A Customs Attorney can help reduce the complexity of International trade where the
importer gets involved with numerous complicated laws, regulations, policies and
procedures. The import process is full of pitfalls. Not only does the importer have
to understand the local customs regulations but he or she must be able to classify
the imported goods appropriately. Depending on the product, there are various government
rules and restrictions which the importer must contend with. Within the United States
for example, importing food or an agricultural product can put you right in front
of the Food and Drug Administration. Ignorance of the law is definitely not an excuse
for the law.
Roles of a Customs Attorney
A competent Customs Attorney should be in a position to advise the import client
through the entire import process. Getting advice from a Customs Attorney to properly
classify your imported goods can be quite beneficial. The Customs Attorney should
also be able to advise you on the packaging and labeling to ensure customs compliance.
If there is a disagreement on the classification and tariffs, then the Customs Attorney
can file a protest on the client's behalf.
In the event that the imported goods are seized for investigation, the Customs Attorney
can advise the client on his or her rights and develop a course of action appropriately.
Everything is time sensitive when dealing with customs. If the Importer does not
react within a certain time frame, he or she can lose his or her rights. So it is
important to hire a Customs Attorney as soon as possible.
If the importer runs into trademark, copyright or patent infringements, the Customs
Attorney can also be in a position to represent him or her and take action accordingly.
Another example of when the services of a Customs Attorney are required is when
the importer has been falsely accused of importing counterfeit goods.
After the imported goods are brought into the importer's home country, special needs
such as contacting a bonded warehouse, utilizing free trade zones for tariff exemptions
or applying for duty drawbacks can be addressed by the Customs Attorney. If the
importer encounters quotas restrictions, it's another opportunity to get the Customs
Seven Common Customs Attorney Tasks
In order to represent and provide counsel to importers, the everyday tasks of a Customs
Keeping up with the latest customs rules and regulations which could impact the Importer
Play a role in ensuring that the correct monetary values are assigned to the imported
goods and ensure that the correct tariffs are applied. The Customs Attorney can help
to manage the relationship between the Importer and the Exporter.
Make sure that the imported products are classified correctly.
Ensure that the products are labeled correctly according to customs rules and regulations.
Verify that there are no additional tariffs to be applied to the imported goods such
as antidumping or countervailing tariffs.
Confirm that any refunds in tariffs such as drawbacks have been applied for.
Check that the client has all the appropriate records and procedures to comply with
the customs regulations. Some documents may need to be kept on file for a period
of 5 years.
Customs Attorney Qualifications
Customs and International Trade Law is one of the most complex areas of law practice.
The Customs Attorney must be admitted to the country's courts in order to practice.
He or she must also have the necessary skills and staff to support this demanding
profession. Sometimes a Customs Attorney may specialize in a particular industry
such as textiles and or certain pieces of International Trade Law such as antidumping.
In addition to assisting Importers, the Customs Attorney may also help Exporters
to navigate the complex rules of exporting too.