The Court of Appeals for the Federal circuit in Washington, DC, has upheld the U.S. Customs Service ruling against the Heartland By-Products Corporation that blends of sugar and molasses imported through Canada are subject to the quota limitations on sugar imported into the United States. The ruling cuts off a major avenue for circumventing sugar import rules.
The ruling marks the end of a long battle fought by the U.S. sugar industry. In 1999, the U.S. Customs Service determined that stuffed molasses is really just sugar and subject to the quota on sugar imported into the U.S. But the Court of International Trade overturned the Customs Service ruling forcing the U.S. government to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals.
Circumvention of sugar quotas is the target of a new bill introduced by Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and Larry Craig (R-ID). It will strengthen the authority of the Customs Service to act quickly in circumvention cases.