Customs Broker reviewing documents

Are you sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed when it comes time for importer clearance? We’re here to make sure you have importer clearance confidence. While we have licensed Customs Brokers available to answer questions you may have, we also want to be a valuable source of information so you can be informed during the import process. Here are 7 questions we receive from importers and the information you need to achieve import clearance approval.

Weights and Measures

Industry sectors and consumers affected by weights and measures practices include retail food sales.
Industry sectors and consumers affected by weights and measures practices include retail food sales.

How are weights and measures important during importing?

We’re glad you asked. The Office of Weights and Measures (OWM) enforce the laws and standards for U.S. weights and measures to make sure goods are weighed properly. The enforcement of consistent laws and standards by the OWM promotes standardized business practices and transparency between buyers and sellers in the marketplace.

Sales of products or services impacted by weights and measures laws in the U.S. account for approximately 50 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. That’s big business. Learn more about how weights and measures impact your goods and the major functions of weights and measures.

Electronic Data Interchange

What is electronic data interchange (EDI) and how does it help speed up the import process?

Think of EDI as the ability to use more efficient online banking services, only with your imports. EDI allows your company to exchange importer documents and information quickly and efficiently from computer to computer during the import process.

Customs brokerage firms use EDI to:

  • Speed up the import process
  • Save you money by speeding up the import process
  • Create a streamlines process that expedites information flow and increases productivity

Read more about the efficiencies of EDI and why it’s best to work with a Customs Brokers trained to utilize these services.

NAFTA and FTA Benefits

How does the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) benefits help me as an importer?

Let’s break it down for you with dollar signs. Formed between the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 1994 to encourage free trade, the agreement has produced the largest free trade area in the world, with trade rising from $297 billion in 1994 to $1.14 trillion today. Why all the extra zeros? NAFTA eliminated all tariffs between the countries, making it much easier to import goods among the three countries.

If you’re seeking to import or export with other countries, the U.S. has negotiated FTAs to make it easier and cheaper with countries that sign on the dotted line and agree to rules that affect the trade of goods and services.

Learn more about NAFTA and FTA benefits here.

C-TPAT Benefits for Importers

What’s C-TPAT and how does it protect my imports?

U.S. flag
C-TPAT was formed in November 2001 to help protect the world’s growing trade industry from terrorists.

The roll-off-your-tongue acronym C-TPAT stands for Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. C-TPAT was formed shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil to protect the world’s growing trade industry from terrorists.

It’s important to you as an importer because its primary goal is to maintain the health of the U.S. trade industry and its trade partners, which have risen from seven partners in 2001 to more than 10,000 partners today.

We have a guide for you here on the benefits of C-TPAT and how to gain acceptance as a member.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule

How does the harmonized tariff schedule (HTS) determine how my imports are taxed?

The HTS is the IRS of importing. In short, the HTS determines what tax, or tariff, you’re going to pay on imported goods. The HTS uses a hierarchical number method to classify your goods and determine the tax that will be imposed.

Learn how HTS classifies your imports and makes sure you pay the proper tax.

Clearing Food Into the U.S.

lettuce being inspected by an importer
Millions of pounds of vegetables and fruit enter the U.S. for inspection every year.

Why is working with a Customs Broker critical during the food import process?

Food is big business for importers and businesses around the world. To receive a green light for food importing clearance into the U.S., there are a lot of rules, regulations and inspections you must follow.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will detain shipments of food that aren’t in compliance with U.S. requirements. To avoid your food imports being detained or even destroyed, learn how food is inspected and how to avoid food compliance failure.

Importer Billing and Invoice Creation

How can import billing processes help me get paid faster?

Nobody likes paperwork. Fortunately for you as an importer, commercial invoicing and billing paperwork that’s streamlined using electronic data interchange (EDI) is available through Customs Brokers to exchange documents and information quickly from computer to computer. Since time is money when you’re importing goods, EDI services are important to help your company stay competitive and grow.

To avoid shipment delays caused by paperwork delays, review the 7 tips importers needs to know about billing and invoice creation.

Let Customs Brokers Help

Customs clearance is an ever evolving process that needs to be watched closely. Working with Customs Brokers that are experienced with all of the above is the best way to stay compliant and up to date with the importing process.