O&W Customs Attorneys today helped a company steer a Customs Inspection in the right direction and ensured that customs made the right findings as part of their control measures so that back payments were avoided.
What is a customs inspection?
- A customs inspection is an official order issued by the customs authorities to inspect the goods actually declared.
- A customs inspection may be ordered in case of doubt about the customs declaration. Customs will check for defects, condition or stability of value.
- It is possible to partial inspection in which samples are inspected and which is binding for the rest of the consignment
- It is also possible to have a full view, in which the entire broadcast is viewed.
- Companies have to tolerate customs inspections and also help unpack the goods, which is often done by the shed in the port or by the logistician.
Customs inspection delays shipments or leads to additional payments
Delays usually occur when the company receives the information: “The shipment is currently in a customs inspection”. A customs inspection then takes different lengths of time. Customs sometimes have to inspect 10-15 consignments a day, which of course takes some time because the packaging has to be opened, the goods inspected and the packaging closed afterwards. It is therefore often not possible to say exactly how long a customs inspection takes.
In addition to the delay of the import transmission, there is also a completely different problem if a Customs inspection was arranged. This is because customs sometimes fix the customs tariff number differently if the goods do not correspond to the declared goods. In such a case we have just supported an importer in a customs inspection.
Our client is a major importer of aluminium foil. The special feature is that anti-dumping duties are levied on non-embossed film. The embossing on the foil is weakly to moderately pronounced, but easily recognizable in light. Nevertheless, customs in Hamburg had repeatedly claimed in the course of a customs inspection that the film had not been embossed. Accordingly, the company was confronted with back duty payments in the millions.
Representation by customs attorney during inspection often useful
We at O&W therefore represented the company at the customs inspection and were present at the HHLA container terminal, Hamburg during procurement by the customs officers. Together with the customs officers the boxes were opened and the foils were inspected. It became clear that the foils were embossed and it was agreed with the customs officers that this finding would also be noted in the findings of the customs inspection.
This situation has once again shown that it often makes sense to ensure proper representation in the context of customs inspection. Often only the warehouse staff who do not know the consignment and the customs officers themselves are present at the inspection. As a rule, representatives of the freight forwarder’s or company’s interests are not on site, not least because not every company that imports via the port of Hamburg has its headquarters in Hamburg. Therefore, it is often not possible to influence the customs inspection in a way that is meaningful for the company.
If, however, doubts arise as to the nature of the goods during importation, this case shows that the presence of a lawyer makes sense, as this avoids unnecessary subsequent investigations and ultimately also court proceedings.
If you also have problems with the customs inspection and need the support of our lawyers for customs law in Hamburg, please do not hesitate to contact us. For example, we can
- be personally present at the customs inspection in Hamburg and other cities in Germany
- to discuss the quality of the goods with customs officials during the inspection
- to work towards an expert inspection of the goods in the event of disagreement
- avoiding unnecessary permanent customs inspections and delays
Please feel free to contact our attorneys. We are in Hamburg and in the port of Hamburg directly for you locally and can protect your interests in the context of the customs inspection with the import.