Agreements, or free-standing bilateral investment treaties. In the case of NAFTA, Mr. Pickens will need to prove that a Canadian governmental entity undertook a "measure" that violated a protection provided to U.S. or Mexican investors in Canada. Those protections include: National Treatment:  This means that the investor must receive treatment that is no less favorable than would be afforded to a similarly situated domestic investor. Most Favored Nation Treatment:  This means that the investor must receive treatment that is no less favorable than would be afforded to a similarly situated investor from any other coun

Customs and Border Protection Updates ISA

Customs and Border Protection has posted an updated Importer Self Assessment Memorandum of Understanding. You can read that document here . I don;t want to sound like a curmudgeon; I am at least two years away from that status. But, I have long had questions about the value of ISA participation. Looking at this MOU, the ISA member agrees to a number of things including: Agreeing to comply with applicable CBP laws and regulations Perform annual risk assessments Make appropriate disclosures Maintain results of testing for three years and make test information available to CBP upon request Maintain an audit trail from financial records to CBP declarations, or an alternate system that ensures accurate values are reported to CBP So, the ISA member has to perform annual testing and maintain the records for review by CBP.  An importer that is not in ISA but behaves as if it were would undertake annual (or more often) risk assessments. Those reports, however, if done at the direction

Happy 4th, Happy Canada Day, Etc.

It's a long weekend here. I am catching up on e-mail and news. Here are a couple interesting things. Australian Customs and Border Protection foils a plot to smuggle reptiles in teddy bears . More smuggling in teddy bears ; this time it's cash. Detroit area boater finds Czech national swimming to US. UPS package contained nearly $1 million in allegedly counterfeit watches . Here is Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune dissing Trade Adjustment Assistance . The point I think he missed is that the difference between someone in Pennsylvania losing a job to someone in Texas and the same worker losing a job to Brazil is that no affirmative change in policy by the federal government helped the job move to Texas. Since the U.S. government entered into a trade agreement that ultimately cost that American a job, it seems only decent to provide some benefits to help the worker adjust. Chapman also forgets that tariffs are only one variable in a complex decision on where to locat