Showing posts from October, 2018

GSP Refund Claims Denied

In other news, the Court of International Trade has dismissed a claim seeking refunds of duties paid while GSP was lapsed. The case, Industrial Chemicals Inc. v. United States involves 65 entries on which the importer paid duties for goods that would have been duty-free if the Generalized System of Preferences was in effect. When GSP was renewed, the importer had a statutory 180-day period (ending December 28, 2015) in which to make a claim. Due to some undefined misunderstanding between the importer and its customs broker, the claim was not made until February 2, 2016. Customs promptly denied the request as untimely. The importer filed a protest challenging . . . well, something. Customs and Border Protection denied the protest and the importer sued in the Court of International Trade. In the CIT, the United States moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. There is some ambiguity about the plaintiff’s theory. The protest might be directed at the original refusal

Lamenting Litigation

Sometimes, a seemingly simple proposition is not easy to prove in federal court. Such is the case with the tariff classification of Ziploc bags. First, a note to intellectual property lawyers. Ziploc is a registered trademark of SC Johnson & Sons. I am not using it as a generic description. Rather, it is the actual product at issue in the Court of International decision SC Johnson & Sons v. United States . I am not going to say "brand" or insert a registered trademark symbol ® throughout my text. Let's just all agree that when I say "Ziploc" I mean plastic bags that are products of SC Johnson & Sons. On its face, one would expect that the classification of these common items under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States would be a relatively straight-forward proposition. In fact, I am surprised there is a controversy at all. There are two potential HTSUS heading. Heading 3923 covers: "Articles for the conveyance or packi

Lawyerly Arguments on Drawback

There are a lot of practicing lawyers who secretly or not so secretly harbor desires throw in the legal towel and transition to a career that is their true passion. A third of them think they would be award-winning novelists if only they had time to write. Another third think they should be hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, or similar financial potentates. The remainder are an eclectic mix of future pastry chefs, bike shop owners (who are also excellent baristas), rock drummers, and other jobs where middle-aged hipsters with discretionary income will fit right in. The rest of us actually like lawyering and sometimes get the opportunity to be creative at the same time. Such is the case in Flint Hills Resources v. United States , a not-so-recent decision of the U.S. Court of International Trade. The question was whether Customs and Border Protection properly denied refunds of Harbor Maintenance Tax ("HMT"), Merchandise Processing Fee ("MPF"), and Environment

Watch this space

There is a chance I will soon see a gap in my schedule large enough to write a post or two. It could happen. I'm not promising, but it could. There are several Court of International Trade decisions to discuss. We also have a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that we will not call NAFTA; it is the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. The only pronounceable word I can get from that is "UnMexiCan." That does not seem good for political marketing in Mexico. I hope to give some highlights of that agreement here. You may also have noticed that today was the deadline for filing exclusion requests from the first round of Section 301 duties on goods from China. That, and 232 duties, is a significant part of why I have had my head down.