LONDON The U.S. Court of
International Trade (CIT) has ruled that the U.S. government
should be able to seek lost duties from an importer of iron
pipe fittings from China, but said it could not demand
penalties for negligence.
The U.S. Customs and Border
Protection issued a letter to Nitek Electronics Inc. in 2004
claiming that the company owed duties on gas meter swivels and
nuts imported between June 14, 2001, and March 22, 2004,
because the merchandise was misclassified under the U.S.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
Customs later said that
Dallas-based Nitek had failed to classify the merchandise as
subject to a 2003 anti-dumping order, adding that the company
"entered or attempted to enter pipe fittings into the commerce
of the United States by means of material false statements and
documents and/or omissions," and in February last year issued a
final penalty claim for negligence.
Nitek said in March 2011 that
its method of classifying merchandise was done carefully, but
that it would pay all duties owed to settle the matter although
it contested the penalty.
Senior Judge Judith M. Barzilay
ruled that while the U.S. governments attempt to receive
duties was reasonable, she dismissed the penalty claim because
the government did not notify Nitek of the change in the
penalty claim from the administrative claim.