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HQ 544847

September 3, 1993
VAL CO:R:C:V 544847 ER


District Director
Great Falls, MT

RE: Application For Further Review of Protest No. xxxx- xxxxxxxx, concerning the Appraisement of Battenburg Table Linen Based on Visaed Invoices

Dear Sir:

This protest was filed against your appraisement decision in the liquidation of an entry of Battenburg table linen made by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (hereinafter referred to as the "importer"). The merchandise was manufactured in China, and sold by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (hereinafter referred to as the "seller").


The subject importation consisted of 23,596.11 dozen and 43 sets of table linens. Upon entry, the importer presented Customs with two visaed invoices, issued by the seller, showing a total of 43,196 dozen and 43 sets of table linens (23,196 dozen + 20,000 dozen). The packing list and commercial invoices reflect a total of 23,596.11 dozen articles and 43 sets. The entered value shown on the visas is $xxxxxxx (($xxxxxx + $xxxxxx) - $xxxxxx non-dutiable charges) versus the $xxxxxxxxx entered value ($xxxxxxxxx - $xxxxxx non-dutiable charges) on the entry summary (CF7501) and commercial invoices. The total net weight shown on the visas is 2,071.33 kilograms in contrast with the 1,752 kilograms shown on the packing lists. Although one visa was issued for 20,000 dozen linens made out of 100 percent cotton, the packing list itemizes only table linens made out of 55 percent linen and 45 percent cotton. The discrepancies between the visas and the commercial invoices and packing lists leave 19,600 dozen articles, weighing 1752 kilograms with a value of $xxxxxxxxx, unaccounted for on the entry summary. Additionally, none of the articles entered match the fiber content description in the visa issued for the 20,000 dozen linens made out of 100 percent cotton.

By written declaration dated July 25, 1991, the Vice President of the importing company asserted that the articles exported consisted of "55% Linen 45% Cotton 3596 11/12 dz & 43 sets [and] 100% Cotton 20,000 doilies" to the best of his information, knowledge and belief. The articles were entered on July 29, 1991 and subsequently liquidated on October 4, 1991.

The importer states that the amount shown on the visaed invoice is incorrect and that "price paid" for the subject merchandise was that shown on the commercial invoice. By the importer's account, a corrected visa was requested to cover the linen articles being imported, but that through inadvertence the number of dozens and the value of the shipment were not corrected. The importer does not indicate when the "corrected" visas were requested or whether they were ever presented to Customs. By Customs' account, new visas were not obtained.

The merchandise was appraised at the visaed invoice prices totalling $xxxxxxxxxx. The importer claims that excessive duties in the amount of $xxxxxx were assessed and that the correct appraisement of the goods should be at $xxxxxxxxx, the price shown on the commercial invoice.


Whether the appraised value of the merchandise is properly determined based on the visaed invoice price when the commercial invoices and packing lists with inconsistent amounts and facts are presented to Customs at the time of entry?


Section 484(a), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1484(a), requires importers to file with Customs such documentation as is necessary to enable Customs "to assess properly the duties on the merchandise...." Treasury Decision (T.D.) 86-56, dated March 6, 1986, stated that:

[A]ny differences or inconsistencies in the information contained in documents presented to Customs in connection with the importation of merchandise shall be considered as an indication that one or more of such documents contains false or erroneous information. In such circumstances, the entry documentation will not be accepted by Customs but will instead be returned to the importer for correction.
... In situations where the visaed invoice or document presented to Customs (and necessary for the entry of the merchandise) contains erroneous value or price information, such invoice or document can only be corrected by the presentation to Customs of a new, corrected invoice or document stamped with the visa of the government of the country of origin. Customs will not accept pro forma invoices in any case involving apparent differences in price or value information in the documents required to be submitted to Customs and which involve the production of a document which is required to contain a foreign country's visa. (emphasis added)

Instructions regarding the implementation of T.D. 86-56 were issued by this office on May 1, 1986 (Headquarters Ruling No. 543731). The instructions indicated that if an importer provides an acceptable explanation for differences in the price or value information in visas and invoices, then the entry may be accepted by Customs. Several examples were listed which set forth acceptable scenarios in light of T.D. 86-56. Although the list was not exhaustive, the instructions stated that additional legitimate reasons for differences in the entry documentation may exist, and in these cases, Customs will act in accordance with the policy set forth in T.D. 86-56. As stated in C.S.D. 90-37 (HRL 544432, dated January 17, 1990), "the policy consideration regarding the adoption of T.D. 86-56 is the proposition that false or erroneous documents are not to be presented to Customs."

T.D. 86-56 was also intended to place upon the importer the burden of proving the validity of information on the documents and veracity of the transaction in question in order to properly appraise the merchandise. See, HRL 544432. The prescribed method of correcting visaed invoices which contain incorrect value or price information, as set forth in T.D. 86-56 (see quoted language above), is the submission of corrected invoices stamped with the visa of the government of the country of origin. To date, such corrected visaed invoices have not been presented to Customs. The written statements provided by the importer in conjunction with this protest action, while sustaining its submission of the facts, do not provide any evidentiary support for the appraisement it requests. Also see, HRL 544581, dated February 25, 1991, (merchandise allowed entry where the visaed invoices were inconsistent with other documentation was appraised based upon the visaed invoice amounts.)

In view of the inconsistencies between the visaed invoices and the commercial invoices and packing lists, and the failure of the importer to present Customs with the documentation requisite to explain the inconsistencies, we find that the appraised value of the imported merchandise was properly determined using the invoice prices as reflected in the visaed invoices.


Based on the foregoing, we find that the merchandise was properly appraised using the amount on the visaed invoices for the merchandise. The values on the commercial invoices and packing lists were inconsistent with those on the visaed invoices, and neither an acceptable explanation of the inconsistencies nor the requisite remedial documentation were provided to Customs.

Consistent with the decision set forth above, you are hereby directed to deny the subject protest. A copy of this decision
should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and mailed to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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