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 Thailand

November 6, 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: January 1, 1998.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ross Arnold, 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); Uruguay Round Agreements Act.



In exchange of notes, the Governments of the United States and Thailand agreed to amend the existing visa arrangement for textile products, produced or manufactured in Thailand and exported on and after January 1, 1998. The amended arrangement consolidates existing and new provisions of the export visa arrangement, including 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 Thailand. Goods which currently require an exempt certificate shall not require an ELVIS transmission, but will continue to require the exempt certificate.

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 Thailand and exported on and after January 1, 1998.


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 61 FR 66263, published on December 17, 1996). Also see 42 Fr 5994, published on February 1, 1977; and 57 FR 2713, published on January 23, 1992.

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to take all necessary steps to ensure that textile products that are entered into the United States for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, will meet the visa requirements set forth in the letter published below to the Commissioner of Customs.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
November 6, 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 January 16, 1992, by the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, that directed you to prohibit entry of certain cotton, wool, man-made fiber, silk blend and other vegetable fiber textiles and textile products, produced or manufactured in Thailand for which the Government of Thailand has not issued an appropriate export visa or exempt certification.

Under the terms of section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854); and pursuant to the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the Uruguay Round Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) and the Export Visa Arrangement, effected by exchange of notes between the Governments of the United States and Thailand; and in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended, you are directed to prohibit, effective on January 1, 1998, 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 (see Annex A), produced or manufactured in Thailand and exported on and after January 1, 1998 for which the Government of Thailand has not issued an appropriate export visa and Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) transmission or exempt certification fully described below. Should additional categories, part categories or merged categories 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 inblue ink will appear on the front of the original commercial invoice or its successor document. 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 Thailand is ``TH''), and a six digit numeric serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 8TH123456. Typewritten letters and numbers may be used in the visa seal instead of handwritten letters and numbers.


2.The date of issuance. The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was issued, which could be the year after the actual date the merchandise leaves the country of exportation. However, the date of export and the year of the visa must agree. For example, if the date of export is 1997, the visa number must begin with ``7TH,'' even though the date of issuance is 1998.

3.The original signature of the issuing official of the Royal Thai Government.

4.The correct category(s), merged category(s), part category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment in the unit(s) of quantity provided for in the bilateral agreement shall be reported in the spaces provided within the visa stamp (e.g., ``Cat. 434-210 DZ'').

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., quota Category 359-H/659-H may be visaed as 359-H/659-H or if the shipment consists solely of Category 359-H merchandise, the shipment may be visaed as ``Category 359-H,'' but not as ``Category 659-H''). If, however, a merged quota category such as 625/626/627/628/629 has a quota sublimit on Category 625, then there must be a ``Cat. 625'' visa for the shipment if it includes Category 625.



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 Thailand or a visa waiver may be issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce at the request of the Embassy of Thailand 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. 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, but will provide a certified copy of that visaed invoice for use in obtaining a new correct original visaed invoice, or a visa waiver.


If a shipment from Thailand 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 waiver is provided.



ELVIS Requirements:
An ELVIS transmission as well as an export visa is required for each non-exempt entry subject to this directive.

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 Thailand is ``TH''), and a six digit numeric serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 8TH123456.

II.The date of issuance. The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was issued, which could be the year after the actual date the merchandise leaves the country of exportation. However, the date of export and the year of the visa number must agree. For example, if the date of export is 1997, the visa number must begin with ``7TH,'' even though the date of issuance is 1998.

III.The correct category(s), merged category(s), part category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment asset forth in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, annotated 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 ``TH,'' 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. However, due to the absence of an official English language address conversion in Thailand, the Government of Thailand shall provide the most accurate MID number possible to the U.S. Customs Service. The U.S. Government understands and acknowledges that the MID number is highly sensitive and should be kept confidential for official use only. The MID number is not to be released to third parties without prior written consent by the Government of Thailand.

B.Entry of a shipment shall not be permitted:

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

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 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, part category or merged category
c.unit of measure
d.manufacturer ID number

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

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 paragraph B.I-V will be released.

D.Visa waivers will only be considered for circumstances described in paragraph B.I, if the shipment qualifies as a 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.


If a shipment from Thailand has been 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 if the Government of Thailand 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 or visa waiver is provided or a new ELVIS tansmission is transmitted.

Exempt certification requirements:
A.The exempt certification system established in a directive dated January 26, 1977, as amended, which exempts handmade cottage industry products of handloomed fabric, and an agreed list of Thai traditional folklore products, shall be continued unchanged, except for the following:


1.The exemption for all items valued at U.S.$250 or less shall not be continued.

2.Handloomed fabrics produced in Thailand may be certified as exempt.

3.The exemption for handknotted/tufted carpets shall be clarified to be for ``handmade carpets,'' (i.e., carpets in which the pile was inserted/knotted by hand in HTS numbers 5701.10.1600 (Category 465), 5701.10.4000 (Category 465), 5702.42.2020 (Category 665), 5702.49.1020 (Category 369); and 5703.20.1000 (Category 665)).

B.Textiles and textile articles provided for in the exempt certification system ae exempt from the levels of restraint (quotas), and visa and ELVIS requirements if they are properly certified, prior to the shipment leaving Thailand.

Other Provisions:


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 or ELVIS transmission for entry and shall not be charged to agreement levels.

Any shipment which is not accompanied by a valid and correct visa with an ELVIS transmission or exempt certification in accordance with the foregoing provisions shall be denied entry by the Government of the United States unless the Government of Thailand authorizes the entry and any charges to the agreement levels.



The actions taken concerning the Government of Thailand 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
Part Categories (Descriptions below are for general reference only.)
301-PChief weight cotton combed yarn, less than 85 percent cotton: only HTS numbers 5206.21.0000, 5206.22.0000, 5206.23.0000, 5206.24.0000, 5206.25.0000, 5206.41.0000, 5206.42.0000, 5206.43.0000, 5206.44.0000 and 5206.45.0000.
301-OChief weight cotton combed yarn, 85 percent or more cotton: only HTS numbers 5205.21.0020, 5205.21.0090, 5205.22.0020, 5205.22.0090, 5205.23.0020, 5205.23.0090, 5205.24.0020, 5205.24.0090, 5205.26.0020, 5205.26.0090, 5205.27.0020, 5205.27.0090, 5205.28.0020, 5205.28.0090, 5205.41.0020,5205.41.0090, 5205.42.0020, 5205.42.0090, 5205.43.0020, 5205.43.0090, 5205.44.0020, 5205.44.0090, 5205.46.0020, 5205.46.0090, 5205.47.0020, 5205.47.0090, 5205.48.0020 and 5205.48.0090.
359-HCotton headwear: only HTS numbers 6505.90.1540 and 6505.90.2060.
359-OOther cotton apparel, not elsewhere specified: all HTS numbers except those in Category 359-H.
369-DCotton dish towels: only HTS numbers 6302.60.0010, 6302.91.0005 and 6302.91.0045.
369-SCotton shop towels: only HTS number 6307.10.2005.
369-OOther cotton made-ups, not elsewhere specified: all HTS numbers except those in Category 369-D and Category 369-S.
604-APiled acrylic spun yarn: only HTS number 5509.32.0000.
604-OOther staple fiber yarn, 85 percent or more synthetic: all HTS numbers except those in Category 604-A.
659-HMan-made fiber headwear: 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 man-made fiber apparel, not elsewhere specified: all HTS numbers except those in Category 659-H.
669-PMan-made fiber bags: only HTS numbers 6305.32.0010, 6305.32.0020, 6305.33.0010, 6305.33.0020 and 6305.39.0000.
669-OOther man-made fiber manufactures, NSPF: all HTS numbers except those in Category 669-P.
Merged Categories and Subcategories
317/326
331/631
334/634
335/635/835
336/636
338/339
341/641
342/642
347/348/847
351/651
359-H/659-H
613/614/615 (Subcategories 614 and 613/615)
625/626/627/628/629 (Subcategory 625)
638/639
645/646
647/648


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