Importing is easy! If it weren't, the United States would not have imports of $300-$400 BILLION annually!
You want to sell an item in the US, so you buy it from the manufacturer overseas, he ships it and then you pick it up at the airport, right? WRONG! This mistake is made by many inexperienced importers- and it costs them huge amounts of money. There are some goods that will never be allowed into the country, and foods must be approved by the FDA PRIOR to the shipment’s arrival in the US, plus many other potential pitfalls importers do not understand prior to importing.
The first step in importing is knowing some information up front, before you begin importing. Be sure to call a Customs Broker to go over some basics. What is the product? Where is it made? What are the duty rates? Are there any quotas or restrictions? Is it better to ship by air or ocean? Some countries have special trade agreements and require special documentation when the item is purchased. Your Customs Broker can assist you with all your importing questions.
A Power of Attorney is a document required by every Customs Broker for each importer. It enables the broker to act on your behalf and sign the Customs documents for your shipment. You will need to fill one out for your first shipment, and your broker will tell you when a new one is needed for future shipments. The Power of Attorney can remain in effect indefinitely in some cases. You may print a copy of Jean D. Duncan’s Power of Attorney Just fill it out and fax it back to us at 404.767.0016 or email it. Remember to call us if you have any questions about how to fill it out, why you need to have one, and what time limits apply to you or your company.
As soon as you have news of a shipment, let your broker know about it. The sooner copies of your documents can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to your broker, the easier it is to get the shipment cleared promptly. For most shipments, copies of the invoice, packing list and Bill of Lading or Air Way Bill are the only documents required. Certain types of commodities or entries may require specific original documents. Ask your broker to be sure.
If you want to understand Customs requirements for importers, we recommend you read over the US Customs handbook, “Importing into the United States” and you can download it and print it by clicking the underlined title. This outlines all your responsibilities as an importer in the United States. US Customs wants you to have a copy available at your place of business.