Questions For Your Customs Broker

If you’re having a licensed US Customs broker evaluate your product and assign a tariff classification remember that they’re just people too. With the number of regulations, special trade programs, etc. that can affect import duty, it’s difficult for anyone to cover them all. Also keep in mind that in a Customs Brokerage office, the broker doesn’t necessarily do all the work – they’re allowed to be in a supervisory position over non-licensed individuals.

When you take a product to a licensed US Customs broker for classification, here are a few questions that might affect your duty rate:

  • Does my product qualify for any special trade programs like the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
  • Does it qualify for lower duty under the Generalized System of Preferences?
  • My product was previously exported and it is being returned. Does this affect my duty?
  • The product is being imported after repair overseas. Will this have an effect?
  • How are imports from Mexico and Canada treated differently?
  • Are textiles (clothing, linen, etc.) treated differently?
  • What if these are personal goods?
  • This shipment is worth less that $2000.00. Can I file an informal entry?
  • We’re importing materials to fulfill a government contract. Can I qualify for lower duty?
  • We’re a scientific institution importing equipment for research. Will this have an effect?
  • The items we’re importing are sample before we place a larger order. Will this lower our duty rate?
  • The goods we’re importing will be coming and going through the United States many times. Should we look into an ATA Carnet so we don’t have to pay import duty every time?