Customs and trade consulting

At their core, most customs and import issues fall into four primary and interrelated categories: valuation, classification, origin and special programs. Compliantly navigating any one of these is challenging; doing so globally and in tandem can be daunting. RSM’s experienced professionals have done it and can help your business to identify and develop strategies and manage the risks and opportunities in any one, or across all, of these areas.


Properly appraising merchandise is a fundamental requirement of national customs laws, global trade agreements and even income tax transfer pricing regulations. It is also one of the most complex areas in international trade, encompassing royalties, licenses, patents, assists, research and development, and many other inter- and intra-company arrangements so common in today’s globalized economy. RSM can help to leverage the opportunities inherent in such complexity to help lower ad valorem tariffs and other transactional costs (e.g., VAT, excise), while establishing and defending customs values and transfer prices.


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Central to an effective, compliant and cost-focused global sourcing and trade operation is import tariff and export control classification. Admissibility, duty rates, preferential market access and trade restrictions are all governed by classification codes. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand and appreciate the structure and subtleties of the nomenclature used to control the coding for goods, software and technologies (e.g., Harmonized System, Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Commerce Control List). RSM can help evaluate, determine and declare the proper code—for one or many items—as well as develop a robust import/export classification program characterized by transparency, agility and reliability.

Origin and free trade agreements

The old adage: “There is no such thing as free trade, only freer trade with more rules,” holds true, especially today. There are now approximately 400 different trade arrangements between countries, creating a complex web of preferences for some and barriers for many. RSM leverages its experience and knowledge of regional and bilateral free trade agreements in the Americas, Europe and Asia, diving deep into the details, interfacing with authorities, and developing practical solutions to maximize your global sourcing and procurement opportunities today and tomorrow.

Special customs programs

Duty deferral, recovery and exemption programs can provide significant competitive advantage to importers and exporters. But those programs demand precision and accountability from the user in order to stay compliant and realize the benefits. RSM can support free/foreign trade zone, duty drawback, temporary importation bonds, bonded warehouses and other programs by performing operational feasibility and cost-benefit analyses, facilitating application and implementation processes, and developing solutions to help manage on-going compliance and optimization.