Understanding the Import Process From Start to Finish

There is far more to the import process than shipping goods from their point of origin to your destination. Numerous federal regulations and laws govern imports to ensure national safety and enforce established international trade policy. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the primary entity enforcing these regulations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies also play a role for many types of goods.

As an importer, it is your responsibility to ensure that all merchandise complies with applicable laws and regulations. However, there is more to the import process than border concerns. To ensure your imports clear customs on time and within budget, you must have an understanding of product classification, composition, point of origin, and the phases of the shipping process.

This process is dramatically streamlined when you work with an experienced agent, such as Transmark Customs Brokers. You will understand how various factors of the import process can influence your bottom line. As a business owner, you obviously want to avoid issues like unexpected delays, fines, and/or product damage. We can help. Contact one of our professional customs brokers today, and get help from industry leaders, who can guide you through every phase of the import process.

Import process basics

Whether you are importing furniture, food, or pharmaceuticals, or any other product or commodity, there are specific regulations you are required to follow. You may find that the same product is less costly to source from a certain country, but other factors could significantly drive up your cost. Certain items from certain countries may be subject to quota restrictions or higher duty rates, while the same product from other countries qualify for lower duty assessments. This information is contained in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule and will play a vital role in assessing a product's import viability for your business.

There is a wealth of information available online dedicated to helping business owners better understand government regulations regarding imports. The US Small Business Administration, United States International Trade Commission, US Customs and Border Protection, and FDA all have multiple web pages dedicated to helping you address specific regulatory requirements.

Finding an overseas supplier might require that you travel to their location for a meeting. You might seek out business trading partners at trade shows or by becoming involved with various trade associations, too. How and where you source products and materials will have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. So, it is important to explore all options and familiarize yourself with relative duty assessments.

The way import duty is calculated varies from product to product. The overall value of the commodity must also be considered. Other factors that may influence the rate of import duty include:

  • The country of origin

  • Item value

  • Import quota limitations

  • Product composition

  • Percentage of specific component weight to overall weight

  • Material composition

Import duty may cost you nothing, or more than double the product’s cost. One of our key roles is to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of duty rates relative to your enterprise. This can help you to lower import duty costs, and might even make it possible to source alternative product commodities that increase your bottom line.

Your customs broker streamlines the import process

As a business owner or manager, you probably do not have a lot of spare time to do your job. Setting aside time to learn about or address shipping concerns and prepare regulatory documentation might be difficult. It might be even more difficult to fully understand the nuances of import classification and clearance. All of which underscores why it makes such good sense to work with Transmark Customs Brokers, experienced agents you can trust.

Unexpected obstacles sometimes arise. Your shipment will always be handled by one individual import specialist from our team of customs experts. When a vessel does not sail or your goods are held by the origin country or by United States Customs, your personal agent is ready to deal with the situation and keep you informed in real time.

Your shipment can also be expedited under certain conditions, and we can help you explore this option when necessary. Your agent will also work with your supplier to ensure that all documentation is complete and tells the story we want customs to understand. This significantly reduces the risk that your import will be flagged for physical inspection, which means shorter overall customs clearance times.

Get personalized care from our team and make sure you fully understand the import process

Maximize your import process with help from our team. We work with you to develop reliable import solutions that enhance your profits and minimize hassles. Contact us today for more information about the import process, and how it relates to your business needs.

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