MICHAEL E. (TED) MURPHY counsels companies on international trade and customs law and serves on the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force. In particular, he advises clients on international trade, trade policy and customs compliance issues, including actions brought under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as well as the administration of international agreements such as the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation, NAFTA and the Information Technology Agreement. He is a frequent speaker on international trade and customs compliance-related topics at seminars in the United States and abroad. Chambers and other publications routinely recognize him as a leading practitioner.
Ted assists clients on all substantive issues handled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including complex customs valuation matters, free trade agreement qualification, tariff classification, special program and forced labor issues. He assists clients in developing and implementing effective compliance programs to help ensure that reasonable care is exercised over import matters and in preparing for membership in voluntary programs, such as the Importer Self-Assessment and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. He regularly conducts internal compliance reviews, prepares detailed prior disclosures and compliance improvement plans, and represents clients in customs compliance audits and enforcement actions, including both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations. He also regularly provides customs and other regulatory advice in connection with corporate restructurings and mergers and acquisitions, and advises clients on trade-related legislative matters. He frequently works with colleagues in other practices and in other jurisdictions on multidisciplinary customs compliance issues, such as the intersection between transfer pricing and customs valuation, IP licensing and other issues.
Ted also represents clients before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Some of Ted’s representative matters (including prior to joining Sidley) include:
- assist clients in a variety of industries, including industrial goods, consumer electronics, information technology, life sciences, oil & gas services, apparel & footwear and consumer packaged goods respond U.S. trade actions under Section 301 (including developing and implementing effective tariff mitigation strategies, testifying before the Section 301 Committee, applying for an obtaining product exclusions, etc.)
- conducted internal assessments and investigations for numerous clients to identify potential compliance violations and, where appropriate, prepared voluntary self-disclosures
- represented clients in CBP/ICE penalty investigations involving customs valuation issues (transfer pricing, intercompany royalties, assists, indirect payments, among others), tariff preference claims, classification issues and failure to deposit antidumping/countervailing duties
- represented clients in the food, pharmaceutical, textile and apparel and consumer products industries in CBP Focused Assessments, NAFTA Verifications, KORUS Verifications, GSP and other government audits
- assisted a U.S. textile and apparel company in overturning the results of a CBP NAFTA Verification of its Canadian affiliate, thereby shielding the company from penalties and preserving its investment in the NAFTA territory
- represented U.S. subsidiaries of a global science and technology company in civil and criminal customs fraud investigations conducted by CBP
- served as counsel in United States v. Nitek Electronics, Inc., a landmark decision by the U.S. Court of International Trade regarding how U.S. customs penalty cases are prosecuted by the government
- represented a materials science products manufacturer in a country of origin investigation conducted by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Inspector General
- represented a U.S. tool manufacturer in a “Made in U.S.A” investigation conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Ted was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation (ITAC 14) for the 2010–2014 and 2014–2018 terms.
Ted has been honored as a leading customs compliance practitioner by Chambers USA (Band 1), Chambers Global, Who’s Who Legal: Trade & Customs, The Legal 500 and other legal ranking publications.