ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
The U.S. practice in customs valuation for purposes of assessing import tariffs, as provided under section 152.103 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Chapter I, Part 152, Subpart E), is generally to base transaction value on the price actually paid or payable for the goods in question. Any additions to that basis necessarily entail an increase in the value of imports, and hence in the tariffs that are assessed. A ruling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did just that, although it is difficult to determine just how many transactions might be affected.
At issue is Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) H271308, dated November 20, 2016. In that ruling letter, CBP determined that certain commission payments made by the importer to purported agents should be included in the price actually paid or payable because the agency concluded that “the information presented to us did not indicate the parties were bona fide agents.” CBP also determined that payment for fabric development, inspection fees, and advance payments should be included in the price actually paid or payable. CBP subsequently found that the ruling letter included two misstatements, and the agency published a proposed modification in the May 3, 2017 edition (Volume 51 Number 18) of Customs Bulletin and Decisions. Any comments on the proposed changes, which appear to relate more to the details than the substance of the ruling made in 2016, must be received on or before June 2, 2017.
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