Showing posts from September, 2011

Talk About Dutch Courage

This is old news I inexplicably missed. Thanks to Rafael for the tip. The story is that in 2010, the Customs authorities in French Guiana stopped a Dutch traveler with a suspicious pair of pants. They found a pouch full of humming birds. From the picture s, I would assume the beaks were not at all comfortable. Follow the link to see the truly strange pictures.

Value Change Up for Comment

Customs is floating an idea to reinterpret the value law with respect to transfer pricing to give related party importers more flexibility with respect to post entry adjustments. Here is the notice asking for comments . This is a long-awaited notice, but it is just a request for comments rather than an actual proposal. The issue this notice seeks to address has to do with the application of transaction value in cases where the related parties have a transfer pricing policy that requires periodic adjustments to the sales price of the goods. Usually, this is done to ensure that the selling entity earns the appropriate amount of profit over the fiscal year or other period. Hitting that target is often an important consideration for tax planning. Consequently, companies spend a lot of time and effort working with accounting firms to establish an acceptable transfer pricing policy that meets their tax needs. In some case, these policies can be validated by one or both of the governments

New FAIR Enforcement Act

Here is something else I missed while I was away. Maybe you missed it too. Senator Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation directed at creating policies to make it harder for companies to evade the payment of customs duties. In essence, this seems similar in goal to the ENFORCE Act, which my partner David Forgue covered in this interesting white paper . The new proposal focuses in part on the relationship between brokers and importers by imposing a "know your customer" requirement on brokers. In addition, the bill would eliminate bonding for new shippers in antidumping casing and require cash deposits like other importers. Apparently, this is intended to prevent new shippers from making a lot of entries and then defaulting when it comes time to assess the dumping duties. Here is a press release from Senator McCaskill.

Waiting for GSP

There are things that happen in Washington that are a complete mystery to me. One such mystery is this kabuki dance that happens periodically when the Generalized System of Preferences expires. Everyone is pretty confident that it will eventually be renewed. But, despite that knowledge, Congress spends time futzing around with it (and similar programs like AGOA). It gets attached to other things that some legislator wants and used as leverage in negotiations. Here's a crazy idea: Someone should introduce a bill just making it permanent unless and until repealed. Presumably, this could be coupled with a new set of rules defining beneficial developing country, if that is part of the political problem. If that were to happen, traders would know what to expect and there would be none of this administrative hassle of retroactive application. Until something that reasonable happens, we have to put up with the sausage factory that is Congress. So, with the preamble, I am letting you


I am just back from Paris. Despite being a middle aged, well educated, reasonably well traveled person, I had never been to Paris (or anywhere in France) before this trip. I had an excellent time meeting with lawyers from throughout Europe and the North America to discuss our various practice areas. As is usually the case with these things, we had interesting discussions coupled with some exceptionally good meals and a bit of seeing the sites. I narrowly escaped an airport fiasco on the way back when I realized that I had failed to pack a bottle of wine in my checked bag. For a moment, I considered being the person in the airport you marvel at when he or she sits down to eat their smuggled sausage or when they abandon a gallon of conditioner at the security line. I blame my lack of foresight on too little sleep. A quick reshuffle of dirty clothes from the big bag to the carry on created room for the wine without undue delay to others checking in. The locals were nothing but nice an

News to Use

The MPF and GSP renewals have made it through the House and will now go to the Senate. The MPF will, assuming the bill passes, increase for formal entries to %0.3464. However, all indications are that the $485 cap will remain the same. That means that importers of small value merchandise are likely to feel the brunt of this increase more than importers of high-value imports. If this blog contained political commentary, which it doesn't, one might wonder about the politics of that decision. The House bill also retroactively renews GSP. It appears that if entries were flagged using the A SPI while GSP had lapsed, the entries will be liquidated with GSP benefits. Of course, that remains to be seen, so don't rely on that for your internal procedures. In his jobs speech, the President encouraged Congress to act to implement the already-negotiated trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Reliable sources in Washington say that those agreements need to be submitted

Uniform Marking Officially Dead

But, like a brain eater from Zombieland or the upcoming World War Z , it may be back. Remember, always double tap. Tomorrow, Customs will publish a Federal Register Notice making technical corrections to the Part 102 rules of origin and officially withdrawing the proposal that the U.S. implement tariff shift rules of origin for all commodities. The specific changes relate to pipe fittings and flanges, greeting cards, glass optical fiber, rice preparations, and certain textiles and apparel. If you import those goods, please check the FR Notice when it comes out. I am not giving a link because the link will to tomorrow's Federal Register will be dead tomorrow after the official version is published. Regarding the proposal to adopt uniform rules of origin primarily based on a tariff shift methodology, Customs reports that it received a total of 70 public comments, 42 of which expressed opposition to the July 25, 2008 proposal. As a result of these comments, Customs and Border Pro