There are various alternatives for acquiring decisions from Customs in regards to any issues that may arise. Importers can face questions arising out of Classification, Origin, Marking, or other rules and regulations. The types of opinions available depend on the stage of the importation process.
Before Importation: Opinions from U.S. Customs that are obtained before importation are known as rulings. Rulings are an important for importers because they are binding upon all Customs ports for that particular product. Therefore, when asking for a ruling be sure that you are willing to accept whatever decision Customs makes – if you question whether Customs will provide a beneficial ruling best to consult with an attorney.
After Importation: Opinions from U.S. Customs that are obtained after importation is referred to in the industry as internal advice. Internal advice received by Customs is also binding upon all Customs ports for the same product.
After Liquidation of an entry: Opinions obtained after liquidation are known as protests. The decisions stemming from protests are persuasive but not binding on all ports.
It is important that the importer understand that a decision by Customs are binding on both U.S. Customs – the agency as well as the importer. Thus, an importer who fails to follow a decision issued may result in substantial penalties.
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