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HQ W563380

May 27, 2006

CLA-02 RR:CTF:VS 563380 DCC


Mr. George R. Tuttle, III
Three Embarcadero Center, Suite 1160
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Express Consignment Carriers; U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

Dear Mr. Tuttle:

This is in reply to your letter dated October 5, 2005, on behalf of National Semiconductor Corporation (“NSC”) concerning recordkeeping requirements for express consignment carriers.


NSC is a worldwide manufacturer of integrated circuits and related semiconductor products. NSC frequently imports products that are assembled in Singapore, and may use an express consignment carrier (“ECC”) to provide transportation and customs clearance services. For purposes of substantiating a claim under the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, NSC has requested that the ECC provide copies of the air waybill to demonstrate the direct shipment of merchandise.

According to your submission, however, NSC’s express courier service has indicated that for express consignment shipment, the air waybill is not an (a)(1)(A) list document. As a licensed Customs broker, the ECC maintains that it is not obligated to produce or retain the air waybills after the entry of merchandise.


Whether air waybills are required to substantiate the direct shipment of merchandise for purposes of the U.S.-Singapore FTA when the entered merchandise is released directly to the express consignment carrier.


Pursuant to 19 CFR 128.23, all articles carried by an ECC, and subject to entry, shall be entered by a person with the right to make entry. Pursuant to 19 CFR 128.23(b)(3), CBP port directors are authorized to accept the electronic equivalent of entry documents in cases where the entry is not designated for examination or review, if the ECC complies with advance manifest information requirements of 19 CFR 128.21(a).

As a licensed broker, the ECC in this case may be the importer of record. See 19 U.S.C. § 1484(a)(2)(B) and 19 CFR 111.2(a)(1). Pursuant to 19 CFR 141.11(a), an importer of merchandise that is not released to the importing carrier, is entitled to show its right to make entry by filing one of the following documents: 1) a bill of lading or air waybill; 2) a certified extract from a bill of lading or air waybill; 3) a certified duplicate bill of lading or air waybill; 4) a carrier’s certificate; 5) a blanket carrier’s release order; or 6) a shipping receipt or other documentation presented in lieu of a bill of lading or air waybill, as evidence of right to make entry.

Section 508 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1508), sets forth the general recordkeeping requirements for CBP-related activities. Section 509 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1509) specifies the procedures for the production and examination of those records. Section 509(a)(1)(A) requires the production, within a reasonable time after demand by CBP is made, of such records which are required by law or regulation for the entry of the merchandise, whether or not their presentation is required at the time of entry. Section 1509(e) requires CBP to identify and publish a list of the records and entry information which are required to be maintained and produced under subsection 1509(a)(1)(A). This list is commonly referred to as the “(a)(1)(A) list.” This list is published in 19 CFR 163, Appendix, and will be hereinafter also referred to as “the list.”

Specifically listed in the list are references to “§§ 141.11 through 141.15 Evidence of right to make entry (airway bill / bill of lading or *carrier certificate, etc.) when goods are imported on a common carrier,” and “§ 141.11 *IT/BL/AWB Number and Code *Arrival Date.”

To the extent that an electronically generated or paper air waybill is submitted pursuant to 19 CFR 141.11(a) as evidence of right to make entry, the list specifically designates it as a record required to be kept in accordance with section 1509(a)(1)(A). If the ECC, however, presents some other electronically generated or paper document as evidence of right to make entry, as provided for in 19 CFR 141.11(a), then that record is required to be kept in accordance with section 1509(a)(1)(A).

The question presented is whether CBP may require production of an air waybill to substantiate direct shipment of a good from Singapore to the United States for purposes of determining whether a good is eligible for preferential tariff treatment under the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement when no air waybill is required when merchandise is released directly to the carrier.

It is CBP’s opinion that although an air waybill may not be required for the right to make entry under the (a)(1)(A) list, CBP may still require production of that document in order to verify an importer’s claim that a good qualifies as originating under the U.S.-Singapore FTA. The U.S.-Singapore FTA is an importer-focused agreement that places the burden of substantiating the validity of a claim for preferential tariff treatment on the importer. Specifically, importers must maintain for five years from the date of importation, and provide upon request by a customs officer, records that are necessary to demonstrate that a good qualifies as originating under the agreement. See General Note 25(l)(ii), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

CBP may verify the validity of the claim under the U.S.-Singapore FTA by issuing Request for Information (CBP Form 28) to the importer. The importer then has the obligation to substantiate the claim by submitting supporting documentation. In addition, if another party retains the required documentation, such as an express consignment carrier, the importer is expected to arrange for that party to provide information directly to CBP to demonstrate that the direct shipment requirement has been satisfied.


CBP may require production of an air waybill in order to verify the direct shipment of merchandise and an importer’s claim that a good qualifies as originating under the U.S.-Singapore FTA.

A copy of this ruling should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the CBP officer handling the transaction.


Monika R. Brenner, Chief
Valuation and Special Programs Branch

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