Thursday, July 30, 2009

CBP Space Trivia

Did you ever wonder why General Note 3(e)(iv) exempts articles returned from space? Could it be related to the return of Apollo 11 and the Customs Declaration required of the astronauts upon arrival in Hawaii? On July 24, 1969, customs inspectors at Honolulu, Hawaii filled out a general declaration form for the Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11. Note that the space travelers list a moon rock and moon dust as cargo.

In 1984, §484a was added to the Tariff Act of 1930 to exempt articles returned from space from entry if certain conditions were met. However, this provision appears to only apply to articles that were taken from the customs territory of the U.S. and returned, not articles that were taken from space, such as the moon rocks. If moon rocks and moon dust were imported and subject to entry,where would they be classified? How would they be valued? What is the duty rate for articles from the moon?

Click HERE to view a copy of the declaration completed by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969.

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