Showing posts from December, 2017

Recently, On Discovery

This has nothing to do with Michael Burnham or tardigrades . Discovery disputes are pretty uncommon in the Court of International Trade, and for good reason. Most CIT cases, these days, are “on the record” reviews of antidumping and countervailing duty decisions from the Department of Commerce or International Trade Commission. Those cases do not involve discovery about which to have a dispute. Most customs cases are tariff classification cases in which there is not often a real dispute about the nature of the imported product. That means the cases turn on questions of law, not fact, thereby limiting the genuine (if not perceived) need for discovery. Penalty cases area a whole different world. In penalty cases, the Department of Justice is often trying to figure out what happened and, more important, what it can prove. That means penalty cases often involve a lot of discovery requests from the government directed at the defendant and its personnel. For its part, the defendant oft

In the Zone

At the moment, my family and I are hiding from the Chicago winter in Panama. There is no sign of winter here. There is, however, a big canal. From my current poolside seat, I can see freighters, container ships, and tankers, lined up waiting to enter the canal on the pacific side. I am told they wait can be about 24 hours or more and that the 80 km transit can take 8 hours or more. It is very cool to see this in real life. Although I have spent my entire career dealing with supply chains, I rarely need to actually see the supply chain in action. Here, it is unavoidable. So, off to the Miraflores locks for a closer look. (c) 2017 LMFriedman (c) 2017 LMFriedman Happy new year to all of you.

How the Sausage Casing is Made

Continuing my effort to catch up on 2017 customs decision from the Court of International Trade, we come to Kalle USA, Inc. v. United States. For lots of reasons, I am going to treat this carefully. First and foremost, this is a case litigated by my law firm. As far as I know, this is not final, and I will not say anything about the matter that is not consistent with the position we advanced in the CIT. On top of that, I have a case pending before the Court that raises similar issues. Therefore, this post is just the facts and just the conclusions of law. Kalle imports lay-flat tubes that are layers of plastic and textile materials. The long edge of the tube is sealed with glue. These tubes are used as casings for sausages and sometimes cheese. There are two versions of the casing at issue. For the majority of the merchandise, the textile is about 140 micrometers compared to 20 micrometers for the plastic. The textile value is € 0.96/165 cm compared to € 0.73/165 cm for the plastic.

Is a Santa Suit Apparel?

It is Christmas Eve as I write this while on my way to warmer climes. This short vacation is a good opportunity to catch up on court decisions and blog posts. The fact that it is Christmas makes a discussion, however brief, of Rubies Costume Co. v. United States timely. This particular Rubies case involves a Santa jacket and pants. Apparently, it is a particularly well-made Santa costume. Among other characteristics, it features a zippered jacket with lining and finished sleeve cuffs. The pant legs are unfinished, but are designed to be tucked into black shoe covers, meaning they do not show. The costume sells for about $100 and includes a fabric-care label specifying that it be dry cleaned. I think this is an image of the item in question: We have been over some of this ground in previous posts. See here and here for example. The basic question is whether these garments are wearing apparel of Chapter 61 of the HTSUS or whether they are festive articles of Chapter 95. Ther

Consolidated Fibers: What the EAJA?

Consolidated Fibers, Inc. v. United States involves an importer’s motion for attorneys’ fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”). And, it is a cautionary tale for importers and customs lawyers. The underlying facts are not too complicated. Consolidated entered polyester stable fiber from Korea. At the time of entry, it deposited the 7.9% estimated dumping duties that were then due. Because the producer was subject to administrative review, the liquidation of the entry was suspended. On December 10, 2007, Commerce published the results of the review and determined the assessment rate to be 48.14%. On January 14, 2008, Commerce issued instructions to Customs to liquidate the entries at the assessment rate. CBP failed to act on those instructions until May 6, 2011 when it published a bulletin notice of liquidation stating that the entry liquidated by operation of law on June 10, 2008 at the 7.9% deposit rate. But, shortly thereafter, on June 17, 2011, CBP “rate advanced” th