Showing posts from August, 2016

Breaking News: Otter Products is Still Correct

You may know that one of the more closely watched appeals has been Otter Products, LLC v. United States in which the Court of International Trade previously overturned the tariff classification Customs and Border Protection assigned to covers for mobile devices. My original post on the case is here . Customs classified the covers in HTSUS Heading 4202, which includes, among a large number of other things, suitcases, camera case, backpacks, and similar contains. The Court of International Trade held that mobile device covers are not "similar" to the exemplars listed in the heading and, therefore, could not be classified there. The principle reason supporting that conclusion was that none of the exemplars allow the user complete and functional access to the contents while in the container. To put it in colorful terms: I can't wear my socks when they are in a closed suitcase but I can use my device when it is in the OtterBox Commuter and Defender cases at issue. The altern

Zombie Protests and GSP

There have been a few cases of note that I have not yet reviewed. Call it Olympic Distraction Syndrome or Summer is Rapidly Ending Depression. Either way, I've read the cases so you don't have to. First up, Zojirushi America Corp. v. United States , from the U.S. Court of International Trade. This case will go down in legal history as the genesis of Zombie Protests. You heard it here first. Zojirushi is an importer of vacuum bottles and jars, home appliances, and housewares. It made several entries that Customs and Border Protection liquidated as entered. Zojirushi then protested the liquidation and asserted a claim for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. Customs, following its internal policy, "rejected" the protest as asserting a non-protestable claim. This case is important and complicated enough to merit bold-face headings, a rarity in this blog. Jurisdiction: 1581(a) or 1581(i)? Usually, Customs will either approve or de

Ruling of the Week 2016.18: A 1967 Ferrari in the HTSUS

We have been down this road before . When is a car so classic, so old, and so valuable that it ceases to be a car for purposes of tariff classification and is treated as a collector's piece of historical interest? This time, in HQ H271385 (May 9, 2016), the question involves a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spyder. I think this is the model in question: This particular vehicle is the second to last of 10 such vehicles ever produced. One sold at auction in 2013 for over $27 million . The commercial invoice used at the time of importation showed this vehicle having a value of $25 million. From a classification perspective, there is no question that this is a car of Heading 8703. The question is whether it is also a collectors' piece of historical interest of Heading 9705. If so, Note 4 to Chapter 97 precludes classifying the vehicle in Heading 8703. Clearly, this item is of great interest to collectors. That leaves open the question of whether that interest is "hist

Ruling of the Week 2016.17: A Burning Question About Drawback

What happens when an importer pays duties, taxes and fees on imported merchandise which is subsequently destroyed in a fire? Unfortunately, nothing good. Duty drawback is a statutory mechanism by which 99% of the duties, taxes, and fees paid on entry may be refunded if, within three years of importation, the merchandise is exported or destroyed under Customs' supervision. The merchandise must not have been "used" in the U.S. and the claimant must satisfy the regulatory requirements. See generally 19 USC § 1313(j)(i).  As an aside, there are other kinds of drawback for special circumstances including petroleum products, substituted goods, and rejected merchandise. In HQ H219828 (Aug. 27, 2014) , a company called Sarmento Import and Export, Inc., sought drawback on bottles of wine lost in a warehouse fire. To give CBP the opportunity to observe destruction, the regulations require that the claimant submit a Form 7553 at least seven working days prior to the intended des