Showing posts from July, 2013

Time to Catch Up, Part 1: Trek Leather

I am sorry to report that I have a backlog of decisions to review. So, let's get started. Do you remember United States v. Trek Leather, Inc. ? No? I'm not surprised as I appear not to have bothered to cover the decision from the Court of International Trade. You might want to go back and read that for context. Here, we will discuss the decision from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The question presented in Trek Leather is whether a corporate officer, in this case Harish Shadadpuri, can be held personally liable for negligence in relation to a customs entry for which the corporation was the importer of record. In this case, Shadadpuri was the president and sole shareholder of the importer of record and also a 40% shareholder of the consignee for 72 entries of men's suits. Upon entry, Trek Leather (which I will call Trek Leather to distinguish it from the fine people at Trek Bicycle Corp. ) failed to properly declare the value of fabric provided to the fore

The War on Christmas: Customs Edition

Sometimes, tariff classification by the rules produces results that are completely inconsistent with what a normal, thinking person would expect to be correct. Case in point: HQ H237067 (June 20, 2013) . The ruling, apparently drafted by Ebinezer Grinch von Scroogeheimer of the Regulations and Rulings Unit, considered the tariff classification of a complete, adult sized, and apparently well-made Santa costume known as the Premier Plush Nine Piece Santa Suit. Look at this picture and tell me whether it is a festive article closely associated with a holiday: Of course it is. To the average person and, I might add, the average customs entry writer, the picture would be enough to resolve that issue. Plus, I personally apply the Bubbe and Zayde test. Under my test, if you are unlikely to find the item in the home of an elderly Jewish couple, it is probably a festive article associated with a Christian holiday. The problem is that Customs and Border Protection and importers do not ge

Marking Unassembled Products

I do a lot of training talks for lots of organizations and I am happy to do so. One of my go-to examples for tariff classification is a complete bicycle imported unassembled in a retail box. This is a good way to discuss General Rule of Interpretation 2(a), which tells us that goods imported in an unassembled or disassembled condition will be classified as the finished article if, when imported, it is complete or has the essential character of the complete article. In my bike example, that means that the unassembled bicycle is classified as if it were assembled. What I don't usually talk about in the context of that example is the marking of the disassembled bicycle in a retail box. I am, however, thinking about that because Customs and Border Protection recently published a proposal to revoke the ruling NY N015337 (Aug. 23, 2007) in which it addressed the marking of an unassembled child carrier/seat for a bicycle. The proposal is in the Customs Bulletin starting at page 39 .