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April 21,
CLA-2 RR:TC:SM 559707 BLS


Port Director
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

RE: Application for further review of Protest No. 4170/96-10001; Section 520(d);
Certificate of origin; 19 CFR 181.11; 19 CFR 181.31; 19 CFR 181.32; Article 509

Dear Sir:

This is in reference to an application for further review of the above-captioned protest, timely filed on behalf of Escalator Handrail Company, Inc., concerning a denial of NAFTA preference for certain escalator parts imported from Canada.


March 31, 1995 - Prior to liquidation, protestant requested refunds claiming NAFTA preference; a blanket certificate of origin was submitted covering all part numbers of escalator handrails entered (or to be entered) for the calendar year. The certificate described the goods as "COMPLETE ESCALATOR HANDRAILS (ALL PART NUMBERS APPLY)."

June 22, 1995 - The concerned import specialist requested a certificate covering specific part numbers for each entry to reconcile with the part numbers reflected on the entry invoices.

July 5, 1995 - In response to the import specialist's request, and as subsequently confirmed by the involved Customs official, protestant again submitted a blanket certificate describing the merchandise in the same manner as the previous certificate. As the certificate did not enumerate the parts, and thus did not specifically match the parts (by number) listed on the invoices attached to the entries, the import specialist denied the claims.

September 27, 1995 - After liquidation, a claim was submitted under section 520(d), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1520(d)), that Customs denial of NAFTA preference was in error. Blanket certificates of origin were again submitted, and no additional information as to specific part numbers were provided.

October 3, 1995 - The import specialist denied the request for refund with respect to each entry involved.


Whether the claims for reliquidation under 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) should have been granted.


Section 520(d), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1520(d)), provides as follows:

Notwithstanding the fact that a valid protest was not filed, the Customs Service may, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, reliquidate an entry to refund any excess duties paid on a good qualifying under the [NAFTA] rules of origin ... for which no claim for preferential tariff treatment was made at the time of importation if the importer, within 1 year after the date of importation, files, in accordance with those regulations, a claim that includes--

(1) a written declaration that the good qualified under those rules at the time of importation;

(2) copies of all applicable NAFTA
Certificates of Origin ...; and

(3) such other documentation relating to the importation of the goods as the Customs Service may require.

We note that 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) is a limited exception to the finality of 19 U.S.C. 1514, which sets forth the procedure for an importer to protest various decisions of Customs, including the classification and appraised value of merchandise, when it believes Customs has misinterpreted applicable law. (Under 19 U.S.C. 1514, a protest must be filed within 90 days after notice of liquidation or reliquidation; otherwise, in the absence of an express statutory exception, the tariff treatment of merchandise is final and conclusive.) (See also 19 U.S.C. 1520(c)(1).) Section 1520(d) permits Customs to reliquidate an entry to correct a limited situation which otherwise could not be corrected to refund excess duties paid on a qualifying good "for which no claim for preferential
tariff treatment was made at the time of importation."

The Customs Regulations implementing 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) are found in sections 181.31 through section 181.33 (19 CFR 181.31 through 181.33.) Section 181.32(b) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 181.32(b)) provides that a post-importation duty refund claim must include:

(1) A written declaration stating that the good qualified as an originating good at the time of importation and setting forth the number and date of the entry covering the good;

(2) Subject to 19 CFR 181.22(d), a copy of each Certificate of Origin pertaining to the good;

(3) A written statement indicating whether or not the importer of the good provided a copy of the entry summary or equivalent documentation to any other person. An identification of the person if the information was so provided.

(4) A written statement indicating whether or not the importer of the good is aware of any claim for refund, waiver or reduction of duties under the NAFTA relating to the good and identification of same.

(5) A written statement indicating whether or not any person has filed a protest or a petition or request for reliquidation relating to the good under any provision of law, and if so, identification of same.

In the instant case, the importer filed the declaration and statements required by 19 CFR 181.32(b) with respect to the entries under protest. Accordingly, since the claim under 19 CFR 181.31 is timely, and there is no other basis in the record for denial (see 19 CFR 181.33(d)), the claim must be allowed provided a proper Certificate of Origin pertaining to the good has been submitted for the entries covered by the protest. In this regard, the concerned import specialist is of the opinion that the claim under 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) should not be allowed and the protest must be denied for the reason that the Certificate of Origin is deficient as it does not enumerate the parts on an entry-by entry basis.

Section 181.22(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 181.22(b)), sets forth the requirements for an acceptable Certificate of Origin submitted in support of a
claim for preferential tariff treatment. This section generally provides that the Certificate of Origin:

(1) Shall be on Customs Form 434, including privately-printed copies thereof, or on such other form as approved by the Canadian or Mexican customs administration, or such other medium or format approved by U.S.

(2) Shall be signed by the exporter or by the exporter's authorized agent having knowledge of the relevant facts;

(3) Shall be completed either in the
English language or in the language of the country from which the good is exported;

(4) Shall be accepted by Customs for four years after the date on which the
Certificate was signed by the exporter or producer; and

(5) May be applicable to:

(i) A single importation of a good into the United States, including a single shipment that results in the filing of one or more entries and a series of shipments that results in the filing of one entry; or

(ii) Multiple importations of identical goods into the United States that occur within a specified period, not exceeding 12 months, set out therein by the exporter or producer.

In this case, the Blanket Certificates of Origin filed in connection with the 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) claims cover complete escalator handrails, including all applicable part (style/model) numbers, that were classified in subheading 8431.31.0040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), exported by Escalator Handrail Company, Inc. of Canada during the 12 month period January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1995. We find that this description as to
the goods complies with the requirements of 19 CFR 181.22(b)(5)(ii), covering "Multiple importations of identical goods imported into the United States that occur within a 12 month period", since the "identical goods" consisted of escalator handrails classified in HTSUS subheading 8431.31.0040, irrespective of the specific part/model numbers in each shipment.

Accordingly, as the submitted Certificates of Origin otherwise satisfy the requirements of 19 CFR 181.22(b), and all other requirements of 19 CFR 181.32(b) are met, we find that the post-importation duty refund claim under 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) must be allowed. In addition, as the requirements for the section 1520(d) claim have been satisfied, the Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) imposed under each entry must also be refunded. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 227605 dated February 2, 1998, modifying HRL 227425 dated August 27, 1997, and General Notice published in 32 Cust. Bull. 1, February 18, 1998.


As the Blanket Certificates of Origin were timely filed and otherwise in compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) and the implementing regulations, and all other requirements of the statute were satisfied, the protest should be granted in full, with refunds of duties deposited and the MPF.

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, with the Customs Form 19, 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.


Durant, Director

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