Showing posts from March, 2019

CIT Upholds Constitutionality of 232 Duties

Here is a quick take on the decision of the Court of International Trade in American Institute for International Steel v. United States . This is the case challenging the constitutionality of Section 232, under which President Trump imposed duties on steel and aluminum products in furtherance of national security. Plaintiff's theory of the case is that the statute is facially unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional requirement for separation of powers. The starting point for this that Congress, not the President has the power to regulate trade. In Section 232, Congress delegated some of that power to the President so that he may make adjustments to trade to protect the national security. AIIS argued that the powers given to the President are unbounded by an "intelligible principle," meaning he can exercise legislative powers that are reserved to Congress. That would be unconstitutional. If, on the other hand, the President can only act within a define

IPad Covers are Not Furniture

The Court of International Trade has determined the classification of plastic Smart Covers for iPads in Apple Inc. v. United States . These are the covers in question (or similar enough for our purposes). They provide a protective and decorative cover for an iPad 2 and, through engineering magic and origami, also serve as stands for the device because Apple has not yet perfected the kickstand . Along the way, a few interesting issues surfaced , at least in my brain. Apple sued the U.S. government following unsuccessful protests addressing plastic and leather Smart Covers for iPads. Customs & Border Protection classified the plastic covers in 6307 as other made up articles, which are dutiable at 7%. Customs classified leather Smart Covers in 4205 as other articles of leather, which is duty free from the get go. Apple asserted that the correct classification is as an accessory to a computer in 8473 (free). CBP subsequently issued a ruling classifying the plastic Smart Covers

Ford Transit Argument

Last week, the Federal Circuit hear arguments in the classification case involving tariff engineering and the classification of the Ford Transit. You can read my prior takes on this fascinating case here and here . An audio recording of the argument is available here . Listen to the argument and let me know what you think. The Court focused on the interesting question of whether the use of the vehicle after importation is relevant to its classification. This was not a general question of whether Ford was improperly skirting the chicken tax by disguising a cargo van as a passenger wagon. Rather, the question goes to the heart of interpreting tariff language. The Court’s inquiry boils down to this: Is Heading 8703 (motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons) an eo nomine provision that describes merchandises solely on the basis of physical characteristics? Or, is it an eo nomine classification that also suggests a specific use? If either is true, the us

Composite Machines and Classification

One of the tricky things about classifying modern devices is that they often have more than one function. Is your smartphone a phone, a computer, a music player, or a device used primarily for whatever this is? That is the issue in McMesson Canada Corp. v. United States , in which the Court of International Trade classified a device that dispenses, packages, and labels medications in a way that helps to ensure accurate dispensing and patient compliance with medical instructions. Here is a promotional video of a related, if not the same, machine. From McKesson The machine is composed of a pill canister at the top. The lower part contains reels of plastic packing material and a printer. Based on input from the touch screen, pills are weighed on an internal scale and dispensed into plastic pouches, which are printed with patient information and a bar code. All of this is driven by Pacmed software running on a Windows computer. This is how I envision Pacmed service technicians .