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Importation of Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards; Registered Importers of Vehicles Not Originally Manufactured To Conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Importation of Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards; Registered Importers of Vehicles Not Originally Manufactured To Conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Christopher A. Hart
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Register
June 20, 1994

[Federal Register: June 20, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 591 and 592

[Docket No. 89-5; Notice 13]
RIN 2127-AD00

 
Importation of Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Safety, 
Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards; Registered Importers of 
Vehicles Not Originally Manufactured To Conform to the Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Interim final rule, request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This interim final rule amends part 591 to adopt a continuous 
entry bond as an alternative to the single entry bond that is required 
to accompany each nonconforming vehicle imported into the United 
States. Under the alternative, a registered importer of motor vehicles 
who imports more than one vehicle can enter vehicles under a continuous 
bond that covers an indefinite number of vehicles at a single time up 
to the value of the bond. The new bond has a ceiling value of 
$1,000,000, and is valid for an indefinite period. Conforming 
amendments are also adopted for part 592. The agency has determined 
that immediate action is in the public interest since it has been 
informed by a Registered Importer that the principal bonding company 
that issues single entry bonds has decided to terminate offering them. 
The agency is also requesting comments whether NHTSA should make 
permanent this alternative.
    The interim final rule also deletes the provisions which expired on 
October 31, 1992 that allowed importation of a vehicle without the 
agency of a registered importer if the importer owned the vehicle 
before October 31, 1988.

DATES: Effective Date: The amendments made by this interim final rule 
are effective on June 20, 1994.
    Comments: Comments must be received on or before August 19, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to Docket No. 89-5; Notice 13, and be 
submitted to: Docket Section, room 5109, 400 Seventh Street, SW, 
Washington, D.C. 20590 [Docket hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Vinson, Office of Chief 
Counsel, NHTSA (202-366-5263).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the regulatory scheme in effect for 
the importation of motor vehicles subject to the Federal motor vehicle 
safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards, a non-conforming 
vehicle may be entered under bond in an amount equal to 150 percent of 
its dutiable value. The purpose of the bond is to assure that the 
vehicle is subsequently brought into conformance, or, alternatively, 
delivered to the U.S. Customs Service for export, or abandoned. The 
bond covers only one motor vehicle.
    A Registered Importer (RI) who is an importer of Canadian vehicles 
for resale asked NHTSA recently for permission to use a continuous 
surety bond that would cover more than one motor vehicle. The example 
given was of a continuous bond of $150,000 which would cover 10 
vehicles imported together, each with a value of $10,000 as determined 
by the U.S. Customs Service, instead of 10 individual bonds for 10 
vehicles of $10,000 value, each bond set at $15,000. NHTSA replied 
(letter of June 4, 1993, to Dan Kokal of Champagne Imports) that it was 
unable to implement this suggestion without rulemaking, but that it 
would consider the feasibility of it.
    After review of this matter, NHTSA tentatively concluded that the 
amendment of its regulations to permit an importer the choice of a 
continuous entry bond could simplify entry procedures for both 
government and the private sector, and would therefore be in the public 
interest. However, before it could initiate rulemaking, it was informed 
on April 28, 1994, by another RI, Lawrence A. Beyer, that ``the only 
bonding company which issues these bonds [has] now advised me that they 
no longer wish to issue these bonds.'' According to Mr. Beyer, the 
effect of this development is that ``[w]ithout these bonds, registered 
importers can no longer import. The jobs and livelihood of many people 
is (sic) at stake.''
    For this reason, NHTSA is amending part 591 to permit a continuous 
entry bond, as an alternative to the single entry bond, which has a 
ceiling of $1,000,000, to minimize the possibility that a registered 
importer might have to obtain more than one continuous entry bond. 
Under the present scheme, Customs ensures that the bond is attached to 
the HS-7 importation form, and forwards the documents to NHTSA. Under 
the alternative, the bond will already be on file at NHTSA. However, 
the importer will be required to attach to the HS-7 importation form a 
photocopy of the continuous entry bond and a copy of the Customs Entry 
Summary (CF 7501) which states the entered value of the vehicle. This 
information is necessary to enforce bond forfeiture should that be 
necessary. The continuous entry bond is simply that shown in Appendix A 
with the reference to ``vehicle'' in the singular changed to the plural 
``vehicles'' when appropriate. Because Customs will ensure that a 
photocopy of the continuous entry bond is attached to the importation 
form, the bond processing fee of $4.75 per importation form will 
continue to apply, but the single fee will cover all vehicles 
represented by the single importation form.
    The notice also adopts certain housekeeping amendments. Under 
section 591.6(g), nonconforming vehicles whose importers met certain 
specified requirements could be imported before October 31, 1992, 
without the offices of a registered importer. As this authority has now 
expired and will not be renewed, the agency has deleted it, as well as 
the bond (Appendix B) which accompanied this type of entry. Conforming 
amendments are made elsewhere in part 591 as well.
    Finally, a conforming amendment is adopted to the ancillary 
importation regulation on registered importers, part 592.

 Effective Date

    The interim final rule is effective upon publication in the Federal 
Register. NHTSA notes that without this amendment to permit a 
continuous entry bond, RIs and their customers will be unable to import 
nonconforming vehicles pursuant to 49 CFR 591.5(f). Therefore, NHTSA 
finds that the issuance of this notice without prior opportunity for 
comment is necessary in view of the difficulties that unexpectedly 
began to occur recently and would continue to occur were part 591 not 
amended. The agency also finds for good cause that it is in the public 
interest to establish an immediate effective date for the amendments 
made by this notice. In the absence of an immediate effective date, RIs 
would be unable to continue importing vehicles from Canada and other 
countries. The amendments impose no new requirements but instead 
provides an alternative to an existing requirement, whose continued 
viability is doubtful.

Rulemaking Analyses

A. Executive Order 12866 (Federal Regulation) and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    This notice was not reviewed under EO 12866. After considering the 
impacts of this rulemaking action, NHTSA has determined that the action 
is not significant within the meaning of the Department of 
Transportation regulatory policies and procedures. It amends an 
existing requirement to afford RIs an alternative method of providing a 
bond for imported nonconforming vehicles. The number of RIs affected is 
less than 20. The cost impacts of this regulatory action are cost 
savings to the RIs in procuring bonds (an estimated $20 per vehicle), 
and nonquantifiable cost savings in the paper work involved to obtain 
single-entry bonds. The impacts are so minimal as not to warrant the 
preparation of a full regulatory evaluation.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The agency has also considered the effects of this action in 
relation to the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I certify that this action 
would not have a significant economic impact upon ``a substantial 
number of small entities,'' but it will have a significant economic 
impact upon RIs, which number less than 20, and which are small 
businesses within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This 
action appears required to allow them to continue in business. 
Governmental jurisdictions will not be affected at all since they are 
generally neither importers nor purchasers of nonconforming imported 
motor vehicles.

C. Executive Order 12612 (Federalism)

    The agency has analyzed this action in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12612 
``Federalism'' and determined that the action does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism 
Assessment.

D. National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this action for purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. The action will not have a significant effect 
upon the environment because it is anticipated that the annual volume 
of motor vehicles imported will not vary significantly from that 
existing before promulgation of the rule.

E. Civil Justice Reform

    This interim final rule will not have any retroactive effect. Under 
section 103(d) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 
U.S.C. 1392(d)), whenever a Federal motor vehicle safety standard is in 
effect, a state may not adopt or maintain a safety standard applicable 
to the same aspect of performance which is not identical to the Federal 
standard. Section 105 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 1394) sets forth a 
procedure for judicial review of final rules establishing, amending or 
revoking Federal motor vehicle safety standards. That section does not 
require submission of a petition for reconsideration or other 
administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court.

 Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on the interim 
final rule. It is requested but not required that 10 copies be 
submitted.
    All comments must not exceed 15 pages in length. (49 CFR 553.21). 
Necessary attachments may be appended to these submissions without 
regard to the 15-page limit. This limitation is intended to encourage 
commenters to detail their primary arguments in a concise fashion.
    If a commenter wishes to submit certain information under a claim 
of confidentiality, three copies of the complete submission, including 
purportedly confidential business information, should be submitted to 
the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the street address given above, and seven 
copies from which the purportedly confidential information has been 
deleted should be submitted to the Docket Section. A request for 
confidentiality should be accompanied by a cover letter setting forth 
the information specified in the agency's confidential business 
information regulation. 49 CFR Part 512.
    All comments received before the close of business on the comment 
closing date indicated above will be considered, and will be available 
for examination in the docket at the above address both before and 
after that date. If no comments are received as of the comment closing 
date, no further notice will be published. If comments have been 
received as of the closing date, comments received after the closing 
date will be considered to the extent practicable. If no comments have 
been received as of the closing date, comments received after the 
closing date will be considered as suggestions for further rulemaking 
action. Comments on the interim final rule will be available for 
inspection in the docket. NHTSA will continue to file relevant 
information as it becomes available in the docket after the closing 
date, and it is recommended that interested persons continue to examine 
the docket for new material.
    Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their 
comments in the rules docket should enclose a self-addressed, stamped 
postcard in the envelope with their comments. Upon receiving the 
comments, the docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Parts 591 and 592

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR parts 591 and 592 are 
amended as follows:

PART 591--IMPORTATION OF VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT SUBJECT TO FEDERAL 
SAFETY, BUMPER, AND THEFT PREVENTION STANDARDS

    1. The authority citation for part 591 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Public Law 100-562, 15 U.S.C. 1401, 1407; delegation 
of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 591.5 is amended by revising paragraph (f)(1) and 
removing and reserving paragraph (g) to read as follows:


Sec. 591.5   Declarations required for importation.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) The importer has furnished a bond in an amount equal to 150% of 
the dutiable value of the vehicle, containing the terms and conditions 
specified in section 591.8; and
* * * * *
    (g) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    3. Section 591.6 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as 
set forth below, by removing paragraph (e), and by redesignating 
paragraphs (f) and (g) as paragraphs (e) and (f), respectively:


Sec.  591.6   Documents accompanying declarations.

* * * * *
    (c) A declaration made pursuant to paragraph 591.5(f), and under a 
single entry bond, shall be accompanied by a bond in the form shown in 
Appendix A, in an amount equal to 150% of the dutiable value of the 
vehicle, or, if under a continuous entry bond, shall be accompanied by 
a photocopy of a bond in the form shown in Appendix A (which may refer 
to ``vehicles'' in the plural where appropriate) and by Customs Form CF 
7501, for the conformance of the vehicle(s) with all applicable Federal 
motor vehicle safety and bumper standards, or, if conformance is not 
achieved, for the delivery of such vehicle to the Secretary of the 
Treasury for export at no cost to the United States, or for its 
abandonment.
* * * * *


Sec. 591.7   [Amended]

    4. Paragraph 591.7(c) is amended by revising the reference to 
``section 591.6(g)(1)'' to read ``paragraph 591.6(f)(1).''
    5. Section 591.8 is amended by amending paragraph (a) to add a 
sentence at the end thereof to read as set forth below, by removing 
paragraph (d)(2)(ii), and by redesignating paragraph (d)(2)(i) as 
paragraph (d)(2):


Sec. 591.8   Conformance bond and conditions.

    (a) * * * However, a registered importer may enter vehicles under a 
bond of a continuing nature that covers an indefinite number of motor 
vehicles 150% of whose total dutiable value at any point in time does 
not exceed $1,000,000.
* * * * *
    6. Section 591.9 is amended by revising the second sentence of 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec. 591.9   Petitions for remission or mitigation of forfeiture.

    (a) * * * A principal and/or surety may petition for mitigation of 
forfeiture only if the motor vehicle has been imported pursuant to 
paragraph 591.5(f) and the condition not met relates to the compliance 
of a passenger motor vehicle with part 581 of this chapter.
* * * * *

Appendix B--[Removed]

    7. Appendix B is removed.

PART 592--REGISTERED IMPORTERS OF VEHICLES NOT ORIGINALLY 
MANUFACTURED TO CONFORM TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY 
STANDARDS

    8. The authority citation for part 592 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Public Law 100-562, 15 U.S.C. 1401, 1407; delegation 
of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    9. Section 592.6 is amended by amending paragraph (a) to add a 
sentence at the end thereof to read as follows:


Sec. 592.6  Duties of a registered importer.

* * * * *
    (a) * * * However, if the Registered Importer has procured a 
continuous entry bond, it shall furnish the Administrator with such 
bond, and shall furnish the Secretary of the Treasury (acting on behalf 
of the Administrator) with a photocopy of such bond and Customs Form CF 
7501 at the time of importation of each motor vehicle.
* * * * *
    Issued on: June 14, 1994.
Christopher A. Hart,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-14865 Filed 6-15-94; 11:29 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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