Customs broking

Customs Brokerage is a profession that involves the 'clearing' of goods through customs barriers for importers and exporters (usually businesses). This involves the preparation of documents and/or electronic submissions, the calculation (and usually the payment) on behalf of the client of taxes, duties and excises, and facilitating communication between the importer/exporter and governmental authorities. Customs brokers in the USA will often prepare and submit documentation to notify or obtain the clearance from other government agencies such as the Food and Drug administration (FDA), The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Fish and Wildlife service, and many others. Customs brokers need to be familiar with the Tariff Schedule, a listing of duty rates for imported items, and the Federal Regulations governing importations found in the Code of Federal Regulations vol 19, known as CFR19. For example, a customs broker may need to advise an importer regarding country of origin marking requirements or the precise paperwork requirements for a clothing shipment subject to quota/visa requirements. Knowing the requirements of each type of import can avoid costly delays or seizure of the merchandise. Many customs brokers specialize in certain types of transactions, such as wearing apparel, perishables, or clearing the crew and manifest of large cargo vessels. Customs brokers can be located at inland "ports" to clear merchandise sent "in bond" but most are located at major airports and harbors with international traffic. Customs brokers normally arrange the transhipment or local delivery of cleared merchandise through relationships with trucking companies and others. Customs brokers must pass an examination and background check to become licensed. Customs brokers are not government employees and should not be confused with Customs agents, although in some countries the term customs agent may mean customs broker.

Custom brokers may be employed by or affiliated with freight forwarders, but may be independent businesses or may be employed by shipping lines, importers, exporters, trade authorities and customs broking firms.

In the United States as is the case through much of the world, customs brokers are licensed by the local customs authority. In the United States of America, this is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In Canada Customs Brokers are licensed by Canada Border Service Agency (Canada Customs) . The majority of licensed Customs Brokers are members of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers

In Australia Customs Brokers are licensed by the Australian Customs Service and the majority are members of the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia, the peak industry body representing these service providers.

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