While international shipping has opened boundaries for trade, there are many manufacturers and suppliers who are still hesitant to ship to international markets, owing to the complexity of the custom clearance process.
Custom Clearance – Quick Introduction
Custom clearance is a process that enables shippers to export and import goods from and to a country. It can be diversified into two parts – export clearance and import clearance. Export clearance is the process that is undertaken before your goods leave the origin country; whereas import clearance is the process undertaken to for your cargo to enter the destination country. Custom Clearance is a mandatory part of freight shipping process, our previous articles explains the custom clearance process in depth.
Top Things To Do for a Smooth Custom Clearance Process
Custom Clearance involves documentation, knowledge of various countries and multiple other things. While many consider it to be a process that comes with a lot of hassles, if done the right way, lot of complexities can be avoided. Here are some of the Top To-Do’s that will help you with a smooth custom clearance process.
Study the Restrictions on Import and Export of the Respective Countries: Every country has its own official list of items permitted, restricted and prohibited to import and export. Before you plan your freight shipping, it is important to understand the origin and destination country’s permitted and restricted commodities. It is also worthy to note that some of the countries permit exit / entry of items only if you have specific license or permit to do so. In case these guidelines are not followed, you may be liable to penalties and your items can be confiscated or seized in the process.
While some countries allow the import of export of goods, they may have restrictions on these goods. Restrictions can be based on factors like quantity, age, packaging and licensing. Example – Only a specific quantity of specific goods can be imported or exported from / to a country.
Since these restrictions, permissions and prohibition differ from country to country, a research on the importing and exporting guidelines of countries you are engaging in trade with is vital to avoid any hiccups in the process.
Choose an Experienced Customs Agent / Broker: It is important to note that you are required to submit the required documentation, invoices, etc. for export clearance at the port of origin and also at the destination port for import clearance. Appointing a customs broker or a freight forwarder who also offers custom clearance is always a good option.
A customs broker, also known as a CHA (Custom House Agent) is an agent with expertise in the rules, regulations, government requirements of the importing and exporting countries, and help you with the relevant documents, payments, duties and taxes. They basically help in making the custom clearance process smooth for you. Similarly, a freight forwarder like ProConnect Integrated Logistics, can also facilitate smooth custom clearance for you. If you’ve already appointed a freight forwarder for your shipping, then it is most likely they will also offer you custom clearance assistance.
Be aware and Compliant to the Trade Agreements: Trade agreements define a trade arrangement, taxes, duties and relevant agreements between countries to help them trade with each other, for import and export of goods. There are several types of trade agreements between various countries, a thorough understanding of which can help you be compliant, take advantage and to beware of the regulations.
Trade agreements cover several key points like those in FTA (Free Trade Agreements), Unilateral or Bilateral trade, Anti-dumping duties, Countervailing duties (CVD) and the likes. A proper research and compliance to these trade agreements can benefit in lowering your cost, increase profits and steer clear from penalties and product seizures.
Keep All Required Documents Ready: We all know customs clearance process involves a lot of documentation. It is important for you to be aware of and prepare all the documents that are needed for the process. If you choose to appoint a customs broker or a freight forwarder, they can advise you on al the required documents. Some of the common required documents are Packing list, commercial invoice, Letter of Credit, Certificate of Origin, Airway bill or Bill of Lading, required permits and/or licenses. Having all documents in check can help in a streamlined custom clearance process.
Keep All Invoices in Check: There are different types of invoices that need to be prepared when you are ready to ship your goods. Ensuring that you hand over the right type of invoice for customs process is important. The different types of invoices are Pro Forma invoice, Commercial invoice, Customs Invoice, each of which have their own properties. A customs broker or a freight forwarder can advise you on the required invoices.
Check for Specific Packaging Requirements : Packaging requirements may be different for different countries based on the goods that you are shipping, therefore it is important you pay attention to the requirements of the origin and the destination country to avoid any delay or additional costs that may be levied during customs inspection.
QC and Inspection before Shipping: A recommended step to ensure all that your shipment complies to all the rules and regulations, is as per the quality standards mentioned and checks all the requirements of the export and import countries.
These steps will help you prepare for a smooth customs process. Our dedicated team of customs clearance can help you with any further clarifications and requirements that you may have. Our vast network of agents across countries possesses the required knowledge and experience to assist you with the cumbersome process in the most streamlined manner, contact us here.