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Past Event
13 July 2011



Trend Toward the Criminalization of Import Violations by National Customs Authorities

In most countries, the primary vehicles for enforcing customs laws are civil statutes that subject importers to monetary penalties for various customs violations. However, enforcement methods have begun to change, particularly in the United States. Because of the heightened scrutiny on imports, US importers have sought to enhance their import compliance programs by imposing significant burdens on buying agents and foreign manufacturers to demonstrate that their goods comply with US law.

As these foreign parties have drawn more attention during the importation process, US authorities have begun setting aside civil statutes in lieu of criminal statutes and mutual legal assistance treaties that enable prosecutors to conduct their investigations internationally. US trading partners are also taking notice and implementing heightened enforcement, particularly on goods destined for US markets.

In comparison, EU Member State legislation has always provided for both civil and criminal sanctions. However, criminal sanctions such as imprisonment are still the exception notwithstanding that, where criminal violations are involved, authorities can claim unpaid duties over long periods of time. Hence, the importers’ request that exporters provide detailed information on classification, origin and value. With the likely shift of additional burden on proof on the importers, this concern is only heightened.

Please join us on July 13, 2011, as Mayer Brown attorneys Sydney Mintzer (Washington, DC), Anthony Alexis (Washington, DC) and Paulette Vander Schueren (Brussels), discuss:

  • Latest trends in customs enforcement
  • Current enforcement methods in the United States and the European Union
  • How differences in those jurisdictions may affect multinational companies.

Anthony M. Alexis
Sydney H. Mintzer
Paulette Vander Schueren

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