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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a Customs Broker?

A customs broker such as ABCS is a company licensed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to legally represent importers in their dealings with Customs. Customs Brokers play a vital role in the importing process by ensuring that your goods are in compliance with government regulations and legislation. A Customs Broker can facilitate an entry on the importer's behalf and classify goods according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to apply duties and taxes owing to the department of treasury. ABCS begins to arrange customs clearance for your shipments before they arrive at destination. We also connect directly to U.S. Customs using ABI (Automated Broker Interface).

What other services does a Customs Broker provide?

A Customs Broker can also arrange Local Trucking, Warehousing, Customs Bonds and Cargo Insurance. The broker can also provide Trade Consultants to handle more serious issues such as Trademark, ICR, and other Trade issues.

What are the advantages of using a Customs Broker?

Constant changes in government rules and regulations require constant monitoring. Most companies find it too expensive and time consuming to monitor these changes. At ABCS, individual attention is ensured and our dedicated team will work out any duty and taxes and liaise with Customs to ascertain the speedy transit of your goods. It makes good business sense to hire a customs broker to ensure that the goods are processed in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Do other government agencies have import or export requirements?

Some goods are subject to other government department regulations and may require permits or certificates. It is important to determine these specifics prior to importation to ensure that your goods are compliant. In the event of any problems such as awaiting import licenses, we can transfer the goods into our bonded warehouse and reduce any costly storage bills associated with airline/port facilities.

What duties and taxes are payable?

Unless exempt, all commercial goods imported into the U.S. are subject to customs duty and taxes. In order to determine the applicable duties and taxes payable, you must first determine their tariff classification. In addition to customs duty and taxes, some goods are also assessed in relation to other taxes, including excise duty, excise tax, countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties.

What is Duty Drawback?

This is a refund from U.S. Customs of 99% of duty paid on imported products when they are exported from the U.S. or destroyed before use. To qualify for Duty Drawback you will need proof that the imported item was exported from the U.S. within either 3 years (Unused) or 5 years (Manufacturing). Import and export documents should be available. Duty drawback is a complicated procedure. Please see your Customs Broker for further information.

What is a Customs Bond? Why is an Importer required to post a bond with Customs?

A bond is “a contract which is given to ensure the performance of an obligation by a law or regulation” When the bond is executed, the bond principal agrees to pay duties, taxes and charges in a timely manner, to make or complete entry, to produce documents and evidence, to redeliver merchandise etc.

In lieu of a bond, an importer has the option of posting cash or other U.S. government obligations in a sum equal to the bond amount. However, if an importer deposits money with Customs, such funds will not be released until sometime after entry is liquidated; this could take months or even years. ABCS can assist the importer in getting the proper bond to expedite the release of their shipment.

Can I import a vehicle?

Imported motor vehicles are subject to safety standards (regulated by the Department of Transportation DOT) and air pollution control standards (regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency EPA).

If vehicles manufactured abroad conform to U.S. safety, bumper, and emission standards, it is because these vehicles are exported for sale in the U.S. Therefore, it is unlikely that a vehicle obtained abroad meets all relevant standards. Vehicles entering the U.S. that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

Nonresidents may import a vehicle duty-free for personal use up to one (1) year if the vehicle is imported in conjunction with the owner's arrival.

Vehicles that are older than 25 years are usually exempt from safety and pollution control standards.

Please contact an Import professional at ABCS before you ship a vehicle to the U.S. For more information you may visit the Customs, EPA or DOT website.