Importers face a daunting patchwork of legal and regulatory requirements. Llona & Bustamante Abogados helps U.S. importers navigate the full range of customs issues including classification and valuation of imported goods, country-of-origin rules, trade preferences and other duty-free programs, as well as mechanisms for reducing duties. Llona & Bustamante Abogados assist U.S. exporters address importing issues in many parts of the world (e.g., EU, NAFTA countries, China, the Russian Federation, etc.). Amid heightened concern about the safety of cargo supply chains, Llona & Bustamante Abogados can also assist importers in working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure security and timely clearance.
The following are among the areas in which the firm can provide assistance in importing into the United States.
Customs Counseling, Representation and Compliance
- Classification and Valuation of Imported Goods. The classification and value of goods determines the amount of duties assessed, and the controlling regulations are extremely complex. Careful analysis can minimize duties and avoid possible customs penalties for mis-declarations upon entry.
- Country of Origin Rules for Marking and Special Preference Programs. Most imports must bear a marking of origin. Again, the controlling rules are complex, particularly when the imported goods are produced or assembled from materials originating from multiple countries. Mis-marked goods are subject to exclusion and assessment of special penalties. Careful analysis can avert mistakes.
- Free Trade Agreements, Trade Preference, and Other Duty-Free Programs. There are numerous programs in which imports may enter the United States duty-free either in whole or in part.
- Duty Drawback. Importers can obtain refunds of duties – i.e., “duty drawback“ – that they pay on imports they subsequently re-export or use to produce other exported goods. Careful planning to assure conformance with the rules can result in duty savings.
- Foreign Trade Zones and Bonded Warehouses. Importers may import goods into Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) or bonded warehouses and not pay duties upon importation. They may also further process the imports while they remain in those locations. The goods become subject to duties only at the time of withdrawal if they ultimately enter the United States, and they completely escape duty assessment if they are, instead, exported. These programs create options that can minimize or even eliminate duties.
- Customs Ruling Requests. Importers can gain certainty as to prospective import transactions by seeking formal Customs Rulings on a broad array of legal issues, such as the classification, value, and origin of goods. There are many reasons to seek these rulings in a program of customs-law compliance.
- Customs Compliance and Self-Assessment Programs. Importers have an affirmative duty to exercise “reasonable care” in making entry declarations. This requires affirmative efforts to declare correct classifications, dutiable values, origins, and the like. Importers are increasingly obliged to engage in comprehensive self-assessments and implement customs compliance programs in order to avoid customs penalties. U.S. Customs (Customs) expects importers to engage consultants with appropriate expertise.
- Customs Investigations, Regulatory Audits, and Focused Assessments. Customs is increasingly enforcing the law through post-import audits and assessments. Importers must be ready for these and be able to respond effectively.
- Customs Penalties. Customs assesses penalties for violations of the law, including mis-declarations at entry. Penalty procedures are formal and final penalties can be severe.
- Protests of Customs Liquidations. Importers may protest customs decisions bearing on, e.g., duty assessments. This involves a formal procedure and normally requires making presentations.
- Customs Litigation Before The U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Importers can further challenge Customs in a court of specialized jurisdiction. Court cases can become necessary when large amounts of duties are involved.
Experienced Peru Customs Attorney
Customs is increasingly relying on importers to promote the security of the United States by making certain their cargo is secure. To this end, it is offering incentives to importers who adopt appropriate programs to ensure security in their supply chains. This is a rapidly developing area of the law. Llona & Bustamante Abogados can advise and assist companies in exploring these opportunities.