Barr v. United States
324 U.S. 83 (1945)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Barr v. United States, 324 U.S. 83 (1945)

Barr v. United States

No. 287

Argued December 15, 1944

Decided February 5, 1945

324 U.S. 83

Syllabus

1. The proper rate at which the currency of the invoice of the imported goods here involved should have been converted into United States dollars under § 522(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930 was the "free" rate, and not the "official" rate. Pp. 324 U. S. 84, 324 U. S. 94.

2. Section 522(c) is not to be construed as authorizing certification by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or proclamation by the Secretary of the Treasury of only one buying rate for a specified foreign currency. P. 324 U. S. 89.

3. Where, under § 522(c), dual buying rates have been certified, that rate should be used which is in fact applicable to the particular transaction, and the use of a rate by which the cost of the goods will be distorted and an inflated value for customs purposes placed upon them should be avoided. P. 324 U. S. 90.

4. The result here reached is not inconsistent with provisions of § 402 of the Act, which require that the value of imported merchandise shall be the "foreign value or the export value, whichever is higher." P. 324 U. S. 92.

5. The general authority of the Secretary of the Treasury over the collection of duties on imports and over collectors of customs, and his authority under § 624 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to make rules and regulations for carrying out the provisions of the Act, cannot detract from the express authority of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under § 522(c) to determine and certify the buying rate. P. 324 U. S. 92.

6. The function of the Secretary of the Treasury under § 522(c) in respect of the publishing of the rates certified by the Bank is purely ministerial. P. 324 U. S. 94.

7. The action of the Secretary of the Treasury in publishing only one of the rates certified by the Bank, and the decision of the collector pursuant thereto, were subject to judicial review. P. 324 U. S. 94.

8. As to the contention that confusion and complexity in administration of the Tariff Act will result if more than one buying rate may be made applicable to imports from one country, the showing would have to be far more clear than it is here, and the meaning

Page 324 U. S. 84

of the Act much more dubious, in order that those administrative considerations should be given weight in the interpretative process. P. 324 U. S. 94.

143 F.2d 132, reversed.

Certiorari, 323 U.S. 689, to review the reversal of a judgment of the Customs Court which sustained a protest of a decision of the collector of customs.

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