When goods are imported into the United States they are subject to a specific rate of duty (tax on imported goods). Tariff classification of goods governs the rate of duty upon their entry into the United States. Properly classifying a product requires an understanding of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), which has been adopted by over 120 countries of the world. To attain knowledge of the HTSUS the firm analyzes Customs rulings and practices, as well as federal court decisions to obtain optimal classification and strategic import planning.
When goods are imported into the United States they must be valued correctly. It is the value of the goods to which Customs takes a percentage as duty. The “dutiable value” is a calculation based on the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the United States. Improper valuation of goods affects the duty liability. If the value of the goods is in excess of its proper value, the importer will pay a greater amount than necessary. Conversely, under declaring the value of goods may result in costly penalties. Our firm assists importers in appraising the value of goods as well as preparing and submitting binding rulings to Customs for calculating the correct value of goods.
Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (“C-TPAT”), is a voluntary certification program that creates a relationship between Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and an importer exporter, importers, customs brokers, carriers, and other eligible entities to improve the trade of goods through the international supply chain. According to CBP, C-TPAT benefits include a reduced number of inspections and priority processing when CBP inspections do occur. Furthermore, C-TPAT members are eligible to participate in CBP programs such as the Importer Self Assessment (“ISA”), Free and Secure Trade program (“FAST”), and access to CBP training seminars open only to certified members.
In order to meet C-TPAT qualifications eligible companies must submit a Memorandum of Understanding and complete a Supply Chain Profile Questionnaire. This profile requires a comprehensive internal review of their supply chain security procedures according to CBP guidelines. After submission of the Memorandum and Questionnaire, C-TPAT participants must undergo a validation process in which CBP verifies that the information submitted is accurate and being followed. This firm assists companies in applying for certification in C-TPAT.
The country in which a foreign good was grown, produced, or manufactured generally determines the Country of Origin. The origin plays a vital role in the goods admissibility, duty rate, qualification for special trade programs, and antidumping. In addition, generally all foreign goods are subject to marking requirements, which almost always includes country of origin marking. Improperly marking a good may result in importation delays, added expense to rectify the markings, liquidated damages, seizure of goods, or penalties. We can assist you in determining the correct origin of merchandise and how to properly mark goods prior to import.
The United States offers a number of trade programs that provide for duty reduction or duty exemption when goods originate from certain countries. These programs include the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), Caribbean Basin Initiative (“CBI”), Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”), United States- Jordan Free Trade Agreement, Israeli Free Trade Agreement and other multilateral and bilateral agreements. We provide clients with the analysis as to whether a product qualifies for a particular program.
Drawback is a program that provides duty refunds for goods that are exported or destroyed after importation. The firm provides legal advisement with respect to all the forms of duty drawback including unused, manufacturing, and substitution drawback. Drawback is a privilege and is only provided to those with precise compliance to the rules and regulations. Thus, we can assist in ensuring compliance and prompt refund of duties to save clients business expenses.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has the authority to seize goods for violations of the Customs laws (for example, Intellectual Property violations) or other laws enforced by CBP (for example, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”); the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”); the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”); the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”). The firm assists importers in the filing of administrative petitions if the goods are seized and obtaining the release of their goods from Customs custody.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), assesses fines and penalties against importers or exporters who violate the United States laws. Typically, penalties are assessed because of issues regarding classification, valuation, or country of origin compliance. As a result, CBP records these violations in its database leading to a higher likelihood of Customs inspections and importing delays. In addition, CBP may assess liquidated damages if the required import procedures are not followed properly, or if goods are not redelivered to CBP after their release. The firm works to substantially mitigate penalties assessed by CBP through the administrative adjudicative process.
A focused assessment is an audit by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) that evaluates an importer’s internal controls for all Customs related transactions. Further, CBP determines the importer’s level of compliance with the Customs laws and regulations. If a company is not found to be successfully compliant, the company will be required to put in place a compliance improvement plan and tender all monies owed to CBP. This Firm provides guidance to the importers in complying with the Focused Assessment program to reduce risks and develop strong internal controls.
A Prior Disclosure provides for reduced penalties to importers who advise U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) of violations with Customs laws before the violation is discovered by CBP. The Firm assists clients in preparing and filing prior disclosures to minimize the risk of severe penalties.
Antidumping and Countervailing duties laws are two trade remedies that provide relief to domestic industries as protection against foreign imports. Antidumping duties are imposed when exports of goods to the United States are sold at prices significantly lower than the country of origin or comparable third country markets. Countervailing duties are imposed when goods from the exporting country are granted significant subsidies by the exporting country. This Firm assists clients in filing petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to seek relief.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) regulations are highly technical and may pose hardships for importers of food and beverages, medical devices, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, tobacco, electronic and radiological devices, and dietary supplements. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) may demand redelivery, seize goods, or penalize violators for failure to meet FDA importing regulations. We assist clients with FDA import compliance, including but not limited to obtaining proper licenses, FDA import detentions/refusals, FDA import alerts, registration, penalty mitigation, Bioterrorism Act compliance, product labeling and electronic product certification requirements, and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) is in charge with securing our nation’s border, which includes protecting U.S. intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights, Section 337 – patents, and sometimes gray market goods) from infringing or counterfeit foreign imports. CBP is able to enforce intellectual property rights through its electronic recordation system that is accessible to CBP offices throughout the country. This Firm assists clients with respect to recording, developing protection strategies for intellectual property rights, and the filing of petitions if goods are seized for intellectual property violations.
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