COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TEXTILE AGREEMENTS

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

August 12, 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: September 1, 1997.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lori Mennitt, International Trade Specialist, Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-3400.


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 exchange of notes dated December 18, 1996, July 9, 1997, and July 23, 1997, the Governments of the United States and the Philippines agreed to amend the existing visa arrangement for cotton, wool, man-made fiber, silk blend and other vegetable fiber textiles and textile products, produced or manufactured in the Philippines and exported on and after September 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 Philippines.

In the letter published below, the Chairman of CITA directs the Commissioner of Customs to amend the existing visa requirements for textile products, produced or manufactured in the Philippines and exported on and after September 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 52 FR 11308, published on April 8,1987.

Interested persons are advised to take all necessary steps to ensure that textile products entered into the United States for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, will meet the visa requirements set forth in the letter published below to the Commissioner of Customs.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
August 12, 1997.


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


Dear Commissioner: This directive amends, but does not cancel, the directive issued to you on April 3, 1987, as amended, by the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, that directed you to prohibit entry of certain cotton, wool, manmade fiber, silk blend and other vegetable fiber textiles and textile products, produced or manufactured in the Philippines for which the Government of the Philippines has not issued an appropriate export visa or exempt certificate.

Under the terms of section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854); pursuant to a the Export Visa Arrangement, effected by exchange of notes dated December 18, 1996, July 9, 1997, and July 23, 1997, between the Governments of the United States and the Philippines; and in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended, you are directed to prohibit, effective on September 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 300-369, 400-469, 600-670 and 831-859, including part categories and merged categories (but not Categories 355, 356, 655, 656, 455, 371 and 671), and which are not eligible for exemptions noted in the Exempt Certification Requirements below (also provided for in Annex A attached), produced or manufactured in the Philippines and exported on and after September 1, 1997 for which the Government of the Philippines has not issued an appropriate export visa and Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) transmission fully described below. Shipments covering merchandise in Categories 800-810 and 863-899 do not require a visa. However, should additional categories, merged categories or part categories be added to or changed in the Bilateral Agreement or become subject to import quotas, the entire category or categories shall be automatically included in the coverage of the Visa Arrangement. Merchandise exported on or after the date the category is added to or changed in the Agreement, or becomes subject to import quotas, shall require a visa and ELVIS transmission.

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 commercial invoice. 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 digits and letters, 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 Philippines is ``PH''), and a six digit numeric serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 7PH123456.

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 Philippines.

4. The correct category(s), part category(s), merged category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment in the unit(s) of quantity provided for in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (HTS), e.g., ``Cat. 340-510 DZ.'' Annex B lists all the part-category and merge category visas required for entry.

Quantities must be stated in whole numbers. Decimals or fractions will not be accepted. Products covered by merged category quotas must be accompanied by either a merged category visa or the correct category visa corresponding to the actual shipment (e.g., quota Category 333/334 may be visaed as ``Category 333/334'' or if the shipment consists solely of Category 333 merchandise, the shipment may be visaed as ``Category 333,'' but not as ``Category 334'').

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 the Philippine Government or a visa waiver issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce at the request of the Philippine Government and presented to the U.S. Customs Service before any portion of the shipment will be released. A visa waiver may be issued by the Department of Commerce at the request of the Embassy in Washington for the Government of the Philippines. The waiver, if used, only waives the requirement to present a visa at entry. It does not waive any quota requirements. Visa waivers will only be issued for classification purposes or for one time special purpose shipments that are not part of an ongoing commercial enterprise.


If the visaed invoice is deficient, the U.S. Customs Service will not return the original document after entry or attempted entry, but will provide the importer a certified copy of that visaed invoice for use in obtaining a new correct original visaed invoice or a visa waiver.

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.

If a shipment from the Philippines has been allowed entry into the commerce of the United States with either an incorrect visa or no visa, 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 visa 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 digits and letters, 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 Philippines is ``PH''), and a six digit numeric serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 7PH123456.

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 of the shipment in unit(s) of quantity provided for in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated, or successor documents.

iv. The manufacturer ID number (MID). The MID shall begin with``PH,'' 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 the Philippines;

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

a. visa number
b. category or part 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, or the Customs broker acting as an agent on behalf of the importer, with regard to any of the following:

a. visa number
b. category or part category
c. unit of measure;


iv. if the quantity being entered is greater than the quantity transmitted; or,

v. if the visa number has previously been used, or canceled, except in the case of a split shipment or if any entry has already been made using the visa number.

C. A new, correct ELVIS transmission from the country of origin is required before a shipment that has been denied entry for one of the circumstances mentioned in B.i-v will be released.

D. A new, correct ELVIS transmission from the country of origin is required for entries made using a visa waiver under the procedure described above. Visa waivers will only be considered for classification purposes or for one time special purpose shipment that is not part of an ongoing commercial enterprise or for 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 paper visaed document.
F. If a shipment from the Philippines 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, the shipment will be charged to the correct category limit whether or not a replacement visa or waiver is provided or a new ELVIS message is transmitted.

G. The U.S. Customs Service will provide Philippine authorities with a report containing information on visa utilization that can be accessed at any time. This report will contain:
a. visa number
b. category number
c. quantity charged to quota
d. unit of measurement
e. entry number
f. entry line number.

Exempt Certification Requirements:

A. Textiles and textile articles provided for below, and in Annex A attached, will be exempt from levels of restraint quotas, and visa and ELVIS requirements if they are certified, prior to the shipment leaving the Philippines, by the placing of the original rectangular-shaped stamped marking in blue ink on the front of the original commercial invoice. The original exempt certification shall not be affixed to duplicate copies of the invoice. The original copy of the invoice with the original exempt certification will be required to enter the shipment into the United States. Duplicate copies of the invoice and/or exempt certification may not be used.

1. Handwoven and Handloomed Fabrics of the Cottage Industry
2. Handmade Articles and Garments of Handwoven and Handloomed Fabric: All items must be cut, sewn, or otherwise fabricated by hand in order to qualify for this exemption. They may not include machine stitching.
3. Traditional Folklore Handicraft Products: Only products which fall within the definition of ``Philippine Items'' in Annex A attached, qualify for this exemption provided that they are cut, sewn, or otherwise fabricated by hand. They may not include machine stitching.

B. requirements for Exempt Certification Stamp: Each exempt certification stamp will include the following information:

I. Date of issuance.
II. Signature of issuing official.
III. The basis for the exemption shall be noted as:

a. Handwoven fabric or handloomed fabric (whichever is appropriate).
b. Handmade textile products.
c. The name of the particular traditional folklore handicraft product (Philippine Items) as listed in Annex A attached, e.g.,``Banaue cloth.''




Shipments not requiring visas or exempt certifications:

Merchandise imported for the personal use of the importer and not for resale, regardless of value, and properly marked commercial sample shipments valued at U.S. $250 or less do not require a visa, ELVIS transmission or exempt certification for entry and shall not be charged to Agreement levels.

Other Provisions:

Except as provided in the paragraph above, any shipment which requires a visa but which is not accompanied by a valid and correct visa and ELVIS transmission in accordance with the foregoing provisions, shall be denied entry by the Government of the United States of America unless the Government of the Philippines authorizes the entry and any charges to the Agreement levels.

An invoice may cover visaed merchandise or exempt certification merchandise, but not both.

The visa and exempt certification stamps remains unchanged.

The actions taken concerning the Government of the Philippines with respect to imports of 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.

Annex A



Philippine Items
Philippine Traditional Folklore Handicraft Textile Products
Philippine items are traditional Philippine products, cut, sewn or otherwise fabricated by hand in cottage units of the cottage industry. The following is the agreed upon list of such items:
A. Batik and hablon fabrics_hand woven fabrics of the cottage industry.
B. Banaue cloth_cotton handloom fabric in multi-colors.
C. Other hand woven and handloom fabrics of the cottage industry.
D. Articles and garments made by hand from hand woven and hand loomed fabrics.





Annex B
Merged Categories
331/631
333/334
338/339
340/640
341/641
342/642
347/348
351/651
352/652
359-C/659-C
359-O/659-O
445/446
638/639
645/646
647/648















Part Categories
359-CCotton overalls and coveralls: only HTS numbers 6103.42.2025, 6103.49.8034, 6104.62.1020, 6104.69.8010, 6114.20.0048, 6114.20.0052, 6203.42.2010, 6203.42.2090, 6204.62.2010, 6211.32.0010, 6211.32.0025 and 6211.42.0010.
359-OOther: all HTS numbers except those in Category 359-C.
369-SSwimwear: only HTS number 6307.10.2005.
369-OOther: all HTS numbers except those in Category 369-S.
659-CMan-made fiber overalls and coveralls: only HTS numbers 6103.23.0055, 6103.43.2020, 6103.43.2025, 6103.49.2000, 6103.49.8038, 6104.63.1020, 6104.63.1030, 6104.69.1000, 6104.69.8014, 6114.30.3044, 6114.30.3054, 6203.43.2010, 6203.43.2090, 6203.49.1010, 6203.49.1090, 6204.63.1510, 6204.69.1010, 6210.10.9010, 6211.33.0010, 6211.33.0017 and 6211.43.0010.
659-HHats: only HTS numbers 6502.00.9030, 6504.00.9015, 6504.00.9060, 6505.90.5090, 6505.90.6090, 6505.90.7090 and 6505.90.8090.
659-OOther: all HTS numbers except those in Categories 659-C and 659-H.
669-PPoly bags: only HTS numbers 6305.32.0010, 6305.32.0020, 6305.33.0010, 6305.33.0020 and 6305.39.0000.
669-OOther: all HTS numbers except those in Category 669-P.
670-LLuggage: only HTS numbers 4202.12.8030, 4202.12.8070, 4202.92.3020, 4202.92.3030 and 4202.92.9025.
670-OOther: all HTS numbers except those in Category 670-L.


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