What is a Customs Broker?

A Customs Broker is a licensed professional to legally represent the importers to deal with US Customs. A customs broker is an individual or a company who helps importers and exporters meet Federal importation or exportation requirements.

What other services does a Customs Broker Provide?

A Customs Broker can also arrange local Trucking, warehousing, Customs bonds and cargo insurance. The Customs broker can also provide Trade Consultants to handle more serious issues such as Trademark, IPR, and other trade issue. In addition, Customs broker can provide post entry service, protest for the importer, and duty drawback for the exporter.

Can TRANSWORLD CHB, INC. Customs Brokerage clear your shipments in other ports?

Yes, TRANSWORLD CHB, INC. has a National License & permit and is able to clear most types of entries anywhere in the U.S. through remote location filing.

What is a Customs Bond?

A CBP bond is a contract that is given to insure the performance of an obligation or obligations imposed by law or regulation. A bond is like an insurance policy that guarantees payment to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if a required act is not performed. Bonds have a number of uses in CBP. The most common use allows importers to take possession of their goods before all CBP formalities are completed. Another common use allows a carrier to move goods under bond from one place to another before those goods are actually entered for consumption with duties paid.

What are the bond amounts and how are they set?

Continuous Transaction Bond
All Continuous Transaction Bond are set by the Revenue Division of the National Finance Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Monetary Guidelines For Setting Bond Amounts are on the CBP website at http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/toolbox/legal/directives/3510-004.ctt/3510-004.txt.

The minimum bond amount for continuous bonds is generally $50,000. For importers, the minimum continuous bond amount is $50,000 or 10 percent of the total taxes and fees paid in the previous 12-month period whichever is greater. Please note that all bond amounts will be rounded up to the next whole dollar amount in multiples of $1,000.

Single Entry Bond
Single Entry Bond amounts are set by the port director who accepts the bond. The bond amount for a single entry bond generally is not less than the total entered value plus all duties, taxes, and fees. If merchandise is subject to other federal agency requirements or is restricted merchandise, the bond amount set is not less than three times the total entered value of the merchandise.

What is the value used for Custom’s purposes?

The value is the price paid or payable for the goods. Any selling commissions, assists, royalties, packing and proceeds must be also added into the price.

What paperwork is needed to clear my shipment?

The paperwork necessary to clear you shipment includes a commercial invoice, packing list, and a bill of lading or Airway bill. The invoice must be completed properly showing the total amount of the goods, currency used, country of origin, shipper, actual manufacturer, consignee, importer of record and a very detailed description of the goods in English. Certain goods will require additional documentation, please contact us for more info. For example: valid FDA product information if the product is subject to FDA regulation, valid Fish & Wildlife scientific name if the product is subject to FWS regulation.

What is the advantage to use a Customs Broker for clearance instead of my courier?

Constant changes in government rules and regulations required constant monitoring. Most companies find it too expensive and time consuming to monitor those changes. In our company, individual attention is ensured and our dedicate team will work out any duty and taxes and liaise with Customs to ascertain the speedy transit of your goods. It makes good business sense to hire a customs broker to help make certain that the goods are processed in an efficient and cost cost-effective manner.

What are some of the major changes that will impact the future of importing?

US Customs has made many changes that will directly affect the importing community. Some of these include First Sale Declarations, 10+2 or ISF, Clean Port Act, Lacey Act and there is more to come. It is our mission to make sure we are well educated in these new requirements to keep all of our customers informed and in compliance with these complicated rules.

What are the requirements for Country of Origin markings on imported goods?

Prior to importing your goods into the U.S., you should ensure that the overseas supplier has marked the goods with the country of origin. It must be permanent enough for the ultimate purchaser to be made aware of the goods origin. There are some exemptions for products incapable of being marked, please call TRANSWORLD CHB, INC. for specific information on your products.

What are Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) and Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)?

Customs requires that these fees are paid at the time the duty is paid. Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) is added to all entries. For formal entries they are assessed at .21% of the value of your shipment. The minimum is $25.00 and it shall not exceed $485.00 per entry. For informal entries the fee is $2.00. The Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) is assessed on all shipments that use U.S. Harbors (ocean freight). The fee is currently .125% based on the value of your shipment.

What are Custom’s requirements for keeping records on file?

Customs requires that importers, exporters, carriers and brokers keep all entry documents on file for a minimum of 5 years from the entry date or the date of the last activity that required the maintenance of records.

Do other government agencies have import or export requirements?

Some goods are subject to other government department regulations and may require permits or certification. It is important to determine these specifics prior to importation to ensure that your goods are compliance with other government agencies.

What is a Carnet & why use one?

A carnet is an international Custom’s document that is used to temporarily import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the Customs formalities usually required for the importation of goods, and without having to pay duty on the goods. It is valid for one year from the date of its issuance. It is accepted in more than 87 countries. An ATA carnet holder is obligated to present the goods and carnet to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prove exportation. Failure to prove exportation on either a TIB or a carnet subjects the importer to liquidated damages equal to 110 percent of the duty and import tax.

Can a foreign company export into the U.S. without an importer of record located in the U.S.?

Yes, a foreign company may import into the U.S. as long as they have an agent in the state where the port of entry is located that will serve as the resident agent in the U.S.

Do I need a Customs Broker to clear my goods through U.S. Customs or can I do it myself?

There is no legal requirement to use a customs broker to clear your goods; however, many importers opt to do so for convenience. Customs Brokers are licensed by U.S. Customs & Border Protection to conduct Customs business on behalf of importers. The importer is ultimately responsible for knowing CBP requirements and for ensuring their importations comply with all federal regulations, but if you use a trained professional to clear your goods, it could save you from making costly mistakes.

What is Duty Drawback?

This is a refund from U.S. Customs of 99% of duty paid on imported products when they are exported from the United States or destroyed before use. To qualify for Duty Drawback you we'll need proof that the imported item was exported from the United States within either 3 years (Unused) or 5 years (Manufacturing). Import and export documents should be available. Duty drawback is a complicated procedure. Please see your Customs Broker for further information.

How do I enter my exhibition samples into the U.S. duty free?

If you are importing commercial samples to solicit orders, the goods are not automatically exempt from duty as the goods still have commercial value for Customs purposes. However, you have three options that may enable you to import the goods without having to pay duty.
  1. There are special duty free provisions in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, which stipulates the criteria for samples eligible for duty free treatment. For example, in order for samples of textiles garment to be entered duty-free, they cannot be valued over $1.00 each, or must be marked SAMPLE NOT FOR RESALE," cut or torn, and perforated so they are unsuitable for sale or use. If it’s a textile fabric, the length and width cannot exceed 2 yds x 2 yds.
  2. Samples can also be brought in on a TIB entry if they are solely for taking orders and not for consumption. The samples cannot be sold and are allowed into the U.S. for a time period of 1 year from the date of importation, with 2 extensions, which cannot exceed 3 years. A bond must cover the amount equal to 110% of the estimated duties and fees. If the goods are not exported or destroyed within the allotted time period, there is a breach of the Customs bond. Customs will demand the payment of liquidated damages equal to 110% of the estimated duties.
  3. If you are a traveler with commercial samples, a carnet may be best option for you.
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