Canada and the United States have the largest trade relationship in the world. For most organizations that participate in this cross-border trade, their supply chain relies on transporting goods and services across the shared border; however, few have the human or financial resources required to keep up with the regulation changes or technology updates. This is why you should be working with a customs broker!
Customs brokers will work with you to ensure your shipment moves effortlessly across the border and arrives at its destination on time, while adhering to customs laws and regulations. Customs brokers will work in the best interest of you, their client, to assist you in assuring that Customs and other government department regulations are met. They have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that the Importer is meeting all of the import requirements of either Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Customs brokers can provide various services, which could include:
- Preparing the initial release package for your shipment, which must be submitted to Customs electronically.
- Confirming the entry of goods, and work with Customs and the Importer to ensure all tax, duties, and government fees are calculated and paid properly.
- Assisting you with arranging the transportation of your goods.
- Advising and consulting Importers on various aspects of importing, which could include: assisting in determining the landed costs of the goods, explore options for entry and duty/tax deferment, free-trade agreements, Importer’s obligations under the Customs Act, and regulatory compliance.
- Arranging a preliminary clearance of the shipment pending full clearance once the shipment arrives at the port of entry.
When you work with a customs broker, you are putting experts with years of experience and knowledge to work for you. This will reduce the risk of you, the Importer, being penalized for regulations that you may be unaware of.
Customs brokers can provide additional benefits, some of which include:
- Risk Management: customs brokers ensure that the importer is complying with various Customs regulations. They are able to assist with complex issues and may be able to provide feedback on how to reduce the duties and taxes you pay.
- Flexible Staffing: customs brokers alleviate the need for importers to have Licensed Customs Brokers or Certified Customs Specialists on staff, which allows the importer to focus on other aspects of their business. Customs brokers will also follow the shipment from start to finish, which means that the importer doesn’t require various staff members to be responsible for the different aspects of the import process.
- Decrease Fixed Costs: customs brokers are required to have various programs and technology to help them carry out their day-to-day tasks or communicate with Customs. By using a customs broker, the importer forgoes the requirement of various hardware, software, maintenance costs, and associated overhead related to having an in-house Customs expert.
When deciding whether or not to use a customs broker, utilize the information above to help assess the benefits. Next, look at the costs. If a customs broker can help you avoid importing errors, they will in turn be saving you time and money – how important is this to you and your business?