International Trade Legal Services

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When faced with governmental inquiries related to international trade anywhere in the world, be it a penalty from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an audit by SAT in Mexico, a request from Canada Border Services regarding the Special Import Measures Act, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable law firm that understands how to respond and has the experience to identify and address not only the questions that were asked but those that were not.

Through our worldwide network of correspondent law firms and consulting companies, we can represent you directly or coordinate and supervise any customs-related matter, not just those outlined below, that you may face anywhere in the world. All of our correspondent law firms and consulting companies are recognized experts in the field and are supremely knowledgeable in both local laws and practices. This local knowledge is critical to a successful outcome.

International Trade Compliance Audits

Our comprehensive customs compliance audits assess your company’s current level of compliance with relevant trade laws and regulations. We will recommend modifications to reduce your risk and establish trade practices that will ensure you meet your legal obligations with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other government agencies involved with international trade. We also offer this service on a global basis.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Customized Training

We offer customized international trade compliance training programs for all levels of your organization. Our programs include high-level training for staff, senior management, and other personnel that are not directly involved with importing or exporting. We also offer detailed, focused training programs for those staff members that have direct responsibility or involvement with international trade.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Contract Review and Drafting

We can assist you with assuring that written agreements with your customers, suppliers and service providers correctly reflect the relationships and terms of sale or purchase that you intended. We will also thoroughly review any “terms and conditions” underlying these agreements to prevent you from unknowingly agreeing to responsibilities of which you are not aware.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Submission of Prior Disclosure and Prior Disclosure with Voluntary Tender of Unpaid Duties

If an area of non-compliance is identified, such as during our compliance audit, we will work with you to take full advantage of the protections offered by a Prior Disclosure (or Prior Disclosure with Voluntary Tender if unpaid duties are owed) and other agency or country-specific voluntary, self-disclosed administrative relief programs. For example, a Prior Disclosure provides reduced penalties to parties who self-report errors with import laws and regulations prior to discovery by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We can help you self-correct your compliance issues, determine the correct amount actually owed and get your disclosure filed properly and timely; avoiding the potentially devastating penalties you could be charged if such errors were discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Filing Post Summary Corrections and Protests to Recover Overpaid Duties

If, as a result of our compliance audit or Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification review, we find an incorrect tariff classification resulted in an overpayment of duties, we can work with you to file Post Summary Corrections or Protests on eligible entries with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to recovery monies paid. Protests may also be filed if there is an overpayment of duties caused by an incorrect entered value, (e.g., the customs broker did not use the proper currency conversion). Our thorough review of your transactions will assure that you pay only what is truly owed.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Responding to Official Requests

Many governmental agencies involved in the international trade process throughout the world, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, or SAT, may send you a request for additional information should they have a question regarding an import. These requests for information (in the United States, they are known as a CBP Form 28 Request for Information) are usually issued to verify information on an entry summary or other import declaration. While the requests may seem straightforward, we have the experience to understand the reason for the request and what U.S. Customs and Border Protection (or other agency issuing the request) is really asking.

For example, the request may simply ask for product specifications. What you may not realize however, is that the customs officer is going to use the product specifications to verify the Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification declared on the import documents to assure that you have reported everything correctly and followed any other governmental agency requirements. As such, what may appear to be a simple request may have a significant impact. Having the experience to “read between the lines,” allows us to not only provide the information requested (e.g., the product specifications) but also to provide the analysis for what is really being reviewed (e.g., explain the rationale for the tariff classification). This limits the chances of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (or other agency) from drawing their own conclusions and issuing a Notice of Action (CBP Form 29) or other notification which would change the original import declaration and possibly expose you to penalties.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Mitigation of Penalties and Liquidated Damages

Should an issue arise which results in you receiving a claim for Liquidated Damages or a Penalty, we will work with you to timely submit a Petition to Mitigate Penalties and Claims for Liquidated Damages. A Petition for Mitigation is a request to reduce or “mitigate” penalties or liquidated damages imposed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. With our proven track record of success, our experienced legal team will prepare and file a Petition for Mitigation on your behalf to request the maximum amount of relief possible. Examples of matters for which mitigation may be requested include, but are not limited to, penalties resulting from Emergency Action Notices (e.g., Solid Wood Packing Material violations), submission of incorrect entry information by your customs broker, and incorrect claims for benefits under the different preferential trade agreements. We offer this service worldwide.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Compliance with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other Anti-Bribery Legislation

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and most global trading partners have laws and regulations which prohibit many kinds of payments to government officials. In today’s global economy, companies may be unfamiliar with a country’s requirements regarding doing business with a foreign government and may rely upon a local agent, be it a customs broker, a buyer’s agent, or local distributor, to handle the customs’ formalities involved with importing and exporting. Reliance upon an agent does not relieve you of your responsibilities regarding anti-bribery laws and regulations. For example, a freight forwarder may add a charge for “expedited customs release” and explain that this was monies paid to the customs office for your shipment to go to the “front of the line” and be processed first by the customs official. Is this an acceptable payment under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other anti-bribery laws and regulations?

Engaging in international business without an experienced law firm to guide you on what types of payments are allowed or not allowed, could result in you being subject to severe fines and penalties for violations of the many anti-bribery statutes. In addition to civil fines or penalties and criminal penalties (including incarceration), your company may suffer from the public relations damage caused by being on the front page of the newspaper for the wrong reason. We can work with you to review current contracts, purchasing agreements, and other business arrangements to assure that payments being made to government officials are allowable under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-bribery legislation.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

International Trade and Customs Litigation

Many actions or decisions taken by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or other international trade-related agencies may ultimately need to be challenged in court beginning with the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) followed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court of the United States. Such challenges, however, place substantial burdens with specific time frames and requirements on the litigants. The legal professionals at the Law Offices of Michael A. Capuzzi, P.A. will protect your interests before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. We also partner with our network of global law firms licensed to practice in their country’s courts involved with international trade to protect your interests.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

We offer:

  • Customized, jurisdiction-specific services to fit your needs using local experts as necessary
  • Experience dealing with all legal matters involving international trade
  • Demonstrated success in recovery of overpaid duties and penalty avoidance and mitigation
  • Proven results working with all levels of governmental agencies involved in importing and exporting both in the United States and worldwide

Let’s Work Together

let’s work together

Our experienced legal professionals and Licensed CustomsBrokers will provide you the peace of mind you need to deal with any international trade related legal problem. No issue is too big or too small. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with us today.

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Harmonized Tariff Schedule Classification Projects

A product’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) classification determines the number of duties, taxes, fees, other applicable import, and export requirements, and is an integral part of necessary landed cost calculations. We offer country-specific HTS classification analysis to help assure that you are complying with the law, paying the correct amounts on your imported and exported products, and having the best possible information for your sourcing and pricing decisions.

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Preferential Trade Agreement Services and Supplier Solicitation

As preferential trade agreements like the USMCA and special programs like the Generalized System of Preferences become increasingly complex, companies are facing a growing sense of confusion and uncertainty. We provide comprehensive, turn-key solutions including full supplier solicitation, product qualification analysis, support document review and correction as well as certificate creation.

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Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Management

As part of a global supply chain, a company must have effective processes in place to manage the activities and costs of the service providers, such as 3PLs, carriers, customs brokers and freight forwarders involved in the movement and Customs clearance of their products.

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Export Compliance

Companies face ever-increasing obligations including knowing to whom they are shipping and how their exported product is going to be used licensing requirements, and possible effects of sanctions regimes. In today’s continuously evolving global marketplace, having a robust export compliance program is a necessity.

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Import Compliance

A successful import compliance program focusing on classification, marking, valuation, country of origin determination and document review, assures adherence to customs-related regulatory requirements and payment of the proper amounts for governmental fees and service provider charges, while also minimizing the risk of exposure to fines or penalties.

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