Showing posts from October, 2012

You can Tune A Piano

But tunafish in pouches is hard to classify. In Del Monte Corporation v. United States , the Court of International Trade had to determine the correct classification of tunafish in microwaveable pouches from Thailand. The nub of the problem here is that the tuna was packed with sauces of various descriptions. Specifically, there was tuna with lemon and cracked pepper and lightly seasoned yellowfin tuna. The problem here is that tuna in airtight containers is subject to a 6% or 12.5% rate of duty when not packed in oil (depending on origin, etc.). On the other hand, tuna packed in oil is subject to a 35% rate of duty. For comparison, look at 1604.14.22, 1604.14.30 and 1604.14.10. Thus, the ingredients in the sauce became the key issue. The lemon pepper sauce contained sunflower oil along with water, vinegar, and other materials. The oil made up about 2.48% of the weight of the product. The lighlty seasoned sauce also contained sunflower oil and other materials. In this pouch, the oi

Ancient Coins, Modern Courts

Despite what casual readers of this blog might think, customs law is not all about classification, value, and NAFTA. It actually covers a wide range of issues, many of which involve regulations that Customs and Border Protection enforces for other agencies. By way of example, you may already know that I have a strange fascination with the illegal (and reprehensible) trade in endangered species . Another interest of mine is the legal and illegal trade in cultural property . A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit discusses the regulation of trade in cultural property with respect to ancient coins. By way of background, the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act ("CPIA") permits foreign governments, known as State Parties, to request that the United States prohibit the unauthorized importation of culturally significant items. The intent here is to staunch the traffic in illegally looted artifacts. To be eligible for protect

U.S.-Canada Cargo Security

I was recently in Toronto to speak to the Canadian Transport Lawyers Association about the so-called Beyond the Border Action Plan . One of the initiatives under that project is a pilot at the Prince Rupert port of entry in Canada to harmonize cargo screening. The ultimate goal is to move to an environment in which cargo can be screened once and admitted twice. Here is the text of the U.S. announcement of the pilot: U.S. and Canada Announce New Pilot to Strengthen Cargo Security (Tuesday, October 23, 2012) Washington — The United States and Canada announced the launch of the Prince Rupert Pilot to strengthen cargo security at the Canada-U.S. border as part of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The pilot focuses on harmonizing the screening process for maritime cargo between the two countries. “The Prince Rupert pilot implemented under the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy is key to the ongoing efforts to facilitate legitimate trade

Hey Panama, Happy Halloween

The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement comes into effect on October 31, 2012. According to the USTR, 87 percent of exports from the U.S. will become duty-free when the agreement is effective. That includes 56% of U.S. agricultural exports to Panama. To the best of my knowledge, Customs and Border Protection has not yet published a memo on making claims under the UPTPA. I would anticipate the formalities to be similar to other TPA procedures (including these for Peru ). I'll do my best to update this when something is posted.

Pass an FA? Go Directly to ISA.

If you want, that is. Here are the details  courtesy of my law firm. I remain skeptical of ISA benefits for companies that are sufficiently compliant to be in ISA, but that may just be me.

For Wilton, Classification is Not a Piece of Cake

OK, I admit that is a strained pun. This particular Wilton case  apparently has nothing to do with cake decorating paraphernalia. Rather, it has to do with hand operated decorative paper punches. These are items used by people who understand the term "scrapbook" to be a verb. I gather the punches are similar to this item , although Wilton describes it as for making edible shapes for cake decoration and not for the production of scrapbooks and similar crafty pastimes. For a brief time, my mother was a freelance cake decorator. As a result, I ate far too many practice and rejected butter-cream roses in my youth. Thus, this die-punch system seems like cheating to me. The tariff provisions at issue were Heading 8203, which covers, among other things, "perforating punches and similar hand tools" and 8441, which covers "Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard, including cutting machines of all kinds, and parts thereof . . . ." P

Update in Active Frontier

As you might gather from the title of this post, there has been more activity in the Active Frontier case. I previously posted about the question of whether the United States had properly pleaded the materiality of an allegedly false statement of origin. After the previous decision, the Court of International Trade gave the United States 30 days in which to amend its complaint to set forth facts showing that it is entitled to relief. In response, the U.S. filed a motion to amend but failed to attach an amended complaint to the motion. Rather, the motion stated that the government would amend the complaint with respect to the element of materiality within three days of the Court granting the order. This implies (at least to me) that the amended complaint was pretty much ready to go. But, without the document to review, the Court found no way to determine whether "justice . . . requires" allowing the amendment. Thus, the Court denied the motion, adding that the amendment s

Seizures Go to District Courts

Remember how excited I was about CBB Group Inc. v. United States ? That was the case about the exclusion of merchandise from the United States and reminding the world that exclusions, which are not seizures, are protestable events. Denied protests of exclusions end up in the Court of International Trade. In a recent case, PRP Trading Corp. v. United States , the Court revisited this topic, but with an unfortunate twist. The goods involved were aluminum extrusions allegedly from Malaysia. Customs and Border Protection detained that merchandise on the suspicion that it might have a different country of origin. While not discussed in the case, this likely relates to the fact that there is an antidumping duty order on aluminum extrusions from China. Once the importer provided the merchandise to Customs for examination, Customs had 30 days to decide what to do with the merchandise. For two of the entries, the 30 days elapsed without a decision, causing the goods to be legally "deem

Mozzarella Mafia?

Hat tip to my friend Paul who alerted me to this story . Read the article.  The upshot is that police officers are being charged with smuggling American-origin cheese into Canada for sale to pizzerias. Apparently, American-origin cheese (as opposed to "American cheese") costs roughly a third of the equivalent in Canada. Thus, the officers were making $1 thousand or more per run to the U.S. cheese monger. Mayor McCheese could not be contacted for a statement.