Does Your Business Need a Customs Broker?

If you’re an importer or exporter, you need a customs broker.

Although trading is one of the oldest concepts, the business has become quite complex today. That’s because of the strict regulations in the international exports and imports business. For this reason, most companies rely on a customs broker to help clear items through customs.

However, most small businesses and new companies may not know who custom brokers are and how they can help their businesses. If you’re wondering whether your business needs a custom broker, read below for clarification:

What Are Customs Brokers?

If you buy or sell products internationally, you may need the assistance of a customs broker. A customs broker is a licensed professional by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who has knowledge and expertise in international customs regulations. They are also experts in global free trade agreements and harmonized tariff schedules.

The CBP is responsible for ensuring that illegal and prohibited goods aren’t allowed in the U.S. This means that any products imported into the country can’t gain entrance without the CBP’s permission. As an importer, you should declare what you’re bringing into the country if you want to receive customs clearance.

If you deal in international trade, you probably know how complicated the process can be. This is why international importers hire custom brokers to help organize the customs clearance process.

The U.S. Government and law permit a licensed customs broker to work on behalf of the importer. This means they can make deals with federal agencies on your behalf to ensure an efficient and seamless goods importation process.  

Are You Legally Required to Hire a Customs Broker?

When entrepreneurs join the international importation business, the first question they ask is, “Do I need a customs broker?” However, you aren’t legally required to hire a customs broker. If you have the necessary knowledge and you’re well-versed in importation complexities, you can handle the whole process yourself.

But if you are not an expert in CBP policies or have experience in handling your own importation of goods, you should consider working with a customs broker. This is the best way to ensure your goods arrive on time. Conclusively, you are responsible for each aspect of the importation process.

This means that the CBP can hold you legally responsible if you fail to file any relevant paperwork or follow the importation protocol. Depending on the offense, you could face a hefty fine and even the seizure of your goods.

Why You Should Use a Customs Broker for Your Business?

If you’re wondering whether your business needs a custom broker, the answer may be yes. There are numerous reasons you should consider hiring a customs broker to help you with clearing customs. Below are five main reasons why you should hire a customs broker:

Knowledge and Experience in Regulatory Requirements

Small businesses are too stretched for resources to handle their own clearing customs. If you can’t afford to take time off to learn about clearance custom requirements or hire a full-time in-house employee for this specific position, you should use a customs broker.

Outsourcing will save you some money and give you access to a pro. Reputable brokers offer potential clients a portfolio of export and import services they offer.

This includes logistics, warehousing, freight forwarding, and distribution. Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that your business is in good hands.

Easy Shipment Clearance With Formal Entry

Different commodities have varying clearance requirements. For instance, some goods may automatically require a formal entry. This is a formal declaration of detailed information about the goods you imported.

A formal entry applies to foods, cosmetics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, dairy and agricultural products. You may also need a formal entry for any biological commodities for medical and research use. You may also need the formal entry if your goods exceed a specified value regardless of the nature of the shipment.

For example, shipments with a value exceeding $2,500 and $250 for textiles need a formal entry. If you import such commodities, the CBP will hold them at the customs until you or the broker files the shipment paperwork. This is why you should hire a reputable custom brokerage company such as Sobel customs broker to help clear your shipment.

Easy and Convenient Paperwork Filing

While you aren’t legally required to work with a customs broker, you should consider hiring one. The broker will file all the necessary paperwork and communicate with the agencies. Hiring a brokerage firm gives you the convenience of easy paperwork filing.

The broker will also have the necessary knowledge and experience to anticipate and avoid costly mistakes.

Correct Goods Identification

Do you know about Harmonized Tariff Schedules? If not, a customs broker is well versed and knows the different compilations of taxes and duties levied on goods before entering the country.

The CBP gives each commodity a classification number, and these goods are then classified into major groups and subgroups. This allows for easy and correct identification of the goods and helps with custom duty charges.

Easy Verification of Declarations

Keep in mind that you are responsible for any custom declarations prepared by the customs broker on your behalf under the law. Any defective declarations prepared for your goods may result in hefty fines, government audits, and even sanctions on your company. This is why you should consider hiring a customs broker if you buy or sell products internationally.  

Are You Ready to Hire a Customs Broker?

If you’ve launched a business and want to excel in today’s global market, you must learn about international trade. This involves knowing how to import and export goods, understanding complex custom clearance laws, and knowing when to ask for help.

While using a reputable customs broker isn’t a legal requirement when importing goods, it’s a wise choice. Your customs broker will handle all the necessary steps, filing all the paperwork to get your goods past customs.

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