The Federal Circuit Court Rules on United States v. C.H. Robinson Company
July 30, 2014
On Monday July 28, 2014, the Federal Circuit ruled that C.H. Robinson, a third-party logistics provider, owed $106,407.86 to pay “duties, taxes, and fees” for apparel from China that entered the United States as Transportation & Exportation (T&E) entries. C.H. Robinson was designated as the bonded carrier and was required to deliver the merchandise from Los Angeles, California to L.E. Forwarding in Laredo, Texas for exportation to Mexico.
However, once the merchandise left Los, Angeles, it went “missing”. While Mario Peña Inc., a customs broker, stamped the entry documentation at the Port of Laredo, the company did not “transport the subject merchandise to the export lot, nor did [it] see, inspect, or take possession of the subject merchandise.” To verify the transportation of goods, C.H. Robinson provided the stamped T&E entry forms and stamped Mexican import forms, which are known as “pedimentos.” However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection determined that the pedimentos were false.
The Court of International Trade declared that C.H. Robinson was responsible for the payments to the Government for the goods because it did not ensure that the subject merchandise was either exported or lawfully entered into the United States. . The Federal Circuit Court affirmed. The Federal Circuit held that “while a bonded carrier may not be required to maintain exportation records and provide proof of exportation…unless it is also the exporting carrier, it may nonetheless be required…to account for missing merchandise transported under bond”. The Court held that once the Government demonstrated that the merchandise was missing, “C.H. Robinson’s failure to provide satisfactory proof of exportation or any other evidence regarding the disposition of the merchandise exposed it to liability….irrespective of the duties imposed separately on the exporting carrier….”
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