Knowledge on a Broad Range of Important Issues
Importers require knowledgeable counsel and smart advice to guide them through the complexities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s specialized procedures and requirements. Issues commonly faced by importers include compliance and enforcement regarding the classification, valuation, and origin of imported merchandise.
AMS TRADE advises on a broad range of import issues before the CBP, including complementing the firm’s skilled prowess in intellectual property rights enforcement. Our proximity to Customs Headquarters enables us to have face-to-face interaction with CBP officials and remain at the forefront of the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. We also litigate customs matters in the Court of International Trade and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Our administrative and litigation successes have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in duty savings and refunds for our clients.
Our four decades of experience with customs matters includes:
We work with importers regarding issues of classification, valuation, country of origin, and preferential trade agreement applicability of imported merchandise leading to significant duty savings. We:
- Advise clients regarding shifting supply chains’ impacts on country of origin and valuation of imported merchandise, ensuring companies can make informed decisions regarding sourcing and production.
- Assist clients in obtaining preferential duty treatment under, for example, the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (programs that allow certain goods from eligible countries to enter the United States duty-free), which are brought before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
- Help clients take advantage of free trade agreements and navigate complex regional value calculations, including under USMCA.
- Advise clients on free trade zone options that re-shore supply chains with potential duty advantages.
Importers are obligated to exercise reasonable care in importing into the United States, but the complexity of Customs’ rules and regulations can make this an ongoing challenge. We lend our specific and honed skill in this area to ensure importers are well-prepared. We work with companies to conduct compliance assessments of import processes, procedures, and documents to proactively ensure customs compliance and duty savings, and to insulate clients from potential customs penalties for non-compliance.
Penalties and Seizures
Importers receiving formal notice that Customs is assessing a penalty or seizing merchandise must act to mitigate or avoid penalties, or have Customs release the seized merchandise. Our firm:
- Works with clients and Customs to achieve the best possible results in cases involving penalties and seizures.
- Is experienced in navigating clients through the process of filing prior disclosures, which, combined with the payment of any lost revenue resulting from a disclosed mistake, can mitigate or eliminate penalties.
Our familiarity with Customs policies and procedures enables us to represent our clients proactively and strategically when we:
- Encounter an issue for which there is no clear answer and work with our client to request a written ruling or internal advice from Customs.
- Continually monitor Customs rulings and court decisions on issues that may affect our clients and their businesses.
Recordation, Brand Protection, and Enforcement
Brand protection and enforcement represent two essential elements of intellectual property protection. AMS TRADE assists clients in protecting valuable IP rights from inception through enforcement. We:
- Record clients’ registered trademarks and copyrights to prevent infringing products from being imported into the United States.
- Are one of the few firms with experience appearing in the recently established inter parties proceedings before CBP’s Intellectual Property Rights Branch administered pursuant to Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 1337.
- Educate CBP officials regarding clients’ recorded products and protected IP to ensure appropriate enforcement at the border.