Responsibilities of the Customs Broker and Importer
A customs broker has huge responsibilities on his shoulders while involved in import and export business. It is because, The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) demands vast amounts of information regarding the goods being imported and the importer himself as well. Therefore, a customs broker has to be well informed with the previous and the latest developments in the regulations and requirements of the import process.
Apart from the information related to regulations and legislations, the customs broker has to keep a close eye on the nature of the importer’s business and the products moving across the border as well. Furthermore, he/she needs to be aware of end use of the goods being imported as well, because the amount of duties depends upon how the end consumer will use it. It means, how much impact it would leave on the standard and well-being of the end-consumer.
Additionally, there is a huge list of specialized functions; the processing of duty refunds, requesting a re-determination of tariff classification or the value for duty, applying for duty relief, or providing consultation which a customs broker is obliged to carry out.
Moreover, the customs brokers also have a significant role to play in transportation and supply chain as well. They perform the responsibilities like, securing steamship release (it happens when the shipping contract has been settled), surrendering original bills of lading, accepting and delivering customs releases, preparing and issuing delivery orders, and paying delivery charges or freight; it depends on regional and local practices of transportation companies. So, he/she has to consider it as well.
Specific Responsibilities of the Customs Broker
Customs Brokers must:
- Provide their client with a copy of the customs accounting document prepared on their behalf (either a hard copy document or copy of information transmitted via EDI).
- Suggest clients about the suitable ways through which funds need to be transferred to receiver.
- Promptly advise to the clients regarding duties and tariffs in the importer’s country.
- Promptly advise clients about the funds received from him/her which are in excess of charges payable regarding that client’s business with CBSA.
Customs brokers must keep copies of:
- Records and books of financial transactions while acting as a customs broker.
- Each accounting document or a copy of information transmitted to CBSA via EDI.
- All supporting documentation.
- Records, accounts, and accounting documents while acting as a sub-agent.
Specific Responsibilities of the Importer
No doubt, importing is a complex and sensitive business. Therefore, an importer has to be extremely careful and responsible in this regard. Firstly, he must provide factual and relevant information to the customs broker. If he fails to do so, the consequences may be very severe and long-lasting. Because, a small error in the description and valuation of the imported goods can result in huge penalties. Furthermore, if an importer keeps on repeating the mistakes or errors, then CSBA will act him with an iron hand. Because, CBSA has got all the records of penalties and punishments.
Secondly, it is the utmost responsibility of an importer to review all the documents prepared by third parties. Because, under Customs Act, the importer is the sole responsible in case of any violation. Likewise, if the error or violation is proved in the import process, then under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS), the penalties are issued.
Thirdly, an importer must maintain records, according to the Imported Goods Records Regulations. If the importer does not have his office in Canada, then it is his responsibility to authorize any customs broker or accountant on his behalf with the consideration that it is obligatory to maintain records under Customs Act. However, in certain conditions, the CBSA can permit the importer to maintain the records abroad to Canada as well. But, he has to seek permission from CBSA and meet certain criteria for that.
The secret of success in broker-client relationships lies under good communication and valuable knowledge of the broker. A broker has to keep detailed and critical knowledge regarding the nature of the client’s business. Whereas, a client also needs to be aware of the services his broker offers. In short, it can be said that strength in their relationship is a two-way process.