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CBP And ICE Investigate The Possible Transshipment Of Retail Polyethylene Bags

July 18, 2006

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are currently investigating whether retail polyethylene bags are being transshipped in order to avoid antidumping duties. Hence, these bags may be subject to Intensive Examination, and importers may be requested to provide origin documentation.

At present, there are antidumping duty orders on retail polyethylene bags for China, Malaysia and Thailand. Bags from countries involving the assessment of antidumping duties lower than Malaysia of 101% may be subject to intensive examinations or possible origin investigation.

We recommend that importers, in ordering such bags, obtain origin and manufacturing records to document the bags were produced in the country from which they were exported. In some transactions, companies purchase the bags from a middleman in a third country who normally does not have the production records that would enable CBP or the importer to verify the origin of the bags. The middleman should be requested to obtain the documentation from the manufacturer.

Absent adequate documentation CBP may require the depositing of the antidumping duties at the highest applicable rate.

Some Customs ports are requiring the importer to submit production records from the factory to substantiate the position that the goods in issue were made at that particular factory. This is particularly true for retail bags claimed to be of Singapore or Vietnamese origin. If an importer has received a request from Customs to produce production records, the importer should consider engaging experienced Customs counsel to review the records prior to submission and to ensure that the records are responsive to Customs' requests.

Separately, importers who have or will claim duty-free treatment under the Singapore FTA should have origin documents as provided for in General Note 25l to the HTSUS. This Note provides for the documents that may be requested by CBP to verify the origin of the merchandise under the US-SFPT. A country of origin certification is not in itself adequate proof of origin. The failure to produce production records could result in the disallowance of the Singapore FTA, the issuance of rate advances, and the possible assessment of civil penalties under sections 1592. Civil penalties could also be issued where antidumping duties were not deposited and Customs determines that the country of origin is not Singapore or Vietnam.

If you have any questions with regard to the issues raised in this newsletter, please contact Stephen S. Spraitzar at (415) 288-0427 or, or George R. Tuttle at (415) 288-0425 or

Stephen S. Spraitzar 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.

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