DEBORAH B. STERN is a Member in the Import and Export Practice Group of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., resident in the Miami office. Ms. Stern advises domestic and multinational clients on both U.S. and foreign customs compliance and other trade matters. She concentrates her practice in traditional customs areas, such as tariff classification, seizures and penalties, country of origin marking, valuation, trademark infringement, broker compliance, bonded warehouses, government procurement, trade preference programs and free trade agreements, as well as the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System. With special emphasis in the high-tech sector, she has substantial experience in almost every product area of the tariff schedule.
Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Stern spent five years with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C., where she authored nationally binding interpretive rulings and agency determinations on tariff classification, NAFTA eligibility and country of origin marking; assisted in litigation matters before the Court of International Trade; and coordinated with other regulatory agencies on customs and trade policy issues.
Ms. Stern was also a U.S. delegate to the WCO’s Harmonized System Committee and HS Review Sub-Committee, representing U.S. interests in international classification disputes and legal and interpretive amendments to the HS. In this capacity she negotiated the 2007 amendments to the HS Explanatory Notes and was a member of a multilateral group that drafted revisions to the Explanatory Notes for the high-tech chapters of the HS (84, 85 and 90). She also participated in international negotiations on NAFTA matters and the U.S.-Chile FTA.
Ms. Stern holds a B.A. from Florida State University and a J.D. from FSU’s School of Law, graduating with cum laude distinction for both degrees. She is a member of the state bars of Florida and Virginia (inactive). She previously served in the international law section of the American Bar Association, the international section of the Florida Bar Association, and Customs Lawyers Association. She is a past president of the South Florida chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade (2008-2010), and has been active with the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, the ProVisors professional network, and the Customs Committee of the high-tech trade association CompTIA, serving as chair of its HS Work Group since 2014. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center Miami in 2021, and the Board's Executive Committee in 2023. She is a 2021 recipient of the World Trade Center Miami's prestigious International Women's Day Award. She actively engages in educational programming for legal and trade organizations.