Import and Export FAQs

What is International Trade Compliance?

International Trade Compliance (ITC) describes how goods enter (or leave) a country, conforming to all local import requirements, laws and regulations including import licenses, restrictions and payment of taxes and duties. This includes the requirement for an Exporter and Importer of Record to be listed on all shipments.

For a more detailed guide to trade compliance and its implications for your business, please read our dedicated blog post, What is Trade Compliance?

What is an Importer of Record (IoR)?

An Importer of Record (IoR) is an individual or legal entity that is responsible for ensuring that goods are imported in accordance with the local customs legislation of a given destination. 

An IoR is responsible for the completion of all the required documentation to meet import requirements, in addition to paying duties and taxes.  Typically, to act as an Importer of Record, the company must have a registered entity within the country they want to import into.

What is an Exporter of Record (EoR)?

An Exporter of Record is an individual or entity who is responsible for ensuring that goods are exported in accordance with the local and international export legislation of a given destination. 

An Exporter of Record completes all legally required export compliance documentation and processes, in addition to paying any duties and taxes.  Typically, an EoR must have a registered entity in country.

We've written at greater length about what an Exporter of Record does and who can carry out this role in our blog post, Exporter of Record in Focus - What, Who & Why?

Who can be the IoR?

Anyone can be an Importer of Record as long as they have a legal entity within the country good are being imported into. The Importer or Record will need to have the ability and knowledge to know how to achieve import compliance by completing the necessary forms, Import approvals, and follow the Customs compliance guidelines in place to import prior to the goods being shipped. They will also require the funds the pay the taxes and duties and Customs departments will not release and clear the good before these have been paid.

In some countries, the Import of Record must be pre-registered with the customs department.

Who would use IoR and Exporter of Record Services?

Mouse & Bear Solutions are more than import or export consultants or an Import Management Company. Any business trading or moving IT equipment that falls under restricted dual use items, or do not have the facility in country to complete the customs compliance requirements, would use us. The IT Channel vendor / distributor / reseller / managed service provider or OEM could use Mouse & Bear Solutions to offer another layer of value to their clients; that of International Trade Compliance. End users could use us directly having bought IT hardware for a global roll out and now need to ensure it gets there having met the correct import preparation and approvals and that the import or export documentation is not a cause for delay.

How does using an external Importer of Record and Exporter of Record services help my company?

By using Mouse & Bear Solutions' Importer and Exporter of Record services, we can ensure that your company, and your consignees are fully compliant to the required export / import legislation, leaving you open to achieve global sales with confidence.

Your end user does not have to get involved with the complexities, rules and vigorous checks for Import and Export of hardware technology. By using Mouse & Bear Solutions you and your client can be rest assured that your import or export documents are done legally and correctly to avoid delays and potential fines or worse. All of the international shipping requirements, no matter how complex are met.

What does the Importer of Record / Exporter of Record service include?

We make the process as easy and clear as possible for our clients. We handle the entire process so you or the end user do not have to get involved.

  • Import license requirements: Documentation compliance checks, import permits and licensing
  • Customs Clearance: Clear shipments through the relevant customs channels
  • Freight where M&B are required to perform it
  • All customs charges and levies pre-paid on your behalf
  • Perform the last-mile delivery to the end user
  • Shipment status reports
  • Storage solutions

How long does an Importer of Record / Exporter of Record service take?

This depends on the country and consignment you are shipping. Some can only take 2 - 3 days. However more complex countries can take a lot longer depending on their requirements and procedures.

We advise you the estimated timescales at quote stage and through every step of a live shipment, so you can keep your colleagues and clients abreast the entire time. See Our Approach for more detail.

What is Reverse Logistics and how does it work?

Reverse logistics is similar to Exporter of Record. It refers to the movement of goods in the opposite direction of a traditional supply chain import.  With the growing global focus on reusing and recycling goods, the Exporter of Record process allows you to export goods from the end user back to the original source ensuring you meet the trade and compliance needs to the country.

What are “restricted dual-use” goods?

Dual-use items are goods, software, technology and documents which can be used for both civil and military applications and is often referred to as 'controlled'. It covers the majority of IT equipment - namely the Networking, Voice, Security and Storage arena that has a data transfer and data analysis function.

What do dual use items require - import or export licenses?

Dual Use items, by international customs law must be tracked to ensure it goes to legitimate consignee and therefore requires import licenses. This applies to ECCN numbers 5Axxx and 4Axxx for the technology sector.

Please see our Guide to ECCN Classifications for Dual / Controlled Use IT Goods.

If my goods are not dual use, do I still need an Importer of Record?

Yes, if the consignee does not wish to act as the Exporter of Record / Importer of Record. Often the consignee may not want to get involved in the import or export of their goods because they don't have the experience and knowledge of the international shipping requirements, or the export / import process, or they simply do not have a legal entity to import/export against. Therefore, to ensure they meet Customs Compliance, the need for a Trade Compliance Solution with Exporter of Record / Importer of Record will still exist.

Can I use my own logistics provider when using IoR Services?

Yes, you can use your own freight services for our international trade compliance solutions. However, for some countries we do require our clients to use our freight forwarder to ensure a smooth operation. This information would be provided upfront at quote stage.

What information is required to get a quote for Importer/Exporter of Record Services?

To issue a quote we require the following details:

  • Your company name and address
  • Product code, description, quantity, value
  • HS code and / or ECCN Number (see our Glossary of Terms if these terms aren't familiar)
  • Weights & dimensions of the package if available
  • City and Country of delivery.

Who is responsible for creating the CI (Commercial Invoice)?

Generally, the Shipper creates the Commercial Invoice. The document should include accurate and true information. Do not be tempted to devalue products, or guess any of the information;

  • The shipper's full business name and address including country
  • Product code, description, serial number, quantity, and value in sale currency
  • HS code and / or ECCN Number - you must ensure these are correct
  • Weights & dimensions of the package(s)
  • Full business name, address, contact name, number and email address for the consignee
  • Information about Lithium batteries if applicable

If you require help creating you Commercial Invoice or would like us to check your current template then please do let us know and we'd be happy to help. Note that we check CI's prior to the movement of a live job.

What is the difference between an IoR and Consignee?

An Importer of Record is an individual or legal entity that is responsible for ensuring that goods are imported in accordance with the local and international import legislation of a given destination. The Importer of Record IOR must be the entity that completes the import preparation, signs and submits the Import documentation and pays all the necessary charges, therefore if the end user does not want to go through the import procedure they can’t be the IoR. See our blog 'Why doesn’t the end want to be the Importer of Record?'

A consignee is the company that the goods with be delivered to and used by.

What is required to start the Importer/Exporter of Record service?

All shipments require a commercial invoice, packing list and a datasheet for the products being shipped. For some countries we may require more documents depending on the procedure. All documentation requirements are pre-listed on our quotations.

Do I need IoR Services when moving goods within the EU?

No. A free Trade agreement exists within the European Union which means that Import licenses and Trade Compliance is not required.

What will be required for Exports after the UK leaves the EU / Brexit?

The UK government and heads of the European Union are still working on the Trade Agreement now th UK have left the European Union. UK.GOV have information on their website about what will be required in the event on a No Deal.


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