An Overview of Issues with Customs and Tariff Planning
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a role in every import transaction. Indeed, it plays two roles: as a revenue collection agency, and as a security agency. Failure to comply with CBP’s requirements can have dire consequences: an importer may be assessed with additional duties, be penalized for errors in information reported to CBP and, in some cases, even have entry of its merchandise denied. Planning ahead and understanding the rules are essential steps for every importer.
The issues for importers to anticipate are legion. Is the proposed tariff classification of its merchandise correct, and has the correct tariff rate been identified? Is the declared value accurate, and have any additional royalties, assists or post-importation payments to the foreign seller been declared to CBP? If the importer is claiming a conditional duty privilege, such as under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), Generalized System of Preference (GSP) or other program, does the merchandise meet the applicable rules of origin and can the supplier provide proof, if requested by CBP? Have all other formalities been met, such as proper submission of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) or documentation required by other Federal government agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?
Legal Assistance with Customs and Tariff Issues
My involvement with customs and tariff matters began on the first day of my first job out of law school, in 1981, and has continued until now. I have represented importers with virtually every facet of laws and regulations administered by CBP: classification, valuation, trade agreements and their rules of origin, country of origin marking, duty drawback, foreign-trade zones, bonded warehouses and other duty-avoidance or duty-deferral techniques, admissibility of merchandise and related administrative proceedings, protests and Court of International Trade litigation, as well as security-related programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) and the requirements of other Federal agencies that are enforced by CBP. Since 1995, I have taught a graduate school class covering these topics.
This experience has given me a systematic understanding of the laws and regulations honed my ability to explain how these complex requirements apply in day to day practice.
Contact me about customs and tariff issues using the form below, or simply call my office at 202-772-2039.