Direct Repre-what?? In a previous blog titled ‘Customs Import Declarations’ I wrote about how you might raise your own Customs declarations. However, it may be better to advise you not to do this. Instead it might be preferable to consider using the services of a Customs clearance specialist. If you do chose to appoint a specialist this will serve as a heads up.
You will be asked to sign an agreement to a concept called ‘Direct Representation’, have no fear – this is normal. Your appointed clearance agent isn’t asking you to sign your life away. As an importer or exporter, you have a legal responsibility for the accuracy of any Customs declaration in your name. This is irrespective of the terms of sale. The signature you will be asked to give confirms to Customs that your agent is representing you in your name and on your behalf. You will be responsible for the correct taxes, accurate declaration and record keeping. Since this is the case anyway, it makes no difference in terms of risk to you that you agree to sign to agree to this. It does afford the agent acting for you a degree of protection from Customs action – and hence the agent can provide you with a cost effective service based on their lessened risk.
Don’t worry – your agent will still have a responsibility for duty of care and cannot escape their responsibilities altogether in terms of getting things right on your behalf.