It seems hard to believe but another year is in the books and we are moving into 2017. Surely this will be a year of changes, some good and some bad, and these changes will impact all businesses particularly those involved in international trade. Before we move boldly into the new year now is a good time to step back and take a look at where we are before we move forward.
Every business needs to do a "check up" at least once per year and this time of year is a good time to do a check up on your business. Here is a list of things that every company involved in international trade should consider:
- Audit your import shipments and look for any potential area of risk or non-compliance. When it comes to importing what you don't know can hurt you.
- Review the HTS classifications you are using for your imported products to ensure accuracy. Errors in classification can lead to big penalties.
- Consider getting your company CTPAT-certified. With the many changes with US Customs now is a great time to get certified and enjoy a better relationship with Customs that can lead to smoother import processes and less risk of delays and added costs.
- Look at the costs of importing and work to find potential areas of savings. Ocean and air rates can vary by hundreds or thousands of dollars - are you getting the best rate for the service you require?
- Review any free trade agreements you are utilizing for your import shipments. Importers are required to ensure that their goods qualify if they are claiming duty reductions under any of the 30 plus free trade agreements. This is an enforcement focus area for U.S. Customs.
- Check to see if your imported products may be subject to Trade Remedy Laws. Another enforcement focus area for U.S. Customs. Anti-dumping and countervailing duties can be as high as 200% or more of the shipment value. Have you checked your products to see if any of the Trade Remedy Laws apply?
- Get to know your Customs Broker. This seems obvious but many importers know very little about their Customs Broker. Did you know that you company is fully liable for anything the broker does on your behalf? It pays to know who you are dealing with.
- Talk to a consultant who can assist you in finding areas for savings and also identify areas of potential risk. Just as you would visit a doctor for a physical and not try to do it yourself, it is wise to get a professional consultant to help you with your company's "check up."
Start the new year on the right foot by making sure your company is in good health and free of risks.
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