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CBP Clarifies Policy on Post-Entry Claims for Select FTAs and Preference Programs

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a guidance letter to the ports Aug. 11 stating unequivocally that protests cannot be filed to make an initial Generalized System of Preferences or African Growth and Opportunity Act claim or a claim under a free trade agreement not included in 19 USC 1520(d). In this guidance, CBP states that pre-liquidation claims for preferential treatment may be made under GSP, AGOA and FTAs not subject to the special rules found in 19 USC 1520(d), which include FTAs with Singapore, Australia, Israel and Jordan. However, initial claims for preferential treatment under GSP, AGOA and these FTAs may not be made via a post-liquidation protest under 19 USC 1514.

Although this change does not prevent the filing of timely pre-liquidation claims, CBP’s move to prevent the filing of administrative protests is a change from long-standing practice and was done without notice and comment. It remains unclear whether CBP will permit a protest filing after the denial of a post-entry amendment where CBP finds that support for the claim was insufficient.

Imports under FTAs mentioned in 19 USC 1520(d), such as NAFTA, CAFTA-DR and the U.S.-Korea FTA, are not affected by this change. For these FTAs, post-entry claims may be filed within one year from the date of importation.

ST&R is available to provide guidance to importers that have filed administrative protests claiming preferential treatment under GSP, AGOA and the U.S. FTAs with Singapore, Australia, Israel, Jordan and other countries not mentioned in 19 USC 1520(d). For more information, please contact Larry Ordet at (305) 894-1003 or Emily Simon at (202) 734-3934.

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