I explored unorthodox methods companies use to find the correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for their goods in a previous article. Now, I will outline the best practices your company should use when classifying your products.
There are so many acronyms exporters and importers use every day that it can be overwhelming for those new to our industry to understand what terms mean and how they differ from other terms that sound similar. This is particularly true with LCL shipping.
One of my favorite aspects of working with our customers is getting their feedback about the export processes and systems they use and love. However, there are some instances when I hear things that make me cringe.
In many ways, exporting is like hiring a marketing firm to represent you. With marketing, you have several options: You can do all of your work in-house with your own staff, you can hire freelancers, you can hire an agency, or you can do a combination of all of them.
Exporting works similarly—you can do everything yourself, you can hire vendors like freight forwarders to take care of parts of the process for you, or you can do a combination of both. The goal, of course, is to find resources that can help you do it efficiently.
But there’s something you must remember about both of these partnerships. No matter how you do it, you have to actively manage all the pieces of the process.
When you first venture into international shipping, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by unfamiliar terms.
As an exporter, understanding the parties involved in international logistics and using the correct language is key to understanding everyone's role in the export process. It will facilitate clear communication so that you, your customer, and your logistics partners are on the same page, ensuring your shipment gets where it needs to be on time—and that you get paid on time!
As an exporter, you must be concerned with the proper classification of your goods and products.
I hear from many exporters who are confused about the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) classification for their product and the Harmonized System (HS), Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), and Schedule B numbers of their products.
First, it’s critical to understand that these classification systems have different purposes.
Lisa recently talked to someone who was having trouble with an EEI filing. He kept getting an error and couldn’t figure out why—until he realized the Schedule B number he was using wasn’t current, so AESDirect was rejecting the filing.
This is an important reminder for all exporters (and importers, too!) to stay current on product classification numbers. Exporters need to be concerned about the accuracy of their export documents and Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing through AESDirect. Importers need to be concerned as well; if they use an outdated number, it may cause problems with customs clearance.
During the past year, we have been working diligently to ensure that our documents clearly reflect all the details and information needed for export and import clearance. This has included a project to ensure that our classifications for export are accurate.
We are stymied now. The question that we are trying to resolve at this moment is whether we should report the six-digit portion of the Schedule B code number or the full 10-digit number on our commercial invoices.
My business dinner guest sat on the board of directors for a company preparing for their first export sale. This new venture thrilled the gentleman as he anticipated the prospect of the company’s initial entry into Mexico.
We discussed the benefits of the sale and examined some of the logistical details. Since he understood many of the twists and turns, he surprised me when he posed a basic question: "If we put the sale together, how will we get paid?"