On 21 March 2011, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) overturned the US Court of International Trade’s (CIT) decision that it did not have jurisdiction to hear a suit by Ford related to NAFTA claims.

In the underlying action, Ford filed post-entry claims with the CBP for preferential treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on imports of automotive parts from Canada within the requisite one-year period from the date of entry. Ford, however, did not file the supporting certificates of origin until more than one year from the date of entry. The US Government argued, and the CIT agreed, that submission of the certificates of origin within the one-year period was a jurisdictional prerequisite.

The Federal Circuit disagreed, finding that the untimely filing of the certificates of origin did not deprive the CIT of jurisdiction. In reaching its decision, the Federal Circuit reasoned that there was no clear jurisdictional requirement with respect to the timely filing of a certificate of origin—only with respect to the timely filing of the claim. The Federal Circuit therefore reversed the lower court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings on the merits.