If you own or run a small importing business, you've probably realized by now that navigating the international waters of imports and exports can be intimidating, especially when it comes to getting your products across customs. If you don't have someone on your team who knows all about these rules, even the simplest of mistakes can cost you time and money — not to mention damage your reputation in the industry. For this reason, small importing businesses should hire an attorney to advise them on all matters related to international imports and exports. What advantage does this legal professional offer?
1. Protect Your Interests in Negotiating Contracts
International contracts can be bewildering to a new importer, but there is no way to go around them. A customs attorney will know how to structure your importation agreement so that you can save on taxes and avoid steep penalties. Your customs attorney should also ensure that any modifications to current regulations will not impact your business.
2. Advice on Import Procedures Depending on Item Restrictions
Some items are restricted or controlled by law, meaning they require extra steps when importing. For example, certain types of plants and vegetables must be quarantined if they're being imported.
Certain items might have import restrictions based on their country of origin. You can find out through your customs attorney if you're unsure about any specific item and whether it requires special clearance procedures.
3. Advice on Implications of Intellectual Property Rights
You're probably aware of intellectual property rights and how they affect you. Still, it's important to understand that several types of IP protection (copyright, trademark, patent) apply in different ways depending on what type of product you are importing.
Your importing business depends on your ability to bring products into your country without them being seized or confiscated by customs. Your customs attorney can reduce such risks by advising on IP rights.
4. Advice on International Financing Arrangements
If you are looking to execute a major import deal, the first step is to look for financing. However, many financiers will have complicated financing arrangements, especially for new businesses.
It is best to get advice from an experienced customs attorney before signing on any dotted lines when arranging for this kind of financing.
5. Represent You in Customs-Related Litigation
A customs lawyer will prove crucial if you face litigation regarding whether a product should be subject to duties and taxes or if there is a dispute over how much was paid in tariff fees upon entry into the country.
Expanding your global reach can grow your business beyond expectations, but you must be ready for import-export challenges. Speak to a customs attorney to discuss your business goals and how to overcome expected challenges.