Importing into USA

  1. Role of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  2. Role of the U.S. Customs Broker:
  3. Role of the Importer
  4. Reasonable Care Checklist
  5. Required Documentation
  6. Invoice Requirements
  7. Products Requiring Additional Information
  8. Avoiding Penalties and Delays For An Audit
  9. Industry Links:

Role of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

  • Facilitating trade to/from the United States
  • Securing the U.S. from acts of terrorism
  • Collecting duties, taxes and fees
  • Enforcing trade laws related to admissibility
  • Protecting the U.S. agricultural resources

To learn more attend a U.S. Customs Compliance Seminar.

 

Role of the U.S. Customs Broker:

A U.S. Customs broker works with and on behalf of the importer client, to facilitate clearance of personal and commercial goods into the United States. Customs brokers are highly regulated by Customs & Border Protection, in addition to other agencies. Some of the requirements include:

  • Transacting Customs business requires licensure by CBP
  • U. S. Citizen
  • Good moral character
  • Pass formidable written exam
    • Evidence knowledge of Customs related laws and procedures, in order to render valuable service to Importers


Duties & responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining records in approved manner
  • Confidentiality of records – nondisclosure
  • Responsible supervision of staff
  • Fiduciary due diligence
  • Correct advice to clients


Communication & coordination with Other Government Agencies (OGAs)

  • Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA or Ag)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

To learn more attend a U.S. Customs Compliance Seminar.

 

Role of the Importer

An “Importer” is the person or company liable for the payment of any duties and taxes on the imported merchandise. An importer into the U. S.:

  • May be a resident or non-resident
  • Must know the goods that you are importing
  • Will conduct importing activities in accordance with U.S. law
  • Should communicate with your partners in compliance

 

Importers and importing activity are also highly regulated. It is the responsibility of the Importer to:

  • Act with reasonable care, which includes understanding and complying with the regulations that affect your transactions   
  • Make entries by filing with Customs such information as is necessary to enable Customs to determine whether the goods may be released from Customs custody
  • To complete the entry by filing with Customs the declared value, classification and rate of duty and other such documentation or information to enable Customs to properly assess duties, collect accurate statistics and determine whether any other applicable law is met

To learn more attend a U.S. Customs Compliance Seminar.

 

Reasonable Care Checklist

  • A responsible, knowledgeable individual, within your organization, reviews your CBP documentation to assure that it is full, complete and accurate?
  • If you use an expert to help you comply with CBP requirements, have you discussed your importations in advance with that person, and have you provided them with complete, accurate information about the import transaction?
  • Are identical transactions or merchandise handled differently at different ports, and if so, have you brought this fact to the attention of CBP officials?
  • Do you know what you ordered, where it was made, and what it is made of?
  • Have you provided a complete, accurate description of your merchandise?
  • Do you know the “price actually paid or payable” for your merchandise?
  • Have you developed reliable procedures to maintain and produce the required entry documentation and supporting information?

 

*NOTE:  This is a partial list only. Please refer to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for more detailed information on Reasonable Care.

 

Required Documentation

  • A valid United States Customs Power of Attorney (if using a customs broker)
  • United States Customs Bond
  • NAFTA (If applicable)
  • Invoice (Pro Forma, Customs or Commercial Invoice)
  • e-Manifest

 

Invoice Requirements

  • An adequate and legible description of the merchandise (Industry codes and abbreviations are not acceptable).
  • Quantities, the value and currency of the merchandise.
  • Name and complete address of the foreign individual or firm who is responsible for the invoicing of the merchandise.
  • Manufacturer of the merchandise if other than above.
  • Name and complete address of the buyer of the merchandise.
  • IRS or Social Security number of the buyer of the merchandise.
  • Name and complete address of the consignee of the merchandise if other than above.
  • IRS or Social Security number of the consignee of the merchandise.

 

Products Requiring Additional Information

  • Textile products
  • Food and Drug related products
  • Steel
  • Lumber
  • Bearings
  • Machinery

 

Many other items will require additional information over and above the basic invoice requirements.

 

Avoiding Penalties and Delays For An Audit

  • Ensure documentation is complete, legible and detailed
  • Ensure goods are properly marked with country of origin
  • Ensure goods meet Other Government Agencies (OGAs) requirements – FDA, USDA, etc.
  • Work closely with your experts – customs broker, shipping company, attorney and U.S. Customs
  • Ensure your customs broker is notified of your shipments
  • Consider a C-TPAT membership
  • Understand your obligations as an Importer of Record
  • Ensure you maintain records as required by Customs
  • Prior Disclosure

To learn more attend a U.S. Customs Audit Seminar.

 

Industry Links:

 

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