3 Ways That Novice Importers Can Benefit From The Services Of Customs Brokers

20 February 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Even though international trade can be very lucrative to importers and exporters, it can be somewhat daunting and costly to a prospective client if left in the hands of inexperienced people. A licensed customs broker is a professional in shipping who handles all the legwork on behalf of a client regarding legal requirements, tax and duties and permits. Here are ways that importers can benefit from the services of customs brokers.

Port Fees -- On most occasions, importers might not be aware of all the charges that they will bear during a shipment. The reason is that third-party fees can be included in the shipping costs but may not be revealed to a client at the onset because some clients may find the cost prohibitive. The port charges differ with every forwarding agent and are based on the shipment size. Therefore, a customs broker will negotiate the port charges on a client's behalf so that the latter gets fair market value.

In determining fees, a customs broker compares the market rates with the quoted price. If they find that the amount is reasonable, then the broker will recommend the logistics agent to a client. If the rates are too high, a broker can negotiate the price down or talk to other shipping companies or forwarding agents.

Free Trade Agreements Advice -- In international trade, countries may enter into a duty-free agreement on certain goods in what is commonly referred to as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Australia has entered into such agreements with several countries. Therefore, importers must know the types of FTAs available to them and their limitations if any. For instance, routing your cargo through some nations can void an FTA.

A client will benefit from some FTAs subject to them attaching a certificate of free trade to the shipment, which is usually prepared the manufacturer of goods. Alternatively, the FTA may require a federal government permit. A customs broker offers advice on available FTAs and helps a client to prepare.

Tariff Classification and Permits -- All importers in Australia should familiarise themselves with tax obligations that apply to them. There are several tariff categories of goods that importers must adhere to. Also, some imports, especially agricultural commodities, might require the importer to acquire a quarantine permit due to biosecurity import regulations. A customs broker liaises with the relevant government agencies to ensure that such a permit is obtained. Note that you risk your shipment being seized if you don't meet the importation standards.