CB1u—Intro to U.S. Customs Brokerage: Part 1, The Players, Functions and Business of a Customs Broker
Subscriber price: $203.00, Non-subscriber price: $255.00
Estimated total study time: 14 hours 30 minutes
This the first of the six-part series of introductory courses in the practical work of U.S. customs brokerage work groups. Each is designed to help "jump start" a new trainee or facilitate the transition of a person with related experience, such as freight forwarding, to the tasks performed by brokers.
This training is about what customs brokers actually do—their operational functions and the business of customs brokerage. It serves as a foundation for a wide range of subsequent, more in-depth training based on particular job assignment.
If you are new to the business of customs brokerage or acting as an importer, these courses will accelerate your understanding of responsibilities, regulatory environment and operational work flow of importing goods into the U.S. For those of you who already have some experience, these courses will fill in gaps in your operational knowledge, as well as add "big picture" understanding of import requirements.
Note: Although the operational particulars in which customs brokerage takes place varies with the transportation mode, these initial courses are applicable to all operational environments. Soon GISTnet will also provide short "add-on" courses further addressing work flow and knowledge applicable to particular operational environments (i.e., northern border, southern border, airport, seaport and inland port).
Introduction to the "CBP"; Overview of U.S. Import Process
This lesson looks back to the beginning of U.S. customs brokerage with a look at the history, current mission and organization of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. We also introduce the U.S. import process with an overview of key players and additional parties that are sometimes involved.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 1 minute)
- Overview of U.S. Import Process and Players
- The Big Picture
- Four Essential Parties
- Additional Supporting Parties
- U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
- Brief History of U.S. Customs
- A Single Law Enforcement "Face" at the Border
- The CBP Mission
Introduction to Importers and Customs Brokers
In this lesson we consider why foreign goods are imported, and by whom, and begin our examination of services provided by a customs broker.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 9 minutes)
- The Customs Broker's Customer
- The U.S. & Global Trade
- Who Are Importers?
- Qualifications to Be an Importer
- Legal Responsibilities of an Importer
- Restrictions on Who May Act as a U.S. Importer
- Customs Brokers
- History of the Customs Broker Profession
- Current Regulation of U.S. Customs Brokers
- An Importer's Perspective of Customs Brokers
- Why Do Importers Hire Customs Brokers?
Imports Which are "Admissible" vs. Prohibited
In this lesson we begin examining restrictions on what may be imported into the U.S.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 2 minutes)
- General — "Admissibility"
- Prohibited Goods (Contraband)
- Prohibited Types of Goods and Import Circumstances
- Items Detained from Arriving Travelers
- Reasons for CBP Detention of Items by Arriving Travelers
- Broker Concerns when Clearing Goods Carried by Travelers
Imported Goods Subject to U.S. Regulatory Controls/Restrictions
This lesson addresses U.S. import restrictions and other U.S. Government agency processing requirements that affect a variety of types of goods at the time of customs entry.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 54 minutes)
- Imported Goods Subject to U.S. Regulatory Controls/Restrictions
- General — U.S. Regulatory Controls and Restrictions
- Items Subject to Other Agency Controls or Processing Requirements
- General — U.S. Government Agency Controls or Processing Requirements
- Arms, Ammunition and Explosives, Military Items
- Nuclear Reactors, Parts Thereof, and Nuclear Reactor Fuel
- Endangered Species
- Controlled Substances
- Agricultural Commodities
- Cargo that May Harbor Insects and Disease
- Containers, trucks and packing material that May Harbor Insects and Disease
- Inspection of Containers and Trucks
- Inspection of Wood & Wood Packing Materials
- Fruit and Vegetables that May Harbor Insects and Disease
- Soil that May Harbor Insects and Disease
- Dangerous Goods (Hazardous Materials)
- Hazardous Waste, Environmental Pollutants, Insecticides, Pesticides
- Pathogens of Interest to Terrorists
- Pharmaceuticals, Diagnostic Equipment, Medical Devices, Eyewear, Cosmetics and Food Service Items
- Electronic Devices
- Fresh and Minimally Processed Agricultural Products
- Processed Human Food Products and Ingredients
- Animal Feed and Ingredients
- Consumer Products (Safety Requirements)
- Consumer Products (Truth-in-labeling and Advertising)
- Motor Vehicles and Parts; Powered Watercraft
- Alcoholic Beverages, Other Taxable Alcohol
- Goods Subject to State Regulations
- Additional Information
Relationship Between Broker and Importer
This lesson begins our coverage of services which customs brokers provide by addressing the relationship between the broker and his customer, the importer, with respect to "customs business" vs. other types of services.
(Estimated study time: 38 minutes)
- Relationship of Customs Broker to Importer
- Agency vs. Purely Contractual Services
- Avoiding Conflicts of Interest between Broker and Importer
- Written Terms and Conditions of Service
- Broker-Importer Relationship
Broker "Customs Business" Type Services and Fees (Typical)
This lesson introduces the range of "customs business" type services a broker provides as reflected in fees and charges made to the importer.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 11 minutes)
- Broker Fees and Charges to an Importer
- General — Resources and Services Brokers Provide
- "Customs Business" Services & Fees
- General — Services & Fees for "Customs Business"
- Customs Broker Charges Invoiced to an Importer
- Typical Broker Fees for "Customs Business" Type Services
- Disbursements On Behalf of an Importer
- Premium and Fee for Arranging a Customs Bond
Customs Broker Role in the Cargo Transportation Process
In this lesson we address transportation-related responsibilities and services a broker must provide to assure timely customs clearance and delivery/on-carriage of the goods once cleared.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 3 minutes)
- Customs Broker Role in the Cargo Transportation Process
- General — Import Shipment Arrival Notice
- Broker Transaction Initiation
- Coordination with Importing Carrier and Payment of Freight/Terminal Charges
- Arranging Delivery or On-Carriage ("Reforwarding" of Cleared Goods)
- Arranging Cargo Insurance
Advancing Funds on Behalf of Importer; Credit Controls
A customs broker often becomes involved in advancing funds to pay incoming freight charges, and perhaps customs duty and delivery charges. This lesson addresses why this is done, and controls a broker should exercise to avoid potentially serious financial loss.
(Estimated study time: 55 minutes)
- Advancing Funds; Concerns and Fees for this Service
- Incoterms; Who is Responsible to Pay for Transportation and Other Costs?
- Why Does a Customs Broker Advance Funds for an Importer?
- Client Credit Control Process
- Broker's Obligation to Pay Charges
- Fee for Disbursing Funds
Customs Brokerage—Part of Supply Chain Logistics
This lesson addresses the function of a customs broker in the larger context of supply chain management, together with what a customs broker can do to strengthen this role by providing additional logistical services.
(Estimated study time: 51 minutes)
- Customs Brokerage as Part of Supply Chain Logistics
- Customs Brokers as Part of Integrated Logistics
- Importer's Need for Multiple Logistics Services
- Industry Need for Diverse Expertise and Global Reach
- Internally Provided Services
- External Service Networks
- Leveraging and Extending Service
- Acting as Lead Agent
- Structure of Agent Networks
Services Beyond Traditional Customs Brokerage
Today most companies that provide customs brokerage also are engaged in freight forwarding and other types of logistics services. This lesson addresses the relationships within an organization between these different types of business activities.
(Estimated study time: 54 minutes)
- Customs Broker Involvement in Inbound Cargo Transportation
- Customs Clearance Included in Single-Provider Through Transportation
- Inbound Traffic and Breakbulk Services
- Customs Broker Acting as a Breakbulk Agent for an NVOCC
- Freight Forwarding Services
- Customs Broker Involvement in Distribution and Domestic Logistics (3PL) Services
The Customs Broker-Importer Relationship; Client Satisfaction & Communication
This lesson covers the very important operational relationship a customs broker must develop and maintain with his client, the importer.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 6 minutes)
- General — An Expert Middleman
- First Things First — Client Satisfaction Success Factors
- Client Satisfaction through Performance Standards and Good Practices
- Every Shipment and Communication Counts — Do Things "R.I.G.H.T."
- Business Communication Do's and Don'ts
- Communication Timeliness
- Communication Methods
- Formality in Communication and Appearance
Irate Customers & Other Communication Concerns
This lesson address the basics of dealing with irate and abusive customers and others on the telephone, and concludes with a coached exercise on identifying what you can do during telephone calls to please vs. displease customers.
(Estimated study time: 46 minutes)
- Irate Customers & Other Communication Challenges
- General — Be Prepared
- Foul Language
- Accusatory Calls/Language — Focus on the Underlying Problem
- Your Initial Response
- After You Understand the Complaint
- Do's & Don'ts with Irate or Accusatory Customers
Confidentiality of Importer's Information; Broker Relationships with the CBP and Other U.S. Agencies
In this lesson we address how a broker staff should interact with CBP and other government agencies, and explain key differences from other business relationships, including the potential obligation of a broker to maintain an importer's information in confidence vs. a broker's obligation to maintain records and provide these to CBP upon request.
(Estimated study time: 57 minutes)
- Confidentiality of Client's Information
- A Customs Broker's Relationship with CBP (Customs)
- General — A Formal Relationship
- Practical Guidelines for Interacting with CBP Officers and Staff
- Unusual CBP Requests and BICE Agents
- Record-Keeping for Broker Transaction Communication
- Customs Broker Relationships with Other U.S. Government Agencies
Broker Relationships with Transportation Carriers & Other Service Providers
This lesson addresses the operational relationships a broker must pursue with carriers and other service providers on behalf of its client importers.
(Estimated study time: 1 hour 4 minutes)
- A Customs Broker's Relationships with Transportation Carriers
- General — Arriving International Cargo Requires a Customs Procedure
- Routine Interaction with Transportation Carriers
- Non-Routine Interaction with Carriers — Problem Solving
- Relationship with Other Types of Service Providers