AVOIDING the pitfalls associated with importing can be as straightforward as engaging the services of a freight forwarder or customs broker, according to the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia.
Customs brokers provide professional advice on the importing (and exporting) of goods and services covering everything from customs clearance, government duties and taxes, valuation, tariff concessions, dumping, prohibited goods and other consultancy services.
Freight forwarders, on the other hand, specialise in providing a complete transport service to and from any part of the world.
Many freight forwarders also work as customs brokers and therefore can organise complete transport services, advise on the quickest and most economical means of transport, package the goods being imported, and can ensure the goods comply with documentation and regulations.
CBFCA WA regional manager John Park said it was important to shop around before engaging the services of a freight forwarder to ensure the most competitive price.
Mr Park said using a freight forwarder or customs broker who was a member of a professional association would ensure the receipt of professional service.
“When an importer is selecting a customs broker or freight forwarder it is recommended that they use a member of an association where ongoing professional training and development is supplied,” Mr Park said.
“This is so the importer can feel assured that the company they are dealing with is up-to-date on government legislation and related issues.
“For example CBFCA, whose members participate in a professional development program that delivers ongoing training to ensure its members are kept abreast of changing legislation and systems.
“It is in the interest of importers to deal with a professional organisation that is fully conversant with all the requirements of import legislation and freight forwarding regulations to ensure that the import complies with this legislation.
“With importers all over the world, many would deal with a freight forwarder or customs broker to handle their freight and barrier clearance requirements.
“There are a range of issues that an importer faces and a professional customs broker or freight forwarder is aware of these and would be able to advise the importer on how to go about arranging transport and barrier clearance.”
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