Showing posts from December, 2012

Broker Penalty by Default

I am barely back from a brief vacation. I note that in the ramp up to being a way from the office and while I was gone, the U.S. Court of International Trade did not stop pushing out decisions. So, this is the first in what should be a small group of catching-up posts. Unit ed States v. Alejandro Santos is an action to recover a civil penalty from a licensed customhouse broker. That, in and of itself is relatively unusual. In the ordinary circumstance, the importer bears the brunt of the penalty. If you see a broker penalty case, you can usually assume there is some interesting story in the background. In this case, we don't get much in the way of background because the defendant failed to respond to the complaint. Thus, the only question here is whether the uncontested facts as asserted by the government are sufficient to establish its right to recovery. The bottom line is that the government was able to plead facts sufficient to satisfy the Court that it was entitled to a de

The Tale of theTempura Tariff

R.T. Foods, Inc. v. United States involves the tariff classification of prepared tempura vegetables. Somehow, I was surprised to find out that this is an imported product, though a mental walk through the frozen food isle reminded me that just about any food product can be bagged, frozen, and shipped. In this case, the specific products were a tempura vegetable medley and tempura vegetable bird's nests. The medley consisted of a mix of sweet potato, carrot, something called "wing bean," green bean (or long bean), and eggplant. The bird's nests were julienned carrots, onion, and kale mixed together. Both products were dipped in tempura batter, frozen, packed and shipped. Before it could get to the classification issue, the Court of International Trade had to deal with a jurisdictional issue. Remember that for the Court to have jurisdiction to hear a classification case, the importer must have filed a protest within 180 days after the date of liquidation and filed a

Headline News

Russia and Moldova to get Permanent Normal Trade status. Canadians and Americans indicted for smuggling narwhal tusks. It's the holiday of your choice season. Be on the lookout for counterfeit goods .

A Saucy Decision

Generally, if I fall behind in my effort to report on decisions of the Court of International Trade, it is because I am busy. Such is the case currently. I have been traveling about the country for various events and business meetings. At the present, I am in Detroit having just enjoyed a shwarma dinner and a brief interlude with an elliptical machine. Now, I will take advantage of free WiFi to catch up on a relatively interesting case that I have so far failed to cover. That case is International Custom Products v. United States . If that sounds familiar to you it is because this case has been in the Court of International Trade and the Federal Circuit in one form or another since 2005. The basic underlying issue is whether a prepared food product is classifiable as a dairy product or as a sauce base. This matters a lot because if it is a food product and the entries at issue were made without proper quota, the rate of duty owed increases 2400%. That is the very definition of a cl

Customs Reauthorization Introduced

For ages, the trade has been expecting a bill to continue funding Customs and Border Protection and to make changes to facilitate legitimate trade. A bill has been introduced by Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) covering some of that ground. Here is a link to the bill summary . Here is the full text . A few highlights include: Section 102(b) creates the office of Trade Advocate to serve as a liaison between the trade and Customs and Border Protection Field Operations would be transferred to the Office of International Trade under Section 102(d) The creation of an inter-agency Customs Review Board to provide comments on proposed regulatory changes Under Section 203, CBP must provide to Congress a report on its plans for completing the implementation of ACE A prohibition on agencies using ITDS from also using other electronic systems for cargo clearance It appears that cargo data previously only used for cargo safety and security will now be available

SCOTUS Updates

Yesterday was the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of International Trade, which is the biennial meeting of the judges and bar of the Court. There were some very interesting discussions about efforts to harmonize WTO dispute law, Customs seizures, and practice before the Court. Congratulations to the planning committee and the Court of International Trade staff for putting together the program. If you are interested, you can read the papers here . During the conference, it was announced that the Supreme Court had acted on two petitions for review in Customs cases. In the first, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Hitachi (see here  and here ). As a result, Customs has no obligation to decide a protest before the two-year deadline. This means that if an importer wants to force a decision, it has no choice but to use the accelerated disposition process, which might be better termed "accelerated denial." The Supreme Court also denied certiorari in Alden Leeds (see