Mastery of North American customs regulations are necessary for your business to succeed. The United States offers one of the world’s largest trade areas with convenient land access to its biggest trade partners, Canada and Mexico. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) less trade restrictions are present when importing and exporting between the countries. To minimize confusion and expenses develop an export plan and look to export trading companies specializing in international trade.
Internationally-based companies should look to avoid frustration and expenses when dealing with customs in North America. Customs information is available from the governments of America, Canada and Mexico. The United States government, for example, offers detailed guidelines explaining exporting basics and offering free resources to aid small businesses in customs regulations.
As you navigate through North American customs regulations consider the following:
1. Foster relationships through NAFTA to take advantage of the duty-free status available when dealing with customs in North America.
2. Utilize government resources to help comply with customs regulations by country.
3. Gather information from customs brokers to speed up the process.
Understand how NAFTA affects getting your products through the North American customs systemProducts produced in North America may qualify for reduced or duty-free status when exporting to Mexico, Canada or Puerto Rico. Complete the NATFA Certificate of Origin for products qualifying for preferential treatment.
Export.gov Webinar for information on using NAFTA to simplify the process of customs regulations. Take advantage of duty free status by completing the interactive NAFTA Certificate of Origin tool at Export.gov. Print documentation needed for shipping to Canada from ShipNorthAmerica.
Get assistance on customs regulations in North America by going directly to the sourceReliable country specific information to facilitate the process of managing customs regulations is offered at government websites. Finding information on products that can be imported, correct forms and tariff rates can keep your deliveries on schedule.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection guides in completing and printing the correct forms to avoid problems with customs. U.S. Commercial Service Mexico and U.S. Commercial Service Canada offer trade specialists and guides to make getting through customs a snap.
Consult with companies that specialize in handling North American import and export customsCustoms regulations can be complicated for a small business to handle. Training staff is an expensive process and documentation, shipping and other customs laws can delay or shipments throughout North America. Customs compliance companies feature staff fully trained in regulations, located at all major entry ports to ease the process of clearing customs.
- Small businesses should consider working with Export Management Companies or Export Trading Companies. These companies aid in researching product potential in foreign markets, handling North American customs, arranging transportation, finding trade partners and receiving export financing.