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HQ 963841

March 28, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963841 SS


Port Director, Port of Charleston
United State Customs Service
200 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401

RE: Protest No. 1601-00-100029; Criteria for Further Review; 19 C.F.R. §174.24; Exclusion; 19 U.S.C. §1499

Dear Port Director:

This is in response to the Protest and Request for Further Review filed on behalf of the importer, Prominent USA, Inc. (“Protestant”), on March 9, 2000 .

Protestant attempted to enter three shipments of bed sheets. Protestant claimed Singapore as the country of origin. The three shipments were detained on December 21, 1999, January 24, 2000, and January 26, 2000, and Customs requested additional information to determine the country of origin. Based upon the record, it appears that the merchandise was excluded from entry on January 18, 2000, February 23, 2000, and February 25, 2000, based on the belief that the merchandise was not of Singapore origin. On March 9, 2000, Protestant filed its Protest and Application for Further Review. The Port approved the Application for Further Review and forwarded the submission to Customs Headquarters. Protestant alleges that the exclusion of merchandise was unlawful and that the Protest is entitled to further review under 19 C.F.R. §174.24(b).

Section 174.24 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §174.24) sets forth the criteria that must be met in order for a protest to warrant further review. In relevant part, Section 174.24 states as follows:

174.24 Criteria for further review.

Further review of a protest which would otherwise be denied by the port director shall be accorded to a party filing an application for further review which meets the requirements of §175.25 when the decision against which the protest was filed:

Is alleged to be inconsistent with a ruling of the Commissioner of Customs or his designee, or with a decision made at any port with respect to the same or substantially similar merchandise;

Is alleged to involved questions of law or fact which have not been ruled on by the Commissioner of Customs or his designee or by the Customs courts;

The Protestant contends that further review is warranted because the protested decision is inconsistent with the Customs laws, regulations, rulings and administrative guidelines regarding origin determination. The Protestant also contends that the decision involves questions of law and fact not previously ruled upon by Customs or the courts. In this case, the Protest was against Customs’ decision to exclude the merchandise based on its belief that the goods were not of Singapore origin. It is Customs belief that the instant Protest only involves questions of fact concerning whether or not the documentation supports the country of origin claimed. Furthermore, Customs believes that the answer to that question has been ruled upon by the Commissioner of Customs’ designee. The Port Director is the official designated to determine the country of origin of textiles and textile products. See 19 C.F.R. Part 12 and 19 C.F.R. Part 141. The Port Director has made that decision and the merchandise has been denied entry into the United States. It is Headquarters belief that cases involving exclusions and the sufficiency of documentation to justify country of origin are not the type of factual determinations warranting further review by the Office of Regulations and Rulings, Headquarters. See Headquarter Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 962546, dated March 12, 1999; HQ 962547, dated March 12, 1999; HQ 962548, dated March 12, 1999; HQ 962549, dated March 12, 1999; HQ 962141, dated September 24, 1998; and HQ 961551, dated September 9, 1998. Accordingly, the Protest does not meet the criteria required under 19 C.F.R. §174.24(b) for approval of the Application for Further Review and should not have been forwarded to Headquarters Office of Regulations and Rulings.

Sufficient information on the documentary and evidentiary requirements have been made available to Customs officers and the importing community to make all parties aware of what is required to establish origin. As indicated above, the Port Director determined that those evidentiary requirements had not been met. Furthermore, the port’s decision to exclude the merchandise appears to be consistent with the information provided and in accordance with the existing directives. Accordingly, the Application for Further Review should have been denied.

If you are still of the position set forth in the Customs Protest and Summons Information Report you should timely deny the Protest.

Any questions regarding the foregoing may be directed to Shari Suzuki of my staff at (202) 927-2339.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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