U.S. Import Compliance

All importers must excercise reasonable care when importing in to the U.S.  Import compliance means different things to different people.  Still, the basis of trade compliance stems from the need for the U.S. government to protect national interests and collect revenue through tariffs.

The responsibility of compliance rests with importers. If your business imports anything, then you are solely responsible for ensuring that you comply with the complicated and sometimes confusing regulations around import compliance.

This means that importers have the responsibility to uphold the accuracy of every declaration that goes through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There are many items that you need to have to remain compliant like:

  • Statements of value
  • Classification and duty rate
  • Qualifications for any import or tariff that is claiming eligibility

As you can imagine, there is a lot that your staff needs to consider if you want to remain compliant. All of these variables can put a lot of pressure on your operations, no matter the size of your import business.


Why Is Import Compliance Important?


Trade compliance is vital for any business, and import compliance is an essential part of your business if you import anything into the U.S. Staying in compliance with import regulations offers a number of benefits for your business, including:

  • Avoid costly penalties that can set your business back financially and disrupt your operations.
  • Establish your business as a reputable name as you meet your legal obligations with Customs and other government agencies.
  • Import compliance helps keep you clear from audits and border delays. Both of these items can take a significant cut into your profit margins and hurt the relationship that you have with your customers.
  • Part of import compliance means that all of your staff need to know the rules and regulations, how to abide by them, and how to manage the rules as it applies to your business operations.

Trade compliance should be part of the foundation of your business and import compliance experts can help keep your business running as smoothly and profitably as possible.


Leadership in your company could receive civil or criminal penalties for each violation. Most non-compliance violations are the result of small errors, minor mistakes, and simple oversight of essential details in the trade process.


If you are subject to a Customs violation then it is critical to determine what caused the violation so you can implement necessary procedures to prevent future noncompliance. Here are some elements that you should consider throughout your trade process.


-VAT Regulations: You must obtain specific documentation of export and “destination accounting” rule when working with the European Union

-International Commercial Terms (Incoterms): These are terms that are used for financial protection, and your company could make costly mistakes if you do not understand their proper use.

-Tariff Classification: You are required to use the right commodity codes for all items imported and exported.

-Origin Rules: Different international trade agreements impact where/how you can import or export items from a foreign country. You must abide by the strict regulations and include all required information with each shipment.

-Export Controls: You should understand how ITAR and EAR apply to commodities.


Outsource Trade Group offer the services you need to avoid costly violations.  Contact us!