Top 7 things to consider about Customs Operations in international shipments | DB Group

Top 7 things to consider about Customs Operations in international shipments

05 June 2019

If you are developing your supply chain internationally, facing customs requirements is undoubtedly one of the phases that can most impact the efficiency of your trade. Very often seen as a challenge, customs, if properly considered, can represent an opportunity to optimise costs and flows.

While it is clear that the customs process of an international shipment begins in the country of origin and ends up in the destination country, it is often not so clear which are the main aspects to be taken into consideration. For this reason, we have decided to highlight the points that must absolutely be taken into consideration in the context of an international shipment:

1.CLASSIFICATION of goods for customs purposes: Identifying the correct customs heading for each imported/exported item allows to know the correct tariff treatment (duties, VAT, border surcharges, etc.) and associated trade policy measures (limitation of import quantities, products subject to controls/restrictions or requiring certificates). It is also essential to determine the preferential or non-preferential origin of the products.

2. ORIGIN (PREFERENTIAL AND NON-PREFERENTIAL): A central theme in customs matters, determination of the origin, based on an exact customs classification, has the purpose of identifying applicable measures and correct payment of duties owed. Identifying the specific preferential origin and issuing the related documentation allows the consignee of the goods, where preferential treatment is provided for, to see the duty payable reduced partially or completely, rendering competitive the sale of its products.

3. VALUE: Together with classification and origin, this is one of the core pillars of correct customs management of imports/exports. Identifying the right value to declare at customs allows to correctly calculate the duties owed, which is why it is identified as sensitive information. If not calculated correctly, it can result in costly penalties.

4. CUSTOMS PLANNING (certificates/agreements): Analysing the required import/export certifications before a shipment, or at the beginning of a trade, is essential to avoid surprises at customs.
Correct planning of production allocation and the search for the best markets can be identified through an analysis of existing agreements between the EU and third-party countries. Customs support must therefore not be seen as useful only at the time of declaration, but as a means to establish strategies in international flows in order to reduce business costs and/or increase sales effectiveness.

5. INCOTERMS: Using the correct Incoterms can really make a difference, not only in terms of transport, but also with regard to customs matters.

6. CUSTOMS CHECKS AND CONTROLS: The customs offices perform physical and documentary checks on import and export operations, using algorithms that consider the critical points identified thanks to European and national reports.

7. DOCUMENTS: A preliminary but essential phase when carrying out customs operations is the verification of documents to issue/receive, such as invoices, packing lists, free import/export declarations and any documentation required for import/export to the destination. Having a clear general picture of the type of operation allows to identify the right VAT code to put on the invoice.

Starting off on the right foot means already knowing how to set up the operation from the beginning.

Our offices are at your disposal for further information.

Contact our italian or USA team.

D.B. Group

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