Meeks, Sheppard, Leo & Pillsbury LLP
Customs and International Trade Law
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MEEKS, SHEPPARD, LEO & PILLSBURY LLP is a specialized law firm with attorneys representing clients on customs and international trade issues. The firm represents clients before the principal international trade regulatory agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Food and Drug
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Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Agriculture. In addition, the firm handles litigation related to agency actions before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and various other federal district and appellate courts.
Counseling importers and exporters on customs and international trade matters is the main focus of our practice. Our attorneys advise clients on a broad range of customs issues including the performance of comprehensive reviews of general import compliance, as well as providing specific assistance on tariff classification, valuation and appraisement of merchandise, country of origin determinations, penalty proceedings, and intellectual property recordations. The firm is frequently called upon to assist clients in structuring product and sales transactions to minimize customs duties while complying with U.S. law by taking advantage of special trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), the Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) and all other Free Trade Agreements, and other special programs such as Temporary Importation Bonds (“TIB”), Foreign Trade Zones (“FTZ”), customs bonded warehouses and duty drawback. We are increasingly involved with companies’ efforts to address liabilities imposed by Customs due to implementation of recent legislation on importer/exporter responsibility and Customs systems modernization. Our attorneys work with importers and exporters to review and put in place internal compliance programs that demonstrate that they are exercising “reasonable care” in their import and export trade activities.
Our attorneys monitor changes in trade policy and legislation as well as federal agency regulations that affect the business interests of the firm and its clients. The firm’s strengths are the experience and expertise of its attorneys combining legal skills, common sense and a personal approach to serve the unique needs of each client. We provide timely information on current developments through timely e-mails on specific urgent issues, regular communication on a client’s matters and a newsletter summarizing key developments in international trade. The firm’s litigation experience before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has contributed to our ability to frequently resolve matters with Customs and the other agencies on a cooperative basis prior to litigation.
The firm’s clientele includes major multi-national corporations, independent import/export companies, trading companies and domestic manufacturers. The firm maintains close relationships with allied professionals such as customhouse brokers, freight forwarders, and accounting firms in order to provide additional resources to assist our clients. We also maintain close contacts with foreign customs law firms from our principal trading partners specializing in international trade matters.