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Five Crucial Questions

Crucial Questions When Importing To Or Exporting From The US

Whether importing or exporting to any of hundreds of international markets, it is critical that you work with someone who has the experience and backing to help you reduce the hassle, cost and time spent processing your shipments. When selecting a shipping partner, here are five crucial questions to ask. If the answers you receive are vague or incorrect, you may face problems down the road.

Possible questions for your shipping partner:

1) Do you have an in-house licensed customs broker? To import and export shipments into a country a “Licensed Customs Broker” must be appointed to facilitate the process between Customs and the consignee. Many carriers and freight forwarders do not have this license. The carrier that does have this license is able to control the customs process “in-house” and not contract out to a third party. Shippers with in-house custom brokers can facilitate faster turnaround for you and better control of the process.

2) Do you know the packaging requirements for the goods I wish to import/export?
The US, like many nations, strictly monitors packaging materials coming into the country. This is done to protect agriculture industries from insects and pests. If your shipping partner cannot quickly and clearly tell you the requirements that apply to your shipment, you may face issues – delays, confiscations, and other business-killing problems. For example, all raw wood used in packaging including pallets, must comply to the ISPM15 standard (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures #15). If your pallets do not comply or if you do not have the proper paperwork to prove compliance, your shipment can be held at the border.

3) Do you know exactly what I must include in the content description with my paperwork?
Inadequate content descriptions are a common mistake that shippers make. This causes delays, hassles, and headaches for you. The description must be detailed and accurate. For example, ‘computer parts’ would require the words ‘computer parts’ AND – brand name, model, serial number of the computer, list of all parts and serial numbers, easily understood descriptions (no technical terms). If you are missing any of this from the description, border agents can make your life miserable.

4) Can I take advantage of Neutral Delivery Services to reduce my shipping charges? Many companies in the U.S. order products from overseas only to receive them and then re-ship these same products to their customers in the United States. In situations like this, companies are acting as middle man and have created a process that requires two shipments to get their product to the end customer. Some carriers offer a unique solution called Neutral Delivery Service (NDS). With this service companies can have products sent from their overseas vendor directly to their end customer in the United States. The beauty of this service is that it hides the commercial invoice value from the end customer. Companies are able to utilize this Neutral Delivery Service to expedite the shipping process while eliminating a second shipping charge.

5) Can I use an ATA Carnet for my shipment? An ATA Carnet (Admission Temporaraire/ Temporary Admission or “Merchandise Passport”) is an international customs document that simplifies customs procedures by its use as the entry document in place of customs documents that are required for temporary importations. Carnets facilitate international business by avoiding extensive customs procedures, eliminating payment of Customs duties and excise taxes, and eliminating the purchase of temporary import bonds. Some shippers overlook the opportunity to use a carnet, choosing instead to complete the longer customs documentation. This means more paperwork, potential for unnecessary fees and duties, and delays.

InXpress Midwest is positioned to assist with your shipping needs. Please contact Ron Argo / 636-812-2415 / email.

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