by | Dec 17, 2010 | Imports, Trade Policy

Customs problems could prevent traditional, down-the-chimney deliveries

by Peter Quinter, guest columnist

Well, I just wanted to let you all know that Santa may not be coming this year to deliver all those wonderful holiday gifts.

Because of incorrect Incoterms and incomplete documentation, the gifts for all the world will have to be returned to the North Pole (at Santa’s own expense).

Santa decided to ship everything DDP and even though he hired an international freight forwarder to handle all of the logistics to transport the gifts, the forwarder was unable to determine who the correct customs broker was for each individual importer. There was also a question about whether the Power of Attorney required by U.S. Customs was correctly completed.

Determining the importer of record turned out to be a nightmare since EVERYONE in the world wants a visit from Santa but no one was willing to be the importer of record.

New laws and regulations regarding entry of exotic animals also had the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forcing Rudolph and his crew back out before they could even land.

All the electronics needed prior FCC approval, and since the North Pole is nearest to Canada, Santa was trying to claim NAFTA. Obviously, U.S. Customs refused to clear any of it without detailed product literature regarding the country of origin.

Santa got tons of U.S. Census Bureau warnings because the dimensions and weight of the gifts were too unreal to calculate, and because Santa could not prove where the materials to make the toys came from (the North Pole is not on the approved country of origin list).

Santa incessantly tried to prove that he makes all of his own gifts, but since there are not defined tariff classifications in the HTSUS on “Santa-made” materials, U.S. Customs rejected Santa’s entry.

My Customs and International Trade Department lawyers will have to help the little kids fill out their own Post Entry forms for misclassification.

Other problems encountered:

1) Since Santa’s Sleigh has no SCAC Code or International Carrier Bond, it cannot be certified for AMS.

2) U.S. Customs would not allow entry because Santa’s passport expired on December 24, 1603.

3) The FAA would not approve the sleigh for U.S. Airspace as Rudolph’s nose does not meet aircraft lighting requirements.

4) The sleigh does not meet EPA standards due to excessive emissions of reindeer gases and droppings in violation of the Clean Air Act.

5) The TSA says that Santa is an unknown shipper and would require a site verification.

6) U.S. Food and Drug Administration says no Prior Notice was done on some of the gifts that were fresh or frozen food, so they put gifts on an FDA hold.

7) Santa did not have a “walk through” letter to give U.S. Customs so there would be no immediate release of the gifts.

Anyway, plan to provide your holiday cheer another way since Jolly Old Saint Nick may not be sliding down your chimney this year.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Copyright © 2010, Becker & Poliakoff

About Peter Quinter

10 May 2012: Peter Quinter is now a Shareholder in the law firm of GrayRobinson and Chair of the firm’s Customs & International Trade Law Group. Based in the firm’s Miami and Ft. Lauderdale offices, Quinter principally represents persons and companies involved in international trade and transport. Editor of the GrayRobinson Customs and International Law Blog, Quinter is widely recognized for his expertise in international and trade law.

You can contact Peter Quinter at [email protected] or at (954) 270-1864.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views or Descartes Datamyne. In addition, this article is for general information purposes only and it’s not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and my not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely on this article without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

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