There is no aspect more central to the good operation of a Customs brokerage firm than being diligent with compliance. Making sure that we are compliant in all ways undergirds all the operations in our company, and for many years has been one of the key separators of JM Rodgers from our competition.

Staying compliant with the tenets of “reasonable care” can’t just simply be a small part of a checklist or a poster on the wall, it has to be part of every action that takes place along the clearance process. From the first people who review incoming documents through the final reviewers before entry submission.

In the end, the policy of “informed compliance” means that the buck stops with the importer. JM Rodgers is dedicated to making sure that our customer is protected and can have faith that their Customs work is being executed perfectly.

What JMR Does Differently

JM Rodgers is dedicated to Customs compliance. The amount of our import staff that are licensed brokers exceeds the industry average, and we are consistently pushing our non-licensed employees to pursue their licensure to increase this. We have multiple checks and balances through the entire process of an entry, ensuring that at any point if an error is detected it can be immediately corrected. Unique to our industry, we have a secondary “back end audit” that reviews every entry prior to submission, giving extra attention to ensure our compliance.

For many of our clients, we have built them an entire “Compliance Playbook.” In the process of building our playbook, we learn the products, review current practices, analyze document flows, review compliance on commercial import documents, Customs’ entries, and logistical flows. We then develop a playbook based on both regulatory compliance and our clients’ business needs. We can further help develop an SOP that will provide work standards for compliance while helping our clients to find ways to cut unnecessary costs and expenses.

TFTEA and Compliance

As the name implies, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act has a lot to do with the “enforcement” side. Customs has made use of the additional resources that are provided in this law, using their new tools to more strongly enforce laws against intellectual property violations, the sale of products made with slave labor, and even counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

With a broad new range of resources and mandates, US Customs is more equipped than ever to find those that would willingly flout the law, and able to more easily find when importers do not perform their due diligence. These new enforcement mechanisms only underline the critical status of Customs compliance for any business that imports.

Compliance and New Tariffs

The new section 232 and section 301 tariffs that have been put in place by the Trump Administration illustrate why compliance is so crucial to managing risk for any importer. Only certain categories of classifications are affected by these new tariffs, and some only out of certain countries. This means that any importer must be diligent and be able to trust the broker with whom they work.

Not complying with new tariff rules either by accidentally misclassifying products or by attempting to pass off products under a lower-duty classification will result in not only owing back-payments for already onerous duty amounts, but significant penalties if not voluntarily corrected.

Compliance with new TFTEA Drawback Regulations

Under TFTEA, compliance with new drawback laws has presented a particular challenge. Given two years officially to have the regulations in place by this coming February, Customs had only been providing provisional “guidance documents” of what they believed would be close to the final regulations.

Since these were all we had to go on, we were preparing claims under these instructions that turned out to be inaccurate. For example, these documents told us that if an import entry was used previously under the old “core” drawback laws, the remaining unclaimed products could be claimed under future TFTEA rules. However the draft given to us in August explicitly prohibit that, leading to the need to re-work current claims.

By remaining diligent about new rules at all times, JM Rodgers is able to make sure that even as rules change, we can assure our clients that the claims we’re filing on their behalf will be compliant.

Contact J.M. Rodgers for additional information

If you’d like to discuss how you can improve your company’s compliance with Customs rules, please contact Andrew Galloway our VP of Sales at agalloway@jmrodgers.com. He can work with you to show you how JMR’s services can keep your company better compliant with Customs’ rules.