Imported products are subject to a wide array of labeling, content and admissibility requirements which are administered by a variety of different federal agencies. The responsibility for administering and enforcing these regulations at the point of entry into the United States is assumed primarily by US Customs and Border Protection. Merchandise that fails to meet admissibility standards can be excluded from entry, seized, or even recalled after importation. Non-compliance with the rules of these agencies can also result in substantial monetary penalties.
Many potential problems can be anticipated and eliminated by pre-importation counseling. Where penalty claims are issued, we assist clients in resolving those claims and in developing strategies to avoid future instances of non-compliance. We also counsel our clients with respect to implementation of internal control procedures as part of an overall compliance plan.
In addition to the import requirements imposed by US Customs and Border Protection, the following federal agencies, among others, also administer statutorily mandated rules governing the importation of merchandise:
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF)
The regulations imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) extend to imported products as well as domestically produced items. Imported alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are subject to specific BATF licensing and labeling requirements. The Firm assists clients with licensing and product labeling matters.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proscribes standards applicable to over 15,000 types of consumer products, from apparel to electrical articles to toys, imported or sold into the United States. Non-compliant merchandise may be seized, destroyed, and/or excluded from the United States. In addition, hazardous products can be subject to mandatory recalls. The Firm handles all aspects of CPSC regulation of imported merchandise, including defense of penalty claims and product recall actions.
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces a variety of consumer protection laws that impact imported products. The FTC regulations create standards for the labeling and marketing of a wide variety of products. Our lawyers have years of experience with respect to advising clients concerning compliance with these ever changing and complex requirements.
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes labeling, content, and registration requirements on a host of different products. The Firm routinely handles FDA matters involving:
- Food Products
- Imported Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices
- Cosmetics and Homeopathic Medicines
- Household Items
Fish and Wildlife Service
In addition to the restrictions established under CITES, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is charged with enforcing a number of federal statutes affecting imported items, ranging from live animals to products incorporating components made from protected species. Whereas products made from certain species may be prohibited from importation into the US, the failure to secure proper licenses for permitted merchandise prior to importation can also lead to forfeiture. Our attorneys counsel clients with regard to the requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the standards imposed by administrative authorities on the state level.