Showing posts from January, 2016

Ruling of the Week 2016.3: Deductive Value

I tend to get focused on classification here on the Customs Law Blog. But, this is not the Tariff Classification Law Blog. Our scope if broader. With that in mind, we should also look at the other side of the duty calculation: value. Most importers understand that value is usually "transaction value" plus statutory additions including assists, royalties, and commissions. Look at 19 USC § 1401a . Most of the time, that will get you through the day. But, it does not work when you don't have a sale for export to the United States or when the price is affected by the relationship between the parties. In those cases, we need to turn to an alternative method of valuation. When transaction value fails, the statute requires that the goods be appraised based on a hierarchy of methods. The first alternative is the transaction value of identical or similar merchandise. For purposes of today, I am skipping that and going to deductive value. Why? Because its my blog. The ruling fo

Ruling of the Week 2016.2: Parts of Clarinets

I realize we are hard on the end of the second week of 2016, so I need to post another ROTW to avoid falling behind so early. So, here goes. Consider this a follow on to the prior ROTW , in which I walked through the classification of a complete ice cream maker. Today, we will discuss the classification of parts. The ruling in question is NY J85598 (Jun. 19, 2003) . In the ruling, Customs and Border Protection was asked to classify three "parts" used in the production of clarinets. The parts are needle springs, flat springs, and hinge screws. All were made of stainless steel. The most obvious place to classify all three items is in 9209.99.40 as parts of musical instruments, in this case woodwinds. That is a good result, if correct, because the duty rate is zero. But, is it correct? How else might the parts be described? Two are obviously springs. The hinge screw seems to be a metal pin with a threaded end. It might be a screw or a pin or part of a hinge. Springs of

Ruling of the Week 2016.1: Ice Cream Makers

I am a man of few hobbies. One of the ways I entertain myself is by making ice cream. Since I make it, I must eat it as well. That is probably not the best outcome, but there it is. It occurred to me that I do not know how to classify an ice cream  maker under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. Luckily, I could find the answer. In NY N269539 (Nov. 6, 2015), Conair, the parent to the Cuisinart brand of ice cream makers, asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to classify a machine. I have not been able to find a picture of the specific machine, which is described as model number WCIC20, a two-quart machine with a compressor. That makes it a self-cooling unit and is a big advance over the Cuisinart unit I use, which requires that the tub be frozen prior to starting the process. This machine operates in three modes to mix, freeze, and keep the ice cream cool. Since this is the first  Ruling of the Week for 2016, let's walk through it carefully. First, ask y

Reconciliation and NAFTA Post-Entry Claims

No one likes it when a pet theory dies. It is even worse when the theory was smart and creative. Unfortunately, this one seems to have finally been put out of its misery. I am talking about the notion pursued with vigor and righteousness by Ford Motor Company concerning post-entry NAFTA claims. There is useful background here  and here . I'm not going to go into detail again, so take the time to read those previous posts. It's OK, I am not going anywhere. The single salient fact here is that Ford made a timely post-entry NAFTA claim but failed to provide Customs with the NAFTA certificate of origin until after the running of the one-year period for a claim. Customs denied the claim on that basis, not on the merits. Ford smartly pointed out that while a post-entry NAFTA claim under 19 USC 1520(d)  requires a certificate of origin, an equally post-entry claim made via the ACS Reconciliation Prototype  does not. Customs specifically and affirmatively waived the requirement for

Protest Problems

To close out 2015, the Court of International Trade revisited a perennial question: When is a protest the necessary prerequisite to challenging a Customs' decision in Court? This time, the case was The Jankovich Company v. United States . Jankovich is a distributor of bunker fuel between the ports of Los Angeles and San Diego. The company made several requests to Customs to determine that its shipments were exempt from Harbor Maintenance Fees, which are assessed at 0.125% of the value of the cargo. Customs told Jankovich several times that it disagreed (see HQ H086062 and HQ H250175 ). So, like many reasonable companies unhappy with a decision of the United States, Jankovich filed a suit. When it filed its summons, Jankovich asserted jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1581(i) . That is the "residual" provision in the statute defining the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of International Trade. It has to be read in context with the whole section which also gives the Co