Importing goods into the US: Do you need a customs broker?

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Imports and exports into the US are typically subject to a number of statutory requirements and compliance needs. There are the standard regulations as set by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but apart from that, quota restrictions, state requirements, and impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) must be considered too. If you check a basic import to USA guide, you will realize that the number of even primary steps is huge. Then, of course, there is need for tariff classification, and importers are also expected to have a complete understanding of changing norms and international trade agreements. 

Did all of that sound overwhelming? For importers, who mean business, the eventual goal is to ensure that their work moves smoothly as possible. Also, many importing companies do not want to deal with the complications of trade agreements and changing regulatory & statutory requirements. That’s where a customs broker can be handy. 

Why you may need a customs broker?

First things first, if the value of your shipments is less than $2,000, CBP is likely to clear the same easily under an informal entry. However, for goods that are regulated for importing by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other agencies, formal entry is essential. With a Customs broker, you can get everything done within a short time. In plain terms, the role of a Customs broker is to clear your goods from the customs, but that’s easier said than done. Statutory requirements, classification of tariffs, impact of trade agreements, and regulatory norms must be checked, and a customs broker do all of that for your business. Most customs brokers don’t need to have an office at the port of entry, but they can handle the documentation electronically and work with CBP accordingly. 

Preparing the documents

To get your goods imported into the US, you need a few documents. The first one is the commercial invoice, which is issued by the seller or exporter. Other documents that are needed include bill of lading and Other Government Department (OGD) documents. Depending on the commodity being imported, you may ha e specific requirements and documents. 

Final word

Hiring a customs broker may seem like an added cost to your importing business, but the extent of work they do is worth considering. A good and known customs brokers can also offer consulting for clients, so that they import like a pro, without making an expensive mistake. 

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