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Importer's Challenge The Legality
Of The Cotton Fee Assessment

October 20, 2003

How You Can File Similar Claims

For the past few years, Customs has been assessing cotton fees on certain imports of cotton apparel, cotton fabric and raw cotton pursuant to the Cotton Research And Promotion Act (7 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.) and related regulations. These fees are then used to fund the activities of the Cotton Board in advertising, promotion, research, and development on behalf of the U.S. cotton industry.

Recently, however, the U.S. Supreme Court held that similar mandatory assessments for promotional activities under the Mushroom Research and Promotion program were unconstitutional, and a case has now been filed in the Court of International Trade contending that cotton fees assessed on imported cotton products are unconstitutional, and must therefore be reimbursed, with interest.

Importers of cotton apparel, cotton fabric and raw cotton that are interested in recovering cotton fees need to take immediate action to preserve their right to receive refunds.

How To Recover Cotton Fees If The Litigation Is Successful

Like the Harbor Maintenance Fee cases, the means to recover cotton fees that you paid is by the filing of a summons in the Court of International Trade; however, one summons can cover all shipments for a two-year period.

Because the recent legal action has been brought under the jurisdictional provisions of 19 U.S.C. 1581(i), a formal summons in the Court of International Trade is required to contest the assessment of the cotton-fees, and it must be signed and filed by an attorney admitted to practice before the Court of International Trade.

Please contact George Tuttle, Sr., at if you have any questions regarding contesting the Cotton Fees or other Customs law matters.

George R. Tuttle, Sr. is an attorney 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 such.

Copyright 2005 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.


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