For all entrepreneurs, the most important part of managing your business is to ensure that it grows and generates the maximum possible revenues. You need to be on the lookout for opportunities around you, even if it means going beyond national borders. Importing and exporting goods allows you to take advantage of unexploited markets by dealing in superior and quality goods. Here, you will need to work with customs departments to facilitate your cross-border transactions. Dealing with customs brokers and freight forwarders will become a part of your business so here is what you need to know about them:
Customs brokers are individuals licenced to carry out business transactions on behalf of other parties involved in cross-border business. Essentially, brokers are allowed to represent you in all activities covered under customs business. These activities include classification of merchandise, admissibility of merchandise, payment of taxes and duty, payment of other related charges, rebate and any refunds claimable when doing business.
In brief, a person importing or exporting goods engages a broker to guide those goods into or out of the country. The broker therefore uses their knowledge and expertise to ensure the efficient clearance of those good until the transaction is complete.
• Legal Implications: If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, customs officials examine the issue at hand and determine whether your broker should be charged independently or jointly with you. This depends on whether or not you had knowledge of the illegal undertakings by your broker.
Unlike customs brokers, freight forwarders work solely with exporters to move goods to another country. They are an instrumental part of your logistics because of the knowledge they have on the exportation of goods from your country and the importation of merchandise in the target nation where your goods are destined. Ideally, a freight forwarder helps you take advantage of the best shipping methods relative to the merchandise you are moving besides working on the papers required for the transactions. This will help you save money, especially in cases where you have little knowledge on the nitty-gritties of the transaction and would have otherwise ended up paying more.
• Legal Implications: Unlike a broker, a freight forwarder's legal liability is limited to exportation business because you work with them when moving goods out of the country. The laws of the country where the goods are destined will determine their liability on the import side.