Manufacturers, importers, and retailers are increasingly aware of global trade regulation and global demands for socially and environmentally responsible trading practices. As requirements change, companies must be agile to operate at the cutting edge of these changes and to develop and implement compliance programs. Mowry & Grimson attorneys work with both domestic and international clients to ensure that their goods and practices comply with private and governmental quality and safety standards.
In 2008, Congress amended the Lacey Act, the nation’s oldest wildlife protection law, to address the global plight of illegal logging. In addition to strict prohibitions on the trade of illegally harvested plants and plant products, the amendment requires that importers file a complex declaration upon entry for all goods that include any amount of plant or plant product. Mowry & Grimson attorneys were among the first members of a coalition representing importer rights and interests in negotiations with members of Congress and federal government agencies regarding the scope and implementation of the Lacey Act amendment. Our attorneys have aided both domestic and international manufacturers and importers in creating and implementing programs to comply with the Lacey Act amendment.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement intended to “ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.” As a signatory to CITES, the U.S. government places restrictions on the import and export of regulated species. These restrictions mean that U.S. importers must exercise due diligence to ensure that CITES-regulated materials are properly certified and permitted at the time of import to avoid detentions, seizures and penalties. Mowry & Grimson attorneys assist importers in meeting CITES requirements administered by the U.S. government and work through detentions and seizures where they occur.
Companies that engage in global manufacturing and sourcing are increasingly called upon to know the labor practices used in all parts of their supply chain. The Tariff Act of 1930 expressly prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, by forced or indentured labor – including forced child labor or products made with labor in certain geographic regions, such as the Xinjiang Province of China. Such merchandise is subject to exclusion from the United States and/or seizure at the ports. Mowry & Grimson works with clients to establish proactive compliance polices to ensure that forced labor is not used to manufacture their imported products, and we guide clients through any related enforcement actions should they arise.
Importers need to be aware of a multitude of federal and state governmental requirements aimed at ensuring product safety. Mowry & Grimson advises clients on the proper certification and labeling requirements to ensure product safety compliance at the ports and also guides clients through any enforcement or recall actions.
Imported products also fall under enforcement jurisdiction of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”). The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) requires importers to certify that imported products meet all product safety rules enforced by CPSC, which covers everything from furniture stability to electrical fire safety for home appliances. When product safety issues do arise, we assist our clients with prompt reporting, customer notifications and the smooth implementation of targeted recalls, where necessary.