Showing posts from May, 2015

Ruling of the Week 2015.16: SCOTUS Edition

I'm falling behind on my goal of blogging a ruling a week. So, I am cheating and calling an action of the United States Supreme Court a "ruling," which it technically is. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in Shadadpuri v. United States . That means that the decision of the full United States Court of Appeals in Trek Leather  stands as the law of the land. Is this a terrible result? Probably not in that particular case. It appears that Mr. Shadadpuri was a bad actor in terms of customs compliance. But, the decision is not limited to bad actors. It means that anyone who provides information to Customs that is material to its handling of an entry is potentially liable for a penalty if that information turns out to be false by reason of fraud, gross negligence, or negligence. By anyone, I mean anyone. This applies to the importer, individuals who are employees of the importer, and third parties including brokers, carriers, sureties, and domes

Happy Tariff of Abominations Day

May 19th is a holiday for customs and trade professionals. I know that because I declared it to be so. If you don't recall, read this post .

Ruling of the Week 2015.15: The Festive Penguin

Several alert readers have pointed me in the direction of the May 6, 2015 Customs Bulletin & Decisions in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection proposes to revoke NY N035321 (Aug. 18, 2008). In that ruling, Customs considered the classification of a 14-inch plastic penguin made of red, orange, green and clear beads. To make the item even more impressive, it is equipped with light bulbs that run through the frame and it wears a "Santa hat" made of lights. Stop there for a moment. As with my lighted tie , I have been unable to find a picture of this particular item. Note to anonymous law clerk who found me a representative tie: treat this as a challenge. Find me a picture, please. Customs originally classified this item in Heading 3926 as an other article of plastic. The importer asked for reconsideration of that decision and asserted that it is properly classified as a festive article in heading 9505. As you probably know, the scope of heading 9505 has been the sub

Another Defeat for Customs Trolls

Do you remember the tale of Customs Fraud Investigations, LLC v. Victaulic Company ? If not, you should go back and read that post. CFI is an entity established to conduct research and analysis with the apparent goal of identifying customs fraud. The ultimate goal of which appears to be to profit by bringing False Claims Act cases against alleged fraudsters. Nice business model. In the case of Victaulic, CFI claimed that the company was not labeling its products consistent with the country of origin marking laws and regulations. While doing so, Victaulic also allegedly failed to notify Customs and Border Protection of the violation and deposit marking duties. As a result, according to CFI, Victaulic has committed customs fraud and, by making a false claim, deprived the U.S. government of lawful revenue. CFI claims it should be able to maintain a False Claims Act case on this basis and receive a portion of the revenue eventually paid to the U.S. As previously discussed, CFI based

Ruling of the Week 2015.14: The "Treatment" of Bicycle Seats

Note, this is not another post about tariff classification. Read through the facts to get to the more interesting issue. How much controversy could there possibly be over the tariff classification of an add-on child safety seat for bicycles? Apparently, enough to general HQ H170637  (Feb. 11, 2015). Kent International imports the Wee Ride child safety seat that is designed to mount in front of the saddle on an adult bicycle. Here's what it looks like: Back in 2005, CBP issued a ruling classifying the Wee Ride as a bicycle accessory in 8714.99.80, subject to a 10% rate of duty.  Customs subsequently issued rulings to other importers classifying similar safety seats in 9401.80.40 as seats, which is a duty-free provision. Obviously, that gave competitors an advantage and probably annoyed Kent. Kent even got some protests approved on the basis of the subsequent rulings. However, Kent's subsequent entries were liquidated in 8714, forcing anther round of protests, which in