What is your perspective on customs brokerage? Customs brokerage services are often viewed at surface level on price and speed of entry. However, much like an iceberg, what lies below the surface can sink your ship unless you have been made aware of its presence and have the necessary partner resources to navigate around the hidden dangers. Any thought towards accuracy, completeness and compliance is often secondary as there are always other immediate threats more visible to the eye that require one's attention. With an ever increasing focus on trans-border security, it is your responsibility as the Importer of Record (IOR) to certify that customs regulations are complied with. It is in your best interest to ensure you have partnered with service providers that view customs brokerage as a whole, are able to identify hidden areas of risk in your path and work with you to avoid them.

Common Hidden Areas of Risk

  • Erroneous and/or missing documentation This could cause delays while the information is being retrieved or, if not caught, could result in further scrutiny by customs at the first port of arrival or worse, in a post-entry audit.
  • Mislabeled goods and/or incorrect origin Some imported goods must be marked with Country of Origin (COO). Often times the country of origin and country of manufacture are confused. Country of origin is the country of export, whereas the country of manufacture is where the items are manufactured. Failure to comply with this regulation could result in denial of entry with zero compensation for outlaid costs such as freight shipping.
  • Inexact piece counts and under-declared goods Penalties and seizure of goods are often the result of shipments where the physical goods shipped do not match the customs documentation used to prepare the declaration.
  • Misclassified goods A lack of detail on the customs documentation can lead to the misclassification of goods which can result in incorrect duty payouts and penalties to the importer of record.
  • Incorrect valuation All imported goods must have a value regardless if they are product samples, replacements (warranty and non-warranty), inter-company transfers or no-charge items. Are there any costs included in the value that should be added or deducted for customs purposes? The valuation method utilized must meet customs valuation criteria for the transaction taking place.
  • Inaccurate use of Free Trade Agreements It cannot be assumed that goods coming from a free trade region qualify under that FTA?s eligibility rules to benefit from a potential duty-free status. A valid FTA certificate must accompany the eligible goods in order to relieve any duties.

Ensure that you work with international trade professionals that will assist in keeping an eye out for hidden areas of risk by viewing customs brokerages services beyond the surface.

How do you view customs brokerage services? Share your iceberg experience with us in the comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

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While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.