Customs broker 101: Basic aspects explained

You are interested in commercial importing. The next step is to read up on international trade laws, check for applicable state regulations, if any, and find more on basic importing norms, tariff codes, compliance requirements as mentioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If you don’t want to deal with all of that, just engage a customs broker – simple! For the unversed, customs brokers are licensed by the CBP, and they can take over your importing requirements and documentations, right from the basic paperwork to ensuring that your business is compliant to necessary rules and regulations, they do it all. Some prominent names, such as Clearit USA customs broker, have been in the industry for more than three decades.

Is it mandatory to hire a customs broker for importing into the US?

No. There is no law that states that hiring a customs broker is employee productivity tracker mandatory for importing & exporting. Yet, you will find all known importers are working with one. A customs broker may refer to a person, partnership, association or corporation, and they must pass the licensure exam of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to work with clients. 

What can a customs broker do?

Most customs brokers are directly involved in clearing cargo across ports in the US, including inland. They can handle all kinds of shipments, right from parcel and truck, to ocean and air. Many customs brokers also have their own software, which simplifies the onboarding process and allows customers to clear customs in minutes, while ensuring compliance at the same time. If there are any logistical issues, or there are changes in international trade laws, expect your customs broker to explain all details, and they will ensure that all applicable tariff codes and duties are applied. If your business is eligible for refunds, they will check for that, as well. Keep in mind that some categories of imports are subjected to more regulations than others, and all the changes in importing norms, compliance and related matters will be handled by the customs broker. 

That said, importer is still responsible for their business, and just because you have hired a customs broker doesn’t mean you can get away with the mistakes or paperwork errors. This is the precise reason why you need a reliable and known customs broker for your importing business, because this is about long-term collaboration, and not about saving a few bucks.

Rozella Kessler
the authorRozella Kessler