Code of Federal Regulations Title 19. Customs Duties § 19.177.2 Submission of ruling requests
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(a) Form. A request for a ruling should be in the form of a letter. Requests for Valuation and Carrier rulings should be addressed to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Attention: Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, Washington, DC 20229. The Division and Branch in the Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, to which the request should be directed may also be indicated, if known. Requests for tariff classification rulings should be addressed to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 201 Varick Street, Suite 501, New York, New York 10014.
(1) Generally. Each request for a ruling must contain a complete statement of all relevant facts relating to the transaction. Such facts include the names, addresses, and other identifying information of all interested parties (if known); the name of the port or place at which any article involved in the transaction will arrive or be entered, or which will otherwise have jurisdiction with respect to the act or activity described in the transaction; and a description of the transaction itself, appropriate in detail to the type of ruling requested.
(2) Description of transaction—
(i) Generally. The Customs transaction to which the ruling request relates must be described in sufficient detail to permit the proper application of relevant customs and related laws.
(ii) Tariff classification rulings.
(A) If the transaction involves the importation of an article for which a ruling as to its proper classification under the provisions of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States is requested, the request for a ruling should include a full and complete description of the article and whenever germane to the proper classification of the article, information as to the article's chief use in the United States, its commercial, common, or technical designation, and, where the article is composed of two or more materials, the relative quantity (by weight and by volume) and value of each. The ruling request should also note, whenever germane, the purchase price of the article, and its approximate selling price in the United States. Individual requests for rulings submitted to service port offices will be limited to five (5) merchandise items, all of which must be of the same class or kind.
(B) Rulings issued by the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, or any service port office are limited to prospective transactions. Only the Headquarters Office will prepare final decisions under § 177.11 (Requests for Advice by Field Officers), or § 174.23 (Further Review of Protests), § 177.10 (Change of Practice), decisions under part 175 of this chapter (petitions under section 516, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended), decisions under § 177.13 (Inconsistent Customs decisions), and decisions under Policies and Procedures Manual Supplement 2126–01.
(C) The requesting party may send the request directly to the Director, Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, DC 20229. The Headquarters Office retains authority to independently review all tariff classification ruling letters issued by the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, and any service port office. If the importer or other person to whom a ruling letter is issued disagrees with the tariff classification set forth in a ruling issued by the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, or any service port office, he may petition the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, U.S. Customs Service 1, Washington, DC 20229, for review of the ruling.
1 So in original; probably should read “Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection”. See 72 FR 59166.
(iii) Valuation rulings. If the transaction involves the valuation of an article for Customs purposes, the request for a ruling should include all of the applicable information described in subpart C of part 152 of this chapter, and, insofar as is relevant, the information which would be required on an invoice as described in subpart F of part 141 of this chapter. The request should also describe the nature of the transaction (whether f.o.b./c.i.f., ex-factory, or some other arrangement), the relationship (if any) of the parties, whether the transaction was at arm's-length, whether there have been other sales of the same or similar merchandise in the country of exportation, whether an agency relationship exists, or any other information relevant to a determination under section 402 or 402a of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1401a, 1402).
(iv) Carrier rulings. If the transaction involves a vessel, the request for a ruling should include information relating to place of build and nationality of registration and, if to be used in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States, the exact place or places of intended use, if known. If the request for a ruling involves a determination as to whether or not the primary object of a contemplated voyage would be considered to be coastwise transportation in violation of 46 U.S.C. 289 (see § 4.80a of this chapter), the request should completely identify the voyage, including the proposed time of arrival at and departure from every port on the itinerary and any coordination of the voyage with special events at coastwise ports, and should be accompanied by samples, if available, of brochures, advertising, and other information that may be relevant to a determination of the primary object of the proposed voyage.
(3) Samples. Each request for a ruling regarding the status of an article under any Customs or related law affecting the importation or arrival of that article should be accompanied by photographs, drawings, or other pictorial representations of the article and, whenever possible, by a sample article, unless a precise description of the article is not essential to the ruling requested. Any article consisting of materials in chemical or physical combination for which a laboratory analysis has been prepared by or for the manufacturer should include a copy of that analysis. A sample submitted in connection with a request for a ruling becomes a part of the Customs Service file in the matter and will be retained until the ruling is issued or the ruling request is otherwise disposed of. If the return of the sample is desired, the ruling request should so state and should specify the desired means of return. A sample should only be submitted with the understanding that all or a part of it may be damaged or consumed in the course of examination, testing, analysis, or other actions undertaken in connection with the ruling request.
(4) Related documents. If the question or questions presented in the ruling request directly relate to matters set forth in any invoice, contract, agreement, or other document, a copy of the document must be submitted with the request. (Original documents should not be submitted inasmuch as any documents or exhibits furnished with the ruling request become a part of the Customs Service file in the matter and cannot be returned.) The relevant facts reflected in any documents submitted, and an explanation of their bearing on the question or questions presented, must be expressly set forth in the ruling request.
(5) Prior or current transactions. Each request for a ruling must state whether, to the knowledge of the person submitting the request, the same transaction, or one identical to it, has ever been considered, or is currently being considered by any Customs Service office or whether, to the knowledge of the person submitting the request, the issues involved have ever been considered, or are currently being considered, by the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or any court of appeal therefrom. Where the transaction described in the ruling request is but one of a series of similar and related transactions, that fact must also be stated.
(6) Statement of position. If the request for a ruling asks that a particular determination or conclusion be reached in the ruling letter, a statement must be included in the request setting forth the basis for that determination or conclusion, together with a citation of all relevant supporting authority.
(7) Privileged or confidential information. Information which is claimed to constitute trade secrets or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information regarding the business transactions of private parties the disclosure of which would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person making the request (or of another interested party), must be identified clearly and the reasons such information should not be disclosed, including, where applicable, the reasons the disclosure of the information would prejudice the competitive position of the person making the request (or of another interested party) must be set forth.
(c) Signing; instructions as to reply. The request for a ruling must be signed by a person authorized to make the request, as described in § 177.1(c). A ruling requested by a principal or authorized agent may direct that the ruling letter be addressed to the other.
(d) Requests for immediate consideration. The Customs Service will normally process requests for rulings in the order they are received and as expeditiously as possible. However, a request that a particular matter be given consideration ahead of its regular order, if made in writing at the time the request is submitted, or subsequent thereto, and showing a clear need for such treatment, will be given consideration as the particular circumstances warrant and permit. Requests for special consideration made by telegram will be treated in the same manner as requests made by letter, but rulings will not ordinarily be issued by telegram. In no event can any assurance be given that a particular request for a ruling will be acted upon by the time requested. However, upon request and where a clear need is shown for such action, a collect telephone call will be made to advise that the ruling letter has been issued and is being mailed.
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