Showing posts from July, 2018

Swimways Floaties Classification

I often say that tariff classification cases rarely depend on disputed facts and, in my view, generally do not turn on facts not clear from an examination of the imported product. In other words, I often think these cases present fewer issues and can be more easily resolved than is the common view.  That said, there are obvious examples of where this is not the case. One example is Swimways Corp. v. United States , in which the Court of International had to undertake a fairly detailed factual analysis to determine the essential character of recreational floatation devices made of plastic inflatable floatation bladders, textiles mesh, and a metal spring that permits the deflated device to be compacted and then snap back to shape for use. The case involves two groups of floaties, the first are designed for adults . The second are designed for young children to help acclimate them to water as the first part of a learn to swim program. U.S. Customs and Border Protection classifie

Jurisdiction Argument Goes Up In Smoke

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency responsible for the collection of federal excise taxes. Recently, a question has come up regarding which court is the proper venue for an action to collect these taxes. Turns out, that is not as clear as you might have thought. United States v. Maverick Marketing, LLC Et Al. , tries to sort that out. Maverick Marketing and Good Time USA were involved in an agreement to import tobacco. Under 26 USC 5701 , importers of tobacco are liable for federal excise taxes. The United States has alleged that Maverick and Good Times made material false statements and/or omissions when entering tobacco products into the United States and, as a result, deprived the government of excise taxes. A previous decision ( Slip Op. 18-16 ) of the Court of International Trade denied defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The jurisdiction problem arises from the language Congress used in the statute defining the jurisdiction of the Cou

Duty Drawback, TFTEA, and Administrative Delay

Tobacos de Wilson, Inc., et al. v. United States , et al. is an effort to force Customs to apply amended drawback law after the statutory deadline but before Treasury has completed the regulatory process. It is pretty in the weeds but is important to drawback claimants. In the bigger picture, it is a good example of using the Courts to ensure that administrative agencies are meeting congressional mandates for action. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (known awkwardly as "TFTEA," which is pronounced "tiff-TEE-ah" in my office) made three important changes to the duty drawback law. Those changes, intended to make drawback less cumbersome, include: a change to the standard for substitution manufacturing drawback; a change to the test for commercial interchangeability for substitution unused merchandise drawback; and an expansion of the period for filing drawback claims. Under the law, Treasury (remember, drawback is all about the money) had

Archaeological Pieces Under 9705 HTSUS

As of July 1, 2018, importers of archaeological pieces have to report their merchandise to U.S. Customs and Border Protection with new detail. That is because the U.S. has added a new statistical breakout for these items and two related statistical notes. Prior to January of 2018, Heading 9705 provided, in its entirety: Click Image for Better View For people who trade in these items, those who study the legal and illegal trade in antiquities, and (presumably) enforcement agencies, lumping archaeological, historical, and ethnographic pieces together did not provide adequate detail about what is entering the country. As previously drafted, 9705.00.0070 covered items as diverse as a 1936 Bugatti race car and an Egyptian Stone Ushabti  from the 18th Dynasty . Working on behalf of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and with the support of several interested not-for-profit entities, we asked the 484(f) Committee to further divide this provision to separately identify, in p

Game of Thrones, the HTSUS Edition

Heading 9817 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States includes a subheading covering the following: Articles specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the blind or other physically or mentally handicapped persons; parts and accessories (except parts and accessories of braces and artificial limb prosthetics) that are specially designed or adapted for use in the foregoing articles:  The question presented to the U.S. Court of International Trade in Danze, Inc. v. United States is whether certain toilets and toilet tanks fall within this subheading and are, therefore, entitled to duty-free entry to the United States. The basis for the plaintiff's argument is that the merchandise complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act . The toilets include the Orrington High-Efficiency One-Piece model shown here and the Cirtangular Two-Piece. The tank involved is the Orrington tank. Note that none of these products have any obvious adaptations for