11 Jan Do I Need A Customs Broker? Where an LCB Can Help You
If you’re asking the question “Do I need a customs broker?” we’ll answer that by emphatically stating that only two types of organizations benefit from working with a LCB. First, those whose current global trade is bogged down by higher costs and/or inefficient processes. This is clearly not what you anticipated when you initiated your global trade program. The second are those expanding beyond domestic markets. Demand for products in new markets is a compelling reason to go global, as are the opportunities that come from mergers, acquisitions, or sourcing from foreign suppliers.
In either case, the experience of a licensed customs broker (LCB), or to use a more descriptive term for our discussion, a global trade compliance consultant (GTCC), will help your trade practices. GTCCs have the knowledge and experience to help you implement compliant trade processes that are realistic for your operations. That reduces costs and optimizes trade efficiency. A brief review of the two cases illustrates the benefits of working with global trade compliance consultants.
Customs Brokers Help Improve Current Global Trade Practices
A global trade compliance consultant (GTCC) can recognize and remedy many of the unnecessary costs and inefficiencies of your current trade program. The GTCC will conduct an in-depth review or audit of your current practices with the goals of:
- Minimizing risk: Compliance with myriad global trade rules and regulations minimizes the risk of fines, penalties, and sanctions. A GTCC excels in understanding these requirements and provides definitive guidance to help update current trade processes to ensure compliance.
- Controlling costs: Higher costs can be the result of manual or unnecessary processes. A GTCC identifies those bottlenecks. The global trade functions of an ERP system automates processes to reduce costs. A GTCC will also recommend any preferential treatments that you’re not taking advantage of, as these can dramatically reduce costs.
- Avoiding shipment delays: Shipment delays may be the result of incorrect or convoluted documents that are unknowingly causing delay. Automation and knowledge of the proper filing processes can eliminate most of these delays.
- Optimizing supply chain: Review your entire supply chain—from sourcing to consumer—and identify any areas of risk, opportunities for process improvement. They can also provide a list of corrective actions and guidance to make concrete improvements. A GTCC knows that regardless of the number of participants in your supply chain, as an importer, exporter, or both, you are ultimately responsible for compliance. A GTCC works closely with you to establish a compliant and optimized supply chain.
If your global trade practices are not delivering the profitability you expected, the experience and expertise of a global trade compliance consultant can be the most prudent and cost-effective way to strategize efficiency and compliance. Identifying and mitigating risks, explaining where and how ERP automation can significantly improve process efficiency, and advising you on the value of compliant trade practices is the quickest route to more profitable trade.
Customs Brokers Help in Expansion Beyond Domestic Markets
If you’re about to expand the success of your domestic trade to global markets, you probably already know about the ever-changing, complex mountain of US trade regulations involved. While Customs and Border Protection (CBP) govern imports, there are numerous other Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) such as Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Agriculture USDA), and even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that also have a significant say in US global trade activities.
You’ll also need to know the rules and regulations of the countries you intend to trade with. Major economic powers like the EU have simplified trade with consistent regulations applying to all participating countries. Similarly, the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other preferential treatment programs such as U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act help standardize agreements across participating countries and offer significant cost savings for importers and exporters who take advantage of these agreements.
Regardless of the country or preferential program, enterprises need to understand regulations on both sides of the borders. A product that is cleared by the FDA for export from the US may not necessarily be cleared for import by the equivalent agency in the destination country without a complicated and costly clearance process. In other words, you can’t assume reciprocity of trade rules.
Yes, these regulations are complex. That’s why the answer to “Do I need a customs broker?” is yes. You can establish a solid foundation for global trade success with the guidance of a global trade compliance consultant who will:
- Evaluate your global trade plan and advise you regarding the specific rules and regulations that govern your trade practices. Identify your biggest areas of risk, developing a risk profile to help you strategize how to tackle implementing a successful trade compliance program.
- Explain how supply chain participants need to comply with specific regulations so that your trade practices are compliant from the start.
- Identify preferential treatments that could benefit you, explain the requirements for participation, and estimate the potential savings. For example, using ATA Carnets you can avoid paying duties on merchandise in 87 countries if those goods are re-exported within 12 months.
- Help you translate trade regulations into compliant and realistic trade practices, processes, and controls (utilizing ERP global trade functionality) specific to your business model and trade program.
The success of a global trade program is founded on a detailed understanding of all the rules and regulations that govern trade. By working with a global trade compliance consultant from the very start of your trade initiative, you create a solid foundation of compliant trade practices and processes to avoid the risk of non-compliance, reduce costs through participation in preferential programs, and improve efficiencies throughout your supply chain.
Best Licensed Customs Brokers? Global Trade Compliance Consultants
Whether you’re just getting started on global trade or looking to improve the efficiency of your current trade program, the expertise and experience of a global trade compliance consultant are critical to your success. With the guidance of a global trade compliance consultant, you establish compliant business processes reduce risk while simultaneously improving efficiency and reducing the costs of trade processes.