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CBP Proposes Ruling Revocation on Reusable Plastic Hangers

On May 18, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a proposed ruling revocation related to the tariff classification of certain plastic garment hangers imported with garments.

Generally, plastic garment hangers, when imported separately from garments, are classifiable under subheading 3923.90.00, HTSUS, dutiable at 3% ad valorem.  For several years, CBP has held that plastic hangers imported with garments are separately classifiable under subheading 3923.90.00, so long as the hangers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.  This allows importers to pay duty on hangers accompanying garments at the three percent rate instead of at the likely higher rate that would be applicable to the garment itself.  If the hanger is not capable for repetitive use, then the hanger is subject to the garment’s duty rate.

In order to qualify for separate classification, CBP requires that (1) the hangers must be of a sufficiently substantial construction to be suitable for repetitive use; and (2) that information be available regarding the commercial reusability of the hangers (such as being designed and approved for use in a hanger recovery program such as VICS).

Historically, CBP has disqualified plastic hangers imported with garments if they featured an integral plastic top hanging hook, as opposed to a metal swivel hook.  (CBP also uses additional criteria in determining whether a hanger’s construction is sufficiently substantial.)

It appears that CBP is now prepared to relax this restriction, at least somewhat.  The proposed revocation would permit hangers described as “made from black plastic with an integral plastic top hanging hook” to be classified separately under subheading 3923.90.00, even when imported holding garments.  It remains to be seen how far CBP will be willing to extend this seemingly relaxed standard.

CBP is accepting written comments on the proposed revocation until June 17, 2016.  If you have any questions regarding this issue or if you would like assistance in preparing comments, please contact Joseph M. Spraragen ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  We are also available to review samples in order to advise on eligibility for duty savings or retroactive duty refunds.

   

Dharmendra Choudhary on China-US trade relations

For more insight on China, U.S. trade relations CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Dharmendra Choudhary, foreign trade counsel, at law firm GDLSK. Dharmendra’s live interview at CCTV can be viewed by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g-52y-dV20&feature=youtu.be

   

Fundamentals of Foreign-Trade Zones: NAFTZ Spring Seminar

David M. Murphy is speaking at the 30th Annual Spring Seminar of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones in Nashville, TN (May 22-24, 2016).  Mr. Murphy will speak on the “Fundamentals of Foreign-Trade Zones” on May 23.  The program includes seminars addressing topics currently affecting FTZ grantees, operators and users from beginners to the advanced professional. For more information about this topic, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information on the program, see http://www.naftz.org/events/annual-spring-seminar/

   

President Obama signs into law H.R. 1493 “The Protect and Preserve Cultural Property Act”

On May 9, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1493 titled “The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act” authorizing emergency import restrictions of any archaeological or ethnological material from Syria that is unlawfully removed from Syria on or after March 15, 2011. Read More….

H.R. 1493 also calls for the President to establish an interagency coordinating committee to coordinate the efforts of the executive branch to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk from political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters.  The Committee should be chaired by the rank of Assistant Secretary at the Department of State and be comprised of representatives from government agencies as well as consultants from other public and private sector sources.  James McAndrew of our staff was instrumental in influencing both the House of Representatives and members of Congress with the final version of the Bill.  The Bill was originally introduced in November 2014 as H.R. 5703 which called for the appointment of a White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection.  Disagreements within governmental agencies as to the form, structure and function of the Bill led to its demise.

In March of 2015 Representatives Smith and Mr. Engel re-wrote the proposed legislation and introduced it as H.R. 1493.  This iteration attempted to comingle protective language for artifacts from both Syria and Iraq due to the crisis borne by ISIS in the Middle East.  This time the Department of State attempted to wrestle control of the Bill by specifically requiring a Department of State employee at the Assistant Secretary rank or above to serve as the United States Coordinator that excluded input and cooperation from the private sector.  James McAndrew of my staff met with ranking members of the House Ways a Means Committee as well as Senior Staffers at Congress.  He was also interviewed for his consultative expertise in this area by investigators from the General Accounting Office (GAO). The resulting effort helped produce the current and final version of the Bill that included members of the private sector in an advisory capacity to include dealers, collectors, museums and other institutions.  On May 9, 2016 the Bill was signed into law by the President of the United States. Should you want to learn more about the Bill in its final version and the impact and benefits it might offer you as a result please contact James McAndrew, Forensic Specialist, at 212-973-7705 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

   

CPSC Obtains $15.45 Million Civil Penalty for Defective Dehumidifiers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) recently entered into a $15,450,000 settlement agreement with Gree, a manufacturer and importer of dehumidifiers produced in China. 

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