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Used Vehicle Export Rules Don't Apply If Title Transferred After Export, CBP Says

Shipments of used vehicles aren’t subject to U.S. regulations governing those exports if the U.S. seller doesn’t transfer the vehicles’ titles, ownership and other responsibilities to the foreign customer until after the vehicle is delivered overseas, CBP said in a recent customs ruling.

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Defense company Oshkosh asked CBP to rule on the issue to determine whether some of its vehicle exports met the definition of “used” and were subject to export control requirements for those vehicles, which could require the company to provide CBP with specific shipping documents and vehicle identification information. The agency said Oshkosh’s exports didn’t qualify as “used self-propelled vehicles” because the company’s customers didn’t take “any equitable or legal title” for the vehicles until after they were physically exported and delivered to the foreign country.

Oshkosh makes “specialized self-propelled vehicles” that aren’t sold through dealerships or distributors and are instead sold directly to customers. CBP noted that Oshkosh keeps ownership, insurable interest and risk of loss “past the point of export” because it sometimes needs to make “modifications” to a vehicle that it exports. “If modifications or repairs need to be made," Oshkosh "can own the vehicle abroad for the duration,” CBP said.

U.S. regulations partly define used self-propelled vehicle exports as vehicles where the “legal title” has been transferred by the manufacturer, distributor or dealer to an ultimate purchaser. But CBP said Oshkosh regularly “maintains ownership of the vehicles for days after arrival in the target country, and the customer has no right to enjoy, use, or acquire title until after the vehicle meets the agreed-upon conditions.”

Because Oshkosh’s customers don’t take the vehicle’s title until after the export has occurred, “the subject vehicles are not considered ‘used self-propelled vehicles’ for the purposes of the above statutes,” CBP said, “and the requirements therein do not apply.”

But the agency stressed that its ruling applies only to the specific set of circumstances Oshkosh presented. “If the facts of a transaction are different from described, such as title being transferred before export, the vehicle could be considered ‘used’ and the relevant rules could apply,” CBP said.