Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Army Moisture Wicking T-Shirt Contract Awarded

National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $8,898,968 modification (P00010) exercising the third one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-B043) with four one-year option periods for moisture wicking t-shirts. This is an indefinite-delivery contract. Locations of performance are Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas, with an Oct. 30, 2022, ordering period end date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2022 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Apparel and Footwear Industry Calls for Supply Chain Resolutions in Direct Comments to the Department of Transportation

On Ocotber 18, 2021, the American Apparel & Footwear Association submitted comments to the Department of Transportation today in response to a Federal Register notice on the supply chain crisis currently disrupting the country’s economic recovery. Citing skyrocketing container rates, unreasonable practices, and the inability to move containers from ports, AAFA called on the Biden administration to bring all stakeholders together to develop and implement solutions and to aggressively enforce existing rules and regulations regarding unreasonable practices and excessive and unjust fees.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

CBP Adjust Fines for Inflation

On Ocotober 18, 2021, U.S. Cuustoms and Border Protection published in the Federal Register (86 FR 57532) Civil Monetary Penalty Adjustments for Inflation

Friday, October 15, 2021

Gird yourself to learn about medical compression textiles

Gird yourself for more than you ever wanted to know about medical compression textiles. But don't feel I'm putting you under pressure, it won't be on a test.

Note to the trade: post-surgery compression garments are not, generally duty-free as medical devices. This is significant, as the correct duty on these articles can be as high as 20% for girdles and 23.5% for corsets, even if they are post-operative garments. NOTE, these import duties can be avoided if you source from a country the U.S. has a free trade agreement with and you satisfy the agreement's yarn forward rule.

Some importers have tried, unsuccessfully, to take advantage of tariff heading 9021, which provides duty-free treatment for:

Orthopedic appliances, including crutches, surgical belts and trusses; splints and other fracture appliances; artificial parts of the body; hearing aids and other appliances which are worn or carried, or implanted in the body, to compensate for a defect or disability.

Specially they have looked to Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. classification 9021.90.81, which is a "basket" category, which catches anything in 9021 not more specifically provided in that heading.

They were not unreasonable in looking to 9021. Chapter 90 Note 6 states:

For the purposes of heading 9021, the expression 'orthopedic appliances' means appliances for:

(a) Preventing or correcting bodily deformities; or

(b) Supporting or holding parts of the body following an illness, operation or injury.

However, they have not been successful in getting Customs to agree.

For example, a company proposed classification at 9021.90.81 (duty-free) for textile knee and leg braces. Customs rejected that and classified them at 6307.90.9889, with rate of duty of 7%. They also proposed 9021.90.81 for compression gloves, but Customs said the correct classification is 6116.99.4800, with rate of duty of 18.8%. This ruling, N229875 (September 5, 2012) citing ruling HQ966874 (May 17, 2004), which stated:

[S]ubheading 9021.90 did not apply to items which "are nothing like either the hearing aids of the heading text or the listed examples in the Explanatory Notes. First, all of the appliances listed are precision electronic devices that actively compensate for the defect or disability. Second, all of the examples assist or replace the function of a failed organ.…"

In ruling N304769 (July 11, 2021), Customs addressed several post-surgery torso compression garments and classified them under heading 6212, which provides for "brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles."

Some were classified at 6212.20.00, which provides for girdles, and has a 20% rate of duty. Others were classified at 6212.90.00, which provides for "other," with a rate of duty of 6.6%. The lower or higher duty was depending on whether the garment had the "structural characteristics of a girdle."

The question of what make a girdle a girdle has been the subject of rulings, and even litigation. In ruling H256542 (January 9, 2018) Customs looked to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs). The ENs constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding or dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The ENs to heading 62.12, provide in pertinent part, that:

The heading includes, inter alia:

* * *

(2) Girdles and panty-girdles.

* * *

(7) Maternity, post pregnancy or similar supporting or corrective belts, not being orthopaedic appliances of heading 90.21.

Customs went on to state:

It is well settled that articles enumerated in heading 6212, HTSUS, each feature the unifying characteristic of providing support for the body or other garment. Victoria’s Secret Direct, LLC v. United States, 769 F.3d 1102, 1108 (Fed. Cir. 2014). This support for the body or other garments, constitutes the paramount function of the exemplars listed eo nominee in heading 6212, HTSUS. Victoria’s Secret at, 1108. The subheadings of heading 6212, HTSUS, focus the scope of the heading into distinct categories while retaining the unifying characteristic and paramount function of the overall heading. The subheadings at issue are contrasted by the least descriptive (subheading 6212.90.00, HTSUS) and the most descriptive terms (subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS). In particular, subheading 6212.90.00, HTSUS, is a residual provision which provides for garments not otherwise specified elsewhere in heading 6212, HTSUS. On the other hand, subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS, contemplates merchandise which is classifiable eo nominee as girdles and/or panty-girdles. Accordingly, garments which share the essential unifying characteristic, and paramount function of the overall heading while meeting the description of a girdle or panty-girdle are classifiable ejusdem generis with the articles of subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS.

While the ENs to heading 6212, HTSUS, do not provide a definition of a girdle, both the Courts and CBP have addressed its meaning. The Ninth Circuit stated that: "[a] girdle may be defined as an undergarment that provides support and holds in the body along the lower torso, specifically, including the waist and hips." Riddell, Inc. v. United States, 906 F. Supp. 2d 1355, 1365 (Fed Cir. 2013); citing, HQ 957469, dated November 7, 1995, CBP defined a girdle as being: "[f]lexible, light-weight shaped corset, made partly or entirely of elastic… [a]n elasticized flexible undergarment worn over the hips and waist.").

CBP Informed Compliance Publication, Classification: Apparel Terminology Under the HTSUS (June 2008) page 15. "Girdles/panty girdles (6212) - are garments normally worn next to the skin, which are designed to mold the lower torso and sometimes legs. They are typically made with two-way stretch fabric or one-way stretch fabric with non-stretchable control panels, with or without garters. Panty girdles are girdles with a closed crotch, and resemble panties."

Similarly, in HQ 959284, dated October 29, 1996, CBP stated that: "A girdle is commonly understood as a garment which provides overall support for the lower torso- this would include the cinching of the waist to enhance the bosom, holding in hips, rear and thighs, holding up stockings (when garters are present) and providing for decency and hygiene when the girdle is also worn in place of panties."

The common factors found among the various definitions offered for girdles and panty-girdles is that these items are undergarments made up of elastic or stretchable fabric which provide body support to the lower torso, hip, waist, and thigh area.

Customs also ruled:

[T]he post-surgical nature of [the garment] does not preclude classification under subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS. As EN 62.12 explains, post-pregnancy, supportive or corrective belts which are not orthopedic appliances of heading 9021, HTSUS, are classifiable in this heading. For example, in NY N014148 (August 10, 2007), CBP classified a 'post-partum girdle' as a girdle under subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS. Likewise, in NY N004382 (January 8, 2007), CBP classified a 'maternity support garment' as a girdle under subheading 6212.20.00, HTSUS. By contrast, in HQ 964402 (May 24, 2002)…

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

AAFA Flags Extensive Counterfeit Concerns on Social Media in Notorious Markets Submission

The American Apparel and Footwear Association submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative recommending platforms and marketplaces – including Facebook and Instagram – for Notorious Market designations.

AAFA cited significant increases in the availability of counterfeit products via social media in its submission for the 2021 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. In particular, AAFA highlighted industry concerns with Facebook’s platforms — including not only Facebook but also Instagram and WhatsApp — which are being used by counterfeiters to advertise and sell fake goods. This is the second time AAFA has highlighted Facebook in its submission for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Notorious Markets report, and follows increased focus on the role of social media in facilitating the sale of counterfeits online. Earlier this year, AAFA released a report “Dupe Influencers: The Concerning Trend of Promoting Counterfeit Apparel, Footwear, and Accessories on Social Media” with analysis of the alarming behavior that has generated millions of views, likes, and shares of content directly related to the advertisement and sale of counterfeit goods online.

Read more HERE.

CBP Seizes Fake Designer Handbags, Wallets Worth $314K

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport intercepted a shipment manifested as pencil bags but instead were packed with various designer bags totaling a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $314,000.

The shipment which originated in Vietnam and was destined for the Dallas area when CBP officers selected it for inspection.

Read more HERE.

Clothing and Textiles Helps Army Get New Female Improved Hot Weather Uniforms to Recruits

Extensive coordination enabled the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support to help the Army field female improved hot weather uniforms to new recruits at training centers across the country.

Approximately 1,600 sets of the female IHWCU coats and trousers have been issued at the RTCs, with Fort Benning and Fort Sill receiving sets in mid-August, Fort Leonard Wood in September, and Fort Jackson early October.

Read more HERE.