Responding to Customs Notices:
Customs Forms CF 28 (Request for Information) and CF 29 (Notice of Action)
Customs Forms CF 28 and CF 29 are generally recognized as trigger events for potentially adverse compliance issues.
The CF 28 Request for Information
The CF 28 is used by Customs to solicit factual information from the importer that relates to compliance issues. The information requested may impact any of a wide number of compliance issues, such as, for example: FTA or preference program eligibility, valuation, origin, tariff classification, ADCVD, right to make entry, and etc.
For this reason, it is critical that the importer understand the relevance of the information requested, and then to respond with some care to the questions posed by Customs.
Importers of merchandise that might arguably be within the scope of an Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order may also wish to be particularly sensitive to the fact that (a) Customs may be looking for evidence of ADCVD circumvention, or (b) that an allegation of evasion under the Trade Enforcement Act may have been the impetus for this line of questioning.
In some instances, the importer may come to realize that the importer's response will reveal a compliance violation to U.S. Customs, and the importer may wish to consider a prior disclosure to protect the company from harsh civil penalties.
If an importer delays, or responds ineffectually, then it is possible that Customs will next take action in a CF 29. Such action might include a rate advance, or other adverse action, and Customs action might preclude the importer from the filing of a prior disclosure.
The CF 29 Notice of Action
The CF 29 is an indication from Customs that action has been either (1) proposed, or (2) taken against a current shipment. Most commonly, a CF 29 will indicate a rate advances due to a tariff re-classification by Customs, or denial of the importer's eligibility for duty-free benefits under a FTA or preference program. The CF29 may also relate to other legal matters as well. The importer should assess the implications and consequences of the CF 29 with counsel and if necessary evaluate whether immediate further actions, such as, (a) changes to the importer's import practices, (b) the filing of administrative protests and/or (c) whether the filing of a prior disclosure may be appropriate.
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