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How to Build a Robust Compliance Strategy So You Can Focus on Your Core Business

Reducing total import duty burdens, staying compliant, and minimizing the risk of penalties and shipment delays is an increasing challenge for today’s importers. As the regulatory environment becomes more complex, the list of steps that shippers have to take to stay compliant grows exponentially.

Here at DB Schenker Customs Services, we realize that your team doesn’t have the time or resources to review every shipment to ensure it is compliant with U.S. import regulations.  Don’t worry—we can assist.  DB Schenker helps you create a compliance strategy that allows you to target areas of opportunity and risk. By serving as your trusted import customs consultant, we can help you spend more time focusing on your business.

The Customs Modernization Act 

Since the passage of the Customs Modernization Act of 1993, importers have been responsible for complying with the evolving customs laws and exercise reasonable care when importing goods into the U.S. Difficult for any individual company to navigate, today’s import regulations are complex and always in flux.

Over the last few years, however, many companies have fallen short in the area of import regulatory compliance, mainly because U.S. Customs hasn’t been focused on enforcement during that time (i.e., most of the department’s resources were allocated to developing ACE). As a result, many shippers have become complacent and have navigated below the radar while importing and exporting goods.

Now, thanks to ACE and its increasingly paperless administrative environment, U.S. Customs has more tools and resources at its avail. This, in turn, has pushed companies to look more carefully at their compliance practices. Those shippers that ignore this step risk steep penalties and fines and possible shipment delays.

Addressing Quick-Hit Audits

One area that companies should be thinking about right now is customs’ new audit programs and tools. Now required by law to report back to Congress, the department has started using more surveys along with its traditional, full-blown, focused assessment programs. Where the latter is a laborious, one-on-one audit of a specific importer, the surveys are more “quick hit” audits that address potential issues with one or more importers. These quick surveys are meant to be completed and returned quickly, but they have some importers stumbling—namely because those importers lack the internal controls necessary to adequately address the survey questions.

The good news is that when an importer responds back with good, clean, fast answers, the result will likely be “case closed, now let’s move onto the next target.” But if the importer stumbles on its answers and/or takes too long to respond, then those actions could send up a red flag. And, if that importer is involved with certain high-level risk areas (e.g., anti-dumping), then customs may place that company in a focused assessment pool and open up a more expansive review of its operations.

The key takeaway here is that customs is using the pre-audit qualification process (the “surveys”), to either queue up an importer for a comprehensive audit or check it off the list as being “reasonably safe and compliant” before moving along to the next one on the list. For either scenario, shippers need a solid compliance program that allows them to effectively address the inquiries and minimize the impact on their businesses.

Using DB Schenker’s import compliance consulting services, your company can seamlessly:

  • Develop a compliant trade strategy
  • Leverage DB Schenker’s expertise and network
  • Gain insights into your firm’s past importations
  • Identify potential opportunities and concerns
  • Recover any overpayments of customs duties
  • Avoid delays, fines, and penalties
  • Refine your tariff classification database to improve your competitiveness and compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations
  • Enhance your firm’s compliance profile (for faster releases of shipments, eligibility for enhanced options with customs, and a reduction in risk of penalties and fines)

Building Blocks for a Solid Regulatory Compliance Program 

At DB Schenker, we provide a full spectrum of customs-related consulting services focused on building your regulatory compliance program while also evaluating the opportunity for duty reductions.

With DB Schenker as your partner, you’ll be able to navigate the challenging requirements of international shipping regulations and develop an effective compliance strategy. Regardless of your industry or company size, we’ll help you define your needs, minimize risk, contain costs, and gain end-to-end supply chain visibility. This will ensure proper compliance with existing government regulations and will help your company stay on top of customs compliance laws.

Our streamlined approach to your firm’s customs clearance strategy will result in less risk, reduced costs, fewer errors, and the ability to focus on what you do best: run your business in a profitable and productive manner.

Our full menu of compliance capabilities includes:

  • HTS classification assistance
  • Free trade agreement eligibility analysis
  • Compliance assessment
  • Building a comprehensive customs compliance program
  • C-TPAT certification and validation
  • CBP ACE portal training
  • Reconciliation entry program
  • Duty drawback program

For more information about how DB Schenker can help ease the burden of import compliance for you and your team, please contact your sales representative today on 1 (800) 225-5229 or visit our website.

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