Licensed Customs Brokers in Supply Chain: A Quick Overview
A Licensed Customs Broker is licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after passing extensive examinations that cover:
- Customs laws
- Customs classifications
- Customs tariff schedules
- Import and export regulations
- Shipping procedures
- Trade documentation, etc.
Once licensed, this individual is a certified expert in overseeing the proper packaging, licensing, classification, tax and fee payments, and all import and export documentation necessary to get shipments across the intended borders to their destinations.
Licensed customs brokers make it easy to understand the relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) needed for international shipments. These HTS codes are used by Customs to:
- Assess duties and percentages
- Track trade trends
- Flag and deny illegal goods shipments
If you have the wrong HTS code filed, then you are likely to be flagged, detained, and charged penalties.
Don’t Pay for Doing It Wrong
As an SMB, you might have been shipping hardware the best you can and just hoping you don’t get caught at the border. “Security through obscurity,” so to speak. That might work for a little while, but sooner or later you’ll get burned.
Perhaps you have a shipment that has been detained at the border because your shipment was improperly classified. Your company has been fined. You’ve been taxed on misclassified goods. And now your international partners’ projects have been massively delayed.
It’s been months, and you’re still trying to get your hardware out of Customs. This all could have been avoided if you had had the proper information from the start with the help of a licensed customs broker.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret.
Each OEM has an export compliance tool available for you to look up the correct HTS codes you need. While you can use the HTS codes for your equipment listed on the International Trade Administration website, all-encompassing tools like this often require you to self-classify. This takes significantly more knowledge than plugging in the part number via the OEM’s tools.
Yes, international shipments are hard. But these new tariffs don’t have to be if you classify your shipments properly. And the information is readily available, contrary to what the ill-informed are saying in frustration.
Do it right the first time. Your international partners (and your CFO) will thank you for it.