News

CAFC Affirms Otter Decision on Phone Covers

On August 24, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an important opinion affirming the U.S. Court of International Trade’s (CIT) decision in Otter Products, LLC v. United States, 70 F.Supp. 3d 1281 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2015).  The CIT had held that two styles of smartphone covers were classifiable as other articles of plastic under subheading 3926.90.99, HTSUS, dutiable at 5.3%, and had rejected Customs’ claim that the covers were classifiable as “similar containers” under subheading 4202.99.90, HTSUS, dutiable at 20%.

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CBP Issues New Regulations on AD/CVD Evasion Investigations

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has published “interim” regulations detailing a new framework and legal procedures for investigating potential evasion of antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) liability. 

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Customs Enforcement Programs on the Horizon

A number of importers have received compliance letters from Customs. These letters identify a number of Customs Informed Compliance Publications, and remind importers of their obligation to exercise reasonable care in preparing and filing their customs entries.

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CBP RULES THAT CERTAIN MOLDED PLASTIC HANGERS ARE REUSEABLE / ELIGIBLE FOR LOW DUTY HANGER TARIFF PROVISION

In a ruling published in the Customs Bulletin of August 17, 2016, CBP held that certain hangers made of plastic with an integral plastic top hook met the “clearly suitable for repetitive use” standard, such that they may be classified separately from their accompanying garments at the hanger rate of duty of 3% (under HTS 3923.90.00), rather than as ordinary apparel packing at the significantly higher garment rates of duty.

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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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