On April 19, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order based on National Emergency authority declared March 13 to give the Treasury Secretary the ability to defer payments of certain import duties, taxes and fees for 90 days. This was followed by a Temporary Final Rule published April 20 by the DHS Customs and Border Patrol that states the 90-day deferral doesn’t apply to Sec. 301 tariffs imposed on China and the European Union, Sec. 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, Sec. 201 washer and solar duties, and anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs.
As such, the 90-day deferral of payments will be available to importers for products not excluded that were imported between March 1 and April 30, 2020. Also, because the Covid-19 pandemic is the basis for allowing the deferral, importers must show significant financial hardship in order to use it. Per U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) #42423171:
“An importer will be considered to have a significant financial hardship if the operation of such importer is fully or partially suspended during March 2020 or April 2020 due to orders from a competent governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, and as a result of such suspension, the gross receipts of such importer for March 13-31, 2020 or April 2020 are less than 60 percent of the gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019.”
IHA members should consult with their customs broker or attorney to see if they can utilize this limited relief. Resource documents are CBP’s CSMS #42423171 for information on postponement of payments and CSMS #42421561 for payment instructions.