Showing posts from July, 2016

The Revenge of GRK Screws

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have asked, "How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?" He answered his own question. "Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg." This is an important legal principle in customs law. How you describe a product at the time of entry does not control the classification. You can't import pickles, call them baseballs and expect Customs to agree. My own corollary to Lincoln's question is this: "What do you call a bowling trophy if you use it as a hammer?" The answer is, a broken bowling trophy. This all matters because the correct name, (as opposed to a fraudulent name) of an item is often a potent indicator of its tariff classification. Many tariff provisions in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States are so-called eo nomine  provisions. Eo nomine  is legal Latin for "Under that name; by that appellation." It comes from the expression " Perinde ac si eo nomine

No Refund of Excessive CVD

I have previously pointed out the few cases that I see as ending in an injustice, even where the result is legally correct. These cases always lead me to ask whether anyone in a position of power in the United States Government asked whether the ultimately successful litigation position was actually the right thing to do. Sometimes, it is not. Capella Sales & Services Ltd. v. United States , is one of those cases. The background you need to understand this case is that there has been a long-running dispute over the proper calculation of the countervailing duty deposit rate imposed on aluminum extrusions from China. In May of 2011, Commerce initially calculated the all-others rate applicable to companies in China that were not assigned their own or a separate rate as 374.15%. Following some litigation, Commerce reduced the deposit rate to 137.65%. Finally, after additional litigation, the deposit rate was reduced to 7.37% in October of 2015. At the time of entry, importers of al

Ruling of the Week 2016.16: July 4th Edition

I hope my readers in America, which is 90% of the readership, had a happy Independence Day Holiday. As is essentially mandatory, I watched fireworks and contemplated the range of pyrotechnical displays available. If we create a spectrum from the impressive aerial burst you might see at Disneyworld to tossing a lit match in the air, there are many options in between. Among the least entertaining versions of fire-related entertainment products is the so-called "black snake." I remember lighting these things off as a kid. They smoke a lot, create a messy and not particularly impressive ash trail, and leave enough residue on the sidewalk that an underage and unauthorized user is likely to get in trouble. If you are not familiar with what I am on about, watch this: As I am likely to do, I also wondered about the tariff classification and admissibility of these things. In NY N114744 (July 23, 2010) , Customs was asked for the classification of TNT CP1051 assorted color sna