U.S. Customs Import Special Program Compliance

Tariff Classification

When goods are imported into the United States they are subject to a specific rate of duty (tax on imported goods). Tariff classification of goods governs the rate of duty upon their entry into the United States. Properly classifying a product requires an understanding of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), which has been adopted by over 120 countries of the world. To attain knowledge of the HTSUS the firm analyzes Customs rulings and practices, as well as federal court decisions to obtain optimal classification and strategic import planning.


Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (“C-TPAT”), is a voluntary certification program that creates a relationship between Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and an importer exporter, importers, customs brokers, carriers, and other eligible entities to improve the trade of goods through the international supply chain. According to CBP, C-TPAT benefits include a reduced number of inspections and priority processing when CBP inspections do occur. Furthermore, C-TPAT members are eligible to participate in CBP programs such as the Importer Self Assessment (“ISA”), Free and Secure Trade program (“FAST”), and access to CBP training seminars open only to certified members.

In order to meet C-TPAT qualifications eligible companies must submit a Memorandum of Understanding and complete a Supply Chain Profile Questionnaire.  This profile requires a comprehensive internal review of their supply chain security procedures according to CBP guidelines.  After submission of the Memorandum and Questionnaire, C-TPAT participants must undergo a validation process in which CBP verifies that the information submitted is accurate and being followed.  This firm assists companies in applying for certification in C-TPAT.

Duty Drawback

Drawback is a program that provides duty refunds for goods that are exported or destroyed after importation. The firm provides legal advisement with respect to all the forms of duty drawback including unused, manufacturing, and substitution drawback. Drawback is a privilege and is only provided to those with precise compliance to the rules and regulations. Thus, we can assist in ensuring compliance and prompt refund of duties to save clients business expenses.

Seizures and Forfeitures

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has the authority to seize goods for violations of the Customs laws (for example, Intellectual Property violations) or other laws enforced by CBP (for example, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”); the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”); the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”); the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”). The firm assists importers in the filing of administrative petitions if the goods are seized and obtaining the release of their goods from Customs custody.

Fines and Penalties

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), assesses fines and penalties against importers or exporters who violate the United States laws. Typically, penalties are assessed because of issues regarding classification, valuation, or country of origin compliance. As a result, CBP records these violations in its database leading to a higher likelihood of Customs inspections and importing delays. In addition, CBP may assess liquidated damages if the required import procedures are not followed properly, or if goods are not redelivered to CBP after their release. The firm works to substantially mitigate penalties assessed by CBP through the administrative adjudicative process.