Customs Compliance for Importers: What You Need to Know About Reasonable Care

Customs Compliance for Importers: What You Need to Know About Reasonable Care

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While the concept of Reasonable Care has been around for over twenty years, today’s circular is a reminder of the importance of exercising Reasonable Care in all interactions with U. S. Customs. On December 8, 1993, the Customs Modernization Act, or the “Mod” Act, was implemented, which amended many sections of the Tariff Act of 1930 and related laws. This Act changed the course of the relationship between Customs and Trade by further defining the legal obligations of each party in an international transaction while facilitating the cooperation between this government entity and its constituents.

What occurred after the “Mod” Act?

From the “Mod” Act, two new concepts emerged – “informed compliance” and “shared responsibility.” The basis of these concepts were that in order to encourage voluntary compliance of the laws and regulations of Customs and Border Protection, the trade community needed to understand their legal obligations clearly and completely. The “Mod” Act put greater responsibility on Customs to provide improved information to Trade on its rights and responsibilities according to CBP law.

Likewise, the trade community is responsible to use reasonable care to enter, classify and determine the value of imported merchandise while providing Customs any necessary information to allow Customs to assess duties, collect accurate statistics and determine whether there are other applicable legal requirements. A further responsibility for Customs will be the finalized classification and valuation of an entry while the Importer of Record has legal responsibility to exercise reasonable care in providing that information to avoid penalties and criminal enforcement.

How did CBP help the Trade community understand these new regulations?

As a means to help support the Trade community in their responsibility to exercise reasonable care, CBP published “An Informed Compliance Publication:  What Every Member of the Trade Should Know:  Reasonable Care”, updated September 2017. In this publication, Customs outlines several questions to assist the importer in this responsibility.

In this publication, the Importer is asked if they have access to various Customs publications, such as Harmonized Tariff, Federal Regulations 19 CFR, Customs website. It also asks if there is an expert or knowledgeable individual  that reviews documentation and import transactions as well as a compliance manual or specific instructions in working with the CEE’s. The publication then asks specific questions about Merchandise, Tariff Classifications, Valuation, Country of Origin/Marking, Intellectual Property Rights, Forced Labor and various other questions relating to PGA’s, ADCVD, Quota visa and right to make entry.

How can importers make sense of these regulations?

All importers are encouraged to review this document on an annual basis to support their due diligence in exercising Reasonable Care in all international transactions with Customs.  Importers and their brokers should work through the questions in this publication annually to ensure that both are using the information, tools and guidance provided by CBP to submit accurate entries each and every time.

Learn More About Reasonable Care

What if I have further questions regarding Reasonable Care?

Contact us today to learn more about Reasonable Care. If you are a current customer, contact us or speak to your account representative directly.


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