Showing posts from November, 2013

Heads Up: Georgetown 2014

I will again be moderating a panel at the annual Georgetown CLE International Trade Update in February. This is one of the premier trade-related educational events of the year and well worth the time and expense to attend. Other than my panel, which is a survey of recent developments in customs law, highlights include an always lively discussions with Court of International Trade and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit judges and a panel covering legislative issues. As a bonus, there will be ethics credit available. Click here to read the program brochure .

The Pesky Problem of Preference Criteria

Those who are responsible for NAFTA compliance are very familiar with the NAFTA Certificate of Origin and the Preference Criteria to be recorded in Field 7.  The criteria are used to indicate to the importer as well as to the customs authorities in the country of importation exactly how the goods qualify as originating. Under the NAFTA, there are six possible preference criteria with preference criterion B being the most common. When Customs sees a B in Field 7, it knows that the finished good contains non-originating material and that the good qualifies as originating because the non-originating materials made a qualifying change in tariff classification as a result of production in North America and, if applicable, the finished good satisfies the Regional Value Content requirement. That is all simple enough under NAFTA. But, under the subsequent free trade agreements, no one ever specified a coding system for the preference criteria. As far as I am concerned, the lack of a uniform

Paper Punches Not for Making Up Paper

Remember the Wilton case on hand-actuated paper punches? The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed the decision of the Court of International Trade that the punches are properly classified in HTSUS Heading 8203 as perforating punches and similar hand tools. The importer had argued for classification in Heading 8441 as "Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard, including cutting machines of all kinds . . . ." Wilton got hung up on the "for making up" part of that heading. The Court of Appeals held that term to refer to the industrial manufacture of paper and paper products. These punches, which are used for craft projects, are not industrial machines for making up paper products. Thus, under General Rule of Interpretation 1, the correct classification is in 8203. If you want to read it, the opinion is here . An interesting procedural note here is that the plaintiff had actually convinced U.S. Customs and Borde