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 > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 225368 - HQ 226074 > HQ 225783

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 225783

January 16, 1996

LIQ-4-02-RR:IT:EC 225783 CC


Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 3130
Laredo, TX 78044-3130

RE: Application for further review of Protest No. 2304-94- 100165; 19 U.S.C. 1504(b), (d); 19 U.S.C. 1671b; countervailing duties; suspension of liquidation

Dear Sir or Madam:

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


Six entries are the subject of this protest; the dates of entry follow: 1/08/92, 3/05/92, 3/12/92, 5/15/92, 6/17/92, and 6/17/92. The entered merchandise consisted of ceramic tiles from Mexico.

The merchandise at issue was the subject of a countervailing duty investigation (case C-201-003). In Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, published in the Federal Register on February 23, 1982 (47 FR 7866), Customs was instructed to suspend liquidation of the subject merchandise entered on or after the date of publication. In a notice published in the Federal Register on January 19, 1994 (59 FR 2823), the Department of Commerce revoked the countervailing duty order with respect to specified companies, one of which was the manufacturer of the merchandise the subject of this protest. The Department of Commerce issued liquidation instructions to Customs, on April 15, 1994, which covered the subject merchandise, lifting the suspension of liquidation and instructing Customs to liquidate without regard to countervailing duties.

In notices of action dated May 5, 1994, Customs informed the importer that the subject merchandise was classified pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings requiring duties of 20 percent ad valorem for 2 X 2" tiles and 19 percent ad valorem for 2 by 6" tiles. As entered, the subject merchandise was classifiable under subheadings that entitled it to duty-free treatment under the General System of Preferences (GSP).

All of the subject entries, except one, were liquidated on May 20, 1994, with the remaining entry being liquidated on May 27, 1994. The protest was filed on August 19, 1994. The protest was approved for further review on October 18, 1994.

The protestant protests the "change from GSP-FREE to 19% ad valorem due to the length of time it took to liquidate from the date of entry."


Whether the subject entries were improperly liquidated due to the length of time from entry until liquidation took place?


Initially, we note that the protest was timely filed pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1514(c).

In addition, we note that 19 U.S.C. 1504 was amended by section 641, title VI - Customs Modernization, Public Law 103-182, the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (107 Stat. 2057), enacted December 8, 1993. Title VI of Public Law 103-182 took effect on the date of enactment of the Act (section 692 of the Act). Since entry occurred prior to the date of enactment, the amended law does not apply in this instance. See HQ 225576 of November 15, 1994.

Liquidation of an entry constitutes the final computation by Customs of all duties (including any antidumping or countervailing) accruing on that entry. See generally, Ambassador Division of Florsheim Shoes v. United States, 748 F.2d 1560, 1562 (Fed. Cir. 1984). The Customs Procedural Reform and Simplification Act of 1978 provides in section 209(a), 19 U.S.C. 1504, that an entry is deemed liquidated as entered if Customs has not liquidated the entry within one year from the date of entry or withdrawal from warehouse. Extension of liquidation is provided for under 19 U.S.C. 1504, and prior to its amendment, stated the following:

(b) Extension.--The Secretary may extend the period in which to liquidate an entry by giving notice of such extension to the importer of record in such form and manner as the Secretary shall prescribe in regulations,

(1) information needed for the proper appraisement or classification of the merchandise is not available to the appropriate customs officer;

(2) liquidation is suspended as required by statute or court order; or

(3) the importer of record requests such extension and shows good cause therefor.

In addition, 19 U.S.C. 1504, prior to its amendment, in relevant part, stated the following:

(d) Limitation - Any entry of merchandise not liquidated at the expiration of four years from the applicable date specified in subsection (a) of this section, shall be deemed liquidated at the rate of duty, value, quantity, and amount of duty asserted at the time of entry by the importer of record, unless liquidation continues to be suspended as required by statute or court order. When such a suspension of liquidation is removed, the entry shall be liquidated within 90 days therefrom.

When the subject entries were filed, they were subject to a countervailing duty determination and Customs was instructed to suspend liquidation of such entries by the Department of Commerce. See 47 FR 7866 and Customs telegram 01533, dated March 3, 1982, Suspension of Liquidation of Ceramic Tile From Mexico. Customs computer records for the subject entries list an extension code of "4," indicating suspension of liquidation due to an antidumping duty order or countervailing duty order. Consequently, the subject entries were properly suspended by statute pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1671b(d)(1). On the entries' first year anniversary date and thereafter, liquidation continued to be properly suspended under 19 U.S.C. 1504(b)(2) as required by statute; there is nothing alleged by the protestant, nor is there anything in the file that indicates that the relevant statutes cited above were not followed in suspending liquidation. Once the liquidation instructions concerning countervailing duties were received from the Department of Commerce on April 15, 1994 and suspension of liquidation was lifted, Customs promptly liquidated the entries within 45 days of the receipt of the instructions. Consequently, we find that liquidation of the subject entries was proper; the evidence does not show that the subject entries were liquidated untimely. Also, liquidation occurred within four years of the date of entry, and, therefore, the subject entries cannot be deemed liquidated by operation of law as entered.

In addition to the length of time in liquidating the entries, another claim made by the protestant in the protest was "[w]hen the suspension was lifted, we were under the impression that we owed no money to U.S. Customs." The applicable statute provides that only an "appropriate customs officer" can "ascertain the classification *** applicable to *** merchandise." 19 U.S.C. ? 1500(b) (1988). B.S. Livingston & Co., Inc. v. United States, 13 CIT 889, 894 (1989). In addition 19 U.S.C. the entry and give notice of that liquidation. There is no evidence or allegations in the file that these actions were not taken, and, in fact, the file indicates that notice was given to the importer prior to liquidation as to what the applicable duty rate would be. In any event, the protestant has not challenged or protested the tariff classification of the merchandise; only the length of time in liquidating the entries was protested. Consequently, no basis exists for allowing this protest.


The subject entries were properly suspended and then properly liquidated, and were not deemed liquidated by operation of law. Therefore, the protest should be DENIED in full.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


Director, International Trade

Previous Ruling Next Ruling