Importing into the US
Thanks to the internet, today’s economy is truly global. Customers from all over the world are able to visit your website and view your products. When you start to see an uptick in traffic from people in the US it’s time to start working on an importing strategy. You don’t want to lose market share because you were unable to fill US orders, but you also don’t want to be hit with significant fines because you violated customs or other importing regulations.
Many business owners believe that there is a difference between shipping the occasional product to the US and being an official importer. That is simply not true. If you ship to the US, whether the product is purchased or offered as a free sample, you are an importer. That means your shipment is subject to all the rules and regulations of the US government pertaining to import products.
All goods entering the US are subject to scrutiny from US Customs. If you plan to ship items to the US you need to be sure that you are in compliance with Customs regulations to avoid fines and other penalties.
Getting to Know the CBP
The CBP or US Customs and Border Protection agency governs products entering the United States. They are responsible for creating and enforcing the laws that pertain to importing. Before you begin shipping items to the US you need to review the current laws and regulations related to importing. To help importers, the CBP has produced a PDF with tips. Click here to review the guidelines.
If you are just beginning to ship items to the US the section on mail entries may be the most applicable to your situation. Mail entries are those items that are shipped via the US postal service as opposed to a courier service. As stated above, these items are still considered imports and are still subject to Customs regulations but there are numerous advantages including lower costs, ease of clearing customs, no formal entry required for items under $2000 and no need to clear the items personally if the value is less than $2,000.
Before You Ship
The regulations regarding shipments entering the US are multifold. There are laws governing what type of items are allowed to enter the US from other countries, as well as restrictions on how said items must be packaged. For example, the CBP can clear goods much quicker if they are packaged with like items only. Commingling, that is the shipment of various items in a single package, requires more extensive examination before clearance can be granted.
Per the CBP, informed compliance is defined as ”a shared responsibility between CBP and the import community wherein CBP effectively communicates its requirements to the trade, and the people and businesses subject to those requirements conduct their regulated activities in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations. A key component of informed compliance is that the importer is expected to exercise reasonable care in his or her importing operations.”
What this means is that you as the importer are responsible for being aware of the regulations regarding your shipments to the US and complying with any and all applicable standards.
Choosing the Right Partner | Technology Sales Outsourcing
Import laws are complicated and can be confusing, that is why it’s so important to have the right partner to help you. You may want to engage the services of an expert, either a lawyer, customs broker, accountant, or customs specialist.
When you are ready to start selling in the US you may need additional sales reps. At Lease A Sales Rep we specialize in providing the support that your business needs, when you need it. When you are ready to expand your sales initiatives to the US market, Lease A Sales Rep is the perfect partner for all your US sales force needs. We provide superior technology sales outsourcing solutions for small businesses.
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At Lease A Sales Rep we are different than other technology sales outsourcing companies. We don’t provide one size fits all services. We customize the solutions you need to meet your business needs. We provide an extension of your company, controlled by you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you expand to the US market.