Proper tariff classification requires a detailed legal analysis and thorough knowledge of the international Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) In the U.S., knowledge of the HTSUS, Customs rulings and practices, as well as court decisions is essential to effective and practical strategies. Barnes/Richardson draws on more than ten decades of experience in classification to identify the classification resulting in the lowest legally correct rate.
Importers must ensure that the correct method of valuation is applied to their merchandise and that all required elements are included in the value reported to the customs authorities. Barnes/Richardson brings to bear unparalleled expertise on issues of valuation including working with importers to implement systems to identify and report assists (e.g., tooling and engineering expenses), establishing first sale for entry, and defending valuation in audits.
Customs Legal Compliance Programs
The burden of compliance with the laws and regulations administered by the Customs and Border Protection falls upon importers who must discharge this responsibility with reasonable care. That means establishing practical business systems and procedures that ensure importers meet Customs expectations of informed compliance. Barnes/Richardson designs and assists in the implementation of legal compliance programs specifically tailored to the needs of individual clients, including internal compliance reviews, the preparation of comprehensive manuals, training and other services designed to ensure and document the exercise of reasonable care. More below . . . .
Trade Agreements and Duty Reduction
Successive rounds of GATT/WTO negotiations and free trade agreement negotiations such as those leading to the USMCA have presented opportunities for those importers and domestic industries that are alert to the developments in these negotiations and that present their views effectively.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement, other similar agreements and programs such as the Generalized System of Preferences, AGOA, and duty drawback give importers opportunities to reduce the duties and fees owed on shipments to the United States and have created new avenues for U.S.-based importers to take advantage of economic opportunities for suppliers and factories in worldwide. We provide expert support in developing duty-reduction programs, including the completion of Certificates of Origin and the development of systems for communicating technically detailed FTA requirements to suppliers and customers. We also help with FTA verifications, GSP audits, the operation of Foreign Trade Zones, duty drawback, and other duty reduction opportunities.
Investigation & Audits
Formal investigations conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or other enforcement agencies and audits conducted by Customs can result in significant additional duty liability and the assessment of substantial penalties. Barnes/Richardson provides guidance and representation throughout the course of investigations and audits seeking to eliminate exposure to additional duty or penalty liability. More below . . . .
The security of your supply chain is an important area of focus for Customs & Border Protection. To avoid delays in the release of merchandise as well as to gain access to benefits from Customs, importers may wish to participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT. Barnes/Richardson lawyers help importers and foreign manufacturers apply for and retain C-TPAT membership from the implementation and application process through to, if necessary, responding to security incidents.
Binational Panel Reviews
The USMCA and its predecessor, the NAFTA, established unique dispute resolution procedures for international trade disputes in which the parties present their cases to a panel of decision-makers made up of both foreign and U.S. nationals. Barnes/Richardson lawyers pioneered the conduct of NAFTA binational panel reviews and can represented interested parties before USMCA panels.