A very long but worthy read appears in today’s Federal Register. It is a new opportunity from U.S. Customs & Border Protection to make U.S. products more competitive overseas. Essentially, if you are a U.S. exporter whose exports are being incorrectly classified or valued by a foreign government, you now have recourse to the CBP who will, if they agree with your position, work through the appropriate channels to achieve a resolution. Here is the most relevant text from the notice:
Inquiries Concerning Tariff Classification or Customs Valuation by Other Customs Administrations Affecting U.S. Exports By publication of this notice, U.S. Customs and Border Protection emphasizes that opportunities exist to strengthen communication and coordination between industry, CBP, other customs administrations, and the WCO to advance the shared goal of facilitating international trade. Greater collaboration with industry promotes improved technical understanding among contracting parties and helps to foster uniformity in the interpretation and application of the HS Convention and WTO Valuation Agreement. On matters involving non-uniform tariff classification or customs valuation treatment by other customs administrations, individual parties or firms do not have standing to initiate dispute settlement procedures or consultations under the HS Convention or the WTO Valuation Agreement. Consequently, for a U.S. individual or firm to raise a tariff classification or customs valuation dispute, that party must file an inquiry or complaint with the U.S. government and provide, or assist in the collection of, any information relating to the matter which may be required. Accordingly, CBP hereby invites U.S. exporters to file with CBP requests for assistance in resolving any tariff classification or customs valuation treatment by other customs administrations affecting U.S. exports.Of course, as a threshold technical matter, in order to provide the requested assistance, CBP must agree with the position of the exporter with regard to the specific matter brought to CBP's attention. CBP will endeavor to provide an initial response to such requests within 60 days of their receipt. Thereafter, in cooperation with the appropriate agencies, CBP will consider the appropriate course of action, including but not limited to the initiation of consultations or dispute settlement at meetings of the HSC or TCCV at the WCO. The inquirer or complainant will be informed of the progress achieved in resolving the matter. Requests for assistance on tariff classification or customs valuation treatment by other customs administrations affecting U.S. exports should be addressed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of International Trade, Regulations & Rulings, Attention: Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division, 90 K St. NE., 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229-1177. Confidentiality Information submitted by U.S. exporters concerning requests for assistance may, in some instances, include confidential commercial or financial information, the disclosure of which could result in competitive harm to the business submitter. Such information is, generally, protected under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) (FOIA), the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a), and the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. 1905). If confidential treatment is requested, submitters should specifically designate the information it considers confidential. Such requests will be handled in accordance with CBP Regulations (19 CFR 103.35) regarding the protection of such information.
If you need help classifying your exports and want the assistance of CBP, 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: