Deringer’s Trade Advisory Group (TAG) will help resolve your most complex compliance needs.
Customs Compliance is a legal obligation. Importers are expected to demonstrate reasonable care with respect to their import transactions. In addition, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been getting more aggressive in its enforcement efforts. Today, importers are forced to operate in an uncertain, continually changing, and increasingly more complex regulatory environment.
Deringer’s Trade Advisory Group (TAG) provides scalable, customizable support through a full complement of trade services to guide you through the intricacies of regulatory and security requirements. While we are here to support you, our philosophy is to foster our clients’ independence through transparency and training, as our clients’ resources permit.
Strategic Import Compliance Program
A well-designed and documented compliance program provides reasonable assurance that your import activities meet all relevant requirements and ensure conformity with applicable laws and regulations.
Deringer Trade Advisory Group assists importers with the development of effective and sustainable compliance import programs. Our services can be offered as an all-inclusive package or in modules, depending on clients’ needs, which include:
- Module A: Comprehensive risk assessment (see Risk Assessment below for details)
- Module B: Detailed review of existing processes and Customs clearance activity
- Module C: Customized training
- Internal control training and workshop
- Reasonable care regulations, risks, and responsibilities
- Customs 101–HTS classification, valuation, country of origin, and more
- Module D: Development of policies and procedures
- Module E: Creation of an import compliance manual
Risk Assessment is a foundation for your Compliance Program, but it can also be a stand-alone activity, which will help you identify weak points in your import operations and address any exposed problems. In order to assess your import compliance risks, we perform the following:
- Import Activity Analysis- Detailed analysis of ACE data
- Risk Assessment Questionnaire- Import process questionnaire completed by your team, reviewed by TAG, followed by a one-hour interview to ensure mutual understanding of import processes and control environment
- Import Process Workflow Exercise- Create a flowchart of import scenarios
- Supply Chain Mapping- As needed
- Transaction Audit- Conduct a “PO to Payment” transaction audit of a strategically selected sample of entries
- Deliverable: Risk Assessment Report- The final report details the risks and provides guidance and recommendations for mitigation and/or elimination of risk.
Forced Labor / Social Compliance Program
All goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions shall not be entitled to entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation thereof is hereby prohibited (19 U.S.C §1307).
TAG provides social compliance/forced labor guidance including importer’s responsibilities, assessment tools, and prevention methods. Though social compliance/forced labor assistance can be offered as a separate module, it should also be a component of the strategic import compliance program and/or a CTPAT program .
CTPAT Certification Services
Clients can use our certification services as a complete and comprehensive compliance roadmap or choose from a menu of specific measures as part of a modular approach, including CTPAT application, program assessment, security reviews, preparation of security profile for CBP, security questionnaire development and documentation (Business Partner Risk Assessment), staff education, pre-validation review and representation.
- Module A: Multi-level Program Assessment
- Module B: US Supply Chain Risk Assessment
- Module C: CTPAT Policy & Procedure Manual Development
- Module D: Departmental Training (which could be included as part of a module or separately)
- Module E: CTPAT Security Profile Preparation
CTPAT Validation Services
We perform independent validation reviews to prepare for formal CBP validations. Our CTPAT validation experts follow the guidelines established by CBP and prepare a documented assessment of our client’s supply chain security.
Classification & Valuation Analysis
Presenting the accurate value and tariff classifications to Customs is the legal responsibility of the importer. Our consulting staff has developed a seven-step process to review the classification of your goods.
We assist with the determination of applicability of AD/CV duties to our clients’ products:
- Product review – HTS classification and specifications
- ADD/CVD scope analysis in order to understand whether the product falls within the scope of a particular case
- If AD/CVD applies:
- Determine which rate applies (i.e., specific supplier rate or general rate)
- Map the history of deposit rates, including gap periods, over the life of the AD/CVD case
A level of protection is afforded to importers who file a prior disclosure in advance of a Customs investigation. If violations are discovered, clients may be able to avoid penalties when TAG helps resolve missing or inaccurate information and submits prior disclosures to CBP. We assist our clients in the amendments of past violations and establish the protocols and processes to ensure that future activities are compliant with import laws and regulations relative to CBP.
If you disagree with a decision made by CBP or want to correct information previously entered on entry documents within 180 days of liquidation, you have an option to file a protest. We perform the necessary research, interpret the Customs laws and regulations, and prepare a compelling, well-structured argument on behalf of our clients. In addition, if you discover within one year of importation that your goods are eligible for USMCA benefits, we can assist you in recovering duties and merchandise processing fees by filing “520d” claims on your behalf.
CF28/CF29 – Response to Requests for Information/Action
Importers should use extreme caution when responding to CBP Requests for Information and/or Notices of Action. TAG provides assistance with responding to these inquiries and actions by providing analysis of the entry at hand and crafting a response explaining the nature of the issue or contesting CBP’s decision as appropriate. We can also advise if you should be reviewing similar importing activity in the past for correction before CBP launches an investigation, and/or recommends changes to your procedures going forward to protect against penalties.
Binding rulings from CBP eliminate goods’ ambiguity regarding HTS classification, valuation, country of origin determination, and trade agreement eligibility. We advocate for clients in the interpretation of Customs law and perform the necessary research and preparation for submission of the request for a binding ruling from CBP.
Duty drawback is the recovery of duties for goods imported and subsequently exported, which may have been inventoried or manufactured into a different product. Deringer advisors understand the nuances of duty drawback regulations and can help design a program that meets all record-keeping criteria and provides the mechanism to accurately calculate the exact amount of your refund potential.
When importers lack certain data elements at the time of entry, they can use reconciliation to provide data at a later date. We develop reconciliation programs for our clients by completing the necessary applications, assessing the reconcilable issues, preparing the data, and filing the reconciliation entry with CBP.
Duty Savings Opportunities
Our consulting group can offer advice regarding trade preference programs (eligibility under any one of the 19 US free trade agreements), assistance with the establishment and oversight of foreign trade zones, bonded warehouses, and control of temporary import programs.
NAFTA and USMCA (CUSMA) Eligibility Verification
TAG assists clients in setting up a USMCA program that can withstand CBP scrutiny, thereby protecting their USMCA savings. We review clients’ products and components (bills of material) and applicable rules of origin to determine if products are eligible for USMCA benefits. We assist with the validation of HTS numbers and USMCA certificates of origin. We provide customized training on how to qualify for USMCA benefits and how to correctly complete the certificate of origin. We also perform annual USMCA reviews to confirm continued eligibility and look for further opportunities for USMCA savings.
Section 301/232 Duty Refunds
We work with our clients on securing refunds for Section 301 and 232 duties if their goods qualify for exemptions.
Customized on-site and virtual training can include half-day, all-day, or multiple-day training sessions tailored to our clients’ needs. Training may cover many aspects of the trade:
- Overall compliance and reasonable care
- USMCA – based on our client’s product line
- Valuation and assists
- HTS classification, including line reviews
- Other training designed to assist the client in navigating the rules and regulations pertinent to their business
We assist our clients with setting up their ACE accounts, help them create and run reports, as well as retrieve and understand their import data.
FDA Food Facility Registration & FDA Agency Program
Importations from unregistered facilities will be held at the port of entry or denied entry into the US. Additionally, foreign facilities need to appoint a US agent as part of their FDA facility registration. Deringer provides US agency services to foreign food facilities and has represented clients before the FDA since the inception of the bioterrorism reporting requirement.