Lars-Erik Hjelm – Secretary

Lars-Erik A. Hjelm is a Partner at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Mr. Hjelm focuses on customs law and policy. He represents Fortune 500 companies whose imports and exports are regulated by the Homeland Security Bureaus of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as other federal agencies. His experience covers the wide range of commercial and enforcement laws and policies that CBP and ICE administer, which include duty preference programs, tariff classification, valuation, entry procedures, customs brokerage, country of origin marking, binding rulings, audits, anti-terrorism and border protection initiatives (e.g., the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism), export control and sanctions, voluntary disclosures, seizures and forfeitures, fraud and strategic investigations, and civil and criminal penalties. Clients for whom Mr. Hjelm serves include companies engaged in the airline, customs brokerage, electronics, food, freight forwarding, home furnishings, non-vessel operating common carrier, paper, telecommunications and textile industries. His accomplishments include representing a company before the Court of International Trade in a historic case regarding CBP’s refusal to grant duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences and counseling clients through intensive customs audits. Before joining Akin Gump, Mr. Hjelm served in various capacities at the U.S. Customs Service, which became two separate bureaus within the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003. From 1996 to 1999 Mr. Hjelm was the assistant chief counsel and managing lawyer for the Customs Service in the mid-Atlantic. In that capacity, he supervised the regional legal office and was the principal legal advisor to customs personnel in the ports of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. From 1989 to 1996 Mr. Hjelm was an attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Customs Service and the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury, both in Washington, D.C. During his tenure, he represented the agency in cases brought before the Court of International Trade, federal district courts and a U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement dispute resolution panel; served as a special assistant U.S. attorney; taught customs law at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and assisted in the drafting of the Customs Modernization Act. Mr. Hjelm writes and speaks frequently on customs affairs and policy. He received his B.A. with honors in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 and his J.D. from Emory University in 1989. In 1985 and 1986 he attended Uppsala University in Sweden. Mr. Hjelm is a member of the District of Columbia and Georgia Bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal and 3rd Circuits. He is a member of the Joint Industry Group, the ABA Customs Law Committee and the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2006 and 2007). He resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Jeanne, and children, Patrik, Erik and Allanah.

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