Our experts advise both international corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises on all issues of foreign trade, customs and excise law. We offer you customized, interdisciplinary solutions – also on an international level. 

 

To this end, we are proficient in all relevant legal frameworks for the safe import and export of goods and the treatment of products subject to excise duties. We do not only support you in legal matters, but also advise you on the management or organization of your company and your business processes in connection with customs, foreign trade or excise duties. Naturally, we also represent your interests in relation to the authorities and, in the event of a dispute, before national and European courts.

 

Our services in the field of foreign trade law & customs law

The German Foreign Trade and Payments Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz, AWG) and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung, AWV) regulate the cross-border transport of goods to third countries at national level. In addition, there is a large number of export control regulations at European level, such as the Dual-Use Regulation, which prohibit exports and, in some cases, also transfers or subject them to authorization.

Due to the clash of national, European and also international regulations, foreign trade law is difficult to keep track of and is subject to frequent changes due to political objectives.

Establishing and implementing compliance measures under foreign trade law is essential for every exporting company, especially since every exporter is directly affected by export controls. We support you in your export projects, among others: 

  • Support and consulting in connection with the export procedure under export control law
  • Assessment of business transactions under export control law
  • Support in classification according to the EU Dual-Use Regulation or the German Export List
  • Review and support for deliveries to embargoed countries
  • Assistance with reporting obligations in payment transactions
  • Support with and application for export licenses
  • Development, implementation and review of internal compliance programs (ICP)
  • Advice on the applicability of simplifications of procedures, e.g., general licenses
  • Advice on US (re)export control law together with our cooperation partners
  • Assistance, consulting and support during foreign trade audits

Importing and exporting companies will not be able to avoid the regulations of customs law. EU customs law and the German interpretation and implementation contain many pitfalls which may result in costs and sanctions, but also offer options for cost savings.

We will be happy to advise and support you on all customs related issues, including:

  • Support and advice in connection with customs import and export procedures
  • Assessment of individual business transactions or specific customs issues
  • Determination of customs value, including additions such as license costs, also interdisciplinary in interaction with, for example, VAT or transfer pricing
  • Origin of goods and preferences, preference calculations, evidence, simplified “approved exporter” procedure
  • Tariff classification, incl. application for binding tariff information
  • Advice and support in applying for customs procedures, e.g., customs warehousing procedures, as well as AEO
  • Advice and expert opinion on anti-dumping law
  • Support and representation before the customs authorities in customs refund procedures
  • General customs compliance and review of customs compliance systems
  • Assistance, consulting and support during customs and origin of goods and preference audits

Our consulting services on the subject of excise taxes are available here >> 

In addition to day-to-day business issues, compliance is playing an increasingly important role. For example, companies must ensure that the respective departments are appropriately organized and also review this on a regular basis in order to avoid liability on the part of the management and thus the company due to a breach of organization.

To this end, we can offer you management support, organizational consulting and – in cooperation with Baker Tilly auditors – audits and checks:

  • Optimization of internal customs, foreign trade or excise processes
  • Support in the development / revision of procedural instructions
  • Review, set-up and improvement of the “customs / export control / excise organization” within the company
  • Outsourced “customs department” / interim management of the customs, foreign trade and excise department
  • Risk analyses, quick checks and audits of customs, foreign trade and excise processes and specifications (also in cooperation with Baker Tilly auditors according to IDW PS 980)
  • Support in the selection and implementation of customs and export control software
  • Preparation and support of audits by the customs authorities (e.g., customs audit, foreign trade audit, excise tax audit, preference audits).

As a law firm with many years of experience in negotiations with the authorities as well as in legal disputes, we will not leave you out in the cold if things do not go smoothly:

  • Opposition proceedings and legal action
    We generally always try to avoid disputes with the customs authorities and the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control. However, sometimes it is the only way to help you to assert your rights. We represent and fight for your rights in extrajudicial and judicial proceedings (if necessary, all the way to the ECJ), regardless of whether the matter concerns customs duties, foreign trade law notices or excise duties.  
  • Monetary fine and criminal proceedings
    Not every misconduct is punished by customs as an administrative offense or even a criminal offense. If this happens and you have been notified about the initiation of preliminary proceedings, professional advice is required. We support and represent you in investigations by the customs authorities, if necessary, interdisciplinary with our criminal tax practice lawyers or external criminal defense lawyers. In addition, we assist you in disclosing errors – so-called “voluntary self-disclosures” – to the customs administration, regardless of whether the misconduct is related to customs, excise or foreign trade law. 

Sebastian Billig
Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)
Partner

Sven Pohl
Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)
Director