In a ruling that will has come as a relief to the coffee industry, Customs & Border Protection in the US has ruled that country of origin is determined by where coffee is roasted, not where it actually originated from.
CBP recently issued a final determination that the coffee roasting process ‘substantially transforms’ green coffee for purposes of country-of-origin determinations and US government ‘buy American’ regulations.
The guidance should help corporations and their executives avoid civil, administrative, and criminal legal exposure as President Trump fulfils a campaign promise to crack down on illegal trade.
Andrew Boutros, a partner, John Schleppenbach, counsel, and Craig Simonsen, a paralegal at Seyfarth Shaw, said the ruling was a significant one that would “send a jolt of caffeine through the coffee industry.”
Keurig Green Mountain requested the determination as to the country of origin assignment to green coffee beans that it imported into the US and Canada and then roasted in those countries. Specifically, Keurig sought the determination as it relates to the procurement of its products by the US government and certain regulatory waivers for ‘US-made end products.’
The ruling was issued on 15 November 2017, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a Notice of Final Determination (HQ H291135) holding that the country where green coffee beans are roasted is the country of origin of that coffee for purposes of US government procurement regulations.
For more information see the forthcoming January 2018 issue of Coffee & Cocoa International.