Customs
Customs
For companies involved in international trade, comprehensive and fully integrated customs compliance and supply chain management is mission-critical.
Our customs attorneys work with clients–from the some of the world’s largest companies to smaller family-owned businesses–in a wide range of sectors including food, agricultural and aquaculture; metals and mining; textiles, apparel (including luxury goods) and footwear; consumer products and home furnishings; construction equipment and machinery; and pharmaceuticals and chemicals to help businesses minimize regulatory risk, avoid supply chain interruption, and reduce customs liability.

Our team of attorneys, customs practitioners, and accountants help clients develop, implement and manage tailored customs compliance programs to meet federal regulatory requirements enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  Beyond the nuts and bolts of regulatory compliance, we work with clients to develop and implement precise import planning and cost-savings programs, including First Sale Rule programs, multi-tiered transactions to maximize lawful duty savings, Foreign Trade Zone applications, classification reviews, and other duty savings programs.

We work in virtually every substantive area of Customs law, including:
 
  • Classification

  • Valuation

  • Country of origin and marking

  • Admissibility and quota issues

  • Bilateral and multilateral agreements

  • Preferential trade programs

  • Drawback

  • Foreign Trade Zones

  • Temporary Importation Bonds

  • Internal compliance reviews

  • Focused Assessments

  • Audits

  • Investigations, penalty procedures and liquidated damage claims

  • Seizures and forfeitures

  • Ruling requests

  • Protests and other administrative and judicial challenges

Our attorneys enjoy a well-earned reputation for integrity and credibility with all offices of CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the local, regional and national levels, and before other federal agencies with regulations that are often enforced by CBP, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.  We also have extensive experience before the U.S. Court of International Trade and other federal courts, including courts of appeal that have jurisdiction over customs matters.

In conjunction with our other regulatory practices, including Consumer Product Safety, Food & Drug Law, Environmental Law and Intellectual Property, we help clients navigate emerging threats such as multiple-agency enforcement matters.  Our multidisciplinary practices enable us to respond to regulatory issues with detailed and accurate advice, which allows our clients to avoid sourcing delays that often occur in the importation process.

Our team includes practitioners who have served in numerous U.S. government roles involving the regulation of imports and exports, including former Under Secretary for Export Administration; former customs counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee; former Special Assistant to the President and Director for Trade and Investment; former member of the International Trade Advisory Committee on Customs; and former member of the Office of Assistant Chief Counsel, CBP.  We advocate for our clients’ interests where U.S. trade policy is drafted and debated, helping to shape international trade legislation, customs reform, free trade agreements and new programs involving security.

Our attorneys and consultants are often asked to train U.S. Customs officials in various elements of customs law and practice, including product-specific training.  We serve on federal advisory committees, including the International Trade Advisory Committee on Customs, which advises the White House on international customs issues; and the Trade Support Network, which advises CBP on its ongoing automation efforts, including the implementation of the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program.  We are also regularly involved with international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organizations.

Kelley Drye has handled numerous matters that cover the full spectrum of customs issues.  The work described below is reflective of the scope and diversity of the firm’s customs practice.  Recent representative examples include the following:

Representation of U.S. importers of non-ferrous metals, steel, seafood products, motor vehicles, toys, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, paper products, tobacco products, household products, machinery, electronics, tableware and crystal products in achieving the following results:

  • Successfully eliminating or substantially mitigating civil penalties and/or liquidated damages and forfeiture claims – ranging from misclassification, undervaluation, quota violations, failure to mark and false designation of origin.

  • Obtaining favorable classification, country-of-origin, marking and valuation rulings.

Participation in numerous foreign-trade zone (FTZ) proceedings on behalf of applicants, opponents and zone operators.

  • Continuously representing one of the largest general purpose FTZ operators in the United States.

  • Representing various industries in connection with administrative and judicial proceedings relating to the treatment of zone merchandise by Customs.

Representation of a national retailer on customs and trade matters related to imports of apparel, footwear, furniture, clothing accessories and home products.

  • Guiding the company through a Customs Focused Assessment.

  • Regularly overseeing the company’s classification activities.

  • Advising the company on country of origin marking issues.

  • Assisting the company in importation issues arising out of the regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s implementation of the Lacey Act.

Representation of one of the largest furniture importers in the United States, including:

  • Terminating an ICE investigation, which was based on an improper allegation that the company was circumventing an antidumping duty order.

  • Advising the company during the course of a Customs Focused Assessment audit.

  • Advising the company on how to modify its valuation methodology in light of a major corporate restructuring.

  • Assisting in the restructuring of the company’s global import operations to minimize antidumping duty liability.

  • Securing favorable scope exclusions relating to the importation of certain products covered by antidumping duty orders. 

Representation of one of the world’s largest steel companies on a variety of trade and customs issues, including:

  • Advising the company on how to restructure its import operations through the use of non-resident importer-of-record status.

  • Assisting the company in connection with an internal customs compliance review, C-TPAT and ISA application process, and a variety of classification, valuation and origin issues.

Representation of a global and diversified Fortune 200 conglomerate, including:

  • Completing a customs compliance assessment for its largest importing group.

  • Assisting its largest importing group in becoming a validated C-TPAT member.

  • Providing advice on classification and marking ruling requests and NAFTA verification matters.

  • Conducting internal reviews and establishing import/export compliance programs for the company’s business units.

  • Providing on-site training on company-specific import/export issues.

Representation of a Fortune 500 chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing company in customs matters, including:

  • Conducting an internal compliance review of all business units’ import operations.

  • Assisting the company in becoming a C-TPAT member.

  • Assisting business units in establishing internal controls and being accepted into the ISA program.

  • Advising the largest importing business unit on FTZ, TIB and drawback matters.

  • Obtaining a favorable ruling with respect to classification and valuation that resulted in substantial duty refunds and savings.

  • Successfully defending against certain penalty and seizure actions.

Representation of a Fortune 100 manufacturing conglomerate in connection with:

  • NAFTA origin analysis and review.

  • Favorable classification ruling on works trucks, resulting in substantial duty refunds and a reduction of the company’s duty liability by 25 percent.

  • Assisting a division in a Customs Focused Assessment audit, and providing advice regarding C-TPAT and ISA membership.

  • Counseling a division with respect to FTZ matters.

Continuous representation of the U.S. juice products industry trade association in connection with several issues related to the country-of-origin marking regime and the administration of the drawback laws.  Activities on behalf of the trade association have included:

  • Litigating at the administrative and judicial levels the issues of how juice products made from imported concentrates are to be marked. The judicial proceeding was the first case in which the Court of International Trade granted pre-importation judicial review.

  • Participating in the CAFTA and NAFTA negotiating process to ensure preservation of drawback for the citrus juice producing industry in the face of the overall elimination of drawback by these agreements. The CAFTA and NAFTA exceptions to the phase-out of drawback for citrus juice are among the few exceptions in those agreements.

  • Hosting seminars for Port and Headquarters officials on juice industry drawback matters.

Representation of a number of individual companies that have been audited and challenged by Customs in connection with their drawback claims. Successful results have included:

  • Overturning through protest the results of an audit that sought remittal of more than $2 million in drawback payments.

  • Settling at the judicial level a claim by CBP for the refund of more than $1.5 million in drawback payments.

  • Obtaining approval for numerous individual drawback contracts and rulings.

  • Overturning through protest customs’ claims for refund of drawback payments already made on the basis of erroneous certificates of delivery.

  • Securing numerous rulings on behalf of individual producers in connection with inventory/record keeping issues, possession issues, same kind and quality, fungibility, and commercial interchangeability determinations.

  • Establishing import record-keeping and drawback compliance programs for individual juice producers.

  • Obtaining favorable legislation related to drawback claims.

  • Overturning through litigation CBP’s denial of drawback of scrap steel producers/exporters, resulting in savings of $2.5 million.

 
 

Overview

For companies involved in international trade, comprehensive and fully integrated customs compliance and supply chain management is mission-critical.
Our customs attorneys work with clients–from the some of the world’s largest companies to smaller family-owned businesses–in a wide range of sectors including food, agricultural and aquaculture; metals and mining; textiles, apparel (including luxury goods) and footwear; consumer products and home furnishings; construction equipment and machinery; and pharmaceuticals and chemicals to help businesses minimize regulatory risk, avoid supply chain interruption, and reduce customs liability.

Our team of attorneys, customs practitioners, and accountants help clients develop, implement and manage tailored customs compliance programs to meet federal regulatory requirements enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  Beyond the nuts and bolts of regulatory compliance, we work with clients to develop and implement precise import planning and cost-savings programs, including First Sale Rule programs, multi-tiered transactions to maximize lawful duty savings, Foreign Trade Zone applications, classification reviews, and other duty savings programs.

We work in virtually every substantive area of Customs law, including:
 
  • Classification

  • Valuation

  • Country of origin and marking

  • Admissibility and quota issues

  • Bilateral and multilateral agreements

  • Preferential trade programs

  • Drawback

  • Foreign Trade Zones

  • Temporary Importation Bonds

  • Internal compliance reviews

  • Focused Assessments

  • Audits

  • Investigations, penalty procedures and liquidated damage claims

  • Seizures and forfeitures

  • Ruling requests

  • Protests and other administrative and judicial challenges

Our attorneys enjoy a well-earned reputation for integrity and credibility with all offices of CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the local, regional and national levels, and before other federal agencies with regulations that are often enforced by CBP, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.  We also have extensive experience before the U.S. Court of International Trade and other federal courts, including courts of appeal that have jurisdiction over customs matters.

In conjunction with our other regulatory practices, including Consumer Product Safety, Food & Drug Law, Environmental Law and Intellectual Property, we help clients navigate emerging threats such as multiple-agency enforcement matters.  Our multidisciplinary practices enable us to respond to regulatory issues with detailed and accurate advice, which allows our clients to avoid sourcing delays that often occur in the importation process.

Our team includes practitioners who have served in numerous U.S. government roles involving the regulation of imports and exports, including former Under Secretary for Export Administration; former customs counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee; former Special Assistant to the President and Director for Trade and Investment; former member of the International Trade Advisory Committee on Customs; and former member of the Office of Assistant Chief Counsel, CBP.  We advocate for our clients’ interests where U.S. trade policy is drafted and debated, helping to shape international trade legislation, customs reform, free trade agreements and new programs involving security.

Our attorneys and consultants are often asked to train U.S. Customs officials in various elements of customs law and practice, including product-specific training.  We serve on federal advisory committees, including the International Trade Advisory Committee on Customs, which advises the White House on international customs issues; and the Trade Support Network, which advises CBP on its ongoing automation efforts, including the implementation of the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program.  We are also regularly involved with international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organizations.

Experience

Kelley Drye has handled numerous matters that cover the full spectrum of customs issues.  The work described below is reflective of the scope and diversity of the firm’s customs practice.  Recent representative examples include the following:

Representation of U.S. importers of non-ferrous metals, steel, seafood products, motor vehicles, toys, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, paper products, tobacco products, household products, machinery, electronics, tableware and crystal products in achieving the following results:

  • Successfully eliminating or substantially mitigating civil penalties and/or liquidated damages and forfeiture claims – ranging from misclassification, undervaluation, quota violations, failure to mark and false designation of origin.

  • Obtaining favorable classification, country-of-origin, marking and valuation rulings.

Participation in numerous foreign-trade zone (FTZ) proceedings on behalf of applicants, opponents and zone operators.

  • Continuously representing one of the largest general purpose FTZ operators in the United States.

  • Representing various industries in connection with administrative and judicial proceedings relating to the treatment of zone merchandise by Customs.

Representation of a national retailer on customs and trade matters related to imports of apparel, footwear, furniture, clothing accessories and home products.

  • Guiding the company through a Customs Focused Assessment.

  • Regularly overseeing the company’s classification activities.

  • Advising the company on country of origin marking issues.

  • Assisting the company in importation issues arising out of the regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s implementation of the Lacey Act.

Representation of one of the largest furniture importers in the United States, including:

  • Terminating an ICE investigation, which was based on an improper allegation that the company was circumventing an antidumping duty order.

  • Advising the company during the course of a Customs Focused Assessment audit.

  • Advising the company on how to modify its valuation methodology in light of a major corporate restructuring.

  • Assisting in the restructuring of the company’s global import operations to minimize antidumping duty liability.

  • Securing favorable scope exclusions relating to the importation of certain products covered by antidumping duty orders. 

Representation of one of the world’s largest steel companies on a variety of trade and customs issues, including:

  • Advising the company on how to restructure its import operations through the use of non-resident importer-of-record status.

  • Assisting the company in connection with an internal customs compliance review, C-TPAT and ISA application process, and a variety of classification, valuation and origin issues.

Representation of a global and diversified Fortune 200 conglomerate, including:

  • Completing a customs compliance assessment for its largest importing group.

  • Assisting its largest importing group in becoming a validated C-TPAT member.

  • Providing advice on classification and marking ruling requests and NAFTA verification matters.

  • Conducting internal reviews and establishing import/export compliance programs for the company’s business units.

  • Providing on-site training on company-specific import/export issues.

Representation of a Fortune 500 chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing company in customs matters, including:

  • Conducting an internal compliance review of all business units’ import operations.

  • Assisting the company in becoming a C-TPAT member.

  • Assisting business units in establishing internal controls and being accepted into the ISA program.

  • Advising the largest importing business unit on FTZ, TIB and drawback matters.

  • Obtaining a favorable ruling with respect to classification and valuation that resulted in substantial duty refunds and savings.

  • Successfully defending against certain penalty and seizure actions.

Representation of a Fortune 100 manufacturing conglomerate in connection with:

  • NAFTA origin analysis and review.

  • Favorable classification ruling on works trucks, resulting in substantial duty refunds and a reduction of the company’s duty liability by 25 percent.

  • Assisting a division in a Customs Focused Assessment audit, and providing advice regarding C-TPAT and ISA membership.

  • Counseling a division with respect to FTZ matters.

Continuous representation of the U.S. juice products industry trade association in connection with several issues related to the country-of-origin marking regime and the administration of the drawback laws.  Activities on behalf of the trade association have included:

  • Litigating at the administrative and judicial levels the issues of how juice products made from imported concentrates are to be marked. The judicial proceeding was the first case in which the Court of International Trade granted pre-importation judicial review.

  • Participating in the CAFTA and NAFTA negotiating process to ensure preservation of drawback for the citrus juice producing industry in the face of the overall elimination of drawback by these agreements. The CAFTA and NAFTA exceptions to the phase-out of drawback for citrus juice are among the few exceptions in those agreements.

  • Hosting seminars for Port and Headquarters officials on juice industry drawback matters.

Representation of a number of individual companies that have been audited and challenged by Customs in connection with their drawback claims. Successful results have included:

  • Overturning through protest the results of an audit that sought remittal of more than $2 million in drawback payments.

  • Settling at the judicial level a claim by CBP for the refund of more than $1.5 million in drawback payments.

  • Obtaining approval for numerous individual drawback contracts and rulings.

  • Overturning through protest customs’ claims for refund of drawback payments already made on the basis of erroneous certificates of delivery.

  • Securing numerous rulings on behalf of individual producers in connection with inventory/record keeping issues, possession issues, same kind and quality, fungibility, and commercial interchangeability determinations.

  • Establishing import record-keeping and drawback compliance programs for individual juice producers.

  • Obtaining favorable legislation related to drawback claims.

  • Overturning through litigation CBP’s denial of drawback of scrap steel producers/exporters, resulting in savings of $2.5 million.

Partner
Email (202) 342-8530(202) 342-8530
Larry Lasoff has nearly three decades of experience helping a broad spectrum of clients navigate the complex regulatory hurdles of international trade and customs.  He is also involved in man...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8590(202) 342-8590
With more than three decades of experience in international trade law, Kathy Cannon assists domestic businesses and business coalitions that are experiencing injury due to unfairly traded imports,...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8456(202) 342-8456
Mike maintains a 30-year track record of obtaining relief for his clients from unfair foreign trade practices that threaten their existence. Mike has handled many U.S. antidumping (AD) and (C...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8488(202) 342-8488
With a practice at the intersection of law, economics, domestic politics and international relations, John Herrmann represents clients before all U.S. trade agencies.  He counsels U.S. produc...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8835(202) 342-8835
Alan Luberda practices in the areas of international trade, customs, and export controls law and regulation.  He counsels and represents businesses – from large multinationals to family...
Senior International Trade/Tax Advisor
Email (202) 342-8555(202) 342-8555
Gregory Mastel brings two and a half decades of experience in trade policy and government relations from both the public and private sectors.  He assists clients on tax, trade and other issue...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8872(202) 342-8872
Grace Kim advises on international trade and customs matters.  She represents domestic industries in trade remedy proceedings, particularly antidumping and countervailing duty investigations,...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8416(202) 342-8416
For more than fifteen years, Jennifer McCadney’s practice has included a mix of law and policy.  As both a lawyer and government relations and policy strategist, Jennifer helps companie...
Special Counsel
Email (212) 808-7706(212) 808-7706
Laura Siegel Rabinowitz has extensive experience in handling international trade projects for a wide range of clients, including multinational importers, exporters, retailers, manufacturers, cust...