The beginning of a new year often brings new regulations or changes to programmes. Customs programmes are no exception. This update lists some key January 2018 changes for importers.

Fee increases

Pursuant to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) final rule (82 Fed Reg 50523) and the general notice (82 FRN 50659) published on November 1 2017, various changes to user fees within the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) 1985 took effect on January 1 2018:

  • The merchandise processing fee (MPF) ad valorem rate of 0.3464% will not change. The MPF minimum and maximum for formal entries (Class Code 499) will change. The minimum will change from $25 to $25.67, and the maximum will change from $485 to $497.99.
  • The informal MPF (Class Code 311) will change to $2.05.
  • The dutiable mail fee (Class Code 496) will change to $5.65.
  • The surcharge for manual entry or release will change to $3.08.

GSP expiration

The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) expired on December 31 2017. However, in years past, when the GSP was reauthorised, Congress allowed for retroactive application of GSP treatment. Importers must ensure that any entries seeking preferential treatment continue to use a GSP special indicator (A, A+ or A*) to preserve eligibility for any retroactive application of the GSP. Further guidance is provided on the CBP website.

Changes to 2018 tariff code

There are some updates to the 2018 Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which came into effect on January 1 2018. The new HTSUS includes the reinstatement of Argentina into the list of GSP-eligible countries and adds Gambia and Swaziland as African Growth and Opportunity Act beneficiaries. New statistical suffixes are also added for, among other products, organic lemons, gift wrap ribbons and bows, metal bed bases, diamond rotary rock bits and parts for antennas. Most of the changes took effect on January 1 2018. For a full list of changes since the last edition of the HTSUS was published on January 1 2017, see the change record.

The 2018 HTSUS includes some changes to rules of origin under the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement that take retroactive effect starting on February 1 2017. Tariff shift rules are amended for several apparel subheadings in Chapters 61, 62 and 63. Subheading 6202.93.55 for 'other' anoraks of manmade fibres has been amended so that it now lists 15 free trade agreements that confer duty-free treatment. Subheading 6211.43.10 for certain 'other' garments of manmade fibres has been amended so that it now lists 15 free trade agreements that confer duty-free treatment.

Changes to international trademark categories

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) revised Section 6.1 in Part 6 of Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations to incorporate classification changes and modifications that became effective on January 1 2018, as listed in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (11th ed, 2018), published by World Intellectual Property Organisation. Specifically, this rule adds new, or deletes existing, goods and services from 10 class headings. The changes to the class headings further define the types of goods and services appropriate to the class.

For further information on this topic please contact David Salkeld at Arent Fox LLP by telephone (+1 202 857 6000) or email (david.salkeld@arentfox.com). The Arent Fox LLP website can be accessed at www.arentfox.com.

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