The obligations to exercise “reasonable care” in the entry of merchandise and to adopt procedures that reflect “informed compliance” were imposed on importers and exporters by the Customs Modernization Act of 1993. Charter makes its substantial experience and expertise available to ensure that its clients comply with the ever-growing and increasingly complex rules and regulations that govern the international trade and customs processes.
Our team of customs and international trade attorneys, licensed brokers and experienced staff assist our clients in understanding their customs and export obligations and in adopting and implementing policies and programs that ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. In this way, Charter is able to minimize the need for expensive trade consultants and attorneys, resulting in the most cost-effective service offering over the long term.
All merchandise imported into the United States is subject to the customs laws related to entry and duty assessment, as set forth in the Tariff Act (19 U.S.C. § 1202 et seq.). The two-part entry process consists of the filing of information and documentation (1) to secure release of the goods from the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and (2) to enable CBP to assess duties, collect accurate statistics and determine whether all requirements of law are met. The law requires that importers exercise “reasonable care” in the entry of merchandise (19 U.S.C. § 1484), and it imposes penalties for failure to comply (19 U.S.C. § 1592). In addition, importers must maintain records to support their customs activities (19 U.S.C. § 1508).
CBP has identified several compliance “focus areas” including tariff classification, appraisement, country of origin, quantity, eligibility under free-trade agreements and special duty programs, record keeping, among others. Charter has specific and detailed knowledge and expertise concerning CBP’s requirements, and we make our expertise available to our clients. We partner with our clients to provide all resources needed to ensure full and complete compliance with all import, export and related requirements. In addition, Charter has implemented its own internal compliance program based on CBP-suggested “best practices” which include documented procedures, ongoing training of personnel and periodic multi-level, internal reviews of randomly selected transactions.
Our commitment to compliance goes beyond our client services and our internal operations. CBP has recognized our commitment to compliance and has enlisted our expertise in its efforts to fashion programs that apply to broad industry segments. These include the following:
Importer Self-Assessment Program – Charter worked with CBP Headquarters personnel to develop the Importer Self-Assessment (“ISA”) Program. This program encompasses all of CBP’s compliance requirements and our experience in this effort has proved invaluable in providing Charter personnel with insights into how CBP views an importer’s compliance obligations. We have worked with several multi-national companies to prepare, implement and “run and maintain” their ISA programs.
Broker Self-Assessment Program – Charter was selected by CBP as one of only four brokers in the United States to participate in the pilot for the Broker Self-Assessment Program.
ISA Pre-Certifier – Charter is one of only nine brokers in the US designated by CBP as an “ISA-pre-certifier” and as such is qualified to advise, review and provide pre-certification of an importer’s ISA application.
All of the above constitutes significant recognition by CBP of Charter’s competence and its commitment to the highest standards of customs compliance.