On February 18, 2015, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) issued an alert to importers regarding the scope of the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on wooden bedroom furniture from China. The alert is a welcome sign of the agency’s increased efforts to educate the importing community about existing trade orders.
When an antidumping or countervailing duty order is issued, questions may arise regarding whether the orders cover certain products. Importers that have questions of this nature can request a “scope ruling” from the Department of Commerce. The Department’s decisions are made available through the ADD/CVD Search service, but many importers are unaccustomed to routinely searching for potentially applicable rulings there, and generally there is very little publicity associated with new scope rulings. This increases the likelihood of importers wrongly classifying their goods as not subject to AD/CVD orders, despite existing scope rulings showing that their products are subject to duties.
Notably, the new alert was issued through the Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS), through which importers may–and commonly do–subscribe to receive information from CBP. An alert released through CSMS is likely to reach a wide cross-section of importers, brokers, and other interested members of the importing community, unlike messages released solely through ADD/CVD Search.
The alert advises importers of wooden bedroom furniture that, pursuant to a scope ruling issued last year, various chests of drawers and similar products imported from China should be declared as subject merchandise, and directs importers that discover improperly classified entries to contact CBP for assistance in making the necessary corrections.
Traditionally, CBP has not included alerts regarding scope rulings in the Cargo Systems Messaging Service. That they did so here suggests that CBP has seen persistent misclassifications of chests of drawers, but also dovetails with the agency’s ongoing push to better communicate with the trade on the scope of trade orders, and to support the importing community’s responsibility to stay informed on such issues.