Running an import/export business entails a lot of customs issues, whether you have been in the game for a while or are barely starting out. The first rule that any good import/export business needs to know is compliance. When you take on the responsibility of bringing goods in and/or out of the United States, you need to be sure you are in total compliance with both U.S. customs law and international trading law. That means that you not only need to know all about U.S. customs compliance, but you need to familiarize yourself with the customs procedures of whatever country or countries you are doing business with. This includes everything from product and livestock control to labeling requirements and duties. You need to do this in order to avoid common customs issues that can negatively affect your business and finances.
How to Avoid Common Customs Issues
- Always know the exchange rate. When you are dealing with foreign markets, the most basic thing you always have to know is the currency exchange rate of the country versus the US Dollar. Some businesses forgo this and simply choose to do business exclusively in dollars instead. However, it’s always good information to know.
- Know what is legal and what isn’t. When you trade internationally, you must be aware of what is legal and what is not. This means familiarizing yourself with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Bribery is the most common violation of this act, so make sure you know what is and isn’t allowed.
- Educate yourself on import restrictions and product control. Before you even begin to import goods into the U.S., you need to find out if there are import restrictions on your chosen goods, as well as licensing requirements. You always want to make sure you are complying with state and foreign import regulations. Failure to do so will result in fines, penalties, and other consequences for your business.
- Make sure to comply with any foreign country’s compliance laws. When you are importing and exporting to and from foreign markets, you need to know if their compliance regulations are the same as the U.S. For example, every country may not have the same packaging requirements. Should your labels be in English or the local language? Do they have rules as to how products should be transported? This information will help make sure you avoid any problems both here and abroad.
- Always keep your records in order. Good record keeping is always important ensure that you and your clients are protected. Keeping track of product orders, transportation logs, product manifests, and other records means that you can prove your business has been in compliance in case you ever have a problem.
These are only some ways to avoid serious custom issues when you are in the industry of international trade. There are many more things to know and keep track of, from transportation to financial issues. Your best option is to look for a professional customs broker to help you with every aspect of customs.
Call Our Custom Brokers for Help
At RM Customhouse Brokers, our customs brokers have the expert knowledge to deal with any customs issues and regulations for you. We have made it our business goal to ensure that your business begins or continues a track record of success when it comes to importing and/or exporting. For more information about our services and how they can help your business, contact us today.