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Tariff Administration in the United States

entry, duties, port, customs, ports and nature

TARIFF ADMINISTRATION IN THE UNITED STATES. The administration of the tariff laws, which comes within the prov ince of the Treasury Department, is directly under the care of the Secretary of the Treasury and one of his assistant secretaries. The ma chinery furnished by the department and the government for its execution is comprehen sive, complicated and far-reaching. All articles imported must follow a certain prescribed and unchangeable routine which begins with the re quirement of a certificate of value made before a United States consular office abroad, for every shipment of foreign merchandise des tined for entry into the United States. The exact methods of entry of goods, the valua tion of the same, their classification and the rate of duties to be paid, in each case, are minutely and exhaustively prescribed; and pro vision is made for appeal against the tation of the Tariff Law, the classification of articles, the tariff charges or duties and, in fact, any other injustice or irregularity that may arise in connection with the administration of the tariff. This system of appeal is very elabo rate and is at the service of the importers and the govenunent allice. Naturally the tanff administration takes charge of the collection duties. This it does directly notwithstanding the fact that the extent and importance of the import duties would seem not only to justify but to demand, as in the case of the internal revenue, a separate customs bureau. The .di vision of the country into customs distncts facilitates the collection of customs through the various ports of entry. These ports of entry are themselves subject to strict routine regu lations and are provided each with an adminis trative staff adequate to its needs. This staff, in the larger and more important ports of entry, includas a collector, appraiser, sur veyor, gaugers, inspectors, a naval officer and officials in accordance with the importance of the port. By law no goods destined for im

port into the country may be presented at any other place than one of these ports of entry, where the government has provided for the storage and warehousing of goods for the moment or for longer periods of time in case the importer should not wish to make use of the goods imported. The latter may defer the payment of duties, if he so desire, until it is convenient for him to take the goods out of the warehouse. The unloading of all goods destined for importation must be done under the supervision of the customs officials and accomplished within a certain specified time. This is facilitated by the requirement which exacts from every vessel arnving at a port of entry, from a foreign country, a manifest of the nature of the cargo, the names of the con signees, ports of shipment and other informa tion of a like nature, which must be submitted to the revenue officers before reaching the dock, if so desired, and delivered to the collec tor, upon reaching port,. in order to secure his permit to talce possession of the cargo, upon the presentation, by the consignee, of a complete and detailed statement of the valite and nature of the goods. This statement or invoice forms the basis on which the duty is fixed by the appraisers and the port collec tor. In case the consignee is dissatisfied with the appraisement, a new one tnay be ordered, or, in case this is denied at the port, an appeal may be made to the board of general apprais ers for a reconsideration of the valuation. The United States Court of Customs Appeals handles appeals as to classification and other similar matters. This permits the remedy of errors, and injustices of all kinds in the ad ministration of the tariff laws and regula Uons; and this makes the United States tariff administration very efficient and just to all. The collector receives the duties and pays them over to the Treasury Department. (See