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What Does A Brokers Do?

Customs Broker:  The Import Specialist

The customs broker is a highly-trained import professional.  Licensed by the U.S.  Department of the Treasury, the customs broker must possess thorough knowledge of traffic schedules and Customs regulations and keep abreast of the amendments made through constant changes in the law and administrative regulations.

The complexity of the job is evident when one considers that for every shipment entering the United States there is an official greeting:  500 pages of Customs regulations and thousands of tariff items.  The broker must be well-versed in determining proper classifications and dutiable value, and be fully aware of the vast number of commodities subject to quotas.

Many brokers help clients choose modes of transportation and appropriate carriers, which require analyses of a vast body of data.  They also provide assistance to importers in assigning shipments the best routes.  There are estimates for landed costs, payments of goods through draft, letter of credit insurance, and re-delivery of cargo if there is more than one port of destination.

In dealing with Customs, the broker must be aware of any potential problem involving every entry item represented, including cargo handling.  This includes all factors affecting appraisement, exchange rates and the many regulations concerning calculation of duties.

The broker's operation often transcends Customs, calling for contact with over 40 other government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on meat importation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on vehicle emission standards or the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Product safety.

Source: The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc.

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