Choosing A Great Business Attorney

Why Counsel Is Important To Ex-Im Businesses

Export and import activity can seem downright simple at times. However, the potential legal exposure of running an ex-im business is huge. You should retain the services of a customs and trade attorney for the following 5 reasons.

Forms and Documentation

Much of the customs world centers on compliance. You need to fill out the right forms for practically everything you ship in one direction or the other. Likewise, you need to document that your appraisal of the cargo is correct in terms of value and origin.

A customs attorney can assist you in identifying the right forms for every shipment. Likewise, they can give you a heads-up if regulatory changes are on the horizon. Getting the forms right dramatically reduces the risk that shipments will sit without clearance for weeks or months. Every little thing you can do to remove legal friction from the process is critical, and thorough compliance is the fastest way to achieve that goal.

Tariffs, Duties, Taxes, and Other Fees

Goods that move into or out of the country are frequently subject to tariffs, duties, taxes, and similar fees. A customs and trade attorney can make sure that your accounts are configured to handle this process with ease and accuracy.

Intellectual Property Rights

The customs system is one of the potential chokepoints that the law uses to enforce intellectual property rights. Suppose a trademark holder believes that one of your suppliers is sending counterfeit toys to the U.S. A lawyer for the IP rights holder will likely send a complaint to the CBP office at the ports of entry for the product. This complaint will notify agents to look out for potentially offending cargoes.

Your counsel needs to be prepared to authenticate everything you ship or receive. Otherwise, there's a risk that the port authorities will impound your shipments on behalf of a complainant.

Quotas and Penalties

Governments also frequently limit the quantities of certain products and materials that can enter a country. Quota violations can lead to penalties in some cases. In other instances, the government may simply turn your shipment back or even impound it.


Finally, governments frequently sanction productions going to or coming from adversary nations. Sanctions aren't limited to weapons systems in the age of economic cold wars, either. Computer chips, chemicals, and even agricultural equipment can fall under a sanctions regime. Be prepared to document compliance with sanctions from origin to destination.