Rode & Qualey provides a wide range of services to individuals and businesses in a variety of industries. At Rode & Qualey, we strive to meet each client's specific needs in planning for the future and achieving their goals in an ever-changing financial and regulatory environment.
Our professional services include:
- Classification of Imported Merchandise
- Customs Administrative Practice
- Customs Audits
- Intellectual Property
- Quotas and Import Restrictions
- Foreign Trade Zones
- Various Government Agency Requirements
- Product Admissibility
- NAFTA and Other Free Trade Agreements
Classification of Imported Merchandise
Importers are required to properly classify goods imported into the United States in accordance with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"). Classification is of fundamental importance because it determines the admissibility of the goods, the duty rate that will be applied, the applicability of import restrictions and the availability of duty free treatment or reduced duties under special tariff preference programs and Free Trade Agreements.
We work closely with our clients to obtain the lowest duty rate available, to take advantage of special duty programs, and, when necessary, to modify products to obtain more favorable treatment.
Customs Valuation of Imported Merchandise
The proper appraisal of imported merchandise is one of the primary enforcement focus areas of United States Customs and Border Protection. Appraisal impacts the amount of duties payable, tax planning and eligibility for special tariff preference programs.
Rode & Qualey works with clients to insure that merchandise is properly appraised. We often assist our clients to identify ways within the valuation statute to obtained preferred appraisals and will counsel clients regarding potential duty savings and tax benefits that may be obtained through re-structured transactions including first sale appraisals.
Customs Administrative Practice
Rode and Qualey regularly represents clients in meetings and proceedings at all levels of United States Customs and Border Protection. We offer a complete administrative practice including filing of ruling requests, representation in penalty and investigative proceedings, comments on proposed regulations and changes of agency practice and the filing of protests and petitions.
Legal Compliance Programs
Rode & Qualey helps clients develop and implement internal compliance programs that work to insure compliance with CBP laws and regulations and have the added benefit of better streamlining and documenting the company's import process. In addition to meeting the company's obligation to CBP to exercise reasonable care these programs also help insure Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance.
Customs conducts audits of importers to confirm compliance. These audits frequently lead to the assessment of penalties and the identification of compliance areas that have inadequate internal controls. In order to prepare clients for Customs audits and to identify areas in need of improvement for purposes of implementing an internal compliance program , Rode & Qualey conducts confidential client audits so that the company will be prepared when Customs calls.
Customs Investigations, Seizures and Penalties
Violations of the Customs laws, and the laws of other agencies that are enforced by Customs, can result in both criminal and civil investigations. Penalties and fines can be very high, and Customs has the authority to seize merchandise in appropriate cases. Rode & Qualey has many years of experience representing clients involved in all stages of civil and criminal enforcement actions. We work to end the investigation or mitigate the claim. We also work with clients, through our audit program, to identify problems before they become the focus of a Customs investigation.
Customs plays a very active role in the enforcement of intellectual property rights including the seizure of imported products that are deemed to be counterfeits. Rode & Qualey works with trademark, copyright and patent owners to take advantage of the enforcement powers of Customs. We also assist importers whose product has been excluded or seized due to incorrect determinations by Customs that such product is infringing.
Export Licensing & Controls
Rode & Qualey assists client's in navigating the extensive controls and restrictions that apply to the exportation of products and technical information. Violations of export controls may result in criminal and civil penalties, seizure and forfeitures.
Quotas and Import Restrictions
The firm advises clients regarding quotas and import restraints that may apply to products including textiles, sugar and dairy.
Duty drawback programs provide for refunds of duty paid on imported product when that product, or finished goods made using the imported product, is exported from the United States. Rode & Qualey advises clients on all aspects of the duty drawback provisions. We can advise the company regarding eligibility for drawback as well as assist in implementing programs to better prepare drawback claims and speed refunds.
Foreign Trade Zones
A foreign-trade zone is a designated site licensed by the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board at which special customs procedures may be used. These procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place prior to formal customs entry. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are re-exported and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers located in the United States. Rode and Qualey has advised clients in all areas related to the establishment and operation of zones and subzones.
Antidumping, Countervailing Duty and Other Trade Relief Programs
Rode & Qualey has represented importers, foreign producers and exporters in all phases of anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations. The firm has also litigated issues before the US Court of International Trade and US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that have established important precedents in this area of law.
Various Government Agency Requirements
Rode & Qualey regularly counsels clients regarding the laws and regulations of federal agencies, other than Customs, that impact imported merchandise. These agencies, which are assisted by Customs, include:
- Federal Trade Commission
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- US International Trade Commission
- International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce
- Bureau of Export Administration
- Foreign Trade Zones Board
- Fish & Wildlife
Country of Origin and Marking
All products, subject to certain limited exceptions, must be marked with the correct country of origin when imported. Determination of the correct country of origin is not only important for marking, but also for many other reasons including: admissibility, duty preference programs, OFAC sanctions, quotas and anti-dumping or countervailing duties. Rode & Qualey counsels clients regarding the correct country of origin of its products and proper marking. We often assist clients on how to structure multiple country production programs to affect the country of origin determination.
Customs enforces many statutes and regulations, including those of other agencies, that affect the admissibility of merchandise. These regulations include country of origin marking, intellectual property rights, CITES regulations of Fish & Wildlife, FTC labeling requirements, FDA regulation of food and drugs, and OFAC sanctions. Rode & Qualey assists clients to comply with these requirements and advises clients who run afoul of the restrictions.
When the circumstances warrant, the firm is fully equipped to challenge adverse government determinations before the various agencies and Courts with jurisdiction in the areas of Customs and international trade. Our firm has a high rate of success both challenging and defending against adverse government actions. We have obtained substantial recoveries for our clients, often amounting to millions of dollars in duties, and have helped our clients avoid substantial penalties through successful litigation or settlement of cases.
NAFTA and Other Free Trade Agreements
Rode & Qualey has many years of experience advising clients regarding qualification for duty savings from free trade agreements. We assist with origin determinations, Customs information requests and implementation of internal compliance programs. Some major agreements include:
- United States-Israel Free Trade Act
- Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act
- United States-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act
- African Growth and Opportunity Act
- United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement
- Andean Trade Preference Act
- United States-Jordan Free Trade Area Implementation Act
- United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement
Legislation and Trade Policy Decisions
Rode & Qualey has advised clients regarding the legislative process, including working with legislative committees, preparing proposed statutory language and assisting with testimony.
55 West 39th Street, Suite 600, New York, New York 10018
Telephone: 212-944-7333 | Facsimile: 212-719-1828 | Email: Tradelaw@Rode-Qualey.com