Tips for New Importers

April 13, 2011, 10:39 PM

Importing goods into the United States presents an exciting new opportunity for many businesses; however, you must ensure your company complies with applicable rules beforeimporting. Under the Customs Modernization Act (Title VI of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act [P.L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057]), the importer is legally responsibile for declaring the value, classification, and rate of duty applicable toimported merchandise. In order to fullfilthis responisbility, you should be aware of the following: 1) the country of origin of the merchandise and manufacturer; 2) the composition of the merchandise; 3) the intended use of the item; and 4) pricing/payment information (in order to properly determine the value of the shipment). For more information on the classification of merchandise, youcan consult the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) which contains the actual HTS number and tariff classification guidelines that explain how to properly classify merchandise. Additionally, importers can request a written ruling fromU.S. Customs Border and Protectionfor the proper HTSUS classification and rate of duty for their merchandise. When requesting a binding ruling, importers should follow the procedures outlined in Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177). You may also wish to research the results of previous ruling requests by using the Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS) http://rulings.cbp.gov/.

Also, the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (commonly known as 10+2) applies to import cargo arriving to the United States by vessel and requires the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer, or their agent (e.g., licensed customs broker), to electronically submit certain advance cargo information to U.S. Customs Border Protection in the form of an Importer Security Filing. Failure to comply with this rule could ultimately result in monetary penalties, increased inspections and delay of cargo.More information on thisand other import rules can be found athttp://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/basic_trade/. --R. Ellen Coley