Changes to ISF Enforcement

On June 17, 2016, Customs announced that for shipments that are on the water on or before June 30, 2016, CBP ports will no longer be required to send requests for liquidated damages claims to Headquarters for review, and the “three-strikes” approach to liquidated damages claims against importers’ bonds will also end.  There is no change to cargo holds for ISF non-compliance.  Ports have the authority to both hold cargo and initiate liquidated damages claims.

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Prepare for the October 2016 Customs Broker License Exam - Live Class in Los Angeles

Los Angeles partner Erik Smithweiss teaches a class in Los Angeles to prepare for the Customs Broker Exam.

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Arthur W. Bodek to serve as Panelist at New York City Bar CLE Program on Lawyering in the Fashion Industry (June 17, 2016)

Arthur W. Bodek will serve as a panelist at the 11th Annual Lawyering In the Fashion Industry program presented by the New York City Bar - Center for CLE Programs.

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CBP Proposes Ruling Revocation on Reusable Plastic Hangers

On May 18, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a proposed ruling revocation related to the tariff classification of certain plastic garment hangers imported with garments.

Generally, plastic garment hangers, when imported separately from garments, are classifiable under subheading 3923.90.00, HTSUS, dutiable at 3% ad valorem.  For several years, CBP has held that plastic hangers imported with garments are separately classifiable under subheading 3923.90.00, so long as the hangers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.  This allows importers to pay duty on hangers accompanying garments at the three percent rate instead of at the likely higher rate that would be applicable to the garment itself.  If the hanger is not capable for repetitive use, then the hanger is subject to the garment’s duty rate.

In order to qualify for separate classification, CBP requires that (1) the hangers must be of a sufficiently substantial construction to be suitable for repetitive use; and (2) that information be available regarding the commercial reusability of the hangers (such as being designed and approved for use in a hanger recovery program such as VICS).

Historically, CBP has disqualified plastic hangers imported with garments if they featured an integral plastic top hanging hook, as opposed to a metal swivel hook.  (CBP also uses additional criteria in determining whether a hanger’s construction is sufficiently substantial.)

It appears that CBP is now prepared to relax this restriction, at least somewhat.  The proposed revocation would permit hangers described as “made from black plastic with an integral plastic top hanging hook” to be classified separately under subheading 3923.90.00, even when imported holding garments.  It remains to be seen how far CBP will be willing to extend this seemingly relaxed standard.

CBP is accepting written comments on the proposed revocation until June 17, 2016.  If you have any questions regarding this issue or if you would like assistance in preparing comments, please contact Joseph M. Spraragen ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  We are also available to review samples in order to advise on eligibility for duty savings or retroactive duty refunds.


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