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What Does a Customs Broker Do?

What Does a Customs Broker Do?

Countries around the world rely on international trade networks to keep their economies afloat and meet their citizens’ needs. A customs broker (報關行) helps companies navigate this complex process by completing and filing necessary paperwork and fees.

Some brokers also specialize in certain goods or specific government agencies. Finding the best one for your needs requires a little research.

Taxes and Duties

International trade is a complex endeavor, and customs brokers help businesses navigate the process by completing necessary paperwork and filing fees. Brokers also keep up with constantly changing laws and regulations.

In addition to their knowledge of international tariff codes and rules, brokers collect payments for duties and taxes on behalf of their clients. They can also advise clients on the best market for their products and the best methods for shipping them there.

When a customer purchases your product, they will be charged duties and taxes by the carrier, depending on the incoterm used. You may choose to pass these charges on to your customer, or you may choose to include them in your total price and use the incoterm “delivery duty paid” (DDP). Your customs broker will help you determine which option is most cost-effective for you. They will also prepare the invoice and file it with Customs and Border Protection. Generally, you must pay the duty and taxes before your shipment can enter a country.

Customs Procedures

The rules and regulations regarding the transfer of goods across borders are constantly changing. Customs brokers stay on top of these changes to help ensure that their clients are operating legally and efficiently.

Brokers must also maintain records for all of their clients’ import and export activity. This includes all of the information on shipments, including their value, origin, destination, and contents. Brokers must keep this data in a safe place that is protected from fire, theft, and other damages.

In addition, brokers must also comply with a number of other regulations. This includes keeping track of all duties, taxes, and fees for each shipment. They must also make sure that they are not withholding any information from their clients and that they are not knowingly imparting false information to them. Finally, they must also follow a number of other rules and procedures related to the processing of imported and exported goods. For example, brokers must prepare a Technical Write-up for each product that they transport.


The commercial invoice, packing list, and other customs documents that a broker files with CBP on behalf of his or her clients must be accurate. These documents are typically based on an international tariff coding system, which helps authorities identify and classify merchandise for taxation purposes.

In addition, the broker must retain and update identification and verification records for each of his or her importer clients. This would be a new requirement, in addition to the recordkeeping requirements set forth in existing broker regulations at 19 CFR part 111. Brokers would be required to verify this information for each of their existing importer of record clients within three years of the effective date of this proposed rule, and reverify the information on an annual basis thereafter.

A good broker will also be a member of C-TPAT, an important program that works to strengthen cargo security and reduce the chance of terrorist attacks on our ports. You should look for a partner that has extensive experience working with C-TPAT, as this will save you time and money by facilitating the speed of clearance procedures.


Customs brokers must maintain up-to-date information on changing import/export laws and paperwork requirements in various locations. They also collect fees for their services, determine appropriate rates, and file claims on behalf of businesses that experience damage or loss during the course of shipping.

Custom brokerage fees vary widely, depending on factors like the type of goods, their value, and documentation requirements. Most brokerage firms charge a basic fee that covers tasks such as document preparation and communication with customs officials.

Some brokers may also levy additional charges for specialized services or unique circumstances, such as storage or inspection fees. However, most customs broker charges are based on the merchandise’s declared value, so it’s important to consider this when calculating your import budget. Failure to pay brokerage fees may result in fines and the revocation of importing privileges. This could be costly for any business navigating international trade. The good news is, with a little planning you can minimize customs brokerage fees and foster efficient, effective trade ventures.

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