United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0113259 - HQ 0224078 > HQ 0223194

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 223194

August 14, 1991

CON-2-07-CO:R:C:E 223194 CB


Regional Commissioner
U.S. Customs Service
Northeast Region
Suite 801
10 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02222-1056

RE: Application for further review of Protest No. 0712-91- 000118 under 19 U.S.C. 1514; Civil Aircraft Agreement; 9802.00.50 HTSUSA; C.S.D. 83-37

Dear Sir:

The above-referenced protest was forwarded to this office for further review. We have considered the points raised and our decision follows.


The subject protest is based on the District Director's denial of reliquidation of the subject entries. According to protestant, at the time the entry summary was prepared and presented it was not known that a civil aircraft certificate existed. No such documentation accompanied the shipment, nor was it furnished to the customs broker subsequent to the importation.

Subsequent to filing the entry summary, protestant contacted the importer of the merchandise, obtained a properly completed certificate, and forwarded it to the District Director prior to liquidation of the entry. The entry was liquidated on October 26, 1990, as entered. Subsequent to liquidation, it was also discovered that there was, in fact, a blanket certificate covering the subject merchandise on file with the District Director in Chicago, Illinois. Protestant contends that the entry should be reliquidated as duty free under the special rate duty column as a civil aircraft part.


Whether filing a civil aircraft certificate subsequent to entry but prior to liquidation satisfies the requirements of 19 CFR 10.183(d)?


Title VI, "Civil Aircraft Agreement" of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Sec. 601, P.L. 96-39, 93 Stat. 144, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 1979), implemented the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft. This Agreement became effective in the United States on January 1, 1980. On June 7, 1984, 19 CFR Part 10 was amended to include section 10.183. This section provides for duty free admission of civil aircraft parts for civil aircraft certified for use in accordance with the provisions of General Note 3(c)(iv) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and 19 CFR 10.183.

Section 10.183(d) provides that the importer must submit at the time of filing the entry summary a certification for each entry or a blanket certification if more than one entry of civil aircraft parts will be made during a 12-month period. The certification will be valid for a period of one year from the date of approval by the district director in the district where the civil aircraft parts will be entered. The blanket certification may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon written request to each concerned district director. Failure to provide the certification at the time of filing the entry summary or to have an approved blanket certification on file with the district director in the district where the entry summary is filed shall result in a dutiable entry. T.D. 84-109, 49 FR 19450, May 8, 1984, as amended by T.D. 85-123, 50 FR 29953, July 23, 1985; T.D. 89-1, 53 FR 51252, Dec. 21, 1988.

It is well-settled that a later submission of the required certification is not acceptable unless the importer can satisfy Customs that the failure to procure it at the time of filing the entry summary was due to a clerical error, mistake of fact, or other inadvertence within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1520(c)(1). See C.S.D. 83-37. Section 520(c)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1520(c)(1)), provides that Customs may correct certain errors, if adverse to the importer, within one year of the date of liquidation. In pertinent part 1520(c)(1) provides:

(c) Notwithstanding a valid protest was not filed, the appropriate customs officer may, ...reliquidate an entry to correct--

(1) a clerical error, mistake of fact, or other inadvertence not amounting to an error in the construction of a law, adverse to the importer and manifest from the record or established by documentary
evidence, in any entry, liquidation, or other customs transaction, when the error, mistake or inadvertence is brought to the attention of the appropriate customs officer within one year after the date of liquidation or exaction; ...

It has been stated that "a clerical error is a mistake made by a clerk or other subordinate, upon whom devolves no duty to exercise judgement, in writing or copying the figures or in exercising his intention" (see PPG Industries, Inc. v. United States, 7 CIT 118, 124 (1984), and cases therein). It has been held that a mistake of fact exists where a person understands the facts to be other than they are and takes action based on that erroneous belief. The reason for the belief may be that a fact exists but is unknown to the person or he may believe that something is a fact when in reality it is not. A mistake of law exists where a person knows the facts as they really are but has a mistaken belief as to the legal consequences of those facts. (Hambro Automotive Corporation v. United States, 66 CCPA 113, 118, C.A.D. 1231, 603 F. 2d 850 (1979), quoted in Concentric Pumps, Ltd. v. United States, 10 CIT 505, 508 643 F. Supp. 623 (1986); see also, C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, Inc. v. United States, 68 Cust. Ct. 17, 22, D.D. 4327, 336 F. Supp. 1395 (1972), aff'd, 61 CCPA 90, C.A.D. 1129, 499 F. 2d 1277 (1974), and Universal Cooperatives, Inc. v. United States, Vol. 23 Cust. Bull. & Dec., No. 29, July 19, 1989, page 38, 40, CIT Slip Op. 89-89), and 94 Treas. Dec. 244, 245-246 (1959)). Inadvertence has been defined as "an oversight or involuntary accident, or the result of inattention or carelessness, and even as a type of mistake" Occidental Oil & Gas Co. v. United States, Vol. 23 Cust. Bull. & Dec. No. 17, April 20, 1989, page 40, 42, CIT Slip op. 89-40, quoting C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, Inc. v. United States, supra at 22.

Section 1520(c)(1) would allow an importer to later submit the required certification and have the Civil Aircraft Agreement provisions apply to his entry where Customs had informed an importer that he could not enter his aircraft or parts as duty free because it was being brought in for repair. See C.S.D. 83- 37, dated October 27, 1981. A similar outcome may be seen if the aircraft had previously received drawback, or if the required use was accomplished outside of the United States. See HRL 724667, dated March 1, 1984. In the instant case, the failure of the broker to file the certificate timely is not a mistake correctable under 19 U.S.C. 1520(c)(1). The importer and his broker are obligated to know the Customs procedures and laws regarding the filing of the appropriate documents timely. Additionally, the importer was obviously aware that a certificate was required by regulation since it had filed a blanket certificate in Chicago.

In any event, the fact that there was a blanket certificate covering the subject merchandise on file with the District Director in Chicago is irrelevant. The regulations require submission of the blanket certification to the district director at each district where the parts are to be entered. 19 CFR 10.183(c)(2). In this case, the blanket certificate should have been filed with the District Director in Ogdensburg, New York.


A civil aircraft certification cannot be filed subsequent to entry unless there exists a mistake of fact correctable under 19 U.S.C. 1520(c)(1). Inasmuch as we do not find that a mistake of fact has occured, you should deny this protest in full.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the CF 19, Notice of Action, sent to the protestant to satisfy the notice requirement of section 174.30(a), Customs Regulations.


John A. Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: