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What is an Importer of Record?

Released On 22nd Feb 2023

What is an Importer of Record?

An Importer of Record (IOR) is an established business, agent or legal entity, registered in the destination country. The IOR is responsible for making sure that imported goods meet all compliance requirements during the import process. The IOR plays a pivotal role in global trade, ensuring smooth customs clearance and compliance with international regulations.

Key responsibilities of an IOR

  • Ensuring the product classification is accurate.
  • Valuing the imported goods correctly.
  • Paying the necessary fees, duties, and taxes.
  • Completing all required documentation and paperwork.
  • Ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Why use an Importer of Record? 

If you're looking to import goods internationally, especially in countries where you lack representation, an IOR is essential. Here's why:

  • Global Presence: An IOR provides the necessary in-country presence to clear goods for onward delivery. This eliminates the need for you to set up a fiscal entity.
  • Efficiency: Streamlines the import process without requiring any changes to your core business processes.
  • Expertise: Offers specialised knowledge on compliance, licensing, and global trade issues.
  • Peace of Mind: Ensures smooth clearance of shipments, reducing the risk of fines, penalties, or shipment delays.

Documentation responsibilities

To ensure compliance, an IOR must handle various documentation. This might include product classification, import/export licences, permits, fees/taxes/duties paperwork, and Power of Attorney (POA) declarations, among others.

Who is eligible to be the Importer of Record?

The IOR is often the owner or purchaser of the imported goods. It can also be a properly authorised agent or legal entity in the destination country if the end-user doesn't want to be involved in getting it there

It might be essential to appoint an experienced customs agent or an importer of record for complex transactions. This helps avoid confusion between suppliers, distributors, and end-users regarding the ownership of goods. The appointed IOR temporarily assumes ownership and all responsibilities related to the import process.

Customs and compliance 

IORs ensure voluntary compliance with the laws, regulations, and statutes of the importing country. They're also subject to enforced compliance, which includes documentation audits, penalties, and potential investigations. Some government agencies, such as the EPA and FDA, may overrule the IOR; they can deny entry to the goods if they are deemed a threat.

Streamlining your supply chain 

Using an experienced importer of record such as Mouse and Bear can greatly streamline your global supply chain. An importer of record ensures first-time customs clearance, and minimises risks. By trusting an expert, you save both time and money while gaining peace of mind.

Other important roles in the supply chain

There are other two other important roles in the supply chain that you should understand: the Exporter and the Consignee.

Who is the exporter?

Definition and role: The exporter is the person or company that is authorised by customs and government authorities to send goods from one country into another. The exporter may or may not be the actual seller of the goods; they could be an organisation acting on their behalf.

Who is the consignee?

Definition and role: The consignee is the receiver of the shipment, and is usually the owner of the goods. Once the goods are cleared through customs, the consignee is the party who takes ownership of them. In a straightforward import/export transaction, the consignee is usually the party paying import duties and taxes.

The consignee can be a private individual consumer (ordering goods from an overseas business), or it can be another business. 

If a business has imported its own goods, either for its own internal use, for storage, or for distribution at a later date, it is both the importer and the consignee.

Importer of Record services

The different roles and responsibilities involved in customs clearance can be complex, and they vary from country to country, so it’s worth getting expert advice if you’re not familiar with the process. Find out more about Mouse and Bear's Importer of Record services.

Learn more about definitions relating to imports and exports, or contact us for advice. Please email iorsolutions@mouseandbear.com, call 01935 848526 or send the enquiry form below.

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Tags: Factual Blogs, Guides

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