Industry News

Customs Clarifies "Date of Entry" Meaning

Dec. 4, 2023
By: Ashley J. Bodden

For most imports the date of entry is not controversial or even significant. This changes when the law impacts the entry differently depending on the date of entry, as was the case as Section 301 duties were being imposed or when antidumping or countervailing duties will apply. In HQ H306804 (September 29, 2023) Customs squarely addressed the meaning of “date of entry.”

In H306804 the entry summary was filed on July 26, 2018, and the vessel arrived within port limits on July 27, 2018, as reflected in the Automated Commercial Environment (“ACE”). However, the system also reflected entry dates for the merchandise of August 7, 2018 and August 25, 2018. The August 25 date would have made the shipment subject to Section 301 duties, and was used by the Port to demand 301 duties for the importation.

In its protest, the Protestant relied on 19 C.F.R. 141.68(b). That regulation provides that “when an entry summary serves as both the entry document and entry summary . . . the of entry will be the time the entry summary is filed in proper form with estimated duties attached.” In this case, the entry summary was filed on July 26, 2018, and the vessel arrived within port limits on July 27, 2018. Because Section 301 duties were not effective until August 23, 2018, no Section 301 duties were attached to the entry summary.

CBP Headquarters had found that although 19 C.F.R. § 141.68(b) allows the importer to select a date of entry, the entry date is still subject to limitation in 19 C.F.R. § 141.68(e), and therefore the merchandise was not entered until it physically arrived at the port. This was echoed by Headquarters Ruling H121420 (May 17, 2011), where it was determined that the date of entry for the automobile tires was the date the tires arrived within port limits. Headquarters had reasoned that although entry summary was filed in proper form through ACE, the entry date cannot precede the arrival date of the merchandise within port limits with the intent to unlade pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 141.68(e). Consequently, the proper date of entry for the Protestant’s entry is July 27, 2018, the date on which the merchandise arrived within port limits established by ACE and the supporting documentation. The Protestant’s protest was granted, and its entry was reliquidated without the assessment of Section 301 duties.

As this ruling makes clear, ensuring that your products enter the United States when you intend them to can be economically consequential and legally complex. If you have any questions about ensuring that your entries are properly treated with respect to entry timing do not hesitate to contact any attorney at Barnes, Richardson & Colburn, LLP.