New guidance on post-importation claims for preferential tariff treatment
On February 28, 2017, US Customs issued CSMS# 17-000110 – Post-Importation Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment. The message announces a change in policy as a result of a recent Court of International Trade decision.
Specifically, the court determined that CBP must allow the claimant, Zojirushi America Corp., to claim a post-importation claim for preferential treatment (Generalized System of Preferences in this case) according to 19 U.S.C. § 1514(a) which means they can file either a Post Summary Correction or Protest to recoup duties paid on GSP eligible entries not claimed at the time of entry.
Prior to the CIT decision, CBP’s policy was much more restrictive on post-importation claims. In August 2014, US Customs issued guidance specifying that when the implementing legislation for several preference programs specifically provides for post-importation claims, set forth in 19 USC §1520(d), such claims are the only appropriate mechanism to seek preference when not claimed at the time of entry.
This interpretation by CBP precluded the filing of a PSC or Protest for those preference programs that do not specifically allow for post-entry claims under 19 USC §1520(d). In other words, since the GSP implementing legislation did not require post-importation claims to be satisfied via the 1520(d) CBP was essentially not allowing for post-entry claims for GSP.
However, the CIT decision changed this. Now,
- For those preference programs that do not specifically provide for claims under the statutory post importation mechanism of 19 USC §1520(d), CBP will permit use of the protest mechanism set forth in 19 USC §1514 to submit initial post-importation preference claims.
- CBP will continue to allow un-liquidated entries to be amended by filing a PEA or PSC prior to liquidation in accordance with current PEA and PSC procedures.
- For preference programs that by law have a post-importation provision, a 1520(d) post importation claim remains the only appropriate mechanism to seek preference when not claimed at the time of importation.
Also on February 28, 2017, the CBP Port of Los Angeles issued Public Bulletin number LA17-011 Post-importation Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment which reiterated the language in the CSMS and which included a better table for interpreting when a post-importation claim should be made under the 1520(d) process versus the 1514(a) process:
Coincidentally, on March 1, 2017, US Customs issued a message clarifying the process for making post-importation claims for NAFTA under the 1520(d) process.
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