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Regulatory/Compliance

Importer Clarity for FDA’s FSVP Program

To our fellow food importers, Many of you may have heard that FDA is imposing yet another program in 2017 called Foreign Supplier Verification (FSVP) Program. Don’t stress. Shapiro is here to make sure you are compliantly prepared.  We’re guessing you have some questions, so we’ve compiled an FSVP FAQ guide to help: What is FSVP? […]

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Shapiro Centers of Excellence Design Aligns with CBP

Customs now has a solid new platform of visibility called Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). They also have established commodity specialists and developed commodity Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE). These entities have much more access to information—and are extraordinarily informed about commodities—much, much more informed than they have ever been. This is especially true because […]

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Beware of Customs Bearing Gifts: Informed Compliance Letters!

It’s the ole’ Trojan horse scenario. Just when you think Customs is being helpful sending out Informed Compliance Letters to your business with information to “assist” your company with ensuring compliance, they will state in the document that since this information has been provided to your company, violations that may occur in the future could […]

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Why Duty Calculators Are Not Created Equal

Technology is wonderful.  No one will deny that.  It allows us to shift black-and-white tedious work to a program, so we can focus on what is truly complicated and worthy of our delightful human brain. Let’s talk about freight calculators for a moment.  We move cargo from point A to point B (like human airfare […]

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Examining the Issue (Part Deux): Customs Inspection Questions Answered!

NO!  WHY ME?! Just a few phrases you may use when a shipment gets pulled for a customs examination, or if you’ve been in this industry long enough, it’s more like a slew of curse words that you wouldn’t dare speak in front of your mom. But don’t worry, Shapiro is here to clear things up. […]

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11 Essential Questions To Ask Before You Consider Self-Filing Your Customs Entries

So there you are, going about your (crazy) business, and out of nowhere, your boss asks, “Hey, what if we started to self-file our Customs entries and did it all in-house?  Wouldn’t that save us a lot of money?”  Your world seems to temporarily collapse and you can’t breathe properly.  How do you even begin […]

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Fun Facts You Did Not Know About Importing

After three decades providing Customs brokerage services, I’ve come across some strange shipments (at my first employer, we had regular shipments of sand to Saudi Arabia) and stranger people, but that’s for another day. In this blog, I’d like to share some of the more fascinating and odd facts of our import world. Did you […]

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The Anatomy of a Perfect Commercial Invoice: 11.5 Point Checklist

Importing can be tough.  There are so many rules and regulations for importers to keep track of that it can be easy to forget all of the information that’s required for a Customs entry.  One of the most important documents brokers need for writing entries is the commercial invoice.  Without an invoice, we would have […]

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Top 3 Reasons to Review Your Import/Export Trade Compliance Program NOW!

When was the last time you took a long, hard look at your trade compliance program? What compliance program? Perhaps you work for a company where you wear multiple hats – purchasing, logistics, and oh yes, take care of that Customs stuff, too. Your priorities may depend on your reporting structure. If you report to […]

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Do Exporters Have to Keep Records, Too? A Guide to the Ins and Outs of Export Recordkeeping

Do Exporters Have to Keep Records? A Guide to Export Recordkeeping

I sincerely hope this does not shock anyone but recordkeeping is not only for importers!  Exporters must maintain records as proof of compliance with U.S. government regulations for a minimum of 5 years. If Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Census, or any other U.S. Government Agency that […]

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Importer Security Filing: 7 ISF Best Practices You Shouldn’t Ignore

The Importer Security Filing (ISF) began in January 2009 with a one-year introductory phase-in period. Full enforcement began in January 2010, but Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintained a flexible and measured enforcement stance. Penalty guidelines were published in July 2009, but Customs held off doing anything until July 2013 when they announced they would […]

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A Wine Enthusiast’s Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide to Importing Wine

As a lover of all wines good and as a budding hobbyist and neophyte collector of Italian (Piedmont, Tuscany, and Umbria regions),  French (Rhone region), Spanish (Murcia and Rioja regions), and Washington State (Columbia Valley) varietals, I can’t seem to get enough of the culture, industry personalities, and business mechanics of my new found passion.  […]

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Are Your Competitors Paying Duty? The Truth Behind Trade Data Confidentiality.

“My competitors don’t pay duty.” Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I have heard this over my career, I would not need to worry about my kids’ college tuitions. How does an importer know for sure that the competition is not paying duty? Customs entry information is strictly confidential and not even […]

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Examining the Issue: A Behind the Scenes Look at Customs Inspections

As the ETA of your freight approaches, your palms start to sweat, you begin to pace your office, hit the refresh button on the tracking website, and start calling your professional Customs broker every hour on the hour.  The underlying fears…will your freight be snagged for examination?! Cue dramatic music. Importers have come to know […]

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7 Tips for Building Meaningful Relationships with your Customers

What sets your company apart? If you are like us, you will say “service.” Great, consistent service builds trust, which is the foundation of any relationship. A nurtured relationship builds loyalty and that loyalty generates repeat and referral business. And, if we are not talking money, that feeling you get when you make your customer’s day is pretty darn good, too. (It’s kind of the thing we live for, actually.) So how can you build stronger, more meaningful relationships with your customers?

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