International Imports for the Tech Sector

Released On 11th Oct 2018

We’ve spent many hours meeting IT companies who would like to enter into the international market place. They may have won a large multi-national deal, perhaps there is an international client on the landscape, or they have identified an emerging market. 

In all these meetings, one thing is clear: international trade compliance for importing IT technology is confusing, and a lot of awareness and education is required to ensure it’s done correctly. Some companies see their goods seized by customs or receive fines because of genuine lack of knowledge on the process and legalities.

It's safe to say a quick Google search with the phases “import licenses”, “dual use” or “strategic use” brings up reams of information, and contains endless web pages, articles and documents that are often too general, or incredibly confusing, and we hope this short informational piece will help.

Why importing IT technology is complicated

Within the trade compliance and customs world, dual-use (often referred to as “strategic use”) items are goods, software, technology, documents and diagrams which can be used for both civil and military applications. This definition is inclusive of all networking, voice, storage and security technologies as well as items such as lasers.

To import these goods into international countries often requires import licenses, and a listed importer of record. These are necessary to be able to take the goods through the pre-approval process and also clear them upon arrival, as well as payment of the taxes and duties

Why do these import controls exist?

The world depends on the ability to do everything digitally. Use of paper communications is rare. The vast range of IT products are created to make the transfer of communications and information quick, seamless, and secure, enabling companies across the world to conduct their business on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s with online portals, email or internal systems. We live in the computer age. However, occasionally the same technology that allows us to access our bank, do our job or order products online can be used for purposes that could be harmful or illegal. The controls exist to prevent these technologies being used in the wrong way.

Importing Dual Use goods into an international country

Every country has different import laws and processes. It can be incredibly complex and to make things even more difficult, these rules and regulations are often in the local language. Like a passport, to apply for an import license for Dual Use Goods you will need to have someone in that country to ensure all the correct documents are supplied to the local customs authority, and a named Importer of Record (a legal entity in that country). 

If done incorrectly or not applied for at all, the import licenses will be refused and the goods will not be permitted to enter the country. Note: it’s not unusual for the end user to request they are not the importer of record – see this blog

What information needs to be provided to an Importer of Record Agent?

The information we would need from you depends on the country in question and the kit that needs to be imported. However, as standard we would always need a list of products to be imported, quantities, sell values, weights and dimensions and at the very least city limits for delivery. HS codes and ECCN numbers are also required as this helps us to understand if the goods are restricted and what the tax rates may be. To learn more about HS codes and ECCN numbers, please read our Classification Guide for Dual / Controlled Use IT Goods.

How can Mouse and Bear help?

M&B Solutions are experts in the processes and documentation required to move equipment around the world in a timely and legal fashion. We have global entities and partner networks for multiple countries spanning Asia Pacific, EMEA and the Americas; we provide compliant solutions so we can handle the trade compliance for you, ensuring that the equipment is delivered on time and without unexpected delays. We offer:

  • Documentation compliance checks, import permits and licensing 
  • Clear shipments through the relevant customs channels
  • All customs charges and levies pre-paid on your behalf
  • Perform the last-mile delivery to the end user
  • Shipment status reports
  • Storage solutions

Please feel free to get in touch for more information!

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