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If your business is global, then you know how complex the border clearance process can be. For those that import goods into the U.S., complying with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirements for each and every shipment can make the difference between speedy satisfaction and difficult delays.

In fact, 80 percent of delayed shipments can be linked to missing consignee information, poor descriptions or incomplete information. Clearly, businesses will come out ahead when they pay attention to the details, have their documentation correctly completed, and know their responsibilities.

Below is a helpful video from DHL that’s designed to get you started in the right direction.

1. Provide complete shipper and consignee information
If the name or address is incomplete, the shipment may be delayed while the carrier determines how the shipment should be handled. The carrier needs to report to CBP who is importing the goods and identify the commodity being imported.

2. Provide a detailed description on shipping documents
The description must be detailed and accurate. For example, “computer parts” requires those words AND the brand name, model and serial numbers of the parts. Using terms such as “gift” or “parts” is not sufficient and will cause delays.Also, for e-commerce transactions, be sure to provide a copy of the online order with your shipping documents.

3. Provide the proper quantity or value of your goods
Deliberately under-valuing goods to avoid duties or taxes can have legal consequences for all parties involved. Individual items valued at $800 or less meet the de minimis value threshold, and most can be imported into the U.S. duty-free.However, purposefully undervaluing goods, or dividing single items into smaller parts in order to meet the threshold is strictly forbidden. If CBP sees a customer attempting either strategy – breaking goods down or undervaluing them – they will hold all of the shipments and request a formal entry. A formal entry includes a merchandise processing fee of 0.326 percent of the total value, with a $25 minimum.

4. Submit all the information your logistics provider requests
A lack of client master file data is the main reason for most shipment delays.

5. Know the common mistakes so you don’t make them
Common mistakes include the invoice not being in English or incorrect product codes and textile samples not prepared properly.As always check to make sure your country of import paperwork is correct, and that there are not import restrictions on the items you are acquiring. Trade Automation Services (TAS) from DHL can help.Also, make sure your items have been packed correctly by the international supplier.

Have more questions for our #ExportExperts? Tweet them to us on Twitter @DHLUS.

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