Showing posts from July, 2014

Ruling of the Week: The Minkomatic

Maybe this will be a continuing feature, maybe not. Either way, it is not at all unusual for me to see rulings that I find amusing for one reason or another. And, in almost all cases, I know that it is not amusing to the people involved who consider the product involved to be their job. So, I issue a blanket apology to anyone I might offend. Today, I was amused to see a ruling on the Minkomatic 660 and 670 feeder trucks. You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about self-propelled vehicles designed to deliver feed to livestock in pens here . The issue presented to Customs and Border Protection was whether the Minkomatic truck is classifiable as a vehicle of Chapter 87 or as agricultural machinery of Chapter 84. Because it is equally equipped for mink feeding, Customs determined that it is not principally used for transport. That took it out of Chapter 87. Customs then also determined that mink husbandry is an agricultural exercise. That puts the Minkomatic is 8436,

What's a Protest?

A protest is a very important document. When an importer lodges a protest with Customs and Border Protection, the importer is telling CBP that it disagrees with a decision Customs made when liquidating an entry. Absent a protest, the liquidation becomes final and is not subject to challenge. If the importer files a protest and CBP denied it, the importer can go to the Court of International Trade to challenge the denial. In many cases, if there is no valid protest, there is no way to get into court. To be valid, a protest has to be timely. Today, that means 180 days from the date of liquidation. That was not always the case. The protest period used to be 90 days. The transition from 90 to 180 days was not smooth and that seems to be the underlying problem in Puerto Rico Towing & Barge Co. v. United States , a recent decision of the Court of International Trade. The case involves an effort to protest the collection of duties on ship repairs performed on a U.S. flag vessel while

Dependable Classifications

When we last left Dependable Packaging Solutions, Inc. v. U.S., the Court of International Trade agreed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection that certain inexpensive bud vases were properly classified as "glassware of a kind used for . . . indoor decoration or similar purposes" (Heading 7013) rather than as "carboys, bottles . . . and other containers, of glass, of a kind used for the conveyance or packing of goods" (Heading 7010). Dependable appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has now rendered its judgment. The interesting issue Dependable raised on appeal has to do with the Explanatory Notes . [Note from Larry: Dear Thomson Reuters and Boskage, you're welcome.] The Explanatory Notes are not binding on Customs or the Court. Nevertheless, because they represent the views of the folks who wrote the Harmonized Tariff, they are deemed to be relevant and persuasive authority on the meaning of a tariff term. In this case, the Explan

Catching Up

I am behind on my blogging. As I have said in the past, that usually happens when I am busy at work, which is a good thing. So, to play a little catch up, I am going to combine several recent cases in this single post. Tempura Tempest First up, the Federal Circuit ruled on the classification of tempura in a case called R.T. Foods, Inc. v. United States . We discussed the Court of International Trade decision here . The government asserted that cut, flour dusted, fried, and flash frozen vegetables are classified in HTSUS 2004.90.85, which covers "Other vegetables prepared or preserved otherwise than by vinegar or acetic acid, frozen, other than products of heading 2006: Other vegetables and mixtures of vegetables: Other: Other, including mixtures." According to R.T. Foods, the products are classifiable in HTSUS 2106.90.99, which provides for "Food preparations not elsewhere specified or included: Other: Other: Other: Frozen." The latter classification is entitled