Importers still have time to file a suit to recover duties paid plus interest for Chinese goods subject to Section 301 Lists 3 and 4A. Less than a month ago, importers were given short notice (see Deringer trade alert dated 9/15) to file these suits with the Court of International Trade (CIT) because the strictest interpretation of the law meant filing between September 18th and 23rd, 2020.
Law firms have since stated that while the deadline observed was the most conservative interpretation, there is substantial case law to support a much later deadline. Deringer encourages importers who were not able to participate in the first round of hearings to contact legal counsel to discuss the opportunity.
Attorneys Recommend Filing Protests
Additionally, many attorneys have recommended clients protest the liquidation and application of duties on their entries. This will assist in preserving the claim for refunds and provide a vehicle for CBP to issue refunds if court cases are approved by CIT. Protesting already liquidated entries will help to preserve claims for those particular entries; however, importers should also create a program to monitor liquidation on a basis going forward. As entries liquidate in the future, they should also be protested to preserve their possible refund eligibility.
Resolution of the lawsuits may take several years, so in addition to filing protests, importers should ensure that they have copies of all entries which could be included in the refund process. Customs brokers are required by law to maintain entry records for a period of five years. Most brokers purge their records of entry documents and data shortly after the end of the five year record retention period. Therefore, it would be prudent for importers to keep a separate file of documents should they be requested by CBP in the future.
For assistance filing a claim, contact a trade attorney. If you would like a recommendation for a trade attorney or assistance filing a protest, please contact our Compliance Department.