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Who is the U.S. Customs Broker?

Customs brokers in international shipping are private individuals or companies regulated by the U.S. Customs and who aid international shippers( importers and exporters to move merchandise through Customs). Customs Brokers provide the proper paperwork and payments to Customs for international shippers and charge a fee for this service.

Right to make an Entry in international shipping to the USA (in general)

Merchandise that is shipped and arrived in the United States by the commercial carrier must be entered by (1) the owner, (2) the purchaser, (3) his authorized regular employee, or (4) by the licensed U.S. Customs Broker designated by the international shipper: owner, purchaser or consignee. 

The only persons authorized by the tariff laws of the United States to act as agents for international shippers in the transactions in their Customs Service are Customs Brokers, who are private individuals or firms licensed by the U.S. Customs Service. 

U.S. Customs Brokers will prepare and file the necessary Customs entries for international shipments to the USA, arrange for the payment of the duties found due, take steps to effect the release of the imported goods in Customs causticity, and otherwise represent their principles in Customs matters. The fees charged for these services may vary according to the Customs broker and the extent of services performed. 

Bureau of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (BCBP, CBP): Combines the functions of (1) the U.S. Customs Service, (2) the INS, (3) the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and (4) U.S. Border Patrol.

BCBP consists of:

  • 20 CMC (Customs Management Centers), each with several Customs Districts

  • Each Customs District has several service ports and is headed by PORT DIRECTOR.

    Most of the activity of Custom House Broker is at the port level. The PORT DIRECTOR is responsible for inspecting imported merchandise in his district and the classification and value of imported goods. It consists of (1) Inspection Division, (2) Import Socialists, also known as Commodity Specialist Team (CST), each headed by the Commodity Team Leader, and (3) Custom Laboratory.

    The PORT INSPECTOR and CST must be aware of and enforce regulations of other Federal Agencies, such as the Food and Drug Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), etc.

    Another source of information is the Customs Information Exchange (CIE) in New York. Information reaches the CIE from every international shipping port in the U.S.

  • Each international shipping Service Port is divided by port of entry. Ports cover air, ocean, and land crossing into the U.S.

The Customs Territory of the United States consists of the 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and Puerto Rico.

Although in the South East Region (Miami), Virginia Islands are not part of the U.S. Customs Territory. Imports there are not governed by U.S. Customs Regulations. It can be duty-free if they are growth, product, or manufacture of these possessions or contain foreign materials valued at more than 50% of their cost.

Possessions that are NOT part of U.S. Customs Territory are (1) Guam, (2) America Samoa, (3) Wake Islands, (4) Midway Islands, (5) Kingman Reef, and (6) Johnston Islands.

C-TPAT (Customs & Trade Partnership Against Terrorism): U.S. border security program to help protect the USA from terrorism related to international shipping.

This partnership with C-TPAT is voluntary, BUT non-participants have been experiencing numerous form number CF28 Requests for Information regarding their shipments, causing a delay in their import process. Partnered members of C-TPAT are international shippers, importers, licensed brokers, air, ocean, inland carriers, freight forwarders, NVOCCs, consolidators, etc.

 
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