Trade Updates for Week of July 10, 2019

United States Court of International Trade

String Lights Not Classifiable as “Christmas Tree Lights”

Before the Court in Target Gen. Merch. Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 19-80, Court No. 14-00331 were cross motions for summary judgment regarding the classification of stringed light sets. “The Government relies solely on its contention that the articles at issue … are commercially fungible with other light sets that the parties agree are Christmas tree lights” to classify the lights as a kind used for Christmas trees Id. at 1-2. The Court said “an examination of the principal use of the subject articles as well as of their commercial fungibility with other products leads the court to conclude that Customs’ classification is incorrect.” Id. at 2. “There can be no genuine issue of material fact that the lighting sets at issue are not principally used as Christmas tree lights.” Id. The Court explained that black corded lights were primarily used as Halloween lights, and white corded lights were used in general lighting. As such, the court granted Target’s motion and classified the lights accordingly.

Court Sustained Commerce’s Redetermination Results

Before the Court in Thuan An Prod. Trading & Serv. Co. et. al. v. United States et. al., Slip Op. 19-83, Court No. 17-00056 (July 8, 2019) were Commerce’s remand determinations pursuant to the Court’s previous decision regarding the assignment of the Vietnam-wide rate to Thuan An Production Trading and Service Co., Ltd. (“Tafishco”) in the twelfth administrative review of the antidumping duty (“ADD”) order covering certain frozen fish fillets from Vietnam.

The Court had previously “rejected Commerce’s application of something called a single country-wide rate” Id. at 2. On remand, Commerce acknowledged “the NME-entity rate in the underlying investigation was an individually investigated rate.” Id. at 3. For the following reasons, the Court sustained Commerce’s remand results.

19 U.S.C. § 1673d(c) “contemplates two types of rates: rates for producers and exporters individually investigated, and the all-others rate for producers and exporters not individually investigated.” Id. at 7-8. On remand, Commerce acknowledged “that the NME-entity rate in the underlying investigation was an individually investigated rate.” Id. at 8. “Characterizing the Vietnam wide rate as an individually investigated rate reasonably grounds Commerce’s determination in statutory authority,” see id., the Court sustained the redetermination.

Court Resolved Classification Dispute Regarding WeeRide Child Bike Seat

Before the Court in Kent International, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 19-85, Court No. 15-00135 (July 9, 2019) were cross motions for summary judgment regarding the classification of imported WeeRide Kangaroo Ltd. Center-Mounted Bicycle-Child Carrier (“WeeRide”) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. (“HTS”). Customs classified the subject merchandise under HTS 8714.99.80: “Parts and accessories of vehicles of heading 8711 to 8713: . . . Other: . . . Other, with a 10% duty rate. Plaintiff claimed that the subject merchandise was properly classified as “Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof: … Other seats: Of rubber or plastics: … Other,” under HTS 9401.80.40, with a duty free rate. The “purpose of the WeeRide is to allow a child to ride on an adult’s bicycle, situated between the adult seat and the front handlebars.” Id. at 2. The WeeRide “attaches to a bicycle via a supporting bar, which is attached to the handlebar and seat post of an adult bicycle.” Id. at 3. For the following reasons, the Court granted the Government’s motion and denied plaintiff’s motion.

“Classification disputes under the HTSUS are resolved by reference to the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”) and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation.” Id. at 4. “Interpretation of the HTSUS begins with the language of the tariff headings, subheadings, their section and chapter notes, and may also be aided by the Explanatory Notes (“ENs”).” Id. Under GRI 1, classification is determined by “the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes.” Id. Plaintiff argued the product was prima facie classifiable under both competing provisions, and that the Court must apply the relative specificity analysis of GRI 3.

Defendant argued no GRI 3 analysis was required as Note 1(h) of Chapter 94 prevents classification of the subject merchandise under heading 9401. The Court agreed with Defendant and said Plaintiff failed “to demonstrate that the court must conduct a relative specificity analysis under GRI 3 prior to applying an exclusionary note.” Id. at 8. The court determined that Note 1(h) excluded the subject merchandise from being classified under HTS 9401 and classified the product under HTS 8714.99.80.