CBP Clarifies Post-Importation Claims under Trade Preference Programs

Last Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued guidance regarding proper procedures for submitting claims for preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA, a host of other U.S. Free Trade Agreements, and other preference programs.  It is important that U.S. importers (as well as Canadian and other non-resident importers to the U.S.) know which procedures are available under these different programs in order to preserve their rights to make preferential claims and the timing of when those claims can be made.

In issuing its guidance, CBP noted that importers have historically used a variety of post-importation methods to submit an initial claim for preferential duty treatment, including Post-Entry Amendments (PEAs), Post Summary Corrections (PSCs), Protests filed under 19 U.S.C. § 1514 and post-importation claims submitted pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1520(d).

Citing to a pair of court decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, CBP explained how not all trade preference programs are identical in allowing post-importation preference claims. The court has held that a Protest may not be used to make a preference claims because liquidation of an entry without a claim is not a “protestable decision”.  CBP also cited to Headquarters Ruling Letter (H193959, dated July 30, 2012) that also discussed the limitations on using Protests as a viable procedure to assert a duty preference claim.

CBP’s guidance noted, however, that the law implementing certain preference programs expressly provides for post-importation claims pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1520(d).  This allows for a post-importation claim to be made up to one (1) year after the entry date.  This method of submitting a post-import duty preference claim is limited to: NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, Chile FTA, Colombia FTA, Korea FTA, Oman FTA, Panama FTA, Peru FTA.  The guidance goes on to state that for these preference programs, post-importation preference claims can only be submitted under 19 U.S.C. § 1520(d).  PEAs and PSCs are not a valid procedure to submit an initial post-importation preference claim under these Free Trade Agreements.

Where a preference program does not have a post-importation provision under 19 U.S.C. § 1520(d), CBP will continue to accept PEAs and PSCs for initial post-importation preferential duty claims on unliquidated entries.  These procedures will apply to numerous preference programs, including: African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Australia FTA, Bahrain FTA, Civil Aircraft Agreement, Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), Insular Possessions, Israel FTA, Jordan FTA, Morocco FTA, Pharmaceutical Products Agreement, Singapore FTA, and others.

In reviewing which post-importation procedures can be used to submit an initial preferential duty claim under the different programs, CBP importantly noted in its guidance that the court decisions held “failure to claim preference timely does not give rise to a right to protest[,]” meaning Protests filed under 19 U.S.C. § 1514 as an initial claim for preferential duty treatment will be “rejected as non-protestable” by CBP.  Therefore, importers will need to submit preference claims prior to liquidation.

For assistance with understanding and complying with U.S. Customs laws and  regulations, due diligence support in merger and acquisitions and other strategic alliances, as well as representation before CBP on Protests, in investigations, civil penalties, prior disclosures and other matters, please contact Jon P. Yormick, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, jon@yormicklaw.com or by calling +1.866.967.6425 (Toll free in Canada & U.S.) or +1.216.928.3474.

U.S. Imposes New Export Controls on Russia’s Energy Sector and Adds Russian Shipbuilder to Entity List

On 1 August, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, Eric L. Hirschhorn, signed a rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to “impose additional sanctions implementing U.S. policy toward Russia,” and address the ongoing developments in Ukraine. Under the rule, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposes export controls on items used in Russia’s energy sector, including exploration and production from deepwater, Artic offshore, and shale projects. The rule also adds state-owned shipbuilder, United Shipbuilding Corporation, to the Entity List. On 31 July, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added United Shipbuilding Corporation, to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.

The new rule adds 15 CFR § 746.5 to the EAR, “Russian Industry Sector Sanctions,” and imposes export, reexport, and transfer controls on items classified under the following Export Control Commodity Numbers (ECCNs): 0A998 (Oil/gas exploration equipment, software, and data ), 1C992 (Commercial charges and devices containing energetic materials ), 3A229 (Firing sets and equivalent high-current generators), 3A231 (Neutron generator systems), 3A232 (Detonators and multipoint initiation systems), 6A991 (Marine or terrestrial acoustic equipment ), 8A992 (Vessels, marine systems or equipment, “specially designed” “parts” and “components” therefor), and 8D999 (“Software” “specially designed” for operation of unmanned submersible vehicles used in oil/gas industry). These new controls apply “when the exporter, reexporter or transferor knows or is informed that the items will be used directly or indirectly in Russia’s energy sector” for exploration and production from deepwater (more than 500 feet depth), Artic offshore, and shale oil/gas projects. The rule goes on to identify, without limitation, examples of items that are specifically covered by the new Russian Industry Sector Sanctions, as follows: drilling rigs, parts for horizontal drilling, drilling and completion equipment, subsea processing equipment, Artic-capable marine equipment, wireline and down hole motors and equipment, drill pipe and casing, software for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), high pressure pumps, seismic acquisition equipment, remotely operated vehicles, compressors, expanders, valves, and risers. The rule makes clear that “[n]o license exceptions may overcome the licensing requirements under new § 746.5,” except for license exception GOV, and that the license review policy is a presumption of denial.

The rule also adds Supplement No. 2 to Part 746, Russian Industry Sector Sanctions List. This new supplement includes the ECCNs referenced above, but also includes more than 50 “Schedule B” numbers. Schedule B numbers are a commodity classification number used for exports, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau and used for reporting foreign trade data. The following main Schedule B numbers and items are listed: 7304, 7305, and 7306 (line pipe, drill pipe, casing), 8207 (rock drilling or earth boring tools and bits), 8413 (oil well pumps and elevators), 8421 (industrial gas cleaning and separation equipment), 8430 (offshore drilling and production platforms and boring/sinking machinery), 8431 (oil/gas field machinery parts), 8479 (oil/gas field wire line and downhole equipment), 8705 (mobile drilling derricks), and 8905 (floating or submersible drilling or production platforms and floating docks).

For U.S. companies and foreign companies that are subject to U.S. export controls and the jurisdiction of BIS, these new Russian energy sector sanctions pose new compliance challenges and risks. As with any economic sanctions and export controls, but particularly with the progressing multilateral Ukraine-related sanctions, companies are urged to exercise enhanced due diligence in their compliance efforts. U.S. and foreign companies that currently export, reexport, or transfer commodities, technology, and software covered by the ECCNs and Schedule B, should be alerted to this new rule and its compliance requirements. U.S. companies and foreign companies that are subject to U.S. export controls that might only sell or transfer such items domestically should also undertake additional due diligence and not “self-blind” on determining whether Russia is the ultimate destination of the items.

The new rule can be found at this link, http://1.usa.gov/1okGBSH.

For assistance with understanding and complying with this new BIS rule, Ukraine-related and other economic sanctions laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, as well as representation before BIS and OFAC in investigations, civil penalty, and voluntary self-disclosures, please contact Jon P. Yormick, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, jon@yormicklaw.com or by calling +1.866.967.6425 (Toll free in Canada & U.S.) or +1.216.269.5138 (mobile).

Yormick is Presenting on International Trade Issues this Month

International business and trade lawyer, Jon P. Yormick, will be giving 2 presentations this month on international trade issues. On June 10, at the National Association of Credit Management 118th Credit Congress & Expo in Orlando, he will present Navigating Economic Sanctions…Successfully.  Yormick’s presentation will be part of an Advanced level session, “International Export Compliance and Fraud Detection.”  Co-panelists include the Director of International Trade Compliance for DHL Express Americas Region, a Partner from Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, and the Senior Investigator at ConSec Investigations.

On June 19, at the 2014 Upstate New York Trade Conference & Expo in Rochester, Yormick will present on the “deemed export” rule, economic sanctions, FCPA/Antibribery, and antiboycott regulations as part of the Conference’s Export Controls (EAR/ITAR) Track.  He will join the U.S. Trade Compliance Manager from Idex Optics & Photonics to discuss these and other export control topics during the session, “Advanced Exporting Issues aka ‘A day in the Life of a Professional Exporter.’”  Yormick will then join with other panelists for the “ITAR & EAR Roundtable: Overview of Export Control Reform and Q&A/Forum.”  For more information and registration, visit http://bit.ly/LeKSuT.

Yormick is an experienced international business and trade attorney practicing in the areas Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Customs & International Trade, and FCPA/Antibribery. He represents U.S. and foreign clients before the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on import and export laws and regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  His clients include those in the advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, aerospace and defense, distribution, electronics, energy, medical device, oil/gas, pharmaceuticals, professional services, steel, textiles and apparel, and transportation/logistics sectors.

In 2014, Mr. Yormick was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce as a member of the Northern Ohio District Export Council, and he was selected to serve on the LL.M. Advisory Board of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is also a member of the U.S. Small Business Administration International Trade Task Force – Buffalo District Office.  Since 2010, he has served as the Coordinator in Buffalo and Cleveland of the Export Legal Assistance Network, a nationwide network of attorney volunteers organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the SBA, and the Federal Bar Association to provide free initial consultations to identify key legal issues for exporting companies.

Navigating Economic Sanctions Successfully: Yormick will Present Upcoming FCIB Webinar

On April 23, international trade and business attorney, Jon Yormick, will present a webinar on Navigating Economic Sanctions Successfully for The Finance, Credit & International Business Association (FCIB). The 1-hour webinar begins at 11:00 am EST and is open to FCIB members and non-members.

In his presentation, Yormick will provide an update on the recent economic sanctions relating to events in Ukraine, discuss key U.S. economic sanctions regimes, discuss recent OFAC General Licenses and TSRA licenses that give companies certain business opportunities within the U.S. sanctions regimes for Iran and other countries subject to U.S. sanctions, and emphasize economic sanctions compliance, including lessons learned from recent OFAC and BIS civil penalty cases.

Yormick is an experienced international business and trade attorney practicing in the areas Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Customs & International Trade, and FCPA/Anticorruption. He represents U.S. and foreign clients before the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on import and export laws and regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  His clients include those in the advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, aerospace and defense, distribution, electronics, energy, medical device, oil/gas, pharmaceuticals, professional services, steel, textiles and apparel, and transportation/logistics sectors.

For more information about FCIB visit, www.fcibglobal.com, or use this link to register for the webinar, http://bit.ly/1kWK9Q4.

President Issues Executive Order Concerning Ukraine

This morning the White House issued an Executive Order blocking property, suspending immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the U.S., and prohibiting donations to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty of Ukraine.  The Executive Order is broad in its scope and does not identify any particular individuals or entities that are subject to the sanctions.  The Executive Order was issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and other federal laws.

According to the Executive Order, all property and interest in property that are in the U.S. currently or come within the U.S. or possession or control of a U.S. person (including foreign branches) are blocked for any person determined to be “responsible for or complicit in, or have engaged in, directly or indirectly” actions or policies that undermine the democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; actions or policies that threaten peace, security, stability, sovereignty and the territory of Ukraine; or misappropriate Ukraine state assets.  In addition, property is blocked for those determined to be a “leader of an entity that has, or whose members have” engaged in or materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support, or goods or services in support of such activities.

An entity is broadly defined as “partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation group, sub-group, or other organization.”

The Executive Order also suspends immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the U.S. of those determined to have participated in such activities.

Additionally, donations and other contributions of support to those determined to be involved in such activities are prohibited.

Lastly, the Executive Order prohibits any transaction that evades or attempts to evade or avoid the prohibitions, as well as any conspiracy to evade or avoid the prohibitions.

Noting that the transfer of funds and assets can be done instantaneously, the Executive Order also states that “no prior notice of a listing or determination made” pursuant to Executive Order shall be provided.

In light of this just released Executive Order, companies are urged to immediately review their business relationships in and with Russian and Ukrainian parties and take necessary actions to avoid possible violations of the Executive Order. Clearly, this is a developing situation and companies will need to actively monitor whether further sanctions will be imposed and their business relationships with individuals and entities that are or may be affected by this Executive Order.

For assistance with understanding and complying with this Executive Order, other economic sanctions laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, as well as representation before BIS and OFAC in investigations, civil penalty, and voluntary self-disclosures, please contact Jon P. Yormick, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, jon@yormicklaw.com or by calling +1.866.967.6425 (Toll free in Canada & U.S.), +1.216.928.3474, or Skype at jon.yormick.

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