Although the concept of trade is as old as time, it has evolved into a complicated, strictly regulated industry. Today, business revolves around international imports and exports. To ensure you are fully compliant with all the rules and regulations surrounding importing and exporting processes, you may want to work with a customs broker.
What is a Customs Broker?
Companies regularly work with a customs broker to assist with importing goods. A customs broker is licensed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is an expert in international customs regulations, the harmonized tariff schedule, and global free trade agreements.
The CBP takes responsibility for stopping prohibited or illegal items from entering the United States. Products cannot enter the country legally without the CBP’s permission. Importers must declare precisely what goods they bring into the country to receive customs clearance.
The clearance process can get very complicated, particularly when it comes to international trade. Importers hire a licensed customs broker to arrange the customs clearance process on their behalf.
Customs brokers are authorized by United States law to operate on behalf of importers, making dealings with federal agencies, such as the CBP, efficient and professional.
There is no legal requirement for importers to hire professional customs brokerage services by law. If an importer is knowledgeable and well-versed in the complexities of imports, they can handle it themselves.
However, if an importer isn’t an expert in CBP policies, procedures, and the specific entry requirements of their goods, they should consider working with a customs broker to ensure their goods arrive on time.
Ultimately, the importer is responsible for every aspect of the importation process. If they fail to file all relevant paperwork and follow the necessary protocol, they can face hefty fines, and the CBP could seize their goods.
Knowledge Required to Handle Customs Clearance
An importer must have in-depth knowledge of the policies and procedures needed to clear their goods. As well as the CBP’s policies, importers may need to know about the policies of other specialized departments.
Importing certain goods may require a specific certification, license, or permit. Importers are responsible for obtaining and producing this to the relevant authorities.
A customs bond is a necessity when bringing in goods worth over $2,500 for commercial use. The importer must secure this. If someone intends to import frequently through different ports of entry, a continuous bond may be necessary, while one-off imports only need a single entry bond.
You’ll also need to carefully monitor other tariffs, schedules, duty rates, and regulations to ensure items are cleared promptly. If you miss a payment or fail to pay certain fees, you may have to pay significant fines.
When Do You Need a Customs Broker?
International customs is a complicated, regularly changing field that requires extensive knowledge and expertise. Unless you’re comfortable with every aspect of the process, you should look for a customs broker.
However, it’s important to note that some regions have less stringent regulations than others. For example, Canada and the USA share a prosperous trading relationship. While there are still strict rules from both the US and Canadian customs, it is nowhere near as complicated as trade with countries such as China.
Importers may hire a customs broker when shipping goods from either of these countries, but the required level of work can differ significantly.
Avoid Taking Major Chances
Importers face major financial and legal risks every day. If they don’t perform their due diligence, they can face enormous fines and serious legal implications. When dealing with international trade, you must avoid taking major chances. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the process, consult the CBP’s customer service line for assistance.
At Asiana USA, we can provide key knowledge regarding international shipping services. For a quote or further information, contact us today at (855) 500-1808.