Customs clearance is an important part of international trade, and the value of customs brokers is reflected in these processes. On behalf of importers and exporters, they deal with customs and are responsible for delivering the goods smoothly. The following article will explain it in detail. Let’s take a look.

Customs broker job description

Customs brokers are also known as customs house brokers. They are professionals with Customs Declaration Certificates. With their expertise, they can help the goods pass through customs smoothly. They handle necessary documents and reduce some cases of goods. For example, your goods are being seized, confiscated, etc. This occurs when product names are inconsistent and prices are too high.

You may be wondering, must a company need a customs broker to file a customs clearance?

Some large companies have their own brokers to clear customs. However, the process of customs clearance is tedious. And different countries have different customs clearance procedures, restrictions, and requirements. Moreover, the salary of a customs broker may be higher than the cost of an outsourced agent.

Therefore, many companies do not have their own customs brokers. They need to find one specializing in the import and export of goods on their behalf. These professionals deal with customs, docks, and other departments for a long time. So they are familiar with the customs clearance process, laws, and regulations, which can greatly improve efficiency.

What does a customs broker do?

Customs brokers are mainly responsible for import and export clearance. Suppose you need to import goods from China to the United States in your name, you need to provide a Power Of Attorney to your customs broker. He will fully represent you in this process.

Classify goods accurately

He will help you choose the correct HTS code to identify your cargo attributes. They help you classify the goods, so that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection can determine tariff rates.

Complete ISF security declaration

Your Chinese seller needs to provide ISF(10+2) information to your broker. ISF (10+2) is the security declaration required when importing goods into the United States. Most of the content is about your Chinese seller, such as company address, factory name, etc. Your broker should ensure that the ISF is submitted electronically to U.S. Customs 24 hours before shipment.

Submit the bond and tax ID

You need to purchase a bond for your subsequent abandonment or compensation of goods. This fee is equivalent to a guarantee between you and U.S. Customs. Without this fee, your goods will not clear customs because they are not on file with U.S. Customs.

You can’t purchase the bond by yourself, and it must be purchased by your broker from a surety company. You need to fill out the relevant documents and provide the tax ID of your company.

Provide relevant documentation

Customs clearance documents include a bill of lading, an invoice, a packing list, a notice of arrival, certificates of origin of goods, etc. After receiving the notice of arrival and the above documents are ready, your broker can apply for clearance within 5 days of the intended arrival or arrival at the port.

Arrange necessary payments

Your customs broker will help you pay all the necessary fees for the import of goods, such as customs clearance fees, Merchandise Processing Fees, import duties, etc. Then you should pay these charges to him.

Note that different countries have different policies. If you need to import goods to other countries such as the United Kingdom, your U.S. brokers are not familiar with its procedures. You need to find another professional one.

How to tell Freight forwarders and customs brokers?

International trade includes many parts, such as cargo transportation, customs clearance, warehousing, distribution, etc. In these processes, both freight forwarders and customs brokers play an important role. They cooperate to improve the efficiency of international logistics.

Freight forwarders are different from customs brokers. Freight forwarders help a buyer or seller to move goods from the buyer’s warehouse to the seller’s destination. Customs brokers handle the clearance of goods and ensure they can enter or leave a country without any problems. They are in direct contact with customs.

Some freight forwarders also provide clearance services. But in order to save time and improve efficiency, they entrust customs brokers to complete it.

What are the customs broker fees?

You need to pay customs clearance fees and agency fees to the customs brokers.

Your broker usually collects customs clearance fees in advance and settles according to the actual amount incurred. These fees include two aspects.

On the one hand, customs will charge some fees, such as customs declaration fees, VAT, and customs duties. Customs declaration fees have no relation to the value of the goods and are charged at a certain fare. VAT and customs duties vary depending on the country and the properties of the goods.

On the other hand, there are a series of charges at ports, such as port fees, commodity inspection fees, inspection and quarantine fees, etc. These charges vary from port to port.

Agency fees vary depending on the range of services. In China, the export agency fee is 0.8%-2.5% of the value of your goods, and the import agency fee is about 1% of the total value of the declared amount (the value of the goods you declare to customs). For example, if you have a shipment of 30,000 USD, the agency fee is 1%*30,000. The difference in labor costs between countries determines the difference in agency fees.

In addition, if your goods are inspected by customs, then your broker needs to coordinate and charges a service fee. If you have lots of customs declaration names, thus increasing the time for your broker to enter, this charge is definitely higher.

Although agency fees may incur additional costs, they are worth it. Because a professional customs broker can help you avoid fines and other unnecessary expenses, which may arise from improper handling due to your unfamiliarity with the process.

How to find customs brokers?

From your freight forwarders

Your freight forwarder has rich experience in international trade, he must be close to some reliable customs brokers. You can entrust him with the whole process, and won’t need to worry about the details of the international trade. This is one of the most common ways.

JingSourcing has long-term cooperative freight forwarders, and can help you with customs clearance.

From some authoritative websites

Some professional websites such as CBP, NCBFAA can help you find a reliable customs broker. CBP lists all the customs brokers in different parts of the United States. All you need to do is select your address and port to get relevant authorized ones and their information. 

NCBFAA is similar to CBP, it classifies customs brokers by location. In addition to finding professional customs brokers, you can also find freight forwarders. Just choose from these sites according to your situation.

What is a reliable customs broker?

The above lists some ways to find a customs broker, but whether they are reliable or not requires further communication and judgment. Below we will list four common characteristics of reliable ones for your reference.

Great expertise

If your goods are a specific type, you need to choose a broker who has expertise in your business area. An experienced one can be more helpful than others. He has considerable knowledge of your goods, which saves you a lot of trouble.

In addition to being familiar with customs procedures and port operations, he should keep a close eye on the ever-changing regulations, and always update his knowledge to keep up with the state of the industry.

Attention to detail

Customs brokers have to handle lots of documents and make sure they are complete and correct. So your goods can pass inspection without any problems. Therefore, a reliable broker is detail oriented and makes sure that every piece of information is accurate.

Ability to solve problems

A reliable customs broker can quickly find solutions when questions arise. For example, when customs has questions about your cargo and needs to inspect it, your cargo will be held up at the port. A reliable customs broker will go through the situation in detail and understand how to communicate with customs more efficiently.

Responsive to requests

Customs clearance is a complex process, a delay can have knock-on effects with incalculable consequences. So it’s crucial to work with a broker who can respond quickly to your requests. He can keep you informed of the latest news about your shipment and rest your mind at ease.

The End

Believe you have a clear understanding of the customs broker. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

We are JingSourcing, a leading sourcing agency in China. We are committed to sourcing and arranging the best transportation options. And we maintain good relationship with lots of reliable custom brokers.

Just CONTACT US if you need this service.

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