The notices of changes in import / export law provided below are accurate as to the date written, and are not intended to provide legal advice. Please contact the firm for additional information or counseling on these matters.
Customs issued a press release on 10/3/2017 announcing that it successfully prosecuted a domestic purchaser of goods imported by another company for errors made by the importing company on its import declarations to Customs. Usually, only the importing company is liable for any customs violations. However, in this case the government proceeded against the domestic buyer through the False Claims Act by alleging that although the buyer did not itself make the false declarations to Customs, the buyer ignored warning signs that its supplier was defrauding the government of duty revenue. The domestic buyer, Notations, Inc. agreed to pay $1,000,000 in damages to settle the case.
As a result of our victories in the lawn mower tire cases at the U.S. Court of International Trade, filed on behalf of Monitor Manufacturing and Americana Development, Customs’ published notice in the November 1, 2017 Customs Bulletin that it was revoking its determination in Headquarters Ruling Letter H156538 that duties must be deposited on all imported lawn mower tires. Customs also issued a new ruling, HQ H264768, to communicate to the trade and Customs Officers at all ports of entry that lawn mower tires are now eligible for duty free entry.
Customs is amending its Importer Identity Form No. 5106 to require the reporting of the identity of Corporate Officers at companies that import goods into the United States. Since the Trek Leather case (CIT 2011, affirmed CAFC 2014), in which Trek’s President was found personally liable for negligent valuation declarations made by Trek on its imported goods, Customs has increasingly sought to include individuals in its enforcement actions and to track the movement of individuals from one importing company to another.