Customs Law

Our team helps domestic and international companies with all aspects of the laws and regulations governing international commerce.

We represent a variety of companies in the international trade community, including importers, exporters, customs brokers, freight forwarders, sureties, insurance companies, and transportation companies. Our diverse client base affords us a broad perspective that enables us to develop creative and effective solutions to our clients’ issues.

We regularly deal with matters involving:

  • Tariff classification of imported merchandise
  • Customs valuation, including related party concerns, dutiability of royalties, and applicability of the first sale concept
  • Eligibility of products for tariff treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other special regimes and agreements (GSP, AGOA, CAFTA, US-Israel FTA, etc.)
  • Designing and implementing compliance programs for importers and customs brokers
  • Customs audits
  • Customs recordkeeping requirements
  • Customs penalties
  • Customs broker issues, including licensing, compliance, penalties, defense of claims, and related matters
  • Copyright and trademark issues
  • Country of origin determinations and marking questions
  • C-TPAT enrollment and advice
  • Special tariff provisions such as American goods assembled abroad and articles exported for repairs or alterations
  • Bonded warehouses/Foreign-Trade Zones
  • Quotas and visas
  • Drawback
  • Import compliance matters and penalty cases involving other partner government agencies such as FDA, EPA, DOT, TSA

Experience

Represented a U.S. distributor of chemicals for criminal violations of the provisions of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
Represented a Chinese producer of citric acid in an investigation under the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws
Represented an Iraqi architectural and construction firm in its negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers related to Iraqi reconstruction and development initiatives
Represent a U.S. durable goods producer / importer / exporter in a foreign criminal and parliamentary investigation of sales of goods to a foreign government-backed entity
Wall off” advice to a German corporation employing U.S. Persons abroad in its dealings with embargoed-nation customers
Represent a U.S. producer of household goods in the drafting, lobbying and enactment of federal legislation designed to obtain reduced-duty treatment
Represent a U.S. importer/retailer in claims for the refund of duties under the drawback law
Represent two European-based automobile importer / distributors in audits of customs duty liability
Represented a class of claimants regarding currency seized under bulk cash smuggling provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act
Represented a computer components importer in parallel criminal and civil proceedings for avoiding customs duties and filing false customs entries of computer components from Singapore
Represented an importer of chemicals from Europe in parallel civil and criminal investigations of allegations of violations of the country of origin marking rules
Represented a foreign producer of medical devices and its CEO in an allegation of importation of allegedly mismarked and misbranded medical devices under both the Tariff Act and the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act
A U.S. citizen in connection with the importation of smuggled artifacts from looted Iraqi museums
Represented two U.S. automotive importer/distributors in claims for refunds under the customs value code based upon post entry downward adjustments to their transfer prices
Represented a Taiwanese producer of fashion ribbons in an investigation under the U.S. antidumping laws
Represented a U.S. importer of medical waste bags to determine whether its goods were within the scope of an antidumping duty order on polyethylene retail carrier bags from the People’s Republic of China
News
Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars143 Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaAs Appeared in Law360, "Reading The China Tariff Tea Leaves" by Mark Ludwikowski Clark Hill Attorney Kevin Williams Appeared on CLTV Politics Tonight, “How Trump Tariffs, Trade Deals will Impact Illinois”Clark Hill Attorneys David G. Ries, Kevin Williams and Mark R. Ludwikowski will be speaking at the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association on February 22, 2018Clark Hill Member Steven M. Richman Moderated panel, “View From The Bench: The State of International Law,” at ABA’s midyear meetingClark Hill Attorney Kevin Williams Presented at Illinois Manufacturers Association Trade SymposiumClark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”International Trade Attorney Mark R. Ludwikowski Joins Clark Hill D.C. Seventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney R. Kevin Williams to Present at Center for International Law Programs 15th Annual Dominick L. DiCarlo U.S. Court of International Trade Lecture on April 20, 2017 in Chicago, ILClark Hill’s Steven Richman to Present Building and Managing an International Distributor Network Webinar – December 6, 2016Clark Hill PLC Receives National Rankings in the 2017 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Twenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2017 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill Attorney Steven Richman Participates in ABA Section of International Law’s Fall Meeting in JapanClark Hill Attorneys Joseph Donley and Steven Richman Participate in IBA ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Carlos M. Gutierrez, Jr. to Moderate Panel at Meridian International Center Cultural Diplomacy ForumClark Hill Attorney Steven Richman to Speak at IABA ConferenceClark Hill PLC Receives National Tier 1 Ranking for Litigation – Construction in the 2016 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Clark Hill Attorney Carlos M. Gutierrez, Jr. Joins US Business Delegation in HavanaClark Hill Attorney Steven Richman Presented at International Bar Association 2015 Annual Conference and Quoted in The Law Society GazetteClark Hill Attorney Steven Richman Published in International Bar Association Newsletter and Scheduled Speaker for Annual ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Steven Richman to Participate in Structuring International Contracts Webinar – September 16, 2015Clark Hill Attorney R. Kevin Williams Named Advisor to a member of the United States Trade Representative’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and NegotiationsClark Hill PLC Receives National and Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America's “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Two Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaAttorney Steven Richman Joins Clark Hill’s Princeton OfficeClark Hill Attorney Kevin Williams to Speak at Seminar on Business Opportunities in Growing Pacific Alliance Countries in Latin America – Philadelphia, March 16, 2015Clark Hill Chicago Attorney Kevin Williams Elected to the Board of Directors of the Spirito! Singers Clark Hill Attorneys R. Kevin Williams and Jonathan M. Boulahanis Quoted in Law360Attorney R. Kevin Williams will present on “Progress of Government Modernization: Supply Chain Security and Streamlining the Export/Import Process”
Articles
The Future of NAFTA May Be Up To CongressInternational Law for Solo Practitioners and Small Firms, The Legal Intelligencer, April 2017Jeff Van Winkle and Kevin Williams Quoted in MiMfg Magazine: Michigan in the Global Economy, October 2015Licensed Legal Technicians: The Future is Here - IBA Multidisciplinary Practices Committee and Professional Ethics Committee Newsletter, October 2015AssistsForeign Trade Zone Benefits EstimatorPrior Disclosures Under U.S. Customs Laws and RegulationsAluminum Extrusions from China – ADD/CVDA Trap for the Unwary: Use of the "Made in U.S.A." MarkLiquidation of EntriesForeign Trade Zones Help U.S. Companies Reduce Costs of Manufacturing and DistributionFluctuating Currencies - Some Customs and Trade ConsiderationsIntellectual Property Considerations and Issues for Importers and ExportersConfidentiality of Proprietary Import/Export Data: What Most Importers/Exporters Believe Versus the Reality of the Situation"Made in the U.S.A.?" by Lara Austrins in Working PArts magazineAgents and Employees May Be Liable for Customs ViolationsWho Could Be At Risk For Personal Liability in Customs Violations? By Tom O'Donnell in C.H. Robinson Blog5 Tips for Food Cos. Looking To Outsource Production By Jonathan Boulahanis & Kevin Williams in Law360
Presentations
WEBINAR: "New Trade Case on Imports of Plastic Decorative Ribbons from China"Webinar: Moving People and Material: Understanding core US employment, immigration, and importation issues when moving foreign nationalsHow Companies and Executives Run Afoul of Trade Sanctions: The Impact of Trade Sanctions on Business