U.S. Customs Proposes Rule Regarding Imports

April 3rd, 2012 by Editor

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a notice of proposed rulemaking last week that will affect manufacturers (including importers) of consumer products and commercial equipment subject to Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards. The Federal Register notice proposes amendments to the CBP regulations to provide that if certain imports do not comply with applicable energy conservation or labeling standards, CBP will refuse admission when so notified by the DOE or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and CBP may, upon a recommendation from DOE or the FTC conditionally release the goods so that they may be brought into compliance.

 “DOE has stepped up enforcement efforts to ensure manufacturers meet the energy and water conservation standards, saving energy –and money– for American consumers and businesses,” said the DOE’s Ashley Armstrong in an email sent to interested parties informing them about the rule. “Accordingly, DOE will be following this rulemaking with interest, as it furthers [its] ongoing efforts to ensure that products entering the U.S. comply with federal conservation standards and do not compete unfairly with products manufactured in the United States. Under existing DOE regulations, manufacturers (including importers) and private labelers of noncompliant products are subject to civil penalties.”

“In lieu of immediate refusal of admission, and upon written notice or electronic notice by DOE or FTC, CBP may conditionally release under bond to the importer such noncompliant products or equipment for purposes of reconditioning, re-labeling, or other action so as to bring the subject product or equipment into compliance with applicable energy conservation and labeling admissibility standards,” according to the proposed rule. Further, if the subject import is not timely brought into compliance, CBP, at the direction of DOE or FTC, will issue a refusal of admission notice to the importer and demand redelivery of the subject products to the CBP custody.

The DOE has identified only a small number of businesses importing noncompliant articles, of which fewer than five were small entities, according to the proposed rule.

Comments should be submitted to CBP by May 25, 2012.



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