U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 09, 2022

§ 181.91 - Applicability.

This subpart sets forth the rules which govern the issuance and application of advance rulings under Article 509 of the NAFTA and the procedures which apply for purposes of review of advance rulings under Article 510 of the NAFTA. Importers in the United States and exporters and producers located in Canada or Mexico may request and obtain an advance ruling on a NAFTA transaction only in accordance with the provisions of this subpart whenever the requested ruling involves a subject matter specified in § 181.92(b)(6) of this part. Accordingly, the provisions of this subpart shall apply in lieu of the administrative ruling provisions contained in subpart A of part 177 of this chapter except where the request for a ruling involves a subject matter not specified in § 181.92(b)(6).

§ 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.

§ 181.93 - Submission of advance ruling requests.

(a) Form. A request for an advance ruling should be written in the English language and in the form of a letter. For any subject matter specified in § 181.92(b)(6)(i), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), or (ix) of this part, the request may be directed either to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Attention: Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. (Mint Annex), Washington, DC 20229, or to the National Commodity Specialist Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, One Penn Plaza, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10119. For any subject matter specified in § 181.92(b)(6)(ii), (iii), or (iv) of this part, the request must be directed to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Attention: Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. (Mint Annex), Washington, DC 20229.

(b) Content - (1) General. Each request for an advance ruling must identify the specific subject matter under § 181.92(b)(6) of this part to which the request relates, must contain a complete statement of all relevant facts relating to the NAFTA transaction and must state that the information presented is accurate and complete. The following facts must be included: the names, addresses, and other identifying information of all interested parties (if known); the name of the port or place at which any good involved in the transaction will be imported or which will otherwise have jurisdiction with respect to the act or activity described in the transaction; and a description of the transaction itself, appropriate in detail to the subject matter of the requested advance ruling. Where the request for an advance ruling is submitted by or on behalf of the importer of the good involved in the transaction, the request must include the name and address of the exporter and, if known, producer of the good. Where the request for an advance ruling is submitted by or on behalf of the exporter of the good involved in the transaction, the request must include the name and address of the producer and importer of the good, if known. Where the request for an advance ruling is submitted by or on behalf of the producer of the good involved in the transaction, the request must include the name and address of the exporter and importer of the good, if known. In addition, where relevant to the issue that is the subject of the request for an advance ruling, and regardless of the specific nature of the advance ruling requested, the request must include:

(i) A copy of any advance ruling or other ruling with respect to the tariff classification of the good that has been issued by CBP to the person submitting the request; or

(ii) Sufficient information to enable CBP to classify the good where no advance ruling or other ruling with respect to the tariff classification of the good has been issued by CBP to the person submitting the request. Such information includes a full description of the good, including, where relevant, the composition of the good, a description of the process by which the good is manufactured, a description of the packaging in which the good is contained, the anticipated use of the good and its commercial, common or technical designation, and product literature, drawings, photographs or schematics.

(2) Description of transaction - (i) General. The prospective Customs transaction to which the advance ruling request relates must be described in sufficient detail to permit proper application of the relevant NAFTA provisions.

(ii) Tariff change rulings - (A) General. If the transaction involves the importation of a good or material for which a ruling is requested as to whether a change in tariff classification has occurred, the request should set forth: The principal or chief use of the good or material in the United States and the commercial, common, or technical designation of the good or material; if the good or material is composed of two or more substances, the relative quantity (by both weight and by volume) and value of each substance; any applicable special invoicing requirements set forth in part 141 of this chapter (if known); and any other information which may assist in determining the appropriate tariff classification of the good or material. The advance ruling request should also note, whenever germane, the purchase price of the good or material, and its approximate selling price in the United States. Each individual request for an advance ruling must be limited to five merchandise items, all of which must be of the same class or kind. Only NAFTA tariff change rulings will be issued under this subpart. Tariff classification rulings which do not involve the application of the NAFTA shall be issued under part 177 of this chapter.

(B) Issues involving a change in tariff classification of a material. Where the request for the advance ruling involves the application of a rule of origin that requires an assessment of whether materials used in the production of an imported good undergo an applicable change in tariff classification, the request must list each material used in the production of the good and must:

(1) Identify each material which is claimed to be an originating material and provide a complete description of each such material, including the basis for the claim as to originating status;

(2) Identify each material which is a non-originating material, or for which the origin is unknown, and provide a complete description of each such material, including its tariff classification if known; and

(3) Describe all processing operations employed in the production of the good, the location of each operation and the sequence in which the operations occur.

(iii) NAFTA rulings on regional value content. NAFTA advance ruling requests, if involving the issue of whether a good satisfies a regional value content requirement under the transaction value method or under the net cost method, or under both methods, as provided for in General Note 12, HTSUS, and in the appendix to this part, must specify each method under which eligibility is sought. Where the transaction value method is specified, the advance ruling request must include: information sufficient to calculate the transaction value of the good in accordance with schedule II of the appendix to this part with respect to the transaction of the producer of the good, adjusted to an F.O.B. basis; information sufficient to calculate the value of each non-originating material, or material the origin of which is unknown, that is used by the producer in the production of the good in accordance with the provisions of section 7 and, where applicable, section 6(10) of the appendix to this part; a complete description of each material that is claimed to be an originating material and that is used in the production of the good, including the basis for the claim as to originating status; information sufficient to permit an examination of the factors enumerated in schedule III or VIII of the appendix to this part where the advance ruling request involves an issue of whether, with respect to the good or material under the applicable schedule, the transaction value is acceptable; and information sufficient for any other circumstance to make any determination relevant to the application of the regional value content requirement to the good. Where the net cost method is specified, the advance ruling request must include: a list of all product, period and other costs relevant to determining the total cost of the good as defined in the appendix to this part; a list of all excluded costs to be subtracted from the total cost of the good as provided in the appendix to this part; information sufficient to calculate the value of each non-originating material, or material the origin of which is unknown, that is used in the production of the good, in accordance with section 7 of the appendix to this part; the basis for any allocation of costs in accordance with schedule VII of the appendix to this part; the period over which the net cost calculation is to be made; and any other information relevant to determining the appropriate value of any cost under this part. Where the advance ruling request concerns only the calculation of an element of a regional value content formula, and with regard to the information specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of this section, the request need only contain the following: the information in paragraph (b)(1), other than the information specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (b)(1)(ii); the information in paragraph (b)(5); and any information in this paragraph (b)(2)(iii) which is relevant to the issue that is the subject of the request.

(iv) NAFTA rulings on producer materials. W here the advance ruling request involves an issue with respect to an intermediate material under Article 402(10) of the NAFTA (see section 7(4) of the appendix to this part), the request must contain sufficient information to determine the origin and value of the material in accordance with Article 402(11) of the NAFTA (see section 7(6) of the appendix to this part). Where the advance ruling request is submitted by a Canadian or Mexican producer of a material under § 181.92(b)(5)(iii) of this part and concerns only the origin of such material, and with regard to the information specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of this section, the request need only include the following: the information in paragraph (b)(1), including any information specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (b)(1)(ii) which is relevant to the issue that is the subject of the request; any information in paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(B) which is relevant to the issue that is the subject of the request; a sample as provided for in paragraph (b)(3) if relevant to the issue that is the subject of the request; and the information in paragraph (b)(5).

(3) Samples. Each request for an advance ruling should be accompanied by photographs, drawings, or other pictorial representations of the good and, whenever possible, by a sample of the good unless a precise description of the good is not essential to the advance ruling requested. Any good consisting of materials in chemical or physical combination for which a laboratory analysis has been prepared by or for the manufacturer should include a copy of that analysis, flow charts, CAS number, and related information. A sample submitted in connection with a request for an advance ruling becomes a part of the CBP file in the matter and will be retained until the advance ruling is issued or the advance ruling request is otherwise disposed of. A sample should only be submitted with the understanding that all or a part of it may be damaged or consumed in the course of examination, testing, analysis, or other actions undertaken in connection with the advance ruling request.

(4) Related documents. If the question or questions presented in the advance ruling request directly relate to matters set forth in any invoice, contract, agreement, or other document, a copy of the document must be submitted with the request. (Original documents should not be submitted inasmuch as any documents or exhibits furnished with the advance ruling request become a part of the CBP file in the matter and cannot be returned.) The relevant facts reflected in any documents submitted, and an explanation of their bearing on the question or questions presented, must be expressly set forth in the advance ruling request.

(5) Prior or current transactions - (i) General. Each request for an advance ruling must state:

(A) Whether, to the knowledge of the person submitting the request, the same transaction or issue, or one identical to it, has ever been considered, or is currently being considered by any CBP office;

(B) Whether, to the knowledge of the person submitting the request, the issue involved has ever been, or is currently, the subject of:

(1) Review by the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or any court of appeal therefrom, or review by a judicial or quasi-judicial body in Canada or Mexico;

(2) A verification of origin performed in the United States, Canada or Mexico;

(3) An administrative appeal in the United States, Canada or Mexico; or

(4) A request for an advance ruling under this subpart, or a request for an advance ruling in Canada or Mexico under an appropriate authority referred to in § 181.76(e)(1) of this part;

(C) The status or disposition of any matter on which an affirmative statement is made under paragraph (b)(5)(i)(B) of this section; and

(D) Whether the transaction described in the advance ruling request is but one of a series of similar and related transactions.

(ii) Change in status of transaction. If a prospective transaction which is the subject of an advance ruling request becomes a current transaction, the person who submitted the request shall so notify the office processing the request.

(6) Statement of position. If the request for an advance ruling asks that a particular determination or conclusion be reached in the advance ruling letter, a statement must be included in the request setting forth the basis for that determination or conclusion, together with a citation of all relevant supporting authority.

(7) Privileged or confidential information. Information which is claimed to constitute trade secrets or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information regarding the business transactions of private parties the disclosure of which would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person making the request (or of another interested party) must be identified clearly, and the reasons such information should not be disclosed, including, where applicable, the reasons the disclosure of the information would prejudice the competitive position of the person making the request (or of another interested party), must be set forth. An advance ruling will not be issued until all trade secret, privilege or confidentiality issues are resolved (see § 181.99(a)(3) of this part).

(c) Signing; instruction as to reply. The request for an advance ruling must be signed by a person authorized to make the request, as described in § 181.92(b)(5) of this part. An advance ruling requested by a principal or authorized agent may direct that the advance ruling letter be addressed to the other.

(d) Requests for immediate consideration. CBP will normally process requests for advance rulings in the order they are received and as expeditiously as possible, as specified in § 181.99 of this part. However, a request that a particular matter be given consideration ahead of its regular order, if made in writing at the time the request is submitted, or subsequent thereto, and showing a clear need for such treatment, will be given consideration as the particular circumstances warrant and permit. Requests for special consideration made by telegram or electronic transmission will be treated in the same manner as requests made by letter, but advance rulings will not be issued by telegram or electronic transmission. A telegram or electronic transmission must be followed up with a signed original within 14 calendar days of the submission of the telegram or electronic transmission. In no event can any assurance be given that a particular request for an advance ruling will be acted upon by the time requested.

[T.D. 95-68, 60 FR 46364, Sept. 6, 1995, as amended by T.D. 99-64, 64 FR 43267, Aug. 10, 1999; CBP Dec. 07-76, 72 FR 52783, Sept. 17, 2007; CBP Dec. 08-25, 73 FR 40727, July 16, 2008]

§ 181.94 - Nonconforming requests for advance rulings.

A person submitting a request for an advance ruling that does not comply with all of the provisions of this subpart will be so notified in writing, and the requirements that have not been met will be pointed out. Such person will be given a period of 30 calendar days from the date of the notice (or such longer period as the notice may provide) to supply any additional information that is requested or otherwise conform the advance ruling request to the requirements referred to in the notice. The Customs file with respect to advance ruling requests which are not brought into compliance with the provisions of this subpart within the period of time allowed will be administratively closed and the request removed from active consideration. A request for an advance ruling that is removed from active consideration by reason of failure to comply with the provisions of this subpart may be treated as withdrawn. A failure to comply with the provisions of this subpart will result in the rejection of the advance ruling request with the notice specifying the deficiencies.

§ 181.95 - Oral discussion of issues.

(a) General. A person submitting a request for an advance ruling and desiring an opportunity to orally discuss the issue or issues involved should indicate that desire in writing at the time the advance ruling request is filed. Such a discussion will only be scheduled when, in the opinion of the Customs personnel by whom the advance ruling request is under consideration, a conference will be helpful in deciding the issue or issues involved or when a determination or conclusion contrary to that advocated in the advance ruling request is contemplated. Conferences are scheduled for the purpose of affording the parties an opportunity to freely and openly discuss the matters set forth in the advance ruling request. Accordingly, the parties will not be bound by any argument or position advocated or agreed to, expressly or by implication, during the conference unless either party subsequently agrees to be so bound in writing. The conference will not conclude with the issuance of an advance ruling letter.

(b) Time, place and number of conferences. If a request for a conference is granted, the person making the request will be notified of the time and place of the conference. No more than one conference with respect to the matters set forth in an advance ruling request will be scheduled, unless, in the opinion of the Customs personnel by whom the advance ruling request is under consideration, additional conferences are necessary.

(c) Representation. A person whose request for a conference has been granted may be accompanied at that conference by counsel or other representatives, or may designate such persons to attend the conference in his or her place.

(d) Additional information presented at conferences. It will be the responsibility of the person submitting the request for an advance ruling to provide for inclusion in the Customs file in the matter a written record setting forth any and all additional information, documents, and exhibits introduced during the conference to the extent that person considers such material relevant to the consideration of the advance ruling request. Such information, documents and exhibits shall be given consideration only if received by Customs within 30 calendar days following the conference.

§ 181.96 - Change in status of transaction.

Each person submitting a request for an advance ruling in connection with a NAFTA transaction must immediately advise Customs in writing of any change in the status of that transaction upon becoming aware of the change. In particular, Customs must be advised when any transaction described in the advance ruling request as prospective becomes current and under the jurisdiction of a Customs field office. In addition, any person engaged in a NAFTA transaction coming under the jurisdiction of a Customs field office who has previously requested a NAFTA advance ruling with respect to that transaction must advise the field office of that fact.

§ 181.97 - Withdrawal of NAFTA advance ruling requests.

Any request for an advance ruling may be withdrawn by the person submitting it at any time before the issuance of an advance ruling letter or any other final disposition of the request. All correspondence, documents, and exhibits submitted in connection with the request will be retained in the Customs file and will not be returned. In addition, the Headquarters Office may forward, to Customs field offices which have or may have jurisdiction over the transaction to which the advance ruling request relates, its views in regard to the transaction or the issues involved therein, as well as appropriate information derived from materials in the Customs file.

§ 181.98 - Situations in which no NAFTA advance ruling may be issued.

(a) General. No advance ruling letter will be issued in response to a request therefor which fails to comply with the provisions of this subpart. No advance ruling letter will be issued in regard to a completed transaction.

(b) Pending matters. Where a request for an advance ruling involves an issue that is under review in connection with an origin verification under subpart G of this part or that is the subject of an administrative review procedure provided for in subpart J of this part or in part 174 of this chapter, Customs may decline to issue the requested advance ruling. In addition, no NAFTA advance ruling letter will be issued with respect to any issue which is pending before the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or any court of appeal therefrom. Litigation before any other court will not preclude the issuance of an advance ruling letter, provided neither Customs nor any of its officers or agents is named as a party to the action.

§ 181.99 - Issuance of NAFTA advance rulings or other advice.

(a) NAFTA advance ruling letters - (1) General. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, Customs will, within 120 calendar days of receipt of a request, including any required information supplemental thereto, issue an advance ruling letter in the English language setting forth the position of Customs and the reasons therefor with respect to a specifically described Customs transaction whenever a request for such an advance ruling is submitted in accordance with the provisions of this subpart and it is in the sound administration of the NAFTA provisions to do so. Otherwise, a request for an advance ruling will be answered by an information letter or, in those situations in which general information is likely to be of little or no value, by a letter stating that no advance ruling can be issued. In the course of evaluating the advance ruling request Customs may solicit supplemental information from the person requesting the advance ruling. The submission of supplemental information will extend the time for response. The time for response will also be extended if it is necessary to obtain information from other government agencies or in the form of a laboratory analysis.

(2) Submission of NAFTA advance ruling letters to field offices. Any importer engaging in a NAFTA transaction with respect to which an advance ruling letter has been issued under this subpart either must ensure that a copy of the advance ruling letter is attached to the documents filed with the appropriate Customs office in connection with that transaction or must otherwise indicate with the information filed for that transaction that an advance ruling has been received. Any person receiving an advance ruling stating Customs determination must set forth such determination in the documents or information filed in connection with any subsequent entry of that merchandise; failure to do so may result in a rejection of the entry and the imposition of such penalties as may be appropriate. An advance ruling received after the filing of such documents or information must immediately be brought to the attention of the appropriate Customs field office.

(3) Disclosure of NAFTA advance ruling letters. No part of the advance ruling letter, including names, addresses, or information relating to the business transactions of private parties, shall be deemed to constitute privileged or confidential commercial or financial information or trade secrets exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552), and part 103 of this chapter, or shall be deemed to be subject to the confidentiality principle set forth in § 181.121 of this part, unless, as provided in § 181.93(b)(7) of this part, the information claimed to be exempt from disclosure is clearly identified and a valid basis for nondisclosure is set forth. Before the issuance of the advance ruling letter, the person submitting the advance ruling request will be notified of any decision adverse to his request for nondisclosure and will, upon written request to Customs within 10 working days of the date of notification, be permitted to withdraw the advance ruling request. If in the opinion of Customs an impasse exists on the issue of confidentiality and the person who submitted the advance ruling request does not withdraw the request, Customs will decline to issue the advance ruling. All advance ruling letters issued by Customs will be available, upon written request, for inspection and copying by any person (with any portions determined to be exempt from disclosure deleted).

(4) Penalties for misrepresented or omitted material facts or for noncompliance. If Customs determines that an issued advance ruling was based on incorrect information, the person to whom the advance ruling was issued may be subject to appropriate penalties unless that person demonstrates that he used reasonable care and acted in good faith in presenting the facts and circumstances on which the advance ruling was based. In addition, Customs may apply such measures as the circumstances may warrant in a case where a person to whom an advance ruling was issued has failed to act in accordance with the terms and conditions of the advance ruling.

(b) Other NAFTA advice and guidance. The Headquarters Office may on its own initiative from time to time issue other external advice and guidance with respect to issues or transactions arising under the NAFTA which come to its attention. Such NAFTA advice and guidance, which represent the official position of Customs and which are likely to be of widespread interest and application, are published in the Customs Bulletin, as described in § 181.101 of this part. Nothing in this subpart shall preclude Customs from issuing advice and guidance to its field offices concerning the application of the NAFTA.

§ 181.100 - Effect of NAFTA advance ruling letters; modification and revocation.

(a) Effect of NAFTA advance ruling letters - (1) General. An advance ruling letter issued by Customs under the provisions of this subpart represents the official position of Customs with respect to the particular transaction or issue described therein and is binding on all Customs personnel in accordance with the provisions of this subpart until modified or revoked. In the absence of a change of practice or other modification or revocation which affects the principle of the advance ruling set forth in the advance ruling letter, that principle may be cited as authority in the disposition of transactions involving the same circumstances. An advance ruling letter is generally effective on the date it is issued or such later date as may be specified in the advance ruling and, commencing on its effective date, may be applied to entries for consumption and warehouse withdrawals for consumption which are unliquidated, or to other transactions with respect to which Customs has not taken final action on that date. See, however, paragraph (b) of this section (ruling letters which modify previous advance ruling letters) and § 181.101 of this part (advance ruling letters published in the Customs Bulletin).

(2) Application of NAFTA rulings to transactions - (i) General. Each NAFTA ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. The application of an advance ruling letter by a Customs field office to the transaction to which it is purported to relate is subject to the verification of the facts incorporated in the advance ruling letter, a comparison of the transaction described therein to the actual transaction, and the satisfaction of any conditions on which the advance ruling was based, and if the facts are materially different or a condition has not been satisfied, the treatment specified in the advance ruling will not be applied to the actual transaction. If, in the opinion of any Customs field office by whom the transaction is under consideration or review, the advance ruling letter should be modified or revoked, the findings and recommendations of that office will be forwarded to the Headquarters Office for consideration, prior to any final disposition with respect to the transaction by that office. If the transaction described in the NAFTA advance ruling letter and the actual transaction are the same, and any and all conditions set forth in the advance ruling letter have been satisfied, the advance ruling will be applied to the transaction.

(ii) Tariff change rulings. Each advance ruling letter concerning whether a change in tariff classification has occurred will be applied only with respect to transactions involving either articles which are identical to the sample submitted with the advance ruling request and reflect the same processing or articles which conform to the description set forth in the advance ruling letter.

(iii) Regional value content rulings. Each advance ruling letter concerning the application of a regional value content requirement will be applied only with respect to transactions involving the same merchandise and identical facts.

(3) Reliance on NAFTA advance rulings by others. An advance ruling letter is subject to modification or revocation without notice to any person other than the person to whom the letter was addressed. Accordingly, no other person may rely on the advance ruling letter or assume that the principles of that advance ruling will be applied in connection with any transaction other than the one described in the letter. However, any person eligible to request an advance ruling under § 181.92(b)(5) of this part may request information as to whether a previously-issued advance ruling letter has been modified or revoked by writing the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Attention: Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, Washington, DC 20229, and either enclosing a copy of the advance ruling letter or furnishing other information sufficient to permit the advance ruling letter in question to be identified.

(b) Modification or revocation of NAFTA advance ruling letters - (1) General. Any NAFTA advance ruling letter may be modified or revoked by Customs Headquarters in any of the following circumstances or for any of the following purposes, provided that written notice of the modification or revocation is given to the person to whom the advance ruling letter was addressed:

(i) If the ruling letter reflects or is based on an error:

(A) Of fact;

(B) In the tariff classification of a good or material that is the subject of the ruling;

(C) In the application of a regional value-content requirement under General Note 12, HTSUS, and under this part;

(D) In the application of the rules for determining whether a good qualifies as a good of Canada or Mexico under Annex 300-B, Annex 302.2 or Chapter Seven of the NAFTA;

(E) In the application of the rules for determining whether a good is a qualifying good under Chapter Seven of the NAFTA; or

(F) In the application of the rules for determining whether a good qualifies for duty-free treatment under § 181.64 of this part when the good re-enters the United States after having been exported to Canada or Mexico for repair or alteration;

(ii) If the ruling letter is not in accordance with an interpretation agreed on by the United States, Canada and Mexico regarding Chapter Three or Chapter Four of the NAFTA;

(iii) If there is a change in the material facts or circumstances on which the ruling is based;

(iv) To conform to a modification of Chapter Three, Four, Five or Seven of the NAFTA, or of the Marking Rules, or of the regulations set forth in this part; or

(v) To conform to a judicial decision or change in domestic law.

(2) Application of modification or revocation of NAFTA advance ruling letters. The modification or revocation of a NAFTA advance ruling letter will not be applied to entries or warehouse withdrawals for consumption which were made prior to the effective date of such modification or revocation, except where the person to whom the advance ruling was issued has not acted in accordance with its terms and conditions.

(3) Effective dates. Generally, a NAFTA letter modifying or revoking an earlier advance ruling will be effective on the date it is issued. However, Customs may, upon request or on its own initiative, delay the effective date of such a modification or revocation for a period of up to 90 calendar days from the date of issuance. Such a delay may be granted at the request of the party to whom the ruling letter was issued, provided such party can demonstrate to the satisfaction of Customs that it relied on the earlier advance ruling in good faith and to its detriment. The evidence of such reliance must cover the period from the date of the letter modifying or revoking the advance ruling back to the date of that advance ruling and must list all transactions claimed to be covered by the modified or revoked advance ruling by entry number (or other Customs assigned number), the quantity and value of merchandise covered by each such transaction (where applicable), the ports of entry, and the dates of final action by Customs. Such evidence must also include contracts, purchase orders, or other materials tending to establish that future transactions were arranged based on the earlier advance ruling. The request for delay must specifically identify the prior ruling on which reliance is claimed. All persons requesting a delay will be issued a separate letter setting forth the period, if any, of the delay to be provided. In appropriate circumstances, Customs may decide to make its decision, with respect to a delay, applicable to all persons, irrespective of demonstrated reliance; in this event, a notice announcing the delay will be published in the Customs Bulletin and individual ruling letters will not be issued.

§ 181.101 - Publication of decisions.

Within 90 days after issuing any precedential decision relating to any NAFTA transaction, Customs shall publish the decision in the Customs Bulletin or otherwise make it available for public inspection. Disclosure is governed by 31 CFR part 1, part 103 of this chapter, and § 181.99(a)(3) of this part.

§ 181.102 - Administrative and judicial review of advance rulings.

(a) Administrative review - (1) Submission of request for review. Any person who received an advance ruling issued under this subpart, or an authorized agent of such person, may request administrative review, at CBP Headquarters, of that advance ruling, including any modification or revocation thereof, by letter addressed to the Executive Director, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, DC 20229. Such request shall be filed within 30 calendar days after issuance of the advance ruling and shall set forth the following information:

(i) The name and address of the person seeking review and the name and address of his authorized agent if the request is signed by such an agent;

(ii) The Customs identification number or employer identification number in the case of a U.S. importer and authorized agent thereof, the employer number or importer/exporter number assigned by Revenue Canada in the case of a Canadian exporter or producer and authorized agent thereof, and the federal taxpayer registry number (RFC) in the case of a Mexican exporter or producer and authorized agent thereof;

(iii) The number and date of the advance ruling at issue;

(iv) The numbers and dates of any involved entries for consumption or warehouse withdrawals for consumption;

(v) The nature of, and justification for, the objection to the advance ruling set forth distinctly and specifically with respect to each aspect of the advance ruling for which administrative review is sought; and

(vi) Whether an oral discussion of the issues, as provided in § 181.95 of this part, is desired.

(2) Issuance of review decision. Customs will normally issue a written decision within 120 days of receipt of the request for administrative review submitted under this section. However, Customs will, upon a reasonable showing of business necessity, issue a written decision within 60 days of receipt of the request for administrative review. For purposes of this paragraph, the date of receipt of the request for administrative review shall be the date on which all information necessary to process the request, including any information provided after submission of the request in connection with a conference, is filed with Customs.

(b) Judicial review. Any person whose claims with regard to a request for administrative review of an advance ruling have been denied in whole or in part under this section may seek judicial review by filing a civil action in the United States Court of International Trade in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 2632 within 180 days after the date of mailing of notice of the denial.