U.S. customs laws require that importers exercise reasonable care in entering their merchandise into the United States. This mandate requires importers to ensure that declarations made on customs documents are true and correct. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses a variety of tools, from comprehensive requests for information to full-blown audits to determine whether importers have paid all applicable duties and whether their declarations, import procedures and recordkeeping systems comply with the applicable rules and regulations.
Mowry & Grimson assists U.S. importers in performing internal customs audits and implementing and maintaining effective internal customs compliance programs. We represent clients before CBP in all forms of audits, penalty investigations and enforcement actions, including seizures. Where violations do occur, our attorneys work with importers to prepare prior disclosures in appropriate circumstances to minimize the company’s exposure to more severe penalties. We also assist companies in filing protests to challenge CBP’s assessment of duties upon liquidation.
We regularly counsel companies regarding the U.S. regulations governing the classification and valuation of imported products and work with importers to ensure compliance with U.S. country-of-origin marking and labeling requirements. The firm advises global corporations on multinational product marking concerns. We also assist companies in complying with labeling and other requirements imposed by other U.S. government agencies that are enforced by CBP such as Lacey Act declaration requirements and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations on imports of food, nutritional supplements, and medical devices.
Mowry & Grimson is also frequently called upon to conduct due diligence reviews of potential customs issues for companies involved in merger and acquisition transactions and initial public offerings. It is critical to vet potential customs issues prior to corporate changes in order to determine proper valuation of the deal and minimize risks of successor liability based on violations by a predecessor company. Our firm partners with attorneys involved in the corporate side of merger and acquisition transactions to ensure that all parties to the transaction have a complete picture of how customs issues affect the transaction both before and after the deal is consummated.