Rulings, remedies and court proceedings for customs and trade professionals

Federal Circuit Dismisses Country of Origin Challenge Due to Lack of Jurisdiction

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a Court of International Trade ruling dismissing an importer's challenge of CBP's assessment of antidumping and countervailing duties, for improper jurisdiction, in a July 14 opinion. The Federal Circuit found that TR International Trading Company, which filed its case under the trade court's Section 1581(i) "residual" jurisdiction provision, could have instead challenged a denied protest under 1581(a) or a scope ruling under 1581(c), rendering Section 1581(i) unavailable.

TRI had challenged CBP's finding that the company's citric acid imports from India were of Chinese origin and subject to AD/CV duties. TRI argued that the citric acid underwent a substantial transformation at the hands of the Indian manufacturer, making India the country of origin. CBP disagreed, finding that China was the country of origin and finding the entries should be assessed antidumping and countervailing duties. TRI then concurrently filed its case in CIT and two protests to CBP regarding the agency's liquidation of the entries.

TRI should have contested the protests, if denied, to get to court, CIT and now the Federal Circuit said. "TRI 'offers no persuasive rationale as to why a protest proceeding is unavailable -- indeed, it cannot, given its lodging of two Customs protests.' We agree that the Trade Court does not have residual jurisdiction under [Section] 1581(i) to address these factual and procedural arguments." The Federal Circuit also agreed with CIT in that TRI failed to show why it could not have challenged the country of origin determination via a scope ruling from the Commerce Department.

(TR International Trading Company, Inc., v. U.S., CAFC # 2020-1830, dated 07/14/21, Judges Prost, Chen and Hughes. Attorneys: John Peterson of Neville Peterson for plaintiffs-appellee TR International; Joshua Kurland for defendant-appellant U.S. government)