Showing posts from May, 2014

Make it so . . . .

Speaks for itself. Stolen from Julie Whitt by way of Pete Mento . Hat tip to both.

Don't Blink

We have previously considered the narrow slice of time in which an importer can file a protest against the exclusion of merchandise by Customs and Border Protection. That opportunity dissolves if Customs seizes the merchandise before the case is brought before the United States Court of International Trade. See here and here for prior discussions on this topic. In Blink Design, Inc. v. United States , the Court of International Trade had to decide whether the merchandise had been seized and, if so, whether that seizure occurred before the case was properly before the court. The background is interesting and hints at possible shenanigans by the importer leading to fairly strong action by CBP. The triggering circumstance for this case is that CBP discovered that containers of imported wearing apparel were found to contain approximately twice the quantity of merchandise as was shown on the invoices and declared to CBP. To Customs, that might look like an attempt to smuggle clothing

Happy Tariff of Abominations Day

"What's that," you ask. It's my holiday for customs lawyers and compliance professionals. Read all about it here . I'm a couple days late, but that's OK since I am the only one celebrating.

Supreme Court Takes No Action on Customs Cases

A couple interesting customs matters were presented to the Supreme Court this term. Unfortunately, the Court declined to hear either. The first was the Deckers case about the meaning of the tariff term "slip on" as applied to footwear. The reason this was potential Supreme Court fodder was that the Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit gave weight to a definition of the term set out in a Customs and Border Protection document. That document was not a regulation and had not been vetted by public notice and comment. Deckers argued that the courts gave too much deference to this document and opened up the possibility that all CBP internal documentation will be subject to excessive judicial deference.    The second was a pair of cases involving the question of whether Congress violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution when it assigns rates of duty to merchandise based on the gender or age of the intended

The "Scope" of Protestable Events

After an antidumping or countervailing duty order, the job of collecting duty deposits and ultimately assessing the correct amount of duty falls to Customs and Border Protection. Like it or not, that requires that Customs exercise some judgment as to what merchandise is and is not within the scope of the order. Every day, at every Port of Entry, CBP Officers do exactly that. What happens when CBP incorrectly interprets the scope of an order and improperly collects AD or CV duties on goods outside the scope of the order has been the subject of much debate. LDA Incorporado v. United States may help settle that debate. LDA imports rigid steel conduit from China. There is an ADD and CVD order covering certain welded carbon quality steel pipe and tube from China. The order, however, explicitly exclude "finished electrical conduit." Customs subjected the imported merchandise to laboratory inspection and forwarded the matter to Headquarters for advice. Headquarters decided (se

Stare Decisis and Classification Cases

If you handle classification cases in the Court of International Trade, this is an important case: Deckers Corp. v. United States . On the surface, this case is about the tariff classification of Teva sports sandals. These are sandals in that they do not fully enclose the foot. However, they are designed for use in athletic pursuits including running, hiking, and some water sports. Here is a picture of the Terradactyl, one of the sandals at issue. Deckers asserted that its imports should be classified as "training shoe" in HTSUS subheading 6404.11, which covers "Sports footwear; tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like . . . ." What makes this case especially interesting is that Deckers first challenged the classification of these shoes in a 2001 case brought before the Court of International Trade. That case was designated a test case  and apparently focused on whether the sandals were "Sports footwear." Deckers lost

Ford Decision on NAFTA CO Waiver

This is a pretty specific decision, so let's be careful to not read too much into it. As you may recall, Ford Motor Company has been fighting with Customs and Border Protection over some post-entry NAFTA claims. Ford failed to provide to Customs copies of NAFTA certificates of origin when it made its claims under 19 U.S.C. 1520(d). Customs denied the claims and Ford protested, claiming, in part, that Customs had waived the requirement for the presentation of NAFTA CO's when it began accepting NAFTA claims via ACS Reconciliation without the presentation of CO's. We most recently discussed the issue here . In that decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that Customs had not adequately explained why it was treating the presentment requirement different in the 1520(d) context and the Reconciliation context. Customs has now explained its position, which (spoiler alert) the Court of International Trade accepted. Because the issue turned on the appli