A recent Customs Headquarters decision approving a protest filed by our office calls into question the infallibility of Customs laboratory testing results.
Ruling HQ H250948 involved a denial of a garment importer’s claim for duty-free treatment under the DR-CAFTA’s “short supply” provision. Duty-free eligibility turned on whether the underlying fabric had been subjected to certain specific finishing processes (which the lab concluded were not performed). Customs agreed with our argument that the supposed lab testing actually involved subjective visual observations as opposed to scientifically-grounded testing. The rejection of the lab’s testing methodology, combined with the submission of evidence supporting the importer’s claim, resulted in an approval of the protest.
Customs lab testing is often a critical factor in a number of areas including tariff classification, eligibility for Free Trade Agreement benefits and whether an imported article falls within the scope of an anti-dumping case. Ruling HQ H250948 is only the most recent decision by Customs and the courts questioning the validity of Customs lab testing. Importers facing adverse actions resulting from negative Customs lab determinations may wish to explore the ability to challenge such determinations. If you have questions about this issue, please contact Arthur Bodek (firstname.lastname@example.org) or other members of our firm.
Separately, a webinar on this subject is being offered by the U.S. Fashion Industry Association (although equally applicable to other commodities) on September 9, 2014. It is free to members of the Association and to clients of our firm. Further information can be accessed at: http://www.usfashionindustry.com/index.php?option=com_civicrm&task=civicrm/event/info&Itemid=141&reset=1&id=86.
Compliments of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP.