Trade Talk Blog T
here are many reasons you may want to import goods from overseas: to meet the growing demand for your products, to offer customers more options, or simply because it’s cheaper to produce goods overseas than domestically. Whatever the reason, importing into the U.S. is a complex process that requires careful planning and attention to detail.
If you’re a new importer, here are 5 useful tips to get you started. For more details on importing, you can check out our Ultimate Guide on Importing Goods into the United States.
Tip 1: Know what you can and cannot import
You first need to ensure that the products you’re importing into the U.S. fall within the scope of what’s allowed. Some items are prohibited from entering the United States, including drugs, endangered species, weapons, and ammunition. The best way to do so is to check this list of Prohibited and Restricted Items by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or consult a customs broker.
A customs broker can help you determine whether what you’re planning to import is allowed under U.S. law and help ensure that your shipment arrives safely at its destination without being held up at customs or incurring any penalties. Additionally, a customs broker can tell you whether your shipment requires a special license from CBP and other government agencies before entering the country.
Tip 2: Prepare all your documents in advance
When preparing your shipping documents for customs clearance in the United States, there are several things you need to include and specific formats that must be used for each type of documentation (for example, a commercial invoice or packing list). A customs broker can help you fill out and file all required documents.
Failure to present proper documentation can result in delays, penalties, or — even worse — confiscation of your goods when they arrive.
Tip 3: Determine whether you’ll need a customs bond
A customs bond is required for all shipments valued at more than US$ 2,500, whether shipped by ocean freight or air freight, shipped from one country or multiple countries, and imported for personal use or resale.
There are two types of customs bonds, single and continuous, and the type of bond you need depends on how frequently you will be importing goods into the U.S., what type of merchandise you will be importing, and your financial situation.
Tip 4: Prepare for an inspection
Once your shipment arrives at the border, it may be subject to an inspection. By law, CBP has the right to examine any shipment imported into the United States, and it is important to know that you, the importer, must bear the cost of such cargo exams.
Tip 5: Consider working with a customs broker
A customs broker will ensure that everything goes smoothly with your shipment once it arrives in the United States. Working with a customs broker ensures a hassle-free importing experience because they can help with all aspects of customs clearance: from identifying tariff classification to filing required paperwork and coordinating clearance procedures with CBP — all while ensuring compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. They can also help manage risk mitigation activities related to duty rates, tariff codes, and special trade programs.
Are you a new importer? At GHY, we’ve helped hundreds of new importers all kinds of products into the United States without hassle. Book a meeting with one of our Trade Experts to start importing today.