An annual customs review is a good business practice. Early January is a good time to get this done before day to day activity ramps up again. As part of your due diligence, check to make sure you are taking advantage of regulations that allow importing on a duty free or preferential basis. Here are a few basic items for your annual customs review:
Classification– review updates to the HTSUS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States) to make sure your codes and descriptions are accurate. Proper classification and valuation of imported goods are the first step in compliance. If you do nothing else, do this.
Duty Drawback– this is a refund of duties paid on imports that are later exported. As supply chains expand there may be new opportunities for drawback. Record keeping is key here.
Chapter 98 of the Harmonized Tariff allows duty free entry of certain categories of goods. Examples are: American Goods Returned, American Goods Repaired or Altered Abroad, and American Components Assembled Abroad.
Trade agreements– programs which allow duty free or reduced duty rate entries. There are many agreements (such as USMCA) in place.
Customs rulings– consider requesting formal customs rulings prior to large transactions. This ensures compliance and eliminates uncertainty about imports. Rulings can be requested thru the CBP website.
Correcting errors– when an entry mistake is discovered it can be corrected by a prior disclosure to CBP. The formal process is a Post-Entry Amendment/Post Summary Correction. A prior disclosure can help mitigate penalties.
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Info for Customs Broker Permit User Fee as published in the Federal Register. Payment is due no later than February 24, 2023. The fee is $163.71 for each permit held.
C- Level executives, perhaps you have been “looking the other way” when it comes to export compliance. If you are lucky there have been no consequences for this negligence. Why not start off 2023 with a little executive action and move your organization towards compliance?
While a formal Export Compliance Program is the ideal solution, you may not be ready to commit the resources needed at this time. However, there are some steps that can be implemented immediately at little cost.
Here are a few best practices to help you get started :
1) Review and confirm correct Harmonized Tariff and Schedule B codes and maintain master list as updates occur. Proper classification follows established protocols and is the starting place for compliance.
2) Check Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for correct ECCN and license exception codes. Are you automatically using EAR99 and NLR? https://www.bis.doc.gov/ can help.
3) Confirm Country of Origin for all imports. This info is needed for your Commercial Invoice and is not always obvious, so consider consulting a Licensed Customs Broker.
4) Check common “Red Flags” such as denied parties lists, entities lists, and unverified lists. Once again, https://www.bis.doc.gov/ provides details and training.
5) Review export documentation for possible improvements.
Make export compliance a front-end process, not a last minute shipping function. Remember, while Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) are valued partners, the exporter bears primary responsibility for compliance. Finally, if exporting under ITAR you need a responsible trained officer.
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CBP is eliminating district permits effective 12/19/2022. Those brokers holding only district permits will be transitioned to national permits. Those already holding national permits will not be affected.
Here is some of the info posted on the CBP website in October followed by a link to the complete announcement:
Within the new national framework, district permits will be eliminated. All customs brokers currently operating with only a district permit will be automatically transitioned to a national permit before the Final Rule effective date. CBP has diligently designed a national permit transition process that will ensure no lapse in permit activity for customs brokers impacted by this process. Licensed customs brokers who already hold a national permit will not be affected.