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Customs Money Seizure

Peter S. Herrick PA represents enterprises and individuals in Government "Customs" money seizures cases, helping them recover seized assets and litigating against inappropriately imposed fines for legally transported goods.

Anyone transporting over $10,000 across the United States borders must file a Form 4790 with the U.S. Customs. The failure to file the report results in asset seizure and forfeiture.

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Customs Classification

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule regulates export and import types for merchandise depending on the international Harmonized System. Categorization is the process of placing goods into trade categories that create a standardized international system on which to:

  • Base tariffs
  • Collect trade statistics
  • Establish origin
  • Devise trade negotiations
  • Collect government revenue
  • Devise trade negotiations

It also enables governments to monitor prohibited and restricted goods. The Harmonized Trade System is inclusive of some goods that receive preferential classifications and tariffs. The U.S. Customs is the only U.S. government authority that can offer binding advice or rulings on import classification.

Customs Valuation

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) formed the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1993, establishing the customs value of traded goods, protecting domestic companies, international trade, and increasing importation of certain goods countries also base their duties on the valuation.

Customs Seizure

Besides seizing unreported cash or currency valued over $10,000, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs), under the Department of Homeland Security, may seize counterfeit and pirated property in violation of copyright, patent, and trademark laws other prohibited or restricted goods.

Customs penalty Valuation and classification violations can end up in added penalty fees anywhere between 200% and 800% of a commodity’s duty value. They may also prosecute violators criminally if it suspects fraudulent intent.

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Customs Drawback

Drawback pertains to the partial or complete remission or refund of a collected duty based on the commodity’s use. The drawback is an incentive for manufacturing and commercial trade, enabling U.S. companies to compete in international markets without including the duty of imported goods in their sales price. Before committing to transactions, manufacturers can apply for a drawback ruling to evaluate their production costs. Our attorneys assist clients with a drawback, petitioning the United States Treasury for forfeiture penalty, remission, claims, and mitigation cancellation for liquidated damages. We can also bring in lawsuits on behalf of our clients for asset recovery and fines cancellation. We’re licensed to practice before the United States Court of International Trade.

Dumping Duties and Countervailing Duties

Our attorneys support international enterprises to stay in the competition. Dumping is an international trade practice in which one country exports goods at lower rates as compared to the charges in the domestic market, essentially dumping the product. Under GATT, importing countries may follow anti-Dumping measures.

  • Dumping is unfavorable for domestic commerce and includes applying Dumping duties to level the playing field. The WTO does not discipline countries for Dumping, but it does discipline anti-Dumping actions that do not stick to GATT regulations that require Dumping investigations to compare normal value pricing to Dumping pricing and damages incurred to establish the duration of anti-dumping measures. The WTO uses settlement panels to resolve disputes over anti-Dumping actions taken by domestic country authorities.
  • Countervailing duties are anti-subsidy duties that importing countries enforce to counteract or countervail the adverse effects of subsidized imports on their domestic market. The WTO disciplines and regulates the use of subsidies through dispute settlement procedures. The two ways of dealing with the adverse effects of subsidies are:
  • Reach a settlement where the importing country withdraws the subsidy.
  • Ensuing the importing country’s investigation of damages, impose an additional tariff, called a Countervailing duty on subsidized imports that harm domestic markets.
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Subsidizing Imported Goods

The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITC) directs whether other countries subsidize imported goods. If the subsidies are harmful to U.S. domestic markets and if considered so, the ITC orders U.S. Customs to levy Countervailing duties corresponding with the subsidies.

Our attorneys help companies with filing petitions about Countervailing duties. Under Section 702(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, to file a petition, manufacturers must provide evidence substantiating that they produce 25% of the total domestic product and that more than 50% of the industry producing this product supports it or opposes the petition.

Our customs attorneys have extensive experience and knowledge dealing with regulatory agencies to hold dumping duties and countervailing international enterprises' duties.

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Our Achievements

  • Cancellation of $3.25 Million Counterfeit Penalty - Customs alleged our client’s imported sunglasses were counterfeit and assessed this penalty. Based on the petition we filed, Customs canceled this penalty. We have filed a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act for damages equal to the $3.25 million penalties.
  • Cancellation of $550,000 Counterfeit Penalty and Release of Burberry Sandals - Customs claimed our client’s imported Burberry sandals were counterfeit and assessed this penalty and held the sandals for forfeiture. Based on a petition we filed with Customs, the penalty was canceled, and the sandals were released.
  • The Department of Commerce Approved a Scope Ruling Request - We convinced Commerce that our client’s imported finished electrical conduit met their definition of this article; thus, it was excluded from the Circular Welded Pipe dumping orders. Our clients received more than $1 Million in duty refunds.
  • On behalf of our clients, we won an appeals decision that the USTR and Customs could not collect 100% duties under the beef hormone retaliation act. As a result, our clients collected these refunds.

Refunds Of Money/Currency Seized

Refunds of money/currency seized by customs as of October 1, 2018. Since the passage of CAFRA 2000, Customs has made thousands of seizures of money/currency from persons entering and departing the United States without completing the currency reporting forms. We are aware of the $3,517,339 seized by customs. We are aware of $3,318,814.43 of this amount being refunded. On the other hand, in a report by the Government dated March 29, 2017, out of 168 currency seizures, approximately 95% of the funds were forfeited to the Government because the persons had no legal counsel.

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