There are potentially a number of government agencies that can be involved when importing goods into the United States. Considering the fact that these agencies can hold or examine any incoming shipment, it is important to be prepared to comply with each agency's respective rules and regulations. Customs Brokers have the knowledge and experience in working with international trade related government agencies, helping your business streamline the import process.
Licensed Customs Brokers (LCBs) work as intermediaries between the importer and government agencies. When you choose a Customs Broker to handle your customs business, you are adding an expert to your import team. Customs Brokers work with government agencies on a daily basis, and therefore, have a relationship and existing processes which will help streamline the clearance of your import shipments.
Every import shipment must clear U.S. Customs and Border Protection, however, other agencies could also be involved, depending on the good's HTSUS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule for the United States) classification. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mainly works with food, cosmetics, and drugs. Each agency has specific goods which it regulates. Regardless of the commodity though, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be involved with every import shipment.
Below are some of the most common government agencies involved with international trade:
U.S. Census Bureau (exports mainly)
Transportation Security Administration (exports mainly)
Compliance with the above mentioned agencies is very important to successfully importing goods into the United States. Prior to shipping, consult a Customs Broker to ensure paperwork is complete and the goods are correctly classified to minimize customs related delays.