The ability to import and export goods is how the marketplace originally became global. It is also the reason why many countries live far more comfortably, as well as far less isolated, than if there weren’t a global marketplace. It is the responsibility of a country’s legislature to regulate what comes into the country, as well as what goes out. This job is performed by the customs department.
If you own a business that imports or exports merchandise, it is imperative that you are compliant with the laws and regulations set forth by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), as well as Partner Government Agencies (PGA).
To do this, you must cultivate a solid relationship with a customs broker. While these professionals are extremely useful and provide expert information, be sure to learn as much as you can about the customs processes so that you are not totally dependent on their services. Instead, their services will be a valuable supplement to your business.
What is a customs broker?
Customs brokers are licensed private individuals, corporations, partnerships or associations who work with the different customs departments to clear your imported or exported merchandise for shipment. It is the responsibility of the customs broker to ensure that all goods meet the requirements, regulations, and laws that are legally mandated. Additionally, they must confirm that all required documentation, fees, and taxes have been fulfilled.
According to CPB, “Brokers must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise.” This is an incredibly important job that has severe repercussions if not performed properly. The Penalties Program set forth by CPB and enforced by Penalties and Forfeitures field offices, as well as the national direction from 326 ports of entry, help to prevent non-compliance.
Why do I need a customs broker??
Because the requirements and regulations vary drastically from country to country, most businesses and even governments hire a customs broker to keep them abreast of any and all issues such as taxes and documentation required for the import and export of their products. So how exactly will this benefit your business?
- The customs broker is responsible for obtaining and filling out all required documents to present to government agencies on your behalf. This saves time and reduces stress because the repercussions of noncompliance lie with the broker.
- They are knowledgeable about the exact documents that are required, as well as the most efficient way to prepare them so as to avoid delays. Another time saver, this can possibly increase productivity and profits when you have solid time frames to work with.
- It is the responsibility of the customs broker to calculate all tariffs and duties; saving business owners and government officials the headache, and ensuring accuracy.
- They interact with the other necessary customs officials and track your cargo. This is especially helpful to you, due to time zone differences.
- A customs broker can help strategize which markets are lucrative for your business, and which are not. Perhaps one of the best advantages of using a customs broker, this particular benefit can help to expand your business.
- They can assist you with exploring new markets; determining how to set up and what to trade. There is no better professional than a customs broker to accomplish such a task; and again possibly expand your business.
In today’s marketplace, nearly every business has the opportunity to go global. In order to stay competitive, most businesses should. Building a solid relationship with a customs broker to ensure compliance is an absolute must. And with the ability for that same licensed expert to help you expand your business, it would be imprudent not to.