Customs brokers work with companies that import and export goods across international borders to help ease the process and reduce the possible risks associated with cross-border trade.
Under the Mod Act, importers are responsible for demonstrating compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirements – even those who engage the services of a customs broker or other consultant. The Mod Act puts the burden squarely on the importer to prove they have complied with CBP requirements.
Like most things in life, when shopping for a customs broker, you get what you pay for. A low-cost customs broker often equates with lower-quality work and, consequently, a greater chance of encountering problems.
Of course, everyone wants to reduce costs wherever possible, but beware a broker who advertises a low-low price for their services. Getting a deal is great, but not at the expense of your peace of mind and a smooth, penalty-free border experience.
The most important things to consider if you are shopping for a broker are:
Research the broker’s track record and reputation. Choose someone with experience and who you feel you can trust with your company’s name and assets.
Once you choose a broker, work to develop a meaningful relationship based on mutual trust.
Discuss the agreed division of labour. What exactly is the broker’s role with respect to your cross-border business? What role, in turn, will you and your employees play?
Monitor the broker’s work on an ongoing basis. You are ultimately responsible for the product of their work.
Having a broker on your team doesn’t mean you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Remain involved and ask questions to ensure you both understand the process and remain compliant with CBP requirements.