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Customs Compliance in Construction: How to Spot and Navigate Complex Trade Challenges in Construction Projects and EPC Contracts

Level: Beginner
Runtime: 63 minutes
Recorded Date: January 26, 2022
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  • Overview of common roles, procedures and role of the importer of record (IOR)
  • Tariff Classification
  • Country of Origin
  • Valuation
  • Tracking duty liability, mitigation strategies and other considerations
  • Wrap-up
Runtime: 1 hour, 3 minutes
Recorded: January 26, 2022

For NY - Difficulty Level: For both newly admitted attorneys (transitional)


Major construction projects and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts present unique and complex U.S. trade compliance challenges. Often, companies' lack of visibility in in upstream contractual or procurement decisions can create a reactive environment, increase downstream tariff costs and introduce unforeseen risks.

This program addresses and identifies several U.S. trade compliance challenges that can arise in the context of large construction projects and what EPC companies, contractors, attorneys, and advisors can do to address these proactively.

This program was recorded on January 26th, 2022.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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James Grogan

Senior Director
FTI Consulting

James Grogan is a global trade practitioner with substantial experience in the areas of Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), duty and tariff mitigation strategies, general U.S. customs compliance and global trade function assessments. He provides regulatory and strategic guidance to small companies, complex multinational corporations, and local government entities.

Mr. Grogan assists his clients in all aspects of the FTZ program, including preparing strategic feasibility analyses, managing all federal and local implementation steps, conducting customized training, developing inventory control and operational procedures, responding to government agency inquiries, and building compliance programs. For grantees and economic development groups, he has built and executed tailored marketing plans designed to drive increased FTZ utilization in those regions.

Mr. Grogan has built a strong reputation in the FTZ community through his involvement with the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ). Since 2015, he has served on the Board of Directors, and currently serves as an Officer within the Executive Committee. He has also chaired several committees, working groups and task forces for the association. His network of professional relationships includes many operators/users, grantees, service provider colleagues and officials within the FTZ Board and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In addition to his FTZ expertise, Mr. Grogan works with companies to evaluate and periodically review their participation in other CBP partnership programs, including the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program, the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) program (i.e., CTPAT Trade Compliance), and other AEO-modeled voluntary programs. He has designed testing processes for these programs and assisted companies navigate periodic reviews from the customs authorities.

Mr. Grogan also has unique experience assisting companies examine the structure and effectiveness of their global trade function. Whether through an internal audit lens or through the trade group directly, he has helped companies conduct reviews into the structure, location and success of a company’s trade-related personnel, procedures, and technology. These customized reviews typically generate escalation procedures, identify inherent risks and savings opportunities, and benchmark against global leading practices.

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Nick Baker

Senior Director
FTI Consulting

Nick Baker is a seasoned international trade compliance professional focusing on import compliance, duty and tariff mitigation, export controls, and economic sanctions. Mr. Baker assists his clients with the development of international trade compliance programs, responding to government agency inquiries, audits, and disclosures. He has provided guidance on import and export regulatory matters to multinational corporations in industries such as technology, telecommunications, energy, healthcare, consumer products, and agriculture.

Mr. Baker leads the customs and trade service offerings in the U.S by adding value for his clients through tariff impact studies, duty reduction strategies, responding to U.S. Customs inquiries (audits, prior disclosures, administrative protests, penalty allegations), and compliance procedure enhancements. He is experienced in identifying and implementing cost saving improvements such as first sale for export, tariff engineering, valuation planning, free trade agreement eligibility, and special program applications such as foreign trade zones.

Equally knowledgeable in export control and sanctions matters, Mr. Baker offers comprehensive assistance on compliance with the EAR (dual use export controls, proliferation controls, denied persons and entities, anti-boycott), OFAC regulations (embargoes and sanctions, specially designated nationals, and blocked persons), and ITAR. He routinely performs training on the deployment of import and export compliance policies for clients around the globe.

Mr. Baker works with companies to navigate the challenging landscape of civil and criminal international trade investigations including defense against alleged fraudulent imports, antidumping duty circumvention, smuggling and transshipment, and violation of U.S. export control rules. He also supports the assessment and monitoring of ongoing corrective actions as required by agreements with various U.S. government agencies and judicial branches.

Mr. Baker draws upon his experience as a petrochemical engineer to better provide technical guidance on product classification, licensing, and the testing of trade compliance controls. Prior to FTI Consulting, Mr. Baker started his international trade career with a boutique law firm specializing in import and export regulatory matters and was most recently a member of a Big 4 consultancy’s global trade practice.

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Victor D. Ban

Covington & Burling LLP

Victor Ban helps clients in technology, energy, and manufacturing navigate international trade and customs matters and complex cross-border disputes. His experience includes assisting companies and governments in connection with supply chain and trade compliance assessments, antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, trade agreement negotiations, and international arbitration. Victor has handled matters before U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and various U.S. federal courts and arbitral tribunals, and is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker. To each engagement, he brings skills and insights drawn from his experience in business, government, and multilateral institutions.

Prior to joining the firm, he clerked for Judge Emilio M. Garza of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Previously, Victor was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, serving financial services, technology, and consumer goods clients across Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Victor has also worked with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in Japan.

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Shara Aranoff

Covington & Burling LLP

Shara helps clients navigate trade remedies, tariffs, and customs regulations in support of their U.S. and global market strategies.

Shara Aranoff helps clients in technology, life sciences, and manufacturing use intellectual property and international trade enforcement tools to compete in U.S. and global markets.

Prior to joining the firm, she was a Commissioner and Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), where she was a decision-maker in hundreds of Section 337, antidumping, countervailing duty, and safeguard investigations. Drawing on her 20 years of experience in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, she develops legal and public policy strategies to assist clients navigating the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Congress, and the courts.

In her role as Chairman of the ITC, Ms. Aranoff frequently engaged with Congress, USTR, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on intellectual property and international trade issues, including patent reform legislation and proposals to amend Section 337.

Ms. Aranoff previously served as Senior International Trade Counsel for Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) at the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where she was responsible for legislative and policy issues including Trade Promotion Authority; negotiations involving the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements; and trade remedy and customs laws. She also served as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the General Counsel at the ITC, where she was lead counsel in appellate litigation before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Court of International Trade.

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