Every importer of record needs to make declarations to Customs regarding tariff classification, valuation, origin of imported goods, and more. Incorrect declarations can lead to long term and expensive problems for the importer.
The NAFTA rules provided a method in which importers could seek guidance from Customs through an advance ruling to predetermine tariff classification, valuation, regional value issues, questions on qualifications of originating good, country of origin marking requirements, and more. NAFTA limited requests for guidance to only importers in the US and exporters and producers in Canada and Mexico who exported their goods to the US.
USMCA Advance Rulings
Fortunately, the new USMCA introduces several key changes. First, the USMCA not only allows an importer, but also allows an exporter, producer, or anyone related to the trade transaction to request an advance ruling. Advance ruling requests are no longer limited to domestic residents.
Secondly, the USMCA requires Customs to make a decision within 120 days – increasing transparency and predictability to the advance ruling process. Additionally, the USMCA also identifies the subjects that can be decided through ruling requests – tariff classification, customs valuation, origin of goods, quotas, or “other issues agreed upon.”
Lastly, the USMCA offers increased protection in the event that Customs modifies or revokes an advance ruling. Under the USMCA, an advance ruling cannot be revoked or modified if doing so will hurt the original ruling requester – unless the requester did not follow the advance ruling or the ruling was based on false information provided by the requester.
The best way to limit your USMCA import liability is to request an advance ruling – taking out the guesswork before the goods are shipped or entered into the US. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any further questions or would like to submit an advance ruling request.