730 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2013), 2013-1105, Del Monte Corp. v. United States

Docket Nº:2013-1105
Citation:730 F.3d 1352
Opinion Judge:Taranto, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:DEL MONTE CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellee
Attorney:BRETT IAN HARRIS, Pisani & Roll PLLC, of Washington, DC, argued for plaintiff-appellant. With him on the brief were ROBERT J. PISANI; and MICHAEL E. ROLLS, of Los Angeles, California. ALEXANDER J. VANDERWEIDE, Trial Attorney, Civil Division, International Trade Field Office, United States Departm...
Judge Panel:Before PROST, O'MALLEY, and TARANTO, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 16, 2013
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
 
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Page 1352

730 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2013)

DEL MONTE CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellee

2013-1105

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

September 16, 2013

Appeal from the United States Court of International Trade in No. 07-CV-0109, Senior Judge Thomas J. Aquilino, Jr.

AFFIRMED.

BRETT IAN HARRIS, Pisani & Roll PLLC, of Washington, DC, argued for plaintiff-appellant. With him on the brief were ROBERT J. PISANI; and MICHAEL E. ROLLS, of Los Angeles, California.

ALEXANDER J. VANDERWEIDE, Trial Attorney, Civil Division, International Trade Field Office, United States Department of Justice, of New York, New York, argued for defendant-appellee. With him on the brief were STUART F. DELERY, Acting Assistant Attorney General, JEANNE E. DAVIDSON, Director, of Washington, DC; and BARBARA S. WILLIAMS, Attorney in Charge, of New York, New York. Of counsel on the brief was YELENA SLEPAK, Office of the Chief Counsel, United States Customs and Border Protection, of New York, New York.

Before PROST, O'MALLEY, and TARANTO, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1353

Taranto, Circuit Judge.

Del Monte Corporation imports tuna products consisting of cooked tuna, together with sauce, in a package. U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified two of those products under subheading 1604.14.10 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, which covers tuna packed " in oil," because their sauces include some oil. In addition, Customs appraised the goods based on the price that Del Monte paid its supplier at the time of importation, without adjusting for approximately $1.5 million that Del Monte later received from its supplier after negotiations over the accuracy of the amount originally paid. Del Monte brought suit in the Court of International Trade contesting those two agency determinations. The trade court held that Del Monte's goods were properly classified and valued. We affirm.

Background

The imported merchandise at issue consists of tuna fillets or strips in a sauce, packed in a sealed microwaveable pouch. There are three varieties: Teriyaki, Albacore Lemon & Cracked Pepper, and Yellowfin Lightly Seasoned. In all three, the tuna is not cooked or prepared in oil and is processed separately from the sauce, which is added after the tuna is placed into the pouch. The tuna accounts for 80 percent of the total product weight, and the sauce accounts for the remaining 20 percent. In the Lemon Pepper and Lightly Seasoned products, the sauce contains some sunflower oil (2.48 percent and 0.62 percent of the total weight of the pouch's contents, or 12.4 percent and 3.1 percent of the sauce weight, respectively).

In late 2004, Del Monte requested a ruling on the proper classification of its goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Customs issued a letter in March 2005 finding that those Del Monte products with oil in their sauces should be classified as " in oil" under subheading 1604.14.10. Del Monte requested reconsideration--arguing that the goods should

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instead be classified as " not in oil" --but the agency again found that subheading 1604.14.10 was the correct classification.

Apart from deciding how to classify Del Monte's goods, Customs also had to determine how to value them. Chotiwat Manufacturing Co., Ltd., packs the products in Thailand and supplies them to Del...

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