In an opinion issued on May 9, 2014, the U.S Court of International Trade (CIT) ruled against Ford Motor Company in a case in which Ford argued that CBP's requirements relating to certificates of origin should be similar whether the claims are made in a reconciliation context or a NAFTA post-import context since both are made pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1520(d).
For the purposes of traditional NAFTA eligibility under 19 U.S.C. 1520(d), the requirement is that importers actually present certificates of origin when making a claim. Ford failed to do so in the factual circumstances underlying the case. For the purposes of making a post-import preference claim in the context of a reconciliation program, however, CBP's practice is to waive the need to present certificates of origin and only require that importers possess them.
According to the CIT, deciding the case on remand from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, CBP's practice of differentiating between the two scenarios was acceptable even though 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) applies to both. The CIT accepted CPB's explanation that because the reasoning for the waiver practice is different in the reconciliation context as compared to the traditional post-entry context, CBP was not taking an impermissibly contradictory interpretation of 19 U.S.C. 1520(d) in two different situations, but rather applying that statute appropriately in the context of two different statutory schemes; one which controls the reconciliation process, for which streamlining and automation are an integral part, and the other controlling only post-entry NAFTA claims.