Gene Mack, Licensed Customs Broker
Los Angeles


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110 E. Wilshire Avenue
Suite G11
Fullerton, CA 92832
714-447-0371
Fax: 714-447-0289
E-Mail Los Angeles

Import Basics
What You Should Know


Importers Checklist

Use this checklist when faxing documents to us. Please note that we will need all items on the list before we can process your entry. If you are missing anything, contact the shipper or forwarders local agent appearing on the Arrival Notice immediately. Failure to do so could result in costly delays.


Commercial Invoices

A commercial invoice, signed by the seller or shipper, or his agent, is acceptable for customs purposes if it is prepared in accordance with Section 141.86 through 141.89 of the Customs Regulations, and in the manner customary for a commercial transaction involving goods of the kind covered by the invoice. Importers and brokers participating in the Automated Broker Interface may elect to transmit invoice data via the Automated Invoice Interface or EDIFACT and eliminate the paper document.


An annotated sample of an invoice is shown here.

Handling the Ocean Bill of Lading and Destination Charges

There are two types of Ocean Bills of Lading; Negotiable and Express, and it is important to understand the difference. Bills of Lading are issued when the vessel sails and all copies, regardless of type, are given to the shipper at origin. This link covers how to tell if your Bill of Lading is Negotiable or Express as well as surrendering the Bill of Lading and destination charges.


Why is an importer required to post a bond with Customs?

A Customs Bond is required on all commercial shipments of goods entering the commerce of the United States. According to Customs regulations, importers are required to post a bond...


Importing Textile, Wool and Fur Products

Textile, wool and fur products have specific import regulations. This article covers these plus a couple of associated items.


Customs User Fees

Customs user fees were established by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. This legislation was expanded in 1986 to include a merchandise processing fee. Also in 1986, Congress enacted the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized the Customs Service to collect a harbor maintenance fee for the Army Corps of Engineers. Further legislation has extended the User Fee Program until 2003.


Suggestions for the Importer for Faster Customs Clearance

Eleven tips to expedite your shipment and prevent delays.


Liability for Duties

There is no provision under which U.S. duties or taxes may be prepaid in a foreign country before exportation to the United States. This is true even for gifts sent by mail.


Marking of Imports for Customs

United States customs laws require each imported article produced abroad to be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits, with the English name of the country of origin, to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the name of the country in which the article was manufactured or produced. Articles which are otherwise specifically exempted from individual marking are an exception to this rule. The exceptions are discussed below.


Informed Compliance

Informed compliance is a shared responsibility between Customs and the import community wherein Customs effectively communicates its requirements to the trade, and the people and businesses subject to those requirements conduct their regulated activities in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations.


Classification of Parts and Accessories

If your merchandise is being entered under a 'parts' or 'accessories' classification, be careful; that may be incorrect and could cause problems on a Customs audit. We can help.

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