BRi NEWS - U.S. Considering Authorisation of Temporary & Limited Duty Payment Extensions, What Importers Should Know


Dear all Valued Customers


The U.S may allow companies to temporarily defer paying tariffs on qualifying imported goods for 90 days, a move aimed at freeing up cash for pandemic-hit importers.


The Treasury Department announced the ruling in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow companies to delay the payment of tariffs on certain goods entered for US consumption in March and April.


It is not yet known if there will be an extension granted. 


"To qualify for this temporary postponement, an importer must demonstrate a significant financial hardship," CBP said in a prepublication version of a temporary final ruling posted here.


What importers should make note as it relates to the deferrals:


The importer’s operation must be fully or partially suspended due to orders from governmental authority because of COVID-19, and that as a result the gross receipts of such importer for March 13-31, 2020 or April 2020 are less than 60% of the gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019. CBP’s FAQ’s has clarified that the definition of gross receipts is not just the value of the import transaction, clarification is at 26 CFR 1.993-6 found here. 


This temporary postponement does not apply to any entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, where the entry summary includes merchandise subject to one or more of the following:

  • Antidumping duties,
  • Countervailing duties,
  • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (Additional Steel & Aluminium tariffs)
  • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Additional tariffs on Solar panels & Large Residential Washers)
  • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Additional China tariffs)


For example, an entry containing Section 301 excluded products is eligible as long as the exclusion was in place at the time of entry, and it does not contain any other merchandise that is subject to AD/CVD, Section 201, 232 or 301 Trade Remedy duties.


For entries that are not already filed, importers may want to consider split entries if shipments contain merchandise that is subject to the ineligible duties and merchandise that is not.


Further, "an eligible importer need not file additional documentation with CBP to be eligible for this relief but must maintain documentation as part of its books and records establishing that it meets the requirements for relief," it said.


CBP stated in the first CSMS message posted here. "No interest will accrue for the postponed payment of such estimated duties, taxes, and fees during this 90-day postponement period," it said. "No penalty, liquidated damages, or other sanction will be imposed for the postponed payment of the deposit of estimated duties, taxes, and fees in accordance with this temporary postponement."


In a second CSMS message posted here, CBP clarified that "this temporary postponement applies to formal entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption (including entries for consumption from a Foreign Trade Zone) in March or April 2020," and that "CBP will not return deposits of estimated duties, taxes, and fees that have already been paid."


Finally, note this action does not apply to “payments of other debts to CBP” such as increased duty bills or payments of penalties or liquidated damages.


Importers who believe they may meet the postponement criteria should contact BRi USA Representative for further information.


Further, as all importers are making the determination for qualification of the 90-day postponement, we encourage all importers to consider signing up for Importer ACH Debit or Credit, and Importer ACH Refund.


Airfreight Updates


BRi USA has gathered several noteworthy updates effecting the airfreight market. This list will be updated as information is made available.


We are receiving reports of severe congestion at both Hong Kong and Shanghai airports. Some carriers have temporarily suspended select service levels out of both airports to Canada, US, Latin America, Europe and India in an effort to address backlogged shipments. It is reported that some truckers are waiting are waiting 24-48 hours to make deliveries to the Shanghai terminal.


Delta Air Lines has begun requesting customers enter into an Additional Reservation Agreement (ARA) in an effort to limit cancelled booking and no-show flights. With an ARA, the customer may face a penalty if a booking is cancelled in the days leading up to the flight. The penalties are on a sliding scale from 25-100% of the original booking cost. Delta’s ARA is here.


American Airlines has introduced a “Fair Booking Policy” to also curtail cancellations resulting in lost capacity. With American’s policy, the customer will incur a fee ranging from $50-$100, depending on when the cancellation occurs. American’s policy takes effect May 1, 2020 for all international and domestic flights. 


American Airlines has also announced the addition of several new flights on all-cargo passenger aircraft. These routes are servicing Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, and Dublin among other international cities to key U.S. cities. The routes launch this week and next week.


Lisbon-based carrier TAP Air Portugal has made the difficult decision to suspend all North American operations effective immediately through May 17. 


While the demand for air cargo is very high at the moment, shipments are being lifted.


Please reach out to your BRi USA Representative to explore your airfreight options.


Port of Virginia to Close One Marine Terminal


The Port of Virginia will close one of its terminals due to COVID-19’s impact on global trade. Starting May 4, 2020, the port’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal will be closed and cargo volumes will be consolidated to other terminals.


“As an industry, we are faced with a record number of blank sailings, and idled containerships, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed a marked decline in current and forecasted volumes from our shippers and ocean carriers,” the port said in a statement.


As a valued customer, we hope that you will continue to trust us to source the best options for your supply chain needs now and into the future. Should you have any queries regarding the above, please feel free to contact your assigned Customer Solutions Representative.

Keeping you updated,

BRi Customer Solutions Team


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