WT100 Blog

Are You the Importer of Record?

June 15, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Who’s the importer of record in this scenario:

An electronics company ships old cell phones to Canada to be refurbished. The cell phones are then shipped back to them in the U.S. They rely on their shipper to do their paperwork.

U.S. Customs asked them to produce routine paperwork, but they didn’t have it. Although they didn’t realize it, they are actually the importer of record

What should have been an everyday transaction with Customs turned into an investigation. Customs dug in and discovered that the country of origin, value and classification on their documentation were all wrong.

The U.S. company had to pay five years of back duties and interest -- over $200,000.

Unfortunately, they came to us, after they were already in trouble. We helped them find their way out.

Livingston International recently conducted a survey which showed 62 percent or respondents are concerned their company lacks knowledge about clearing goods for international trade.

This story demonstrates there’s good reason for this concern. A common confusion in U.S.-Canada trade is identifying the importer of record. The importer of record is not defined by who’s importing the shipment, but by the contract or International Commercial terms (aka Incotermsrules). Consequently, it’s not unusual for a company to be unaware they are the importer of record.

Just because it’s confusing doesn’t mean you can ignore it. It doesn’t matter how many links in the supply chain come between you and the final destination. Do your homework and find out where you fit in. As our client discovered – the hard way – there are hundreds of thousands of good reasons to protect your business.


Cora Di Pietro is vice president of consulting at Livingston International.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

KC SmartPort Momentum

Kansas City SmartPort Momentum 2013 focused on 3PLs, the issues facing the industry, and the role or logistics in economic development



Calculating a true landed cost for global sourcing directly correlates with the profitability of purchased goods. However, few companies can command real-time visibility in to all the costs involved for cross border movements. In this podcast, World Trade 100 and Amber Road highlight how a comprehensive global trade platform that converges both logistics and compliance costs can deliver true landed cost visibility.


Speaker: Hung Lee, Senior Product Manager, Amber Road

More Podcasts

World Trade 100 Magazine

world trade july 2014

2014 July

Check out the July 2014 edition of World Trade WT100, featuring Air Cargo, Near Shoring, plus much more!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Supply Chain Webinars

What types of supply chain webinars do you get the most use out of?
View Results Poll Archive


World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling, 1st Edition

Filled with proven operational solutions, it will guide managers as they develop a warehouse master plan, one designed to minimize the effects of supply chain inefficiencies as it improves logistics accuracy and inventory management - and reduces overall warehousing expense.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Use our interactive maps to locate service providers across North America.Interactive Map

Logistics Development Partners 

IWLA Members