I am president of a customs house broker that has helped its importing customers for more than 100 years. The ignorance of the August letter ( 'Progress threatens broker industry,' August American Shipper,pages 2-4
) of the role of a customs broker knows no bounds.
It is our experience that nearly all of our customers rely on our services for the simple fact that they do not have the core competence themselves to manage the customs process. Our customers are too busy trying to make their business a success and have correctly determined that the business of customs should be left to the experts. Only a minority of our entire customer base has any organic import compliance initiatives other than to rely on our services. Truth is, most of our customers rely on our staff of licensed brokers to manage the correct classification of all of their imported products. Even our customers who have in-house expertise in classification or valuation, rely on our services as a one-stop shop for compliance, country of origin marking, binding ruling filings, protests, post-entry amendments, etc.
Traditionally, brokers waited at the end of the supply stream. Our industry is the garbageman of international trade. Customs brokers clean up the messes left by poor supplier relations, insufficient documentation and bad logistical choices. Quite frankly, M.E. Dey welcomed the advent of Importer Security Filing since it helped our customers impress upon their suppliers the necessity of timely documentation. All too often in the pre-ISF days, it was our office that would call customers with the good news/bad news scenario: 'Yes your cargo has arrived, but we do not have documents!'
Importers are compelled to prioritize their business practices. Well meaning, honest importers have no desire to thumb their nose at the federal government, but do so unknowingly when they are busy meeting internal demands that might sacrifice compliance over the timely delivery of products. Importers like this will turn to us.
Customs brokers will educate willing importers in their responsibilities. A simple 10-second assessment of our Web site, www.medey.com, will provide ample evidence of our interest in filling a measurable void in the world of import competency. There is always a need for our services. We plead for our customers to consider us their partner and to have an honest exchange of ideas involving their use of international trade.
Our industry association, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, has always had the thankless task of illustrating the real world of imports to Congress, Homeland Security and others that have only read import theory.
president, licensed customs broker,
M.E. Dey & Co. Inc., Milwaukee