The Enforce and Protect Act (“EAPA”), signed into law as part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, established procedures for a wide variety of stakeholders to submit allegations of evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”).  After several years, it appears this new tool for addressing evasion of duties has started to take off.

CBP’s Trade and Travel Report for Fiscal Year 2018 relates a significant uptick in the agency’s investigative work stemming from EAPA allegations.  In particular, CBP received nearly double the allegations in fiscal year 2018 that it received in fiscal year 2017.  The agency also issued final determinations in 12 investigations, up from only 1 the year before.  Despite the uptick in work, CBP touts having “met every statutory deadline for all EAPA investigations,” even rendering decisions ahead of statutory deadlines in some cases, and proclaims that this process has “proven to be a success{}.”  CBP’s bullish outlook should encourage even more stakeholders to come forward with allegations and to participate in the process.
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The Court of International Trade was not in the holiday spirit when it issued the decision in Rubie’s Costume Co. v. United States, Slip Op 17-147, which held that the imported Santa Claus suit cannot be considered a “festive article,” but must be considered wearing apparel.  Festive articles, imported into the U.S. under heading 9505 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, enter the U.S. free of duty.  The Court held that Santa’s man-made fiber jacket and pants would enter as wearing apparel under Chapter 61 and specifically under 6110.30.30 at 32% duty for the jacket and 6103.43.15 at 28.2% duty for the trousers. 
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