A Florida-based importer caught the attention of the U.S. government for evading payment of anti-dumping and countervailing duties of bedroom furniture from China when a competitor brought the case to court under the False Claims Act. The importer is accused of classifying bedroom sets, dressers, beds, and nightstands as metal household furniture to intentionally avoid the 216.01% anti-dumping duty rate.
While commercial entry paperwork listed metal office furniture, secondary packing lists revealed true descriptions as instruction to receiving installers. When questioned, the importer’s owner pushed a metal classification and subsequently switched brokers, advising them “For future reference, if you have question[s] regarding materials please send to me directly.”
This has placed a regulatory spotlight on furniture importers.
CBP said it will require interim measures, meaning entries from any of the companies under investigation that entered the U.S. as not subject to AD duties:
- Received manual rate-adjustments;
- Require “live entry” on future imports;
- Reject any entry summaries and require a re-file for those that are within the entry summary reject period;
- Suspend the liquidation for any entry that has entered on or after May 12, 2017;
- Extend the period for liquidation of all unliquidated entries that entered before that date.
“We are seeing concrete results of the new trade enforcement tools I created to prevent bad actors from undermining our workers and manufacturers,” said Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote the EAPA provisions. “These tools let CBP act quickly to stop merchandise laundering and other illegal trade activity in its tracks. Even before an investigation is complete, once it finds that there is a likely violation, CBP has the authority to put in place interim measures to protect U.S. businesses. I encourage CBP to continue its aggressive pursuit of these cases.”
With the launch of CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), importers should be aware of increased regulatory compliance. If you have any concerns regarding the import of wooden furniture, contact your Green representative to discuss consultative classification or assistance in receiving a binding ruling. As always, Green Worldwide will provide updates as they become available.