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Obtain any needed permits, licenses, certificates

Welcome to the sixth and final part of this 6-part e-course on import strategies. The theme throughout this course is preparation! Your course through customs will be a direct reflection of how well you prepared for this process.

Step 7 – Obtain any needed permits, licenses, certificates (if required). Register and receive any revenue tracking numbers that are required. Establish access to electronic data processing if possible.

Step 8 – Either facilitate the shipment through customs or work with a customs broker to move the goods through the customs process.

The theme throughout this course has been to prepare! The ease of your trip through customs will be a direct reflection of how well you prepared for this process.

It’s fair to say that every country has a different method for processing imported goods through customs. However, in almost every case, there are similarities and as a result, strategies for moving your goods through the process smoothly and expeditiously.

Licenses, Permits, Other Requirements

Be sure that you have:

  • Determined whether you need any special license or permits and if so, obtained them.
  • Registered your company and received a business number or importer’s registration number.
  • Registered for VAT, GST or any other consumption tax.

Electronic Processing

If your country’s customs service offers any sort of electronic data exchange, use it! These systems are extremely effective at moving processing along.

Documentation

If you have done your job well in preparing your supplier, you should have all of the needed documents in hand when your goods enter the country. For example, your shipment should arrive with:

  • A cargo control document from the carrier
  • All packages marked with country of origin
  • A detailed invoice
  • A classification declaration
  • Country-specific documents

If these documents can be presented electronically, take advantage of the opportunity.

Bonding or Surety

Many countries will release your goods to you before their processing is complete if you have provided a bond or other type of surety against payment. This is another good option if you are bringing in large quantities and have delivery deadlines.

Customs Broker

Like the freight forwarder, the customs broker is worth his weight in gold. Customs brokers are specialists who have expertise and experience in all matters related to processing imported goods through customs. Once you have given them authority, the customs broker can represent you in dealing with customs, can help with documentation, can advise about classification, can remit payment on your behalf and can assist with appeals. If you are at all unsure about the importing process, use a customs broker; it’s absolutely worth it. Some CHB’s specialize on specific industry or region. Others assist importers clear customs in variety of industries. To facilitate and reduce customs clearance time from days to hours, CHBs use Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS) or Automated Broker Interface (ABI). ACS or ABI are designed to receive and process entry documents and provide cargo disposition information.

Whether you work with a competent agent and/or CHB, make sure that you are actively involved in every detail of the transaction to avoid surprises. Remember, you will be ultimately responsible for any legal and financial issues that might arise.

What have we learned?

By the end of this section, you should know:

  • Planning is key. Learn the import requirements and do what you need to do to be ready.
  • The better you brief and prepare your supplier, the better the documentation will be at customs processing time.
  • Use an expert. Customs brokers can help you throughout the importing process.
  • Take advantage of electronic processing.

Summary

You can be a successful importer if you “know the ropes”, do your homework, prepare and anticipate correctly. Now you have the tools; the rest is up to you. Dig into your country’s specific regulations, analyse your business and marketplace, find a great supplier and use the necessary experts to help you through the process.

To our success working together,

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