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On August 26, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register an interim final rule [CBP Dec. No. 16-13; USCBP-2016-0057] that amends the CBP regulations to implement section 901 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) (Public Law No. 114-125) by raising from $200 to $800 the value of certain articles that may be imported by one person on one day free of duty and tax. The document also makes clarifying and conforming amendments to the regulations.

The TFTEA was signed into law on February 24, 2016. Prior to enactment of the TFTEA, section 321(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1321(a)(2)(C)) authorized CBP to provide an administrative exemption to admit free from duty and tax shipments of merchandise (other than bona fide gifts and certain personal and household goods) imported by one person on one day having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment not less than $200. Section 901(c) of the TFTEA amended section 1321(a)(2)(C) by increasing the value of this administrative exemption from $200 to $800. Section 901 did not change the administrative exemption for bona fide gifts and personal or household articles accompanying travelers under 1321(a)(2)(A) and 1321(a)(2)(B).

Interested persons are invited to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or arguments on all aspects of the interim rule. In particular, CBP is seeking comments on how CBP can maintain the collection of data required by Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) for imported merchandise to prevent unlawful importations when shipments of admitted through “release from manifest.” (Generally, such shipments are entered by the carrier and released by CBP based on information contained on the manifest or bill of lading provided by the carrier.) CBP is aware that the manifest information may not contain all the necessary information required by PGAs for admissibility purposes.

Pursuant to section 901(d) of TFTEA, the effective date of the statutory amendment was the 15th day after the date of enactment, i.e., effective as of March 10, 2016. The regulations were effective upon publication but persons wishing to submit comments must do so on or before September 26, 2016.