International Corporate, Importation & Immigration
Arent Fox has one of the largest international trade practices in the United States and has assisted its clients across the full range of trade enforcement and compliance matters. Of particular relevance to fashion clients is our background in focused assessments, importer self-assessments, investigations, and penalty proceedings involving Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We have represented fashion houses on all aspects of these proceedings and in working within the very complex rules relating to country of origin and valuation (including the so-called “first sale rule”). Arent Fox also has significant worldwide experience in drafting international corporate documents to minimize the risks on the foreign corporate parent, including related to issues of transfer pricing.
Auditors Change Sample Transaction Review Process and Pre-Assessment Survey to Match Today’s Audit Standards and to Provide Auditors Flexibility to Target Priority Trade Issues
US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Office of Regulatory Audit will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 2:00 pm–3:30 pm Eastern Time to provide an overview of its Focused Assessment (FA) Program.
In a case that could have a profound impact on the trade community, compliance officers, business owners, and others can now be held personally liable under the customs penalty statute1 for fraudulently or negligently providing information on imports. Under this decision, import managers and compliance personnel can now be held personally liable in circumstances other than fraud for imports that violate US custom laws.
Two women’s apparel companies alleged to have systematically imported goods into the United States without declaring their full value recently settled a civil customs fraud lawsuit with the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The settlement required the companies — Dana Kay, Inc. and Siouni & Zar Corporation — to admit responsibility for fraudulent conduct and pay $10 million as damages and penalties under the False Claims Act.
On April 14, 2014, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it is launching a local emphasis program in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities in the retail sector in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The program will involve safety inspections of randomly selected clothing stores, department stores, general merchandise and warehouse clubs, and other miscellaneous retailers such as pet stores.
As part of a decade-long dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving US cotton subsidies, Brazil is again threatening significant trade retaliation against a wide variety of US goods and intellectual property rights. The proposed retaliation would substantially increase tariffs on US exports across various sectors and industries, and would suspend or restrict US intellectual property rights in Brazil. If enacted, the retaliatory measures could have a devastating impact on US businesses.
Pursuant to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued final regulations on September 12, 2012 requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their use of “conflict minerals” in products they manufacture or have contract manufactured for them to proprietary specifications.
Selecting where to source manufacturing of fashion goods is not dependent on price alone. Companies looking to source need to be aware of consumer perceptions when selecting a sourcing territory. Perception worries might not carry the same importance to all companies, but it is undeniable that businesses make decisions based on their clientele’s views on sourcing locations.
As experienced members of the fashion industry can attest, trade matters such as duties and taxes, and other regulations can have a huge impact on global sales and sourcing decisions. In an effort to resolve differences over trade practices and increase the already $1 trillion in annual trade, the United States and the European Union (EU) conducted free-trade agreement talks under the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) from July 9 to July 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.
ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP
Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.