For my first post I thought it would be appropriate to begin with “Importer Responsibility.” The laws of the United States relating to the importation of goods primarily place the responsibility on YOU! the importer, kinda sucks right. Whether the source of a problem is due to a foreign exporter’s conduct, the United States has jurisdiction over you as the importer. As a result, importers must be cautious and not place all of their trust in the foreign exporter to know what to do.
Building on the idea of responsibility, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (the government enforcement agency protecting our borders) coined the term “shared responsibility” meaning that CBP communicates its requirements to the importer, and the importer must use “Reasonable Care” to assure that CBP is provided with accurate information regarding their imports. The reasonable care standard is subjective to what CBP believes it to mean, basically you must be PERFECT in every way. Thus, it is important to consider any and all help in complying with the Customs Regulations. This can be accomplished through the aid of a customs broker, import/export consultant, accountant, or an attorney.
A checklist of an importer’s responsibilities can be summarized by:
1. Declaring your merchandise that is entering the U.S.
2. Complete and accurate documentation (NO careless mistakes as we prone to in grade school).
3. Compliance with all legal requirements.
4. Pay your duties on time!
5. Maintain accurate records.
Follow the checklist (if you can) and it should be smooth sailing for your merchandise from overseas and into a department store near you.