James L. Sawyer

Professional Biography

James Sawyer counsels clients on critical import compliance issues and duty-savings opportunities, balancing business realities with effective internal control processes to meet importers’ legal obligations. He advises in all areas of U.S. import law and regulation, including tariff classification, valuation, origin determination and marking, free trade agreements and duty preference programs, and enforcement. James is a co-leader of Faegre Drinker's Chicago team.

Import Compliance Counsel

James frequently counsels clients on strategic sourcing and import compliance issues and has obtained beneficial administrative rulings and favorable protest determinations saving clients millions of dollars in duties. He partners with importers of all sizes and in all industries to develop comprehensive import compliance programs, collaborating with them to establish internal processes that build the essential bridges of communication across impacted functional areas.

James works with clients to identify and evaluate opportunities under all available duty preference programs and accompanying compliance obligations, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and all other bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements. He routinely assists clients in evaluating and implementing duty savings opportunities under the Generalized System of Preferences; African Growth and Opportunity Act; Agreement on Trade in Pharmaceutical Products; and the variety of Chapter 98 and 99 duty savings programs, including U.S. Goods Returned, Products Returned from Repair and Alteration, Prototype Provision, Nairobi Protocol and other available duty saving strategies.

He closely collaborates with clients to manage import valuation compliance, working with internal finance, accounting, legal and trade compliance teams to support proper valuation of imported goods and post-importation reporting requirements under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Reconciliation Prototype program. Working with in-house clients and sourcing teams, James helps clients incorporate trade compliance protections within supply and distribution agreements, and assists with structuring supply chain relationships to mitigate duty liability.

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