What Is …

What Is A Customs Broker?

Formal entries of foreign-made goods representing many billions of dollars in duty collections are filed each year with the U.S. Customs Service, and virtually all of them are prepared by a Customs broker on behalf of importers.

Customs brokers are licensed and regulated by the Treasury Department.

The Customs broker is primarily the agent for the importer who employs him. He is frequently the importer's only point of contact with the U.S. Customs Service and advises on the technical requirements of importing, preparing and filing entry documents, obtaining the necessary bonds, depositing U.S. import duties, securing release of the goods and arranging delivery to the importer's premises or warehouse. The broker often consults with Customs to determine the proper rate of duty or basis of appraisement, and on many occasions, if he is dissatisfied with either rate or value, he will pursue appropriate administrative remedies on behalf of his importer.

Customs brokers are essential to the U.S. Customs Service. There are over 200 laws that Customs must implement and enforce, and the experienced brokers in all ports constitute a most valuable resource of benefit to Customs.

In all, Customs brokers play a vital role in facilitating the entry, clearance and movement of import cargo and will become even more essential in the future. As stated by the U.S. Commissioner of Customs during Congressional hearings, "in my view, the Customs broker, the Service's liaison man with the importing public, will be needed as long as there are legal requirements and regulations pertaining to the movement of merchandise into the United States."

What Is A Freight Forwarder?

An international freight forwarder brings together all the loose ends that must be coordinated if American products are to be shipped to foreign buyers in the course of our nation's international trade.

They are both small and large firms that have been licensed by the federal Maritime Commissions as fit, willing and able to provide the expert know-how and experience needed to arrange for the movement of cargo from inland points to foreign destinations with maximum speed and efficiency at the least cost to the exporter.

Acting as an agent of the exporter, the forwarder must be able to advise on the myriad of U.S. government regulations affecting foreign trade, as well as the import rules of various foreign countries. He must have a detailed knowledge of his ports and their facilities and be able to advise the shipper as to the best port of shipment for the fastest transit time. He prepares and/or checks on various shipping documents and necessary licenses, he books or confirms space on the ocean vessel, he arranges transportation of cargo to shipside by rail or truck, he arranges cargo insurance on behalf of the exporter, he pays ocean freight for his principal and generally orchestrates the entire movement of goods from point of origin to seaboard and beyond in the most efficient and cost-saving manner.

The international freight forwarder must have an intimate knowledge of transportation techniques-both their possibilities and their limitations-and has to know how to advise and act in the best interests of his exporter principal.

Often called the "Architect of Transport", the forwarder performs an essential role in America's constantly growing foreign trade.

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