American Vessel Repair Statute Interpreted

Thursday, October 17, 2002
In a designated test case, the U.S. Court of International Trade ruled that any ad valorem duty imposed on a U.S. vessel repaired in a foreign shipyard is not to include a pro-rata portion of the drydock expenses where the repairs were performed during a dry-docking required to comply with mandatory U.S. Coast Guard and classification society requirements and the period of the dry-docking did not exceed the time necessary to perform the required work. In the instant case, the vessel was dry-docked in Hong Kong to undergo mandatory inspections and modifications required by the Coast Guard and the classification society. While in the shipyard, the vessel also had repairs performed that were subject to the ad valorem duty. It was uncontested, though, that the vessel's time in the foreign shipyard did not exceed the time necessary to perform the required, non-dutiable work. The court held that, since the full expenses of the dry-docking would have been incurred even if only the non-dutiable work had been performed, none of those dry-docking expenses are dutiable. SL Service, Inc. v. United States. Source: HK Law

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