Trade Updates for Week of December 12, 2018

United States Court of International Trade

Raising Bond Requirement was found to be an Abuse of Discretion

Before the Court in Tabacos USA, Inc. v. United States, Court No. 18-00221 (December 7, 2018) was plaintiff’s challenge to Customs raising of the company’s entry bond amount from $300,000 to $400,000. The plaintiff’s business was at risk of shutting down because of the increase. In addition, plaintiff also provided evidence that the error that caused Customs to raise its bond requirement was “through no fault of the plaintiff.” Id. at 6. For the following reasons the Court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

“The wisdom of an agency’s legitimate policy choices … should be respected … unless they are arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to statute.” Id. at 11. The court said it “cannot and therefore does not disregard the compelling evidence … that continuing plaintiff’s entry bond … in its current amount of $300,000 will not endanger the revenue of the United States.” Therefore, the bond requirement did not need to be raised. The Court also pointed out that despite the Court’s finding that that the demand to raise the requirement in this instance was in violation of 5 U.S.C. § 706 (2)(A), Custom’s bonding system and “methodology is a reasonable application of the discretion granted to it by statute and is not arbitrary, capricious or contrary to statute.” Id. at 12.