U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 09, 2022

§ 181.92 - Definitions and general NAFTA advance ruling practice.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this subpart:

(1) An advance ruling is a written statement issued by the Headquarters Office or the National Commodity Specialist Division or by such other office as designated by the Commissioner of Customs that interprets and applies the provisions of NAFTA to a specific set of facts involving any subject matter specified in § 181.92(b)(6) of this part. An “advance ruling letter” is an advance ruling issued in response to a written request and set forth in a letter addressed to the person making the request or his designee. A “published advance ruling” is an advance ruling which has been published in full text in the Customs Bulletin.

(2) An authorized agent is a person expressly authorized by a principal to act on his or her behalf. An advance ruling requested by an attorney or other person acting as an agent must include a statement describing the authority under which the request is made. With the exception of attorneys whose authority to represent is known, any person appearing before Customs as an agent in connection with an advance ruling request may be required to present evidence of his or her authority to represent the principal. The foregoing requirements will not apply to an individual representing his or her full-time employer or to a bona-fide officer, director or other qualified representative of a corporation, association, or organized group.

(3) The term Headquarters Office, means the Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade at Headquarters, U. S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, DC.

(4) An information letter is a written statement issued by the Headquarters Office or the National Commodity Specialist Division or by such other office as designated by the Commissioner of Customs that does no more than call attention to a well-established interpretation of principles under the NAFTA, without applying it to a specific set of facts. If Customs believes that general information may be of some benefit to the person making the request, an information letter may be issued in response to a request for an advance ruling when:

(i) The request suggests that general information, rather than an advance ruling, is actually being sought;

(ii) The request is incomplete or otherwise fails to meet the requirements set forth in this subpart; or

(iii) The requested advance ruling cannot be issued for any other reason.

(5) A NAFTA transaction is an act or activity to which the NAFTA provisions apply. A “prospective” NAFTA transaction is one that is merely contemplated or is currently being undertaken but has not resulted in any arrival or in the filing of any entry or entry summary or other document or in any other act so as to bring the transaction, or any part of it, under the jurisdiction of any Customs office. A “current” NAFTA transaction is one which is presently under consideration by a field office of Customs. A “completed” NAFTA transaction is one which has been acted upon by a Customs field office and with respect to which that office has issued a determination which is final in nature, but is (or was) subject to appeal, petition, protest or other review as provided in the applicable Customs laws and regulations. An “ongoing” NAFTA transaction is a series of identical, recurring transactions, consisting of current and completed transactions where future transactions are contemplated.

(6) The term National Commodity Specialist Division means the National Commodity Specialist Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York, New York.

(b) General advance ruling practice. An advance ruling may be requested under the provisions of this subpart with respect to prospective NAFTA transactions. An advance ruling will be based on the facts and circumstances presented by the requester.

(1) Prospective NAFTA transactions. It is in the interest of the sound administration of the NAFTA that persons engaging in any transaction affected by NAFTA fully understand the consequences of that transaction prior to its consummation. For this reason, Customs will give full and careful consideration to written requests from importers in the United States and exporters or producers in Canada or Mexico for advance rulings or information setting forth, with respect to a specifically described transaction, a definitive interpretation of applicable law or other appropriate information.

(2) Current or ongoing NAFTA transactions. A question arising in connection with a NAFTA transaction already before a Customs field office by reason of arrival, entry or otherwise will be resolved by that office in accordance with the principles and precedents previously announced by the Headquarters Office. If such a question cannot be resolved on the basis of clearly established rules set forth in the NAFTA or the regulations thereunder, or in applicable Treasury Decisions, rulings, opinions, or court decisions published in the Customs Bulletin, that field office may, if it believes it appropriate, forward the question to the Headquarters Office for consideration.

(3) Completed NAFTA transactions. A question arising in connection with an entry of merchandise which has been liquidated, or in connection with any other completed NAFTA transaction, may not be the subject of an advance ruling request under this subpart.

(4) Oral advice. Customs will not issue an advance ruling in response to an oral request. Oral opinions or advice of Customs personnel are not binding on Customs. However, oral inquiries may be made to Customs offices regarding existing advance rulings, the scope of such advance rulings, the types of transactions with respect to which Customs will issue advance rulings, the scope of the advance rulings which may be issued, or the procedures to be followed in submitting advance ruling requests, as prescribed in this subpart.

(5) Who may request an advance ruling. An advance ruling may be requested by any of the following persons (individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, or other entities or groups) having a direct and demonstrable interest in the question or questions presented in the advance ruling request, or by the authorized agent of any such person:

(i) An importer in the United States;

(ii) An exporter or a producer of a good in Canada or Mexico; or

(iii) A Canadian or Mexican producer of a material that is used in the production of a good imported into the United States, but only with regard to that material and only in regard to a matter described in paragraphs (b)(6)(i) through (v) and (vii) of this section.

(6) Subject matter of advance rulings. Customs shall issue advance rulings under this subpart concerning the following:

(i) Whether materials imported from a country other than the United States, Canada or Mexico and used in the production of a good undergo an applicable change in tariff classification set forth in General Note 12, HTSUS, as a result of production occurring entirely in the United States, Canada and/or Mexico;

(ii) Whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement under the transaction value method or under the net cost method as provided for in General Note 12, HTSUS, and in this part;

(iii) For purposes of determining whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement under General Note 12, HTSUS, and under this part, the appropriate basis or method for value to be applied by an exporter or a producer in Canada or Mexico, in accordance with the principles set forth in the appendix to this part, for calculating the transaction value of the good or of the materials used in the production of the good;

(iv) For purposes of determining whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement under General Note 12, HTSUS, and under this part, the appropriate basis or method for reasonably allocating costs, in accordance with the allocation methods set forth in the appendix to this part, for calculating the net cost of the good or the value of an intermediate material;

(v) Whether a good qualifies as an originating good under General Note 12, HTSUS, and under the appendix to this part;

(vi) Whether a good that re-enters the United States after having been exported from the United States to Canada or Mexico for repair or alteration qualifies for duty-free treatment in accordance with § 181.64 of this part;

(vii) Whether the proposed or actual marking of a good satisfies country of origin marking requirements under part 134 of this chapter and under the Marking Rules set forth in part 102 of this chapter;

(viii) Whether an originating good qualifies as a good of Canada or Mexico under Annex 300-B, Annex 302.2 and Chapter Seven of the NAFTA; and

(ix) Whether a good is a qualifying good under Chapter Seven of the NAFTA.