If the thought of monetary penalties, shipment delays, detentions or seizures of merchandise keep you up at night, then this article is for you. First, it’s quite easy to establish a U.S. company, pick (what you hope is) a terrific customs broker, file Form 5106 with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to request your importer number, pick a surety (there are many, your broker will likely sway you to their favorite) and WALLAH! Right? Wrong. No one sits you down during this process to say, wait, importing can be great, but, this is also a LOT of responsibility. Your company (and SOMETIMES even YOU) have liability and a burden when importing. This article will walk you through YOUR burden as an importer, how CBP can question your imports, and how penalties can ensue and what you should be doing about it, in advance!
The best resource (when you’re ready to read 211 pages) is the “Importing into the U.S.” “A Guide for Commercial Importers” by CBP (last revision in 2006). The guide discusses the Trade Act of 2002 and the Customs Modernization Act (the “Mod Act”) and the responsibilities that came to fruition for importers as a result. A key feature of the Mod Act is a “relationship between CBP and importers that is characterized by informed compliance”. What this means is now there is a shared responsibility between CBP and the import community, wherein CBP communicates its requirements to the importer, and the importer, […]