December 19, 2006
Effective January 1, 2007, the USITC will post to its website an electronic version of the 2007 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) (Preliminary). This will be effective immediately, but will contain limited changes. According to the Director of Tariff Affairs and International Agreements at the US International Trade Commission, this will consist of 484(f) subcommittee changes (tariff changes at the 9th and 10th digit level) and staged duty rate reductions. This version will include changes occurring since the posting of the 2006 HTS (Supplement 1, Rev. 2), but will NOT include the following:
- Tariff legislation recently passed by the Congress;
- Amendments recommended by the World Customs Organization (WCO) for implementation on January 1, 2007.
Importers and Brokers anxious to see the changes can bookmark the USITC website at: http://www.usitc.gov.
Status of The WCO 2007 Tariff Changes
The vast bulk of the 2007 tariff changes must await presidential authorization. By U.S. law, the President cannot proclaim the implementation of these latter amendments in the HTS until a required Congressional layover period is completed; that layover period was completed during the week of December 4-8, and it is anticipated that the President will sign the implementing proclamation before the end of December.
To prevent chaos in the trade community, recently passed trade legislation amends the effective date of any published tariff changes from 15 to 30 days. This will provide importers and customs brokers with an extended buffer period in which to update existing tariff numbers to the new 2007 tariff numbers. It is expected that the new WCO version of the tariff will not take effect any sooner that February 1, 2007, even if the Presidential proclamation is issued sooner than December 31, 2006.
It is expected that as soon as possible after the President signs the proclamation, the ITC will post an updated electronic version of the WCO version of the 2007 tariff on this website.
WCO 2007 Tariff Changes
The WCO tariff modifications affect 83 chapters and more than 240 headings (with the bulk of these changes affecting chapters 84, 85 and 90). And, although the WCO tariff changes are designed to be duty-rate neutral, it is possible that in some instances the duty rate for a particular product may change. As a result, importers are advised to review any possible duty-rate impacts as soon as possible.
Importers and brokers can get a head start on classifying chapters 84, 85 and 90 products by looking at the pre-release version of these chapters with ten-digit statistical information by clicking on our August 10th newsletter ("International Trade Commission Releases Drafts of Chapters 84, 85 and 90 for 2007 HTS"), and follow the links to proposed chapters 84, 85 and 90.
Other WCO 2007 Tariff Implementation News
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued an administrative message (06-1213, 12/13/2006), stating that a blanket authorization will be offered for the period 10 days prior to the effective date of the 2007 tariff changes, which will allow filers to take advantage of any lower duty rates contained therein. CBP notes that a second blanket authorization will be offered 10 days prior to the implementation of the WCO 2007 HTS changes.
Broker Power has also published a report indicating that CBP sources have said that the agency expects to provide a 15-day grace period after the implementation of the WCO HTS changes for the refiling of entries rejected due to classification errors resulting from WCO changes. This 15-day grace period, plus the minimum 30-day delay in the proclamation for the WCO changes, will provide the trade with their requested 45-day lead time. Sources note that some type of evidence (that the reject was due to WCO changes) may need to be available in some manner. (See ITT's Online Archives or 12/19/06, (Ref: ).
Please contact George R. Tuttle, III at (415) 288-0428 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or George R. Tuttle at (415) 288-0425 or email@example.com, if you would like more information on how changes to the 2007 HTS will affect products that you import.
George R. Tuttle, III and George R. Tuttle are attorneys with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco. The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.
Copyright © 2006 by Tuttle Law Offices.
All rights reserved. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.