U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforces trade-related laws and regulations overseen by dozens of federal and state agencies, including those listed below. ST&R’s vast experience helping clients navigate these complex, interlocking requirements allow us to help you identify and understand those applicable to your business, develop and implement compliance plans and processes, and avoid or mitigate shipment detentions, seizures and / or penalties.

FDA: Food, Drug, Cosmetic & FSMA Compliance

Foods, beverages, dietary supplements, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The Food Safety Modernization Act and other laws and regulations impose complex requirements for those who import, export, manufacture, and distribute these goods. FDA regulations cover issues such as product development, testing, and approval; classification; good manufacturing practices; labeling and advertising; registration of production facilities and U.S. agents; and supply chain security.

Savvy importers develop and implement plans to ensure compliance with these requirements to minimize the chances of costly enforcement actions that can include detentions, warning letters, inspections, product recalls, refusal of entry, and even liquidated damages claims. 

CPSC: Consumer Product Safety

Both federal and state laws impose specific product testing, certification, and recordkeeping requirements on a wide range of imported goods, from clothing to electronics. Children’s products are subject to additional certification, labeling, and testing prior to importation. Goods that fail to comply with these requirements can be detained, denied entry, seized, or destroyed, and importers, manufacturers, and distributors of such goods can be hit with substantial fines and penalties. In addition, recalls of goods found to be noncompliant can damage a company’s finances and reputation.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission aggressively monitors and inspects imports for compliance with its regulations. Any alleged violation, even a documentary violation such as a lack of an acceptable certificate of conformity or a children's product certificate, can and usually does result in a recommendation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detain or seize the goods. 

USDA & APHIS: Agriculture

Trade in most agricultural products is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, which oversees a number of laws and regulations that set forth specific requirements and restrictions on issues ranging from country of origin marking to organic certification. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has additional permitting requirements specifically for agricultural products. 

FWS: Fish & Wildlife

Import and export shipments of wildlife, including products made from wildlife or wildlife parts, require a license from the Fish & Wildlife Service, must be declared on a specific form, and generally have to be shipped through an FWS-designated port. In addition, export permits and re-export certificates are required for wildlife subject to trade restrictions under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

FWS requirements may apply to shipments that are not typically considered imports or exports by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, such as those placed in a bonded warehouse or a foreign-trade zone. Other agencies also exercise oversight of fish and wildlife shipments, including CBP, the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. In addition, individual U.S. states and foreign countries may impose their own specific requirements.

EPA: Environment

Enforcement of environmental standards is a principal trade objective of the United States and many of its trading partners. Companies must comply with U.S. environmental laws such as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA), the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Lacey Act and other related laws for covered products. Imports and exports of pesticides, ozone-depleting substances, chemical substances, vehicles and engines, fuels, electronic waste, and other goods that could have a negative impact on the environment are subject to strict requirements enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, including with respect to production, labeling, certification, notification, and recordkeeping. In addition, the United States is developing new laws and rules to address global environmental challenges such as climate change, forest depletion, and fisheries management. These are having - and will have increasingly - an impact on company trade operations in general and on U.S. imports in particular.

DOT: Transportation

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for motor vehicles and related equipment. These regulations extend beyond standard customs procedures. DOT also oversees other import provisions, including those related to hazardous materials, environmental standards, and labeling mandates.

Non-compliant goods may face detention, denial of entry, seizure, or destruction, potentially resulting in significant fines and penalties for importers, manufacturers, and distributors.

TTB: Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau

Importing wines, spirits, and other alcoholic products is a complex endeavor because of the rigorous regulations enforced by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. There are many registration and compliance measures specific to alcohol imports. Our services include securing the necessary TTB permits and registrations and navigating import declarations to help companies create a streamlined process for lawful importation of alcoholic beverages.


The movement of cargo into, out of, and within the U.S. is subject to domestic and international laws, including the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Warsaw Convention, and associated regulatory requirements. Cargo transport may also be affected by laws, regulations, programs, and policies concerning supply chain security, occupational and transportation safety, and spoiled, lost, and damaged goods. Shippers, carriers, customs brokers, warehouses, freight forwarders, non-vessel-operating common carriers, third-party logistics providers, and others all need to be aware of these requirements.


U.S. law imposes requirements on ocean carriers, ocean freight forwarders, NVOCCs, and port operators to expedite imports and exports of containerized and breakbulk cargo. The Federal Maritime Commission enforces these laws, including by ensuring fair competition in ocean shipping and overseeing associated rates and charges. Importers, exporters, and shippers that believe violations have occurred can file complaints with the FMC to halt the offenses and possibly obtain reparations.



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