Williams Mullen advises clients on all customs matters – from trade facilitation to homeland security – whether it involves a policy, regulatory or litigation issue. We help clients to mitigate the legal risks that accompany supply chain management: from trade compliance to import safety to homeland security. Our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with traditional customs issues such as entry requirements, tariff classification, customs valuation, rules of origin and country of origin marking. We also counsel clients regarding qualification for preferential trade agreements such as the USMCA or any of the other numerous free trade agreements or preference programs such as the Generalized System of Preferences.
Our team obtains rulings, files protests and litigates customs decisions in the courts. We also help clients to dispute the assessment of duties, including vessel repair duties, to obtain duty drawback or to take the benefit of other duty deferral programs. Our attorneys assist clients to establish (or to oppose their competitors’ establishment of) Free Trade Zones and also to comply with pertinent regulatory requirements.
Williams Mullen works with clients to help them proactively manage their compliance efforts; developing and improving their internal controls, recordkeeping and customs-compliance programs. We also counsel them during customs audits such as Focused Assessments or when participating in self-policing import compliance programs such as the Importer Self Assessment (ISA). When more defensive action is needed, our team aggressively represents clients in civil administrative penalty and criminal proceedings.
Clients rely on our team to keep them up-to-date with regulatory changes in Homeland Security, especially related to supply chain and port security, as well as the rules of other agencies (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations implementing the Bioterrorism Act). Through our guidance, clients have partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enhance supply-chain security through the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
In addition to representation and advice on U.S. Customs Law matters, our team has advanced and defended our clients’ customs-related interests in the context of multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, including free trade agreements. We have also represented clients before foreign customs authorities concerning tariff and non-tariff restrictions placed on U.S. exports