Fraserview at Odds with US Customs and Border ProtectionMarch 22nd, 2023 by Travis Rains
Fraserview Remanufacturing, a Canadian exporter of softwood lumber, accuses U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of erroneously identifying certain entries by the company as “deemed liquidated,” even though liquidation was suspended per instruction from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Fraserview now seeks an order from the U.S. Court of International Trade that would correct that designation.
The company writes in its complaint that CBP identified certain 2019 entries as “deemed liquidated” within the Automated Commercial Environment. However, the company says the U.S. Department of Commerce had liquidation suspended at that time per its review of antidumping and countervailing duty orders for Canadian softwood lumber.
“CBP has acknowledged that the designation of the entries in question as deemed liquidated was ‘in error,’ but maintains that such designation constituted actual liquidation and therefore should have been protested within 180 days from the date that the liquidation status was updated in ACE,” Fraserview writes in the complaint.
The plaintiff then tells the court that CBP doesn’t have the power to make an entry liquidated simply by designating it as such in the ACE reporting system. Statutory requirements for such a designation must still be met, the plaintiff argues. According to the complaint, that change in designation occurred in March 2021 on 910 entries of softwood lumber—some six months after Customs handed down its liquidation suspension instructions, the company alleges.
After contacting an import specialist with CBP’s Center for Excellence and Expertise for Industrial and Manufacturing Materials in June 2021, Fraserview was reportedly told that the change in designation actually occurred in September 2020. With that 180-day window come and gone, the specialist is quoted in court documents as saying “I am afraid there is nothing that can be done legally at this point.”
But the company argues that those timelines aren’t applicable because the entries in question weren’t actually liquidated, only “erroneously” marked as such. Fraserview asks the court to enter declaratory judgment in its favor, citing the liquidation suspension as justification.
“Fraserview is therefore entitled to an order by this Court setting aside the designation of the entries as deemed liquidated and compelling defendants to correct the liquidation status of the entries in ACE,” the company writes in its complaint.