The United States Court of International Trade (Court) has ruled in favor of collecting a civil penalty for an importer’s alleged negligent misclassification of imported goods.

The defendant is alleged to have entered various types of imported plywood into the United States under certain duty-free classifications. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) then charged the defendant for unpaid duties and penalties. Leaving CBP having secured only partial unpaid duties from the defendant’s insurance, the Court has ordered collection of remaining unpaid duties.

Moreover, the Court has charged the importer a $324,540 penalty for negligence based on various grounds. First, although the defendant made the subject entries using an authorized customs broker, the defendant ordered the customs broker to use the inappropriate classification even after CBP required the correction of classification. Secondly, the defendant and the customs broker didn’t exercise any reasonable care for the correction. Finally, the Defendant failed to submit any evidence to support its affirmative defense.

The fact that, in addition to imposing unpaid duties, the court imposed on the importer the penalty for misclassification raises warnings against importers and customs brokers’ with regard to the misclassification of imported goods for economic benefit.