Expired NAFTA Certificate of Origin?

by Catherine J. Petersen         December 2016

Expired NAFTA Certificate of Origin?

I was recently asked whether the NAFTA Certificate of Origin, Form 434 (CoO) that has an expiration date of October 31, 2016 was updated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

My initial response was: no change. However, I did a search to ensure I hadn’t missed an update notice from CBP regarding the CoO, which is posted at

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The Explanatory Notes ~ A Good Read!

by Catherine J. Petersen           2/14/2016

The short cold days of winter are when I pick up the Explanatory Notes (EN), get a cup of hot cocoa, snuggle in my favorite chair, and reread certain sections. Today, I am focused on the notes associated with "Parts."

Why review "Parts?" If you are responsible for classifying the items known as parts in your item master, you know that classifying those items can take more time than classifying a finished product. The EN advises that parts are suitable for use solely or principally with particular machines or apparatus. That was the argument that the Container Store put forth to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and subsequently the Court of International Trade (CIT). Neither CBP nor CIT agreed with the Container Store, see as well as the analysis information provided by DrinkerBiddle at

 In this case, the CIT was to determine whether the classification of Container Store's elfa® top tracks and hanging standards properly fall within the scope of HTSUS headings 9403 or 8302.

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F.O.B. vs. FOB

by Catherine J. Petersen           2/7/2017

Each time I make a presentation on Incoterms® rules, there is a question about Free on Board (FOB) and how it is interpreted in international trade. Often, there is confusion because the term FOB is used in both Incoterms® 2010 (published by the International Chamber of Commerce or ICC), and in U.S. domestic trade. The fact is, this single term has significantly different meaning depending on its application to international or domestic trade.

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SOLAS – Container Weight Verification

by Catherine J. Petersen           1/12/2016

SOLAS – Container Weight Verification

There have been several articles during the past 12 months about the Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS rules that will be effective July 1, 2016. The question has been asked, but not answered: how will the rules be implemented?


Let's start with the rules; the World Shipping Council (WSC) approved changes to the SOLAS convention regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers. The WSC Implementing Guidelines are posted at

Method No.1: Upon the conclusion of packing and sealing a container, the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weighs, the packed container.

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An Export Management Compliance Policy (EMCP)

by Catherine J. Petersen           9/15/2015

At one of the first U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) seminars I attended, someone said that "exporting is a privilege, not a right." At the same seminar, all of the attendees were encouraged to prepare an Export Management Compliance Policy (EMCP). An EMCP was promoted as a tool and policy to assist a firm in developing and implementing procedures to stay in compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

If I were to now ask those who attended; "Did you proceed with preparing an EMCP?" their answer is likely to be: "No not yet. An EMCP is a priority for our firm, but we are too busy to tackle that project. We are in the midst of ____." You and I can fill in the blank with any number of answers.

An EMCP benefits an exporter by identifying where and when they have exposure to risk and liability. An EMCP does not need to be a hefty document; it needs to be a document that reflects the scale and scope of your export program. It can be succinct, and it can borrow from and reference other compliance activities being completed within your organization.

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