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 regarding classification, valuation, country of origin and application of antidumping/countervailing duties, among other elements, are true and correct. United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasingly conducting audits of importers to determine whether their declarations, import procedures and recordkeeping systems comply with the applicable rules and regulations. Enforcement has been especially rigorous with respect to importers of products subject to antidumping and countervailing duty orders. Violations can result in additional duty or penalty assessments or, in egregious situations, criminal sanctions.
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 focused assessment audits, quick-response and single-issue 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.
In addition, Mowry & Grimson attorneys work with companies regarding their supply chain security obligations under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Program (C-TPAT). We regularly advise 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 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on imports of food, nutritional supplements, medical devices and cosmetics.
Mowry & Grimson is also frequently called upon to conduct due diligence reviews of potential Customs issues for companies involved in merger and acquisition transactions. 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.