COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TEXTILE AGREEMENTS

Consolidation and Amendment of Export Visa Requirements to Include the Electronic Visa Information System for Certain Silk Apparel, Cotton, Wool, Man-Made Fiber, Silk Blend and Other Vegetable Fiber Textiles and Textile Products Produced or Manufactured in the People's Republic of China

March 27, 1997.

AGENCY: Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).


ACTION: Issuing a directive to the Commissioner of Customs consolidating and amending visa requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: April 1, 1997.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Aldrich, International Trade Specialist, Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-4212.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:


Authority:
Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended; section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854).



In a Memorandum of Understanding dated February 1, 1997, the Governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China agreed to amend the existing visa arrangements for silk apparel and textile products, produced or manufactured in China and exported on and after April 1, 1997. The amended arrangement consolidates existing provisions and new provisions for the Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS). In addition to the ELVIS requirements, shipments will continue to be accompanied by an original visa stamped on the front of the original commercial invoice issued by the Government of the People's Republic of China.

In the letter published below, the Chairman of CITA directs the Commissioner of Customs to amend the existing visa requirements for silk apparel and textile products, produced or manufactured in China and exported on and after April 1, 1997.

A description of the textile and apparel categories in terms of HTS numbers is available in the CORRELATION: Textile and Apparel Categories with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (see Federal Register notice 62 FR 66263, published on December 17, 1996). Also see 59 FR 35324, published on July 11, 1994; and 60 FR 22567, published on May 8, 1995.Interested persons are advised to take all necessary steps to ensure that textile products that are entered into the United States for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, will meet the visa requirements set forth in the letter published below to the Commissioner of Customs.

Troy H. Cribb,
Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.



Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements
March 27, 1997.


Commissioner of Customs,
Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC 20229.


Dear Commissioner: This directive amends, but does not cancel, the directives issued to you on July 5, 1994, as amended, and May 3, 1995, as amended, by the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, that directed you to prohibit entry of certain silk apparel, cotton, wool, man-made fiber, silk blend and other vegetable fiber textiles and textile products, produced or manufactured in China for which the Government of the People's Republic of China has not issued an appropriate export visa.

Under the terms of section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854); pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding dated February 1, 1997, between the Governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China; and in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended, you are directed to prohibit, effective on April 1, 1997, entry into the Customs territory of the United States (i.e., the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) for consumption and withdrawal from warehouse for consumption of cotton, wool, man-made fiber, silk blend and other vegetable fiber textiles and textile products in Categories 200-239, 300-369, 400-469, 600-670 and 800-899, including part categories and merged categories; and silk apparel in Categories 733-736, 738-748, 750-752 and 758-759, produced or manufactured in China and exported on and after April 1, 1997 for which the Government of the People's Republic of China has not issued an appropriate export visa or Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) transmission fully described below. Should additional categories, part categories or merged categories be added to the bilateral agreement or become subject to import quota the entire category(s), part category(s) or merged category(s) shall be included in the coverage of this arrangement.

A visa must accompany each commercial shipment of the aforementioned textile products. A circular stamped marking in blue ink will appear on the front of the original textile export license/commercial invoice or successor document. The license will be printed on a colored guilloche patterned background. The original visa shall not be stamped on duplicate copies of the invoice. The original invoice with the original visa stamp will be required to enter the shipment into the United States. Duplicates of the invoice and/or visa may not be used for this purpose.

Each visa stamp shall include the following information:

1.The visa number. The visa number shall be in the standard nine digit letter format, beginning with one numeric digit for the last digit of the year of export, followed by the two character alpha country code specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (the code for the People's Republic of China is ``CN''), and a six digit numerical serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 7CN123456.

2.The date of issuance. The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was issued.

3.The original signature of the issuing official of the Government of the People's Republic of China.

4.The correct category(s), merged category(s), part category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment as set forth in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS or successor documents) shall be reported in the spaces provided within the visa stamp (e.g., ``Cat. 340-510 DOZ'').

Quantities must be stated in whole numbers. Decimals or fractions will not be accepted. Merged category quota merchandise may be accompanied by either the appropriate merged category visa or the correct category visa corresponding to the actual shipment (e.g., Categories 347/348 may be visaed as 347/348 or if the shipment consists solely of Category 347 merchandise, the shipment may be visaed as ``Category 347,'' but not as ``Category 348'').

U.S. Customs shall not permit entry if the shipment does not have a visa, or if the visa number, date of issuance, signature, category, quantity or units of quantity are missing, incorrect or illegible, or have been crossed out or altered in any way. If the quantity indicated on the visa is less than that of the shipment, entry shall not be permitted. If the quantity indicated on the visa is more than that of the shipment, entry shall be permitted and only the amount entered shall be charged to any applicable quota.

If the visa is not acceptable then a new visa must be obtained from the Government of the People's Republic of China, replacement visa issued by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Washington, DC, or a visa waiver may be issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce at the request of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Washington, DC, and presented to the U.S. Customs Service before any portion of the shipment will be released. The waiver, if used, only waives the requirement to present a visa with the shipment. It does not waive the quota requirement. Visa waivers will only be issued for legitimate classification disputes between the Governments of the People's Republic of China and the United States of America or for one-time special purpose shipments that are not part of an ongoing commercial enterprise.

Replacement visas shall consist of a textile export visa/invoice form bearing an official Chinese Embassy embossed stamp on the front and include the standard information required on an export visa and the signature of an official authorized by the Government of the People's Republic of China to issue replacement visas. The signature must match one of two original signatures of authorized officials provided to the United States Government by the Government of the People's Republic of China. The U.S. Customs Service will not permit entry of the shipment if any of the information required on the replacement visa is missing, incorrect or illegible, or has been crossed out or altered in any way.

If the visaed invoice is deficient, the U.S. Customs Service will not return the original document after entry, but will provide the importer a certified copy of that visaed invoice or visa waiver. For particular cases, upon written request by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the U.S. Customs Service will provide the original visa for China.

If a shipment from the People's Republic of China has been allowed entry into the commerce of the United States with incorrect documentation, and redelivery is requested but cannot be made, the shipment will be charged to the correct category limit whether or not a replacement visa or waiver is provided.

ELVIS Requirements:

A.Each ELVIS message will include the following information:
I.The visa number. The visa number shall be in the standard nine digit letter format, beginning with one numeric digit for the last digit of the year of export, followed by the two character alpha country code specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (the code for China is ``CN''), and a six digit numerical serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 7CN123456.

II.The date of issuance. The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was issued.

III.The correct category(s), merged category(s), part category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment as set forth in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS or successor documents).

IV.The quantity of the shipment in the correct units of quantity.

V.The manufacturer ID number (MID). The MID shall begin with ``CN,'' followed by the first three characters from each of the first two words of the name of the manufacturer, followed by the largest number on the address line up to the first four digits, followed by three letters from the city name.

B.Entry of a shipment shall not be permitted:

I.if an ELVIS transmission has not been received for the shipment from China;

II.if the ELVIS transmission for that shipment is missing any of the following:

a.visa number
b.category, part category or merged category
c.quantity
d.unit of measure
e.date of issuance
f.manufacturer ID number

III.if the ELVIS transmission for the shipment does not match the information supplied by the importer with regard to any of the following:

a.visa number
b.category or part category or merged category
c.unit of measure
d.quantity

IV.if the quantity being entered is greater than the quantity transmitted.

V.if the visa number has previously been used, except in the case of a split shipment, or cancelled, except when an entry has been made using the visa number.

C.A new, correct ELVIS transmission from China is required before a shipment that has been denied entry for one of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 3.B.I-V will be released.

D.A new, correct ELVIS transmission from China is required for entries made using a visa waiver under the procedures as previously described. Visa waivers will only be considered for paragraph 3.B.I., if the shipment qualifies as a one-time special purpose shipment that is not part of an ongoing commercial enterprise, or legitimate classification disputes.

E.Shipments will not be released for forty-eight hours in the event of a system failure. If system failure exceeds forty-eight hours, for the remaining period of the system failure the U.S. Customs Service will release shipments on the basis of the papervisaed document.

The People's Republic of China will retransmit all visa information not transmitted during the failure once the system becomes operational. If there is a visa or visas that are not on file in the system or do not match information on the file after re-transmission, the U.S. will give prompt notice of detailed information to China for verification, a demand for redelivery should be made.

ELVIS transmission will be stopped on Saturdays, Sundays and Chinese holidays, which should not be considered as system failures.

F.The U.S. Customs Service will confirm daily the receipt of the visa transmission by China and provide China (the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation) with a daily electronic message report on visa utilization which is accessible at any time for any quantities. This electronic message for each specific visa will contain:

a.visa number
b.category number
c.unit of measurement
d.quantity charged to quota
e.entry number

G.If a shipment from China is allowed entry into the commerce of the United States with an incorrect visa, no visa, an incorrect ELVIS transmission, or no ELVIS transmission, and redelivery is requested but cannot be made, and after the Government of the People's Republic of China does not issue a visa or ELVIS transmission, or request a visa waiver (if applicable), the shipment will be charged to the correct category limit whether or not a replacement visa, visa waiver or new ELVIS message is transmitted. Should either party disagree on such quota charge, both parties agree to hold technical consultation for verification on categories and quantities charged upon request of the party.

4.Other Requirements:
A.The complete name and address of a company actually involved in the manufacturing process of the textile product covered by the visa shall be provided on the textile visa document.

B.Merchandise imported for the personal use of the importer and not for resale, regardless of value; properly marked commercial sample shipments valued at U.S. $250 or less; and mutually agreed exempt items certified as exempt by the Government of the People's Republic of China do not require a visa or an ELVIS transmission for entry.

The visa stamp remains unchanged.

The actions taken concerning the Government of the People'sRepublic of China with respect to imports of silk apparel, textiles and textile products in the foregoing categories have been determined by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements to involve foreign affairs functions of the United States. Therefore, these directions to the Commissioner of Customs, which are necessary for the implementation of such actions, fall within the foreign affairs exception to the rulemaking provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). This letter will be published in the Federal Register.

Sincerely,

Troy H. Cribb,
Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

[FR Doc. 97-0000 Filed 0-00-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-DR-F