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CBP Policy Shift on Post-Entry Preference Claims to be Topic of Aug. 27 Webinar

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Importers are growing increasingly concerned about an unexpected change in policy by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that limits their right to claim preferential treatment in certain instances. ST&R member Larry Ordet will conduct a webinar Aug. 27 to offer guidance to importers who find themselves in this seemingly no-win situation.

In an Aug. 11 guidance letter to the ports, CBP stated unequivocally that protests cannot be filed to make an initial claim under the Generalized System of Preferences or the African Growth and Opportunity Act or a free trade agreement not included in 19 USC 1520(d), including FTAs with Singapore, Australia, Israel and Jordan. The guidance said that such claims may be made prior to liquidation but not via a post-liquidation protest under 19 USC 1514, an option CBP had previously allowed. It remains unclear whether CBP’s policy shift will also have unintended consequences relating to certain claims made pre-liquidation.

This change from long-standing practice was done without notice and comment and has created a substantial amount of uncertainty for importers who have already filed or are considering filing administrative protests claiming preferential treatment under GSP, AGOA or the affected FTAs. The new policy may also have unintended consequences that have not been specifically addressed by CBP.

To assist importers affected by the policy change, ST&R will conduct a one-hour webinar Aug. 27 that examines the procedures for filing pre-liquidation and post-liquidation claims, including 19 USC 1520(d); reviews the implications of CBP’s guidance for these procedures; and provides recommendations on how importers can protect claims that are at risk.

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