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What should I know about import brokerage and fees?Updated a year ago

We are excited to have so many International customers and would like to help make the import process as easy and understandable as possible. International shipments require brokerage and customs clearance to enter your country. Once your order arrives at the border, any applicable customs duties, fees, or taxes will be assessed and must be paid before they can be delivered. 

Below we have explained the process and associated fees. We also have a fee breakdown here. If you have further questions, please contact us.

What are the fees involved?

  • Taxes: Taxes are not charged by every country and can vary based on the product's value. This is an additional fee that a local government, such as state, province, or city, charges for delivering the package to their region. 
  • Brokerage Fees: Fee associated with managing this process of importing and clearing the shipment.
  • Duties/Tariffs: Similar to Customs Fees, Duties/Tariffs are taxes on the item's value, plus freight and insurance by country. Duties/Tariffs are designed to protect local businesses and industries in the host country. Because of USMCA, most of our products will be duty-free. 

What is the import process?

When you order from another country and have the product sent to you, you are importing goods. This process includes a few extra steps than if you order from somewhere within your own country due to import rules and cost.

Here are the basics of the import process: 

  1. Order Placed
  2. Order Shipped (with customs invoice for documentation)
  3. Brokerage/Customs Clearance 
  4. Import Fees Paid 
  5. Delivery
The individuals involved in the process are:
  • Importer: The importer is the buyer and places an order for purchase.
  • Exporter: The exporter is the seller who manufactures or procures the product.
  • Customs Authorities: In international trade, the customs authorities of at least two countries – the country of export and the country of import – are involved. They provide clearance for goods to leave the country of export and enter the country of import.
  • Carrier: A shipping company that transports the goods from the exporter to the customs authorities and then to the importer. EcoEnclose uses UPS, USPS, and Freight carriers.

What does "Customs" mean?

"Customs" is a common term in international shipping that can refer to the actual process or the duties, fees, or taxes levied on goods transported from one country to another. These costs vary depending on the item and country and exceed the carrier's shipping cost. Every country has its own rules and guidelines.

What is the customs clearance process?

Customs clearance involves the physical inspection of the shipment and document check.

There are two options for getting your goods released. With both options, you may prepare the release and accounting documents yourself or hire a licensed customs broker. Regardless of your method, the CBSA will assign each shipment a 14-digit transaction number to identify your goods throughout the clearance process.

What is a broker, and why do I need one?

The broker will receive the goods and ensure your import documentation is filed correctly and penalties are avoided.

For large companies that import or export frequently, you may want to hire a broker for all your shipments.  Customs Brokers can help your imports arrive safely and file your paperwork and Customs entries with Customs officials.

*Tip for UPS shipments going to Canada: Once you receive the tracking for your order, call UPS brokerage at 888-520-9090 to assign the broker for your shipment. It will save time and $5 off the brokerage fee if you choose UPS as your broker. 

What are customs fees?

Customs fees are costs the host country charges to manage the flow of goods in and out of the country. All products go through Customs before going to the buyer; a fee is associated with managing this process. 

Can you help me figure out the brokerage/import costs?
Unfortunately, we are not able to figure out these costs for you, but here are some links that should help:

Brokerage Fees to Canada

Customs Clearance: UPS offers free+* routine customs clearance for UPS Worldwide Expedited

You can go to Simple Duty to receive an estimate for other taxes and fees (this does not include brokerage fees). 


Which carrier should I choose?

UPS is a more affordable way to ship larger orders, but they charge a brokerage fee ($10+) even for orders shipping to Canada. Orders under USD 200 shipping to a residential address can expect to pay about USD 40 in importing fees at delivery. The higher the value of the goods, the higher the import fee rate. But as mentioned, even when adding an average of 12% additional cost when shipping UPS, it still makes better financial sense for larger orders to ship UPS.
UPS also offers tracking and faster service. Still, most customers choose USPS over UPS for smaller orders. 
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