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As its name indicates, a Customs broker is an entity licensed by Customs authority to handle Customs formalities on behalf of others. When businesses import or export goods, they often hire a Customs broker to help clear their goods through Customs, which usually includes tracking shipments, filing customs entries, and paying duties and fees.

The existence of Customs brokerage as a service relies on a few facts:

The complexity of Customs formalities means there is a steep learning curve for the importers and exporters who want to understand and comply with the numerous requirements enforced by Customs authorities. A Customs brokers usually has employees who spent years studying the knowledge and passed the designated examination. Therefore, tapping into the broker’s knowledge pool is definitely an effective shortcut.

International trade is risky by nature. An importer or exporter has to face many uncertainties or risks inherent in trade, and the regulatory environment is a typical one. For example, the trade policies of a country towards a particular commodity, such as tariff, quota, or license requirement, are subject to change from time to time. With dedicated resources and specialization, Customs brokers are more efficient to keep abreast of changing laws covering international trade. Naturally, they can act as liaisons between Customs authorities and importers/exporters.

There are thousands of kinds of commodities moving around in global trade. Trade controls imposed on imports and exports can vary remarkably from one type of commodity to another. For instance, food and agricultural imports are usually required to undergo safety and quarantine inspections while industrial products and consumer goods may need to get CCC or other types of certification to enter Chinese market. Specialized in certain types of goods, a Customs broker can be more familiar with the controls on those products, more knowledgeable about how to comply with the regulations, and more experienced in implementation. Leveraging brokers’ specialties and economy of scale can save you the trouble of reinventing the wheel.

There are a lot of Customs brokers with different levels of expertise and compliance performance. For instance, merely in Shanghai Customs district, there are more than eighty thousand Customs brokers on the market.

Questoud defines its brokerage service as a constructive supplement to our consulting service. By walking the talk, we extend our service from the experience and knowledge sharing to clearing your goods through Customs.

A Customs broker acts on behalf of the importer/exporter but the importer/exporter is ultimately responsible to Customs for what is declared by the broker. That is, if the broker makes a mistake or an error, Customs authorities will attribute the responsibility for it to the importer/exporter. Actually, broker compliance is a real concern in practice because brokers charge their customers by the number of entries they file to Customs rather than by their compliance performance and quality is often sacrificed on the altar of quantity.

Stemming from compliance consulting service, Questoud's brokerage service takes compliance as the overarching rule. Instead of forcing you to accept some established standards or routines to maximize our throughput, we prefer to learn the details of your transactions first and customize our brokerage solution to fit the unique characteristics of your business.

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