Frequently Asked Questions:
Earned Import Allowance Program for Haitian Apparel

In an effort to provide information and guidance to parties exploring use of trade preferences available for imports of Haitian textile and apparel goods, the Office of Textiles and Apparel has compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”). While the FAQs are intended to be helpful to parties who are not familiar with the trade preference programs please note that the relevant statutory provisions under HOPE II (see 19 U.S.C. §2703a), the Interim Procedures for Implementation of the Earned Import Allowance Program (see 73 Fed. Reg. 53191; September 15, 2008), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s regulations and procedures are dispositive.

Getting Started
1. What is the Haiti EIAP?
2.
Where can I find procedures on how the Haiti EIAP works?
3. How do I get started?
4. Who is a “qualified apparel producer?”
5. What products qualify for duty-free treatment under the Haiti EIAP?
6. Do I have to use the Haiti EIAP’s online system?
7. Is there any limitation on who can open an account?
8. What information do I need to provide to obtain an account?
9. How will I know that OTEXA has received my application for an account?
10. Do I need to provide documentation that I am a qualifying apparel producer?
11. When will I get my account number and password?
12. Can I set up more than one account?
13. Who has access to my account?
14. How do I access the online system to check my balance?
15. Why don’t I need to enter my account number to access my account?
16. Can I look at past transactions?
17. How can I tell who has been using my account?
18. What if I have questions about a past transaction or my balance?

Apparel Articles Qualified for Duty-Free Treatment under the Haiti EIAP
19. What articles qualify for duty-free treatment under the Program?
20. What does “wholly assembled in Haiti” mean?
21. What does “knit-to-shape in Haiti” mean?
22. Does the apparel have to be completely produced in Haiti?

Requests for the Deposit of Credits
23. How do I deposit credits?
24. What must be included in a request to deposit credits?
25. What kind of woven fabric qualifies under the program?
26. What kind of knit fabric qualifies under the program?
27. Does knit fabric or knit-to-shape components from any country qualify?
28. What is considered a “knit-to-shape” good (fabric or component)?
29. Can “qualifying knit fabrics” and “qualifying woven fabrics” be dyed and finished outside the United States and/or designated beneficiary countries and still qualify under the Haiti EIAP?
30. Are there any exceptions to the requirement that yarns be wholly formed in the United States?
31. Do I need to purchase the fabric or can I use fabric I’ve manufactured?
32. Can I use fabric I’ve purchased or manufactured before October 1, 2008?
33. Does the qualifying fabric have to be intended for apparel production in Haiti at the time of purchase or manufacture? How do I demonstrate that the fabric is intended for production in Haiti?
34. Does the fabric need to go straight to Haiti?
35. How do I report the quantity of qualifying fabric?
36. If I purchase or manufacture a qualifying fabric or component that is not measured in square meter equivalents, how do I report the quantity in my request?
37. How do I know that OTEXA has received my request and supporting documentation?
38. What kind of supporting documentation do I need to provide if I’ve purchased the fabric?
39. What kind of supporting documentation do I need to provide if I’ve manufactured the fabric?
40. What is an EEI and how can I get a copy?
41. What if I haven’t given enough information in my supporting documentation?
42. How will the deposit be reflected in my account?
43. How long will it take to get credits in my account after I’ve submitted my request to OTEXA?
44. Is there any limit to how many credits I can deposit into my account?
45. Do my credits expire?
46. I deposited credits under the 3 for 1 allowance program, before HELP passed. Can I get extra credits now that there is a 2 for 1 allowance?

Obtaining an Earned Import Allowance Certificate
47. How do I get an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?
48. How do I use the online system to obtain an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?
49. How long will it take to get an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?
50. How do I obtain an earned import allowance certificate as an account holder?
51. Why do I designate the PINs and Code Names to myself and any proxies I may designate to obtain certificates?
52. Why don’t I need to enter my account number to get a certificate?
53. Can I designate someone to act on my behalf?
54. How do I remove a third party’s ability to request an earned import allowance certificate?
55. Is there a minimum or maximum quantity that I can use?


Importing Apparel under the Haiti EIAP
56. From where must the apparel be exported in order to receive duty-free treatment under the program?
57. Does the shipment have to go straight to the United States?
58. Does the importer have to be a U.S. company?
59. What kind of documentation do I need to present to Customs?
60. Can I present the earned import allowance certificate electronically to Customs?
61. Can anyone present the Earned Import Allowance Certificate to Customs and Border Protection?
62. Does OTEXA provide the Visa for imports of goods claiming preferential treatment under HOPE II?
63. How do I calculate how many pieces of apparel equal to one SME?
64. What happens if the shipment is for more than the number of credits listed on the earned import allowance certificate?
65. What happens if the shipment is for less than the amount listed on the certificate?


Getting Started


1. What is the Haiti Earned Import Allowance Program?

One of the preferences available for imports of Haitian manufactured apparel is the Earned Import Allowance Program (“Haiti EIAP”). First established under HOPE II in 2008 and modified by HELP in 2010, the program provides that for every 2 square meter equivalents (SME) of qualifying fabric purchased or manufactured by the producer for apparel production in Haiti, qualifying producers can earn a 1 SME credit. These credits can allow duty-free treatment for imports of apparel manufactured in Haiti using non-qualifying fabric. There is no quantitative limit on the Haiti EIAP.



2. Where can I find procedures on how the Haiti Haiti EIAP works?

On September 15, 2008, the Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (“OTEXA”) published a Federal Register notice issuing interim procedures governing the implementation of this rule (see 73 Fed. Reg. 53191, September 15, 2008). OTEXA’s interim procedures may be found on OTEXA’s website and in the Federal Register. While the interim procedures currently reflect the initial “3 for 1” allowance, HELP modified the Haiti EIAP to provide a “2 for 1” allowance for credits awarded on or after as of May 24, 2010 (the date of HELP’s enactment). OTEXA’s forthcoming final procedures will reflect this modification.



3. How do I get started?

In order to participate in the Haiti EIAP, a qualifying producer must apply for an account using the Haiti EIAP online system, which may be accessed via OTEXA’s website. Once the account is set up by OTEXA, the producer may apply for credits to the account by submitting a request to recognize the purchase or manufacture of qualifying fabrics. Only when a producer has credits in its account can it be issued an earned import allowance certificate. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 1.



4. Who is a “qualified apparel producer?”

A qualified apparel producer can be any individual, corporation, partnership, association, or other entity or group that exercises direct, daily operational control over the apparel production process in Haiti. Any individual, corporation, partnership, association or other entity that is not a producer but controls the apparel production process in Haiti through a contractual relationship or other indirect means may also qualify to participate in the Haiti EIAP.

For example, a corporation that operates outside Haiti, and has invested in a Haitian apparel producer may qualify. In addition, a corporation that has a contract with a Haitian apparel producer to purchase apparel produced in Haiti may also qualify.

OTEXA will review and evaluate every application for an account to determine if the applicant is a qualified apparel producer.


See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(e).



5. What products qualify for duty-free treatment under the Haiti EIAP?

Only apparel articles qualify for duty-free treatment. Non-apparel textile articles do not qualify.



6. Do I have to use the Haiti Haiti EIAP’s online system?

Yes. The Haiti EIAP online system is the only way for qualifying producers to participate in the Haiti EIAP. Applications for accounts, requests for credits with supporting documentation, and requests for earned import allowance certificates will only be accepted via the online system.



7. Is there any limitation on who can open an account?

Only qualifying apparel producers can open an account.



8. What information do I need to provide to obtain an account?

Applicants must provide all relevant contact information for the entity requesting the account (including the mailing address, telephone number, contact name, email address, etc.), and its U.S. importer of record number. In addition, OTEXA requires an explanation of how the applicant is qualified for participation in the Haiti EIAP (see question #12 for further information).

Applicants will also be required to affirm the accuracy of the information provided. Without this affirmation, the electronic application form will be automatically rejected by the online system.

Any supporting documentation must be attached to the electronic application. Documentation sent electronically must be attached to the application in either Adobe Acrobat (PDF) or Microsoft Word format. No other file types will be accepted.

See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 3.



9. How will I know that OTEXA has received my application for an account?

Upon submission, if your application contains all of the required information and you have affirmed the information’s accuracy, you will see a confirmation screen that reads, “Your request has been submitted to OTEXA for processing. You will receive an email confirmation when your request has been processed, or if additional documentation is required. If you have any questions, please contact OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov.

If you have forgotten to affirm the accuracy of the information contained in your application, you will see an error screen that reads, “Please affirm the accuracy of your information. Click on your browser’s BACK button to try again.” This message indicates that OTEXA has not received your application. You will need to go back and affirm the accuracy of your information, and then you may submit the application again.



10. Do I need to provide documentation that I am a qualifying apparel producer?

When applying for an account, you will need to indicate how you qualify for the Haiti EIAP. The online system provides a list of options, including the category “Other.” If you select “Other,” you will be required to provide a written explanation of how your company is qualified for the program. If you have supporting documentation to substantiate your eligibility, you may attach it to the electronic application in either Adobe Acrobat (PDF) or Microsoft Word format. If supporting documentation is not provided, or if we still have questions after reviewing the supporting documentation, OTEXA may request additional information and/or documentation before granting the request to open an account.



11. When will I get my account number and password?

After OTEXA has reviewed your submitted application and supporting documentation (if applicable) to confirm your eligibility, we will send you an account number and password via email. OTEXA will make every effort to process applications as soon as practicable. However, additional processing time may be required if the submitted information is incomplete or unclear, requiring OTEXA to request additional information and/or documentation in order to confirm your company’s eligibility.



12. Can I set up more than one account?

If you import apparel under more than one company name and/or have multiple importers of record numbers, you may choose to set up separate accounts for each company name/importer of record number. If you choose to set up multiple accounts, please note that you will not be permitted to use credits from more than one account for the same shipment of goods. In other words, you must have enough credits in the single account matching the shipment’s importer of record number to cover the entire shipment, or your goods may not be allowed duty-free entry.



13. Who has access to my account?

When the account is opened, only the account holder will have access to the account to check balances and request deposits of credits. While the account holder may obtain certificates itself, it may choose to designate a proxy to access the account in order to import goods on its behalf (see question #53). The proxy will not have access to account balances or be able to request deposits of credits.



14. How do I access the online system to check my balance?

Account holders may review account balances and activity through OTEXA's website. To access the system, you will need to use the password OTEXA assigned to you when your account was opened. If you have forgotten your password, please contact Maria Goodman or Laurie Mease at 202-482-3400 or OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov.

Unless an account holder chooses to share its password with a third party proxy, this part of the Haiti HOPE II online system will only be available to account holders. The PINs and code names assigned to third parties will not permit access to the section of OTEXA's website displaying account balances and activity.




15. Why don’t I need to enter my account number to access my account?

Each account holder is assigned a unique password that provides access only for that specific account. Since each password is assigned to only one account, it is not necessary to enter your account number as verification.



16. Can I look at past transactions?

Yes. Account holders may review account balances and activity by logging on to the following website. To access the system, you will need to use the password OTEXA assigned to you when your account was opened. If you have forgotten your password, please contact Maria Goodman or Laurie Mease at 202-482-3400 or by email at OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov.



17. How can I tell who has been using my account?

Account holders may review their account activity by logging on to the following website. After logging in, a list of transactions will be displayed along with the current account balance. Each transaction displays the importer of record number for the entity requesting the transaction, along with the 7 character Code Name assigned by the account holder when the third party was granted permission to access the account.



18. What if I have questions about a past transaction or my balance?

Please contact Maria Goodman or Laurie Mease at 202-482-3400 or by email at OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov with any questions about past transactions or your account balance.




Apparel Articles Qualified for Duty-Free Treatment under the Haiti EIAP


19. What articles qualify for duty-free treatment under the Program?

The Haiti EIAP only allows for duty-free treatment of apparel products wholly assembled or knit-to shape in Haiti. While certain non-apparel textile products produced in Haiti may qualify for duty-free treatment under a separate HOPE II preference program (e.g. duty-free treatment for certain luggage), only “apparel articles” are eligible for the Haiti EIAP. See 19 U.S.C. §2703a(b)(4).



20. What does “wholly assembled in Haiti” mean?

A good is “wholly assembled” in Haiti if all of its components, of which there must be at least two, pre-existed in essentially the same condition as found in the finished good and were combined to form the finished good in Haiti. For example, the sleeves and the body of a shirt must be assembled in Haiti. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(h).



21. What does “knit-to-shape in Haiti” mean?

A good is “knit-to-shape” if 50 percent or more of the exterior surface area of the good is formed by major parts that have been knitted or crocheted directly to the shape used in the good, with no consideration being given to patch pockets, appliqués, or the like. This production process must be done in Haiti. Minor cutting, trimming, or sewing of those major parts shall not affect the determination of whether a good is “knit-to-shape.” See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(d).



22. Does the apparel have to be completely produced in Haiti?

The procedures allow for minor co-production in other countries. Minor attachments and minor embellishments (for example, appliqués, beads, spangles, embroidery, and buttons) and minor subassemblies (for example, collars, cuffs, plackets, and pockets) that do not appreciably affect the identity of the good shall not affect the determination of whether a good is “wholly assembled” in Haiti. However, the finished apparel must be exported to the United States either from Haiti or from the Dominican Republic. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(h).




Requests for the Deposit of Credits


23. How do I deposit credits?

The account holder must submit a request to OTEXA via the online system to deposit credits to its account. These credits are based on the purchase or manufacture of qualifying fabric, as determined by OTEXA. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 4.



24. What must be included in a request to deposit credits?

Once the account holder accesses the online system, it must create a request to OTEXA and attach the necessary supporting documentation. The request must clearly state the following:
          The name of the account holder
          The account number
          The total amount of qualifying fabric, in SMEs, requested for deposit into the account
          A summary spreadsheet identifying each purchase or manufactured amount, referencing the corresponding supporting documentation
          A list of supporting documents demonstrating each purchase or manufacture of qualifying fabric, indicating relevant information (e.g. the manufacturer/seller of qualifying fabric, invoice documents, mill invoices, fabric spec sheets, certification that the yarns have been sourced in the United States, SED/EEI number, and shipping documents indicating shipment to Haiti)

See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 4.



25. What kind of woven fabric qualifies under the program?

Qualifying woven fabric is fabric wholly formed in the United States from yarns wholly formed in the United States, purchased or manufactured by the qualifying apparel producer on or after October 1, 2008, expressly for production of apparel in Haiti. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(g).



26. What kind of knit fabric qualifies under the program?

Qualifying knit fabric is fabric or knit-to-shape components wholly formed or knit-to-shape in any country or any combination of countries which described in Section 213A(1)(B)(iii) of CBERA, as amended by the Act, from yarns wholly formed in the United States, purchased or manufactured by the qualifying apparel producer on or after October 1, 2008, expressly for production of apparel in Haiti. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(f).

27. Does knit fabric or knit-to-shape components from any country qualify?
    No. Only knit fabric or knit-to-shape components from either the United States or those countries with which the United States has either a free trade agreement or a trade preference program are eligible.

    These countries include:

    FTA partner countries. As of August 2013, FTA partner counties include Australia, Bahrain, CAFTA-DR (Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua), Chile, Colombia, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Morocco, NAFTA (Canada and Mexico), Oman, Panama, Peru, and Singapore.

    AGOA: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia.

    CBTPA: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti (also qualifies under Haiti HOPE), Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.


    28. What is considered a “knit-to-shape” good (fabric or component)?
      A good is “knit-to-shape” if 50 percent or more of the exterior surface area of the good is formed by major parts that have been knitted or crocheted directly to the shape used in the good, with no consideration being given to patch pockets, appliqués, or the like. Minor cutting, trimming, or sewing of those major parts shall not affect the determination of whether a good is “knit-to-shape.” See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(d).


      29. Can “qualifying knit fabrics” and “qualifying woven fabrics” be dyed and finished outside the United States and/or designated beneficiary countries and still qualify under the Haiti EIAP?

      Section 2 of OTEXA’s interim procedures, as contained in the Haiti EIAP legislation, defines “qualifying knit fabric” as “fabric or knit-to-shape components wholly formed or knit-to-shape (in designated beneficiary countries – See FAQs 26 and 27) from yarns wholly formed in the United States,” and defines “qualifying woven fabric” as “fabric wholly formed in the United States from yarns wholly formed in the United States.”

      The legislation establishing the Haiti EIAP does not define the term “wholly formed.” OTEXA recently addressed this issue in a similar earned import allowance program with the Dominican Republic, “the DR 2 for 1 program.” See 75 FR 45603, August 3, 2010. For that program, OTEXA interpreted “wholly formed” within the definition of “qualifying woven fabric” to require that all production processes and finishing operations, starting with weaving or knitting and ending with a fabric ready for cutting or assembly without further processing, take place in the United States. To date, there has been no issue with regard to interpretation of “wholly formed” under the Haiti EIAP program. Should trade develop under this provision and a concern arise, OTEXA will carefully review the implementation of this particular trade preference program.



      30. Are there any exceptions to the requirement that yarns be wholly formed in the United States?
        Yes. If the fabric or knit-to-shape components contain either: (1) certain nylon filament yarns from sources other than the United States, or (2) yarns not wholly formed in the United States make up less than 10 percent of the total weight of the fabric, or (3) the fabric contains yarns deemed in short supply under any U.S. free trade agreement or trade preference program, the fabric or knit-to-shape component still qualifies under the Haiti EIAP. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(f).


        31. Do I need to purchase the fabric or can I use fabric I’ve manufactured?
          In its request to deposit credits, the account holder must clearly demonstrate that it has clear title to the qualifying fabric, either by purchase or by manufacturing the fabric in question.


            32. Can I use fabric I’ve purchased or manufactured before October 1, 2008?

            No. Only fabric that has been purchased or manufactured after October 1, 2008 will qualify under the Haiti EIAP. In its request to deposit credits, the account holder must demonstrate that the fabric was acquired or manufactured on or after this date.


            33. Does the qualifying fabric have to be intended for apparel production in Haiti at the time of purchase or manufacture? How do I demonstrate that the fabric is intended for production in Haiti?
              In its request for the deposit of credits, the account holder must provide documentation that indicates that the end use of the fabric purchased or manufactured is for apparel production in Haiti. Such documentation could include a purchase order to the apparel producer in Haiti for the order of certain apparel items, identifying the fabric to be used as that which the account holder has purchased or manufactured. In addition, a Bill of Lading indicating that the ultimate consignee of the fabric is a Haitian apparel producer could also be used as supporting documentation. However, the description of the fabric to be used reflected on any documentation must match that of the fabric that was purchased or manufactured.


                34. Does the fabric need to go straight to Haiti?

                No. As long as the supporting documentation in the request to deposit credits clearly indicates that the qualifying fabric is intended for production of apparel in Haiti at the time of purchase or manufacture, the fabric can still qualify. For example, a qualifying apparel producer may ship qualifying fabric first to the Dominican Republic, and subsequently ship the fabric to Haiti for production of apparel. OTEXA will carefully review shipment history to ensure that qualifying fabric shipments are intended for production in Haiti.

                35. How do I report the quantity of qualifying fabric?

                The quantity must be reported in square meter equivalents (SMEs) for woven fabric and knit-to-shape components. If the documentation for knit fabric reflects a quantity in kilograms, the request must include a conversion from kilograms to SMEs using the appropriate conversation factor. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 4(c).

                  36. If I purchase or manufacture a qualifying fabric or component that is not measured in square meter equivalents, how do I report the quantity in my request?
                    There are conversion factors to convert a unit of quantity (e.g. kilograms, dozens) for a given type of textile or apparel (in which the component will be used) into the square meter equivalent. OTEXA’s website has this information under its “Textile Correlation” webpage.

                    The conversion factors are organized by textile categories. A textile category number is a 3 digit number that describes certain categories of textiles or apparel. Every Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for apparel falls under a textile category number.

                    Once you have determined the correct textile category for the fabric or apparel good, click on the link for that category number. The category page will display all HTS classifications that fall under the category, and will also show (at the top of the page) the unit of measure (e.g. dozens) for the classification, and the conversion factor from the unit of measure into a square meter equivalent.

                    If the qualifying fabric is one which is measured in kilograms, such as goods under category 222 (certain knit fabrics), then the request must convert the quantity of kilograms purchased or manufactured into square meter equivalents. For fabric under category 222, the conversion factor is 12.30. Therefore, for every kilogram of fabric purchased/manufactured, the request must report a quantity of 12.3 SMEs.

                    If the request involves the purchase or manufacture of a qualifying knit-to-shape component, then the conversion factor is found in the category for the apparel product that the components will be used to produce. For example, if a knit-to-shape component will be used in women’s knit cotton blouses classified under HTS 6106.10.0010, the apparel product falls under category 339, which is reported in dozens. The request’s documentation must include the quantity, in dozens, of the component purchased or manufactured. Then the request must convert that quantity into a square meter equivalent. For category 339, the conversion factor from a dozen units to square meters is 6.0. Therefore, if the account holder has purchased or manufactured components for 100 dozen women’s knit cotton blouses, then the request must indicate a quantity of 600 SMEs.



                    37. How do I know that OTEXA has received my request and supporting documentation?

                    Upon submission, if your request contains all of the required information and you have affirmed the information’s accuracy, you will see a confirmation screen that reads, “Your request has been submitted to OTEXA for processing. You will receive an email confirmation when your request has been processed, or if additional documentation is required. If you have any questions, please contact OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov.”

                    If you have forgotten to affirm the accuracy of the information contained in your application, you will see an error screen that reads, “Please affirm the accuracy of your information. Click on your browser’s BACK button to try again.” This message indicates that OTEXA has not received your application. You will need to go back and affirm the accuracy of your information, and then you may submit the application again.



                    38. What kind of supporting documentation do I need to provide if I’ve purchased the fabric?

                    Any document, such as a purchase order, commercial invoice and/or mill invoice from the fabric producer that provides sufficient details of the fabric and the date of purchase is acceptable to support a claim that the fabric qualifies under the Haiti EIAP.



                    39. What kind of supporting documentation do I need to provide if I’ve manufactured the fabric?

                    If the subject fabric has been manufactured by the account holder, the request to deposit credits documentation must include documentation, such as a production order, that indicates the fabric’s specifications and the date of manufacture to ensure that it qualifies under the Haiti EIAP.



                    40. What is an EEI and how can I get a copy?

                    Electronic Export Information (“EEI”) is a successor document to the Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED). As of July 2, 2008, paper SEDs are no longer accepted by Census. All export documents must now be filed electronically using AESDirect.

                    If you (or your freight forwarder) use a proprietary software package that interfaces with AESDirect to file shipment information with Census, you will need to contact the software’s distributors or developers for more information on how to retrieve and print the EEI for submission to OTEXA.
                      Please note that the EEI form should be printed and submitted only to OTEXA for verification of the request to deposit credits. You are not required to submit a paper copy of the EEI when presenting U.S. Customs and Border Protection an earned import allowance certificate with entry documentation.



                      41. What if I haven’t given enough information in my supporting documentation?

                      If your supporting documentation is insufficient to determine whether or not the subject fabric qualifies for credits under the Haiti EIAP, OTEXA will send an email to the contact person listed on the request to advise them of the deficiency. Where possible, we will provide suggestions as to the type of documentation required to remediate the deficiency.
                        OTEXA may contact any company or entity named in the supporting documentation to verify the accuracy of the documentation submitted with the request to deposit credits. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 6.


                        42. How will the deposit be reflected in my account?

                        Account holders may review account balances and activity by logging on to the following website. To access the system, you will need to use the password OTEXA assigned to you when your account was opened. If you have forgotten your password, please contact Maria Goodman or Laurie Mease at 202-482-3400 or by email at OTEXA.Haiti@trade.gov.



                        43. How long will it take to get credits in my account after I’ve submitted my request to OTEXA?

                        After OTEXA has reviewed your submitted request and supporting documentation and determined that the credits are eligible for deposit, we will update your account balance and send you an email notification that the request has been processed. OTEXA will make every effort to process requests as soon as practicable, typically within five (5) business days of submission. However, the process may take longer if the submitted information is incomplete or unclear, requiring OTEXA to request additional information and/or documentation in order to confirm the accuracy of the request.



                        44. Is there any limit to how many credits I can deposit into my account?

                        No. There is no quantitative limit on the Haiti EIAP.



                        45. Do my credits expire?

                        No. As long as your account is in good standing, any credits that remain in your account at the end of a calendar year will automatically be carried over to the following year, until the Haiti EIAP expires.



                        46. I deposited credits under the 3 for 1 allowance program, before HELP passed. Can I get extra credits now that there is a 2 for 1 allowance?

                        No. The modification is not retroactive. All credits earned under the 3 for 1 allowance remain at their current level. Any requests to deposit credits received and awarded after May 24, 2010, even if the qualifying fabric was purchased and manufactured before that date, will be based on a 2 for 1 allowance.




                        Obtaining an Earned Import Allowance Certificate


                        47. How do I get an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?

                        Account holders or authorized users (the account holder’s proxies and designees) can log into the online system to request an earned import allowance certificate. As long as there are enough credits in the account, an authorized user can request that the online system issue a certificate for a specific amount of SMEs. Each certificate will have a unique nine digit identification number. This number must be provided to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the entry summary.



                        48. How do I use the online system to obtain an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?
                          You may access the online system by logging onto OTEXA's website. You will be required to enter your importer of record number and the corresponding PIN in order to access the system. After you have logged in, you will need to follow the prompts and enter the requested information before proceeding.



                          49. How long will it take to get an Earned Import Allowance Certificate?

                          If there are enough credits available to accommodate the amount requested, the system will ask you to review the information one final time before submitting the request. After you review the information and hit “accept,” the certificate will automatically be generated and available for printing.

                          If there are not enough credits available to accommodate the amount requested, you will receive an error message. You may go back and request a smaller amount. If you have credits that you have not yet deposited, you may submit a request to deposit them, wait for it to be processed, and then try your request again. Keep in mind that OTEXA must review the request before adding the credits to your account, so they will not be available immediately.



                          50. How do I obtain an earned import allowance certificate as an account holder?
                            If you intend to import goods on your own behalf, you will need to provide the same information as is required to designate a proxy:
                                    Your importer of record number,
                                    A five (5) digit PIN you assign to yourself, and
                                    A seven (7) character code name you assign to yourself (optional).

                            This information must be submitted in writing to OTEXA via email or fax (202-482-2331).

                              51. Why do I designate the PINs and Code Names to myself and any proxies I may designate to obtain certificates?

                              You designate your own PINs and code names so that you have complete control over who accesses your account. Only users whose importer of record numbers, PINs and optional code names are on file with OTEXA may access the system to obtain an earned import allowance certificate.



                              52. Why don’t I need to enter my account number to get a certificate?

                              Since there may be multiple authorized users for each account, OTEXA requires that the importer of record number and assigned PIN be entered instead of the account number in order to request an earned import allowance certificate. This will allow account holders to easily determine who has been using their account when reviewing account activity online.



                              53. Can I designate someone to act on my behalf?

                              A qualified apparel producer may designate a third party or proxy to act on its behalf only for the purpose of requesting an earned import allowance certificate. Only a qualifying producer may request an account and submit requests for credits through the online system.
                                If the qualified apparel producer chooses to designate a third party with the authority to request certificates, it must advise OTEXA of its intent to designate a third party or proxy that will act on its behalf. The producer must send an authorization letter to the third party, complete with the following information, with a copy to OTEXA. The letter must include:
                                      The importer of record number that will be used to enter the goods,
                                      A five (5) digit personal identification number (PIN) the account holder has assigned to the third party, and
                                      An optional seven (7) character code name that the account holder has assigned to identify the third party.
                                  A copy of the letter must be submitted to OTEXA via email or fax (202-482-2331).



                                  54. How do I remove a third party’s ability to request an earned import allowance certificate?

                                  If you would like to remove a third party’s access to your account, you must send another letter to the third party, with a copy to OTEXA via email or fax (202-482-2331). The letter should contain the importer of record number used by the third party to enter the goods, the five (5) digit PIN they were assigned, the seven (7) character code name (if applicable), and the effective date of the change.



                                  55. Is there a minimum or maximum quantity that I can use?

                                  The minimum quantity you may use is one (1) square meter equivalent (SME). The maximum quantity is the entire balance of credits available in your account. Amounts must be entered in whole numbers; partial quantities will not be accepted. If the exact amount of your shipment is not a whole number, you should round the amount UP to the nearest whole number. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not accept earned import allowance certificates for less than the entire amount of the shipment.




                                  Importing Apparel under the Haiti EIAP


                                  56. From where must the apparel be exported in order to receive duty-free treatment under the program?

                                  In order to qualify for duty-free treatment under the Haiti EIAP, the apparel must be exported from Haiti or the Dominican Republic to the United States. See OTEXA’s interim procedures, Section 2(c).



                                  57. Does the shipment have to go straight to the United States?

                                  No, the shipment may make stops at other ports before arriving in the United States as long as the qualifying apparel producer can provide documentation that proves it was wholly assembled in Haiti in accordance with the requirements of the Haiti EIAP and did not enter the territory of other countries for the purposes of consumption.



                                  58. Does the importer have to be a U.S. company?

                                  Non-U.S. companies may import apparel under the Haiti EIAP as long as they have been issued a U.S. importer of record number and are authorized to import goods on the account holder’s behalf.



                                  59. What kind of documentation do I need to present to Customs?

                                  You will need to present all of the documentation that would be required for any import from Haiti under the relevant trade preference program, including a special visa, as well as a copy of the earned import allowance certificate issued by the Haiti EIAP online system. Please see U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s website for guidance on importing into the United States.



                                  60. Can I present the earned import allowance certificate electronically to Customs?
                                    The certificate’s nine digit identification number must be reported in Column 34 of the entry summary or warehouse withdrawal for consumption (Customs Form 7501), or its electronic equivalent for the corresponding entry.



                                    61. Can anyone present the Earned Import Allowance Certificate to Customs and Border Protection?

                                    The certificate must be presented by the importer of record for the shipment.



                                    62. Does OTEXA provide the Visa for imports of goods claiming preferential treatment under HOPE II?

                                    No, OTEXA does not issue visas. Please see U.S. Customs & Border Protection's website for specific instructions on how to obtain the required visa.



                                    63. How do I calculate how many pieces of apparel equal to one SME?

                                    As described in Question #35, OTEXA’s website has this information under its “Textile Correlation” webpage. Depending on the type of apparel you wish to import, there are different conversion factors to convert the unit of measure for that type of apparel to SMEs.

                                    The conversion factors are organized by textile categories. A textile category number is a 3 digit number that describes certain categories of textiles or apparel. Every Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for apparel falls under a textile category number.

                                    Once you have determined the correct textile category for the type of apparel you wish to import, good, click on the link for that category number. The category page will display all HTS classifications that fall under the category, and will also show (at the top of the page) the unit of measure (e.g. dozens) for the classification, and the conversion factor from the unit of measure into a square meter equivalent.

                                    For example, if you wish to import 1,000 dozen women’s cotton knit blouses, this falls under HTS 6106.10.00 10 and textile category 339. Since the conversion factor for 339 is 6.0 SME for each dozen units, the importer must present an earned import allowance certificate for 6,000 SMEs.



                                    64. What happens if the shipment is for more than the number of credits listed on the earned import allowance certificate?

                                    If the actual shipment amount is greater than the amount listed on the earned import allowance certificate, it will not be eligible for duty-free treatment. Partial credit cannot be granted.

                                    In this case, the account holder may request that OTEXA cancel the certificate and re-deposit the credits into its account. Such requests should be made via email or fax (202-482-2331). Upon receipt of the request, OTEXA will void the current certificate and add the credits back to the account. The account holder may then request a new certificate for the correct amount, as long as there are sufficient credits available in the account to cover the entire shipment.



                                    65. What happens if the shipment is for less than the amount listed on the certificate?

                                    The entire shipment will receive duty-free treatment. However, please note that any overage will be forfeited and cannot be added back to your account.
                                      To avoid forfeiting the extra SMEs, OTEXA recommends that account holders contact OTEXA to cancel the current import allowance certificate, re-deposit those credits, and have a new certificate issued for the lesser amount. Such requests can be made via email or fax (202-482-2331). On receipt of the request, OTEXA will void the current certificate and add the credits back to your account. You will then be able to request another certificate for the correct amount for submission to Customs.