Last Updated: Dec. 5, 2019 Cross border trade is complex and made even more so by constant regulatory changes. It's asking too much of trade participants to understand every single detail of trade regulations that vary by country and sometimes even within the same country. Because of these cross border trade's complexities, partnerships in the trade community are so important. Few businesses are successful on their own, and everyone always needs a little help. Third-party cross border services simplify cross border trade and compliance. Their services range from software that simplifies the filing of trade declarations to business process outsourcing (consultancy, legal, IT, administrative). Some providers can act on your behalf to do business directly with Customs agencies.
Cross Border Services for Businesses
Entries and Entry Summaries
Customs agencies use entries and accounting documentation submitted by importers or their brokers to decide whether the goods can enter the country. Entries and entry summaries contain detailed shipment information and other data that help officials assess risk and collect duties and taxes.
An eManifest is the digital version of a paper manifest that contains information about the cargo, conveyance and crew. Many countries require pre-arrival submission of eManifests (advance filing rules) for security reasons. The advance filing allows customs officers to make informed decisions when determining admissibility. Carriers or their agents are responsible for filing the eManifest. They can be done on the customs agency website or software that connects directly to customs. The latter method is recommended for frequent filers and high-volume importers. In-house or third-party eManifest software lets filers prepare and submit eManifests in bulk, track shipment status and respond to Customs messages or requests for information.
Product classification is one of the trickiest aspects of cross-border trade. Assigning the wrong HS (Harmonized System) code to a shipment can mean long delays, entry denial and hefty monetary penalties. This is because Customs agencies use the tariff classification to determine how much duty, tax and other fees to charge the importer. Tariff classification is also used for statistics purposes and enforcement of trade regulations. Customs officials don't physically inspect every single shipment that enters the country; they often do random checks and focus mainly on high-risk, regulated goods that have been declared as such on the importer entry filing. Improperly classified merchandise means an increased risk of security and safety issues.
Most importers rely on licensed customs brokers to classify imports and file entries. But self-filing importers are at a disadvantage if they do this themselves. A third-party application that helps with tariff classification improves accuracy and optimizes compliance. It does the tedious but necessary work so you can focus on your business. Some providers provide consulting services, reviewing existing HS tariff classification systems to look for errors and data gaps. They create (and regularly update) a reliable customs compliant database that you can depend on even when Customs changes the rules.
The electronic air waybill (eAWB) is the digital version of a paper air waybill or contract of carriage, the most critical document in the air cargo industry. The eAWB is a global initiative by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It aims to improve data accuracy and address challenges in air freight. At airports that have adopted the eAWB, there is a faster turnover of air waybills between airlines and agents. Air cargo transport is also quicker, cheaper and more reliable.
eAWB services provided by third parties simplify filing and improve compliance of air cargo participants. These services also help businesses gain a competitive edge with minimal investment. Some providers let you subscribe to cloud-based eAWB solutions for set time periods. They also offer integrated solutions for those who use ERPs and similar systems. One of the best benefits of an eAWB service is direct connectivity to multiple international airlines as well as different submission options (online, system integration or direct file). You can track submission status from a mobile device and quickly respond to airline notifications in real-time.
Direct Filing of e-Declarations
Some importers are self-filers who submit electronic documentation to Customs without the assistance of customs brokers or agents. Self-filing is a good option for small businesses with limited resources and low-volume importers. However, self-filing can get complicated when importing regulated goods or goods that require a certificate, permit or license. Third-party providers can prepare and submit electronic documentation on your behalf to ensure compliance. The process is very simple. Email or fax the documents, such as invoices and bills of lading to the provider and they will take care of everything. You don't have to keep the service permanently, either. Use it only when you need to, and submit declarations to Customs yourself for regular shipments.
Cross Border Services for Government
Customs and other government agencies are the gatekeepers of cross-border trade. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of citizens and the competitiveness of the local economy by screening shipments that enter and leave the country. While ensuring border security, these agencies are also responsible for improving collaboration between agencies, maintaining data integrity and facilitating the flow of legitimate trade. Keeping high-risk cargo out, collecting duties and taxes, creating mutually beneficial regulations and supporting the trade community, in general, are monumental tasks that require resources outside the government.
The cost of improper or malfunctioning processes in government is tremendous, discouraging free trade and encouraging corruption and crime. On the other hand, improving inter-agency cooperation, information accessibility and procedures through technology and legislation can lead to a significant reduction in trade costs.
Most customs processes are already digitized, and electronic information exchange is the norm in many countries. Thanks to Single Window initiatives all over the world, cross border trade is faster, more affordable and more secure. But there's still much to be done to make global trade intelligent. Third parties help governments by providing innovative solutions that integrate separate digital processes, reduce paperwork and error-prone manual processing and eliminate re-digitization of information throughout the supply chain.
A single unified platform that connects businesses to customs and other government agencies in multiple countries/regions makes collaboration simpler and compliance regulations easier to enforce. A unique cross border trade platform manages trade data and serves as a system of record to help agencies with audits, statistics reporting and strategic planning. It also improves financial flow. Banks and finance organizations can easily access compliance data for risk management, analytics and business intelligence.
Other cross-border services for government include systems that:
- Manage customs processes based on current legislation
- Simplifies electronic review and approval of licenses, certificates, permits and other documents (LCPO) required for clearing regulated goofs
- Connect and secure port business processes
- Provide a single portal for port clearance
- Streamline business process in free trade zones (FTZ)
- Provide advanced risk management tools
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) Cross Border Data Exchange
For many years, GeTS has helped businesses and governments make cross-border trade accessible, predictable and easier to fulfill. GeTS cross border services for business include cloud-based trade compliance applications for traders in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Panama, Japan and Singapore. These include HS Code Classification, electronic air waybill (eAWB), eManifest processing, ePermit applications and e-declarations. For governments, GeTS offers the Trade Facilitation Platform, CALISTA and Cross Border Data Exchange. All solutions aim to streamline trade processes, increase security, improve collaboration between agencies and trade participants and optimize compliance.
To learn more, visit our cross border services page or contact us today.
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Contact GeTS today for more information on cross border services!
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Global eTrade Services, Inc.(U.S.)
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