Imports into the United States must be properly classified in the HTSUS tariff schedules, officially known as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). The HTSUS is based off the nomenclature published by the Word Customs Organization (WCO). A good importer knows that if your tariff classifications for imports are wrong you may find yourself facing some serious 592 penalties if you do not make a valid prior disclosure to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP).
When changes are made to the nomenclature that the HTSUS is based on then the United States is to make changes to the HTSUS. This can sometimes have an affect on tariff classification. Recently, the agency responsible for maintaining the HTSUS, the United States International
Trade Commission (USITC), notified the public about upcoming recommended changes and will provide an opportunity to comment on them. An invitation to comment is likely to begin sometime around December 2014. A notice about this was also published in the Federal Register.
Though the United States is still preparing its proposed modifications to the HTSUS you can get a preview of the changes by viewing the WCO’s original recommendations HERE (PDF). As can be seen, there are numerous proposed changes that may affect HTSUS tariff classification of imported fish and seafoods, dairy products, infant formulas, beverages, inorganic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, wood and wooden articles, fabrics, ceramics, copper and copper articles, mechanical/agricultural appliances, and many others imported goods in almost every chapter of the HTSUS.
In addition to the recommended changes to the HTSUS the USITC is proposing changes from by CBP that would potentially effect the proper classification (at least for statistical purposes) of corned beef and taros, otherwise known as dasheens.
As the director of the HTSUS division wisely said, importers and exporters who might “be affected … will want to stay on top of the process as it moves forward.” This is because interested parties will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes, and possibly make a difference in how the changes are implemented, if at all.
If you need help classifying your imports privately or by requesting a prospective ruling from CBP, need to protest a classification decision of CBP, or want to comment on the proposed changes to the HTSUS that will affect how your company’s imports are classified for customs purposes, you should contact our office by e-mail or call (734) 855-4999. We are experienced in adressing specific concerns of clients before federal angencies, congressional committees, and classifying products in the HTSUS. You can also make use of our other articles, such as:
- Customs penalties for fraud, negligence, and gross negligence under 19 USC § 1592
- Calculation of Customs penalties for 1592 violations
- Reducing Penalties through Prior Disclosures of 1592 Import Violations