Benefits of a Binding Ruling

What is a Binding Ruling?

A binding ruling is an often underutilized tool that enables importers and other interested parties to get merchandise classification decisions from CBP that are binding on all future shipments of the product. An importer can also apply for binding rulings on other CBP issues such as marking, origin, USMCA and applicability of Trade Programs.

These rulings are binding in every Customs port of entry in the United States.

Requesting a binding ruling essentially means asking Customs to say whether they agree with the classification the importer has chosen. If Customs accepts the classification, and provides a ruling for the product, every port of entry is required to honor that classification. 

Benefits of a Binding Ruling

Binding rulings…

  • can be a means of exercising reasonable care
  • provide uniformity across all ports of entry
  • protect the importer from variations in interpretation from current and future CBP personnel

Reasonable Care in Merchandise Classification

The classification, or the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code, is used by CBP to assess Customs duties, enforce domestic regulations, perform risk assessment and collect trade statistics. Importers use the code to determine the duties due on imported products. Importers may select an HTS code for their products on their own by using the research tools available to them on CBP’s website.

However, if there is a question as to the accuracy of the HTS number during an audit, Customs will look to see if the importer exercised reasonable care to arrive at the correct code. Though not strictly defined, using the services of a Customs broker or obtaining a binding ruling generally count as demonstrating Reasonable Care.

Apply for a Binding Ruling

Applying for a binding ruling is one of many services we offer to our clients, as a full-service Customs broker and freight forwarder.

The process may require and investment in time and effort on your part, but the extra effort can provide confidence and uniformity to your risk management program.

To request a ruling, we will ask for documentation describing the product in detail and, if applicable, a sample.

Please contact us if you want to request a binding ruling, or to find out if it is right for your product. We’re here to help! We strive to be more than just a service vendor. Our goal is to be a partner in your success.

Our blog posts are for informational purposes only. While we use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate information, C J is not liable or responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained herein.


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