We advise clients on how to avail themselves of business opportunities created by various trade agreements, duty preference programs and customs procedures—even as regulations grow more stringent, there remain opportunities to maximize profit and grow business. We also work with clients to establish practices that ensure legal compliance and minimize exposure to duties, investigations and penalties.
Our lawyers have advised clients in a number of important import compliance areas, including focused assessments and other audit and verification proceedings, special duty preference programs, enforcement matters and prior disclosures. We have worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies coordinating the filing of multibusiness disclosures in order to effectively manage identified compliance risks and mitigate civil penalty exposure. We advise on issues related to valuation and methods of appraisement and tariff classification, balancing compliance obligations with duty savings opportunities. We also counsel clients on country of origin determinations and marking requirements under the various competing statutes and trade agreements, including United States Customs and Border Protection’s marking rules, the North American Free Trade Agreement Marking Rules, the Federal Trade Commission’s “Made in USA” guidelines, as well as foreign jurisdiction marking obligations.
Because importers must exercise reasonable care when they enter, classify and value imported merchandise, we also work with clients to develop compliance programs that fit their needs and can be successfully implemented among staff. Our lawyers and on-staff licensed customs brokers work with clients to properly educate their employees and have presented training seminars to educate the in-house trade compliance professionals responsible for compliance with these laws, as well as individuals in other functional areas such as finance, tax, supply chain, and the legal department who directly or indirectly impact trade compliance.
- Assisted a major life sciences manufacturer with a risk assessment and internal review of its global import operations, culminating in the submission and perfection of a voluntary prior disclosure with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
- Utilizing statistical sampling techniques and coordinating the internal review with the company’s finance, procurement and import departments, we were able to utilize source financial data and import records to finalize the five-year disclosure and mitigate potential civil penalty exposure by more than $12 million. We later assisted the company in the development of corrective actions and implementation of enhanced internal controls.