Importers seeking refunds of section 301 duties for exclusions that were issued after the subject entries have liquidated and after the protest period has expired may have difficulties in duty recovery through any existing post-entry mechanism. One importer has even filed a suit at the Court of International Trade to compel CBP to reliquidate such entries so that they can benefit from the exclusions, but the result of that case is unknown at this time.
However, importers can request an extension of liquidation according to Customs Regulations 19 CFR § 159.12 for an additional period not to exceed 1 year, by requesting in writing before the statutory period has expired. In the case of Section 301, a good cause could be demonstrated by showing:
- the entries are for goods that are the subject of pending exclusion requests under Section 301
- if the exclusions are granted, the importer might have an opportunity to request a refund of duties paid, and
- this opportunity will be restricted if the entries liquidate before the exclusion is granted.
There are still at least 150 exclusion requests pending from list 4A, and with exclusions being extended and new comment periods occasionally opening for other exclusion requests, there is a real incentive for importers to preserve their post-entry opportunities by requesting an extension of liquidation, just in case an exclusion is issued which applies to their goods.
If an exclusion is granted, an importer may obtain a refund of any duties already paid via a Post-Summary Correction (PSC) (if filed at least 15 days before the new liquidation date) or a Protest (if filed within 180 days after the new liquidation date). If an importer has several entries that are nearing their liquidation date, which will begin the tolling of the period during which any post-entry activity may be attempted, we suggest that a request that the liquidation date for those entries is extended be made to the appropriate Center of Excellence and Expertise.
See CSMS #19-000260, Section 301 Products Excluded from Duties - Liquidation Extension Request, or contact Tradewin for import consultancy services.