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Customs brokers can be private individuals, partnerships, associations, or corporations that are licensed, regulated, and empowered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to represent and assist importers and exporters to comply with Federal requirements governing imports.
A customs broker assumes an important role in the growth of any business that wants to transcend and commercialize in new international markets. Why? They help businesses through their expertise to ultra-simplify the complexity of clearing shipments past Customs under 500 pages of Customs regulations and requirements and more than thousands of tariff considerations. Therefore, the customs broker you decide to work with must be an expert in customs compliance and serve as a consultant to guarantee that your business will reach its goals and objectives.
According to CBP authority, Article Number 000001169:
“There is no legal requirement for you to hire a Customs Broker to clear your goods. However, many importers opt to do so for convenience (…)They take the burden of filling out paperwork and obtaining a CBP bond off of the importer’s hands. The importer is always ultimately responsible for knowing CBP requirements and for ensuring their importation complies with all federal rules and regulations, but using a Customs Broker can save you from making costly mistakes.
If your goods are being imported via an express courier (Fed-Ex, DHL), the courier automatically utilizes Customs Brokers to clear your goods on your behalf.” Continue reading here.
In simple words, working with a Customs Broker makes commercial sense. Let´s look into the facts:
- Reduced costs: Customs brokerage requires a broad knowledge of tariff classification, duty rates, and other related charges or regulated requirements. Advice and consultation are essential. They can also accelerate your processing with early receipt of shipping documentation or similar strategies to avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Minimise Duty: An expert brokerage will enable you to take advantage of trade agreements. You will be able to see a significant impact on your bottom line. Your goods may qualify for duty concessions, ask your Customs broker about policies and procedures!
- Risk Management: Broker specialists stay updated on all changes pertaining to the vast field of customs compliance that includes rules, regulations, and conditions that apply to your importation which is critical to have a smooth clearance process and eliminate the possibility of any kind of potential monetary penalties or loss of merchandise.
- Flexible staffing: Having a customs specialist on-site or patent can be time-consuming and a big investment. For growing businesses, it is more convenient to work alongside a customs brokerage firm to alleviate their need to import and concentrate only on revenue-generating core activities.
- Post-entry work: Any changes regarding description, value or other specifications for further processing may create unnecessary delays without agile expertise. We also recommend talking to a customs broker about refund processing and other payment amendment requests that may be part of your importation.
We highly recommend only working with licensed brokers registered and permitted by CBP, you can access their database here to confirm and locate the broker closest to your location or port of entry here.
You can find ours in Otay Mesa, California area on page 2 under the name “FRANCISCO GONZALEZ DBA G-BROKER” with Broker File Code 8WS. Try the following exercise here.
Depending on the nature and complexity of your import will define the documents CBP will need to safely and efficiently clear your goods across the border. Initially, you will be required to present the following:
- Commercial Invoice
- Bill of Lading or Air Waybill
- Country of Origin Marking
Most clearances take about 2-3 days and can even be shortened to a few hours. With your first entries, Customs will take their time to become familiar with your business and products therefore, expect an extended clearance period.
In addition to CBP´s green light for clearance, your product may be obliged to meet the approval requirements from other regulatory agencies. This may include Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example. If you choose to work with a Customs Broker, they will help you meet any further obligations.
Although your Customs Broker is a facilitator to reaching customs clearance and provides professional help, they completely rely on their client in providing accurate and honest information in order to pay duties and import taxes. If Customs issues a penalty because of incomplete or misleading information, you will be receiving and paying it as responsible.
Can G-Global educate my staff and me on responsibilities, documentation, requirements, and regulations of customs procedures?
We are more than happy to help your business grow and optimize your brokerage processing with personalized training and consultation from our specialists. We can schedule a meeting to discuss any customs topic of your interest and share valuable insight!