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HFW: Holman Fenwick Willan

Emergency Response

Brexit

Customs

Lawyers helping clients overcome the impact of trade regulations

HFW's international trade regulation practice advises clients on, and resolves issues related to, the impact of regulations mandated by the European Union and World Trade Organization. Our primary objective is to help clients overcome commercial obstacles related to market access and import and export-related difficulties that result from government intervention and market regulations worldwide

What we do in customs

We advise on all aspects of import and export of goods and customs, including classification and quotas; customs valuation; country of origin issues; applications for repayment or remission of duties, waiver or mitigation of penalties; appeals against customs decisions; duty suspension; innovative customs management and duty reduction initiatives.

Our experience in Customs

We provide below some examples of our work in this area:
  • Binding Tariff Information applications to re-classify electronics goods, reclaiming several million pounds in historic duty payments and saving the large multinational client several million pounds in ongoing duty savings.
  • Defending a freight forwarder against a claim for £1 million brought by a large multinational company for failure to manage an Inward Processing Relief solution.
  • Advising UK exporters on export controls and licensing legislation and assisting with DTI (now BERR) investigations.
  • Obtaining a duty suspension for a multinational chemicals business from the European Commission worth about EUR 1.5 million over 3 years.
  • Avoiding a customs duty indemnity claim against a freight forwarder for negligent management of a customs warehousing solution, by helping the forwarder's import customer reclaim over £1.6 million in duty payments from HMRC.
  • Advising on the disposal of goods attracting excise duty by a port operator/warehousing business to avoid over £1 million in duty.
  • Advising liability insurers on providing insurance cover for customs fines in the UK and France.
  • Defending clients against prosecutions by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department for alleged licence, manifest and duty payment discrepancies.
  • Advising on a dispute between insurers and re-insurers in relation to transit guarantees.
  • Successfully persuading the UK customs authorities that high-tech consumer electronics should be classified according to their use, as opposed to by analogy with older technologies, obtaining binding tariff indications (BTIs) thereby saving the clients millions of pounds in import duty across multiple product lines and multiple jurisdictions.
  • Managing recovery of millions of pounds in overpaid import duty (and interest) in multiple EU jurisdictions for global FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) client.
  • Successfully arguing before the UK customs authorities that technology goods sold to businesses as part of high tech security systems should be classified according to their actual use, as opposed to the incorrect use which had been assumed by the UK customs authorities.
  • Advising UK based logistics company on its liability for import duty as the indirect representative of businesses based in the Far East selling to consumers in the UK from procurement warehouses, as well as measures to adopt to minimise the company's future liability.
  • Advising multinational manufacturer of foodstuffs on the availability of customs preferences and reliefs.
  • Advising logistics company on its liability for excise duty on the accidental release of goods liable to excise duty from a customs warehouse.
  • Advising the manufacturer of high performance leisure goods on the appropriate customs classification and and challenging the classification put forward by the UK customs authorities.
  • Advising on the classification of health products and challenging the classification put forward by the UK customs authorities.
  • Advising an international manufacturer on new customs rules allowing for potential imports of counterfeit goods to be monitored by Customs Authorities, and arranging both the monitoring and renewals.
  • Advising a global insurer on customs issues arising in the context of a dispute relating to the liability of a customs broker and importer of record for failure to follow documentary procedures.
  • Defending a freight forwarder against a claim for £1 million brought by a large multinational company for failure to manage an Inward Processing Relief solution.
  • Obtaining a duty suspension for a multinational chemicals business from the European Commission worth about EUR 1.5 million over 3 years.
  • Avoiding a customs duty indemnity claim against a freight forwarder for negligent management of a customs warehousing solution, by helping the forwarder's import customer reclaim over £1.6 million in duty payments from HMRC.
  • Advising on the disposal of goods attracting excise duty by a port operator/warehousing business to avoid over £1 million in duty.
  • Advising liability insurers on providing insurance cover for customs fines in the UK and France.
  • Defending clients against prosecutions by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department for alleged licence, manifest and duty payment discrepancies.

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