United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Feb 29, 2024
Imported merchandise that is required by law or regulation to be inspected, examined, or appraised shall not be delivered from customs custody (except under such bond or other security as may be prescribed by the Secretary to assure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and instructions which the Secretary or the Customs Service is authorized to enforce) until the merchandise has been inspected, appraised, or examined and is reported by the Customs Service to have been truly and correctly invoiced and found to comply with the requirements of the laws of the United States.
If a deficiency is found in quantity, weight, or measure in the examination of any package, the person finding the deficiency shall make a report thereof to the Customs Service. The Customs Service shall make allowance for the deficiency in the liquidation of duties.
If an examination is conducted, any information required for release shall be provided, either electronically or in paper form, to the Customs Service at the port of examination. The absence of such information does not limit the authority of the Customs Service to conduct an examination.
A laboratory applying for accreditation, or that is accredited, under this section may contest any decision or order of the Customs Service denying, suspending, or revoking accreditation, or imposing a monetary penalty, by commencing an action in accordance with chapter 169 of title 28 in the Court of International Trade within 60 days after issuance of the decision or order.
When requested by an importer of record of merchandise, the Customs Service shall authorize the release to the importer of a representative sample of the merchandise for testing, at the expense of the importer, by a laboratory accredited under paragraph (1). The testing results from a laboratory accredited under paragraph (1) that are submitted by an importer of record with respect to merchandise in an entry shall, in the absence of testing results obtained from a Customs Service laboratory, be accepted by the Customs Service if the importer of record certifies that the sample tested was taken from the merchandise in the entry. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit in any way or preclude the authority of the Customs Service to test or analyze any sample or merchandise independently.
Within the 5-day period (excluding weekends and holidays) following the date on which merchandise is presented for customs examination, the Customs Service shall decide whether to release or detain the merchandise. Merchandise which is not released within such 5-day period shall be considered to be detained merchandise.
Upon request by the importer or other party having an interest in detained merchandise, the Customs Service shall provide the party with copies of the results of any testing conducted by the Customs Service on the merchandise and a description of the testing procedures and methodologies (unless such procedures or methodologies are proprietary to the holder of a copyright or patent or were developed by the Customs Service for enforcement purposes). The results and test description shall be in sufficient detail to permit the duplication and analysis of the testing and the results.
If otherwise provided by law, detained merchandise may be seized and forfeited.