Peter S. Herrick offers legal services to globally minded firms of every sort. Some of the issues with which we are presently involved include the following items of interest to firms operating in the realms of international trade, transportation, and commerce
Customs Money Seizure
Peter S. Herrick, P.A. represents individuals and enterprises in customs money seizure cases, assisting them to recover seized assets and litigating against improperly imposed fines for legally transported goods.
Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act
The Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act requires anyone transporting more than $10,000 across United States borders to file a Form 4790 with U.S. Customs. Failure to file the report can result in asset seizure and forfeiture.
Form 4790 states that the following persons are required to file:
- Anyone physically transporting, mailing, shipping, or causing such transport of currency or monetary instruments
- Anyone in the United States receiving currency or monetary instruments from outside the country
The following are exempt from filing reports:
- Federal Reserve banks
- Banks, foreign banks, or securities brokers or dealers
- Commercial banks
- Trust companies
- Persons not citizens or U.S. residents with money shipped to a bank or securities broker/dealer
- Common passenger carriers
- Common goods carriers
- Currency transportation businesses
- Persons with restrictively endorsed traveler’s checks
Monetary instruments subject to reporting and currency seizure for failure to report include the following:
- U.S. or foreign coin, or currency
- Traveler’s checks (unrestricted)
- Negotiable instruments, such as checks, promissory notes, and money orders in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, or made to a fictitious payee, or in transferable form
- Incomplete instruments that omit the name of the payee
- Securities or stocks in bearer form
U.S. Customs does not require funds to be reported that involve normal banking procedures and no physical transport of currency or monetary instruments. Types of funds not subject to reporting include the following:
- Unendorsed checks or money orders made out to a named person or with restrictive endorsements
- Warehouse receipts
- Bills of lading
Potential penalties for reporting violations
Violations that can result in customs currency seizure include the following:
- Failure to file a report
- Material omission or misstatement in a report
- False or fraudulent report
Potential civil and criminal penalties for violations include:
- Maximum fines of $500,000
- Maximum imprisonment for 10 years
- Forfeiture of seized assets
Customs Classification, Valuation, Seizure, Penalties, and Drawback
Peter S. Herrick, P.A. has extensive experience in customs legal issues, which includes providing legal advice and representation for customs classification, valuation, seizure, penalties, and drawback.
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule determines export and import categories for merchandise based on the international Harmonized System. Classification is the process of placing goods into trade categories, which creates a standardized international system on which to base tariffs, collect trade statistics, establish origin, collect government revenue, and devise trade negotiations. It also allows governments to monitor restricted and prohibited goods. Under the Harmonized Trade System, certain goods receive preferential classifications and tariffs. U.S. Customs is the only U.S. government authority that can offer binding advice or rulings on imports classification.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) created the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1993. GATT establishes the customs value of traded goods. Valuation works to promote international trade, protect domestic companies, and increase importation of particular goods. Countries also base their duties on the valuation
. Customs seizure
In addition to seizing unreported cash or currency valued over $10,000, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) under the Department of Homeland Security may seize counterfeit and pirated property in violation of patent, trademark, and copyright laws, and other restricted or prohibited goods.
Customs penalty Valuation and classification violations can result in added penalty fees from 200 percent to 800 percent of a product’s duty value. Customs may also prosecute violators criminally if it suspects fraudulent intent.
Drawback refers to the partial or complete refund or remission of a collected duty based on the commodity’s use. Drawback acts as an incentive for manufacturing and commercial trade, enabling U.S. companies to compete in international markets without having to include the duty of imported goods in its sales price. Prior to committing to transactions, manufacturers can apply for a drawback ruling to evaluate their production costs. Our attorneys assist clients with drawback, with petitioning the United States Treasury for forfeiture remission, penalty mitigation, and claims cancellation for liquidated damages. We can also bring lawsuits on behalf of our clients for assets recovery and fines cancellation. Peter S. Herrick is licensed to practice before the United States Court of International Trade. Dumping Duties and Countervailing Duties At Peter S. Herrick, P.A. our attorneys assist international enterprises to stay competitive. Dealing with Dumping duties and Countervailing duties often play a vital role in international commerce and the viability of businesses. Dumping duties Dumping is an international trade practice where one country exports goods at lower rates than it charges in its own domestic market, essentially dumping the product. Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), importing countries may follow anti-Dumping measures when Dumping is detrimental for domestic commerce, which includes applying Dumping duties to level the playing field. The World Trade Organization (WTO) does not discipline countries for Dumping, but it does discipline anti-Dumping actions that do not adhere to GATT regulations. GATT requires Dumping investigations to compare normal value pricing with 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 Countervailing duties are anti-subsidy duties that importing countries impose to counteract or countervail the adverse effects that subsidized imports have on their domestic market. The WTO can discipline and regulate the use of subsidies through dispute settlement procedures. There are two ways of dealing with the adverse effects of subsidies: § Arrive at a settlement where the importing country withdraws the subsidy § Subsequent to the importing country’s investigation of damages, impose an additional tariff, called a Countervailing duty on subsidized imports that harm domestic markets The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITC) determines whether other countries are subsidizing imported goods and whether the subsidies are detrimental to U.S. domestic markets. If considered detrimental, the ITC orders U.S. Customs to levy Countervailing duties commensurate with the subsidies. At Peter S. Herrick, P.A., our attorneys assist companies with filing petitions regarding 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 percent of the total domestic like product and that more than 50 percent of the industry producing this product supports or opposes the petition. Our customs attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience dealing with regulatory agencies to handle dumping duties and countervailing duties on behalf of international enterprises.
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 cancelled this penalty. We have filed a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act for damages equal to the $3.25 million penalty.
Cancellation of $550,000 Counterfeit Penalty and Release of Burberry Sandals
Customs alleged 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 cancelled and the sandals 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 in Excess of $1 Million in Duty Refunds
On behalf of our clients we won a court of 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.
The partnership maintains offices in:
St. Petersburg, Florida and Long Beach, California