Mr. Obama singed H.R. 1295 into law on June 29, 2015. On July 20, 2015 CBP published their commentaries on the subject. And the trade community that has GSP eligible refunds has until December 26, 2015 to ask CBP for overpaid duties. Several short points, involving CBP publication are notable.
Non-ABI filers must request a refund in writing from the Port Director at the port of entry by December 28, 2015 * * *
But the Congress stated:
A liquidation or reliquidation may be made under subparagraph (A) with respect to an entry only if a request therefor is filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act * * *
180th day after June 29, 2015 falls on December 26, not 28.
Another point concerns the CBP’s presumption of request if SPI A/A+/A* was made via ABI at the time of entry, and specifying that such presumption will not be given to two categories of importers: (1) non-ABI filers and (2) ABI filers who did not use SPI for otherwise eligible entries. The latter category will need to file a request with CBP. Here comes another interesting caveat: what legal authority citations must be made when making CBP requests. According to the publication, the requester needs to make “[a] statement requesting a refund, as provided by section 201 of Title II of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015.” Section 201, in relevant part states:
(B) REQUESTS. A liquidation or reliquidation may be made under subparagraph (A) with respect to an entry only if a request therefor is filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act that contains sufficient information to enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection—
(i) to locate the entry; or
(ii) to reconstruct the entry if it cannot be located.
Thus, CBP would like to see quotation of a statement above (with relevant identifying information). But, is there any other legal citations that may help? One that comes to mind is Part 173 administrative review provisions. But that can be problematic because they deal with general authority to correct errors. Here, the may have been no error in the retrospect. Another that comes to mind, is the CBP’s post entry amendment program (a.k.a. PEA/PSC). But the PEA is also problematic, because it deals with errors, not retroactive application of law. For these reasons, importers that are left without presumption of retroactive GSP applicability, are probably better off in limiting their request to merely “Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015” letter requests.