The Customs Broker: Your Partner in Import

Importing on a daily basis can be a tedious undertaking. With the landscape of constant changes in government regulations and global business conditions, the importer is faced with many challenges. One way they can ease these challenges is to work with a good service driven Customs broker.

US Customs/CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) are in charge of the collection of duties and seeing that the country’s rules and regulations are adhered to. The Customs broker is a licensed individual or firm that is regulated and authorized by US Customs/CBP to assist importers and exporters in meeting the Government requirements.

The Customs broker must complete and pass the customs examination, pay their fees and be approved by US Customs. While there are some that take the exam and pass, the test includes very detailed classification, duty, and regulation questions taking up to 4 hours to complete. As a result, many would be Customs broker candidates start by working with brokerage firms under the guidance of a licensed customs broker. They learn the industry, rules, and jargon along with best practices and import standards.  They generally start at the bottom doing paperwork as directed by the licensed broker. Each brokerage firm is required to have an officer that is a licensed broker to conduct Customs business on behalf of the importer. This broker is responsible to oversee the import process making sure that their import clients and the staff that assists them are fully compliant.

Once in the field including after studying and training, they take a test to get the Custom Broker’s license. Most people will take the test a few times before they pass. The questions are very demanding. Since the broker represents US Customs which involves them in the classification of goods along with the collection and payment of duties, they want to make sure each broker is qualified and approved. Even after they pass the brokerage test, they must go through a long background check to make sure they are worthy to get the license. After all the bases are satisfied, the new broker gets their license. The license is only the beginning and experience must be gained.

The Customs broker is an expert at dealing with clearing shipments through Customs. He or she can classify products and make sure the regulations are followed for all imports. The Customs broker is the first defense against poor compliance that can result in heavy fines and penalties. Importers into the US also encounter over 40 agencies that have imported goods regulations; US Customs is the enforcement branch for them all.

The Customs broker keeps up with the latest changes in regulations. They also keep aware of business conditions by observing any changes to the shipment of goods. If an importer needs to know if there is new dumping duty on their product, the broker will find out, and many times prevent the importer getting charged additional duty by warning about the duty changes before the shipment.

Another issue is treaties and their effect on duty. Agreements between countries can change rapidly. The broker can inform the importer if any of these changes will affect their products. Sometimes this change may lead to new opportunities to use new suppliers and save the importer money and time.

Where the Customs broker really shows their value is in solving daily problems that would otherwise plague the importer and waste too much of their time. If Customs wants to query the importer about their invoice, for example, the broker can answer their questions in the most straight forward manner that will take into account Customs regulations thus minimizing the chance that Customs will want a deeper investigation. Ideally, the Customs broker has already anticipated the issues involved and was ahead of any Customs inquiry.

Also, the Customs broker can apply for a binding ruling on the importer’s behalf to eliminate the chance that Customs will change a classification after the entry has cleared and demand to go back years to change all previous entries.

When the importer has a good broker, they can focus more on growing their business knowing that they have the best possible protection against disruptive import issues. If a shipment gets caught in limbo, the Customs broker has probably seen that situation before and has the best practices to solve it.

To conclude, this background of the Customs broker process along with some of the import issues is important to importer’s as the broker and the importer can and should work together with the seller or manufacturer to make sure the goods enter into the US without delay or additional costs. Getting to know the broker and matching them to your firm can be the critical step to effectively manage your importation of products. Proper shipping, clearance, transit times and managing the Customs entry process is key to a steady and consistent import business.

Article by: Howard Fox, Import Compliance Manager

Importing into Amazon Fulfillment FAQ

Do you have interest in importing into Amazon Fulfillment?

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we have received:

What information do I need to get a quote? 
The following information is needed in order to get a rate.
Pieces/Weight/Dimensions of the goods
Air or Ocean transport
Inco Term:
HS #:
Pickup and delivery locations.

Can I import directly to the fulfillment center? How does this work?

You have several options for delivery locations.

Jade International’s Warehouse: We can clear and deliver the goods to our warehouse for quality control and labeling. From there the goods are picked up and delivered to the designated fulfillment center. 

Consignee’s Location: You can have the goods delivered to your physical location. When you are ready to ship them to, a truck is scheduled to pick up the goods from your location and deliver to the designated fulfillment center. 

Directly to Fulfillment Center: You have the option to import directly to the designated fulfillment center. The shipment must meet Amazon’s weight and dimensions requirements and labels must already be on the shipment.

When do I set up my shipment plan with Amazon?

Amazon’s website will ask you to set up a shipment plan. Depending on the delivery location choice, you will need to set up the shipment plan before the goods get to the fulfillment center. 

Can Jade help me with the entire process?

Yes. We are here to help you from start to finish. Most people have already spoken to their overseas supplier and reach out to Jade International to get a shipment quote. From there your designated representative is available to answer any questions you have.  You will still work directly with Amazon while Jade International takes care of the international freight and customs arrangements on your behalf.

For more information or if you have additional questions, please contact our office at (610) 522-9300 ext. 143.

Logistics Lessons from the Super Bowl

The city of Philadelphia is in a state of euphoria now that their team, against amazing odds, has made it to the Super Bowl. We thought it would be a good time to talk about the lessons from this miracle that can be used in the logistics and freight business.

First of all, it is always important to have a plan B in any business. The Eagles had a new exciting quarterback, Carson Wentz, for 13 weeks and they thought he would take them himself to the big game. He went down in week 13 and the Eagles were forced to go to their backup quarterback, Nick Foles.

In the logistics business, often we have preferred truckers, airlines or other service providers. They can lull us into a false sense of security. It is imperative that we are prepared if one of our preferred providers has problems. An airline can have a computer glitch that shuts them down, or they can be fully booked by Apple iPhones coming to the US. If you have other providers that you already have relationships with, your shipments can still move smoothly.

During the season, several key players besides Wentz also went down. The Eagles General Manager, Howie Roseman, had to be ready to grab replacement players that could continue our success during the season. He did a masterful job because he knew the business he was in and was ready to act when needed. Like Roseman, we also are ready to tackle any obstacle that we may face if there is a change in service, routing, back log issues, etc and are ready to assist with providing you with other alternatives.

The biggest lesson is to have faith. There will always be bigger and more successful companies out there that seem impossible to compete against. But even small companies have advantages that bigger ones cannot match. Large companies are more cumbersome and tend not to give the personalized service that small companies can give.

In this game, the Eagles will be playing the heavily favored New England Patriots. The odds makers don’t give them a chance to win. But the Eagles did not get the memo and are even embracing their underdog status with funny masks and t-shirts. After all the preparation and planning, have faith that you can tackle any challenge. If you are still in business, you already have.

 

Article by: Howard Fox, Import Compliance Manager at Jade International

What is a freight forwarder?

Freight forwarders are companies that undertake the movement of goods from point A to point B on behalf of the cargo owner. Established and experienced forwarders, like Jade, have the following capabilities and services:

-Experience in all modes of transportation: over the road, rail, air and ocean

-Ability to provide cost effective and efficient cargo solutions based on the client’s needs and requirements

-Storage and distribution services

-Contracted and negotiated rates with ocean shipping lines and air carriers

-Processing all relevant shipping documents such as air waybills, bills of lading, certificate of origins, and the documents required for Customs at destination

-Provide additional value added services such as legalization, attestation, preparation of Letter of Credit documents

Air Cargo Rates from China to U.S. are Heading for New Highs

The demand for space on air cargo has grown exponentially for goods originating in China destined to the U.S. With the approaching Lunar New Year in China which begins on February 16th, the exporters who have not booked in advance are seeing rates as high as $6 to $7 per kilogram. Predictions have been made that as we near the Chinese New Year, the rates for urgent air freight shipments could climb up to $10 or more per kilogram.

If you have cargo that you plan to be importing from China soon, our recommendation is to begin coordinating your shipments now since space capacities continue to worsen with the current high demand. For more information, please contact our import department at (610) 522-9300.

2017 Accomplishments for Jade International

A year in review for Jade and here are our top accomplishments of 2017:

  • Continued to stabilize fundamentals of company along with continued education and training of staff and empowering them to serve our clients
  • Company showed continued growth, and has been able to be involved with community though seminars, as presenters of lectures, and various training opportunities
  • Continued to add and develop additional services to provide to our clients i.e. expanding our domestic transportation services which experienced successful growth
  • Operations have been streamlined and efficiencies improved allowing us to improve our services and efficiencies for our clients
  • Our goal to is to remain client focused, client committed, client driven

Saudi Arabia implementing SASO Certificate Requirement

For exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an SASO Certificate of Conformity is required for importers to clear through Saudi Customs. SASO means Saudi Arabian Standards specifications as set forth by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for various commodities.  The International Conformity Certification Program (ICCP) operates under the authority of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) in Saudi Arabia.

The manufacturers or competent authority at country of origin have to issue a certificate that the respective commodity complies with the SASO specifications. The SASO certificate has to be obtained by the shipper at POL (Port of Loading). This is a strict requirement.

Generally all fabrics, machinery items, engines, electronic / electrical appliances, watches, computers, computer parts, automobiles, auto spare parts, home / kitchen appliances, wireless systems, speakers, amplifiers, items needing calibration, even commodities rice etc., need SASO certificate.

The following are accredited laboratories in Saudi Arabia that issues the Certificate of Conformity and have offices in the United States that can assist you with obtaining this document along with providing a list of the items which need the SASO certificate:

If you have further questions, please contact our office at (610) 522-9300.

EXPORT SEMINAR: FUNDAMENTALS, COMPLIANCE & GROWTH – APRIL 12, 2017

Jade International has announced their upcoming seminar!

Key topics that will be focused on during this event are Incoterms, Export Compliance and Applying Fundamentals & Safe Effective Growth for your international shipments.

The seminar will be April 12th, 2017 from 9:00am t0 2:00pm held at the Holiday Inn Express Exton-Lionville location.

Early registration is now open!! Please click on the below link for more information on this event and for purchasing your tickets.

For further inquiries, please contact Natalie Favazza at (610) 522-9300 ext 109 or Natalie.Favazza@jadeintl.com.

Export Seminar – 4.12.17

Jade International New Website Launch

In January 2016, Jade International proudly announced the launching of the new website. Along with the new website came the new logo and many new services Jade International can now provide to all of the existing and new clients.

Jade looks forward to continuing their efforts to work with you and meeting the challenges of your business and international clients’ needs.

Please check back periodically for new blog posts and articles.

Special Project – U.S. Squash

A most interesting Special Project that is ongoing at Jade started as an import shipment from Germany when US Squash had us bring in an entire squash court to our warehouse. Since that time, we have had domestic shipping of the squash court back and forth to various venues in the United States, each time bringing the court back to our warehouse where Jade has handled the loading and unloading for shipping and special storage. Jade has utilized many special forms of equipment such as heavy cranes, flat beds and Conestoga Trailers for this project.

These photos show the court in play at Drexel University, as well as during the shipping process.