The Modernization Act
In December, 1993 the President signed into law this act which provided for customs to reorganize itself, increase efficiency and continue its automation process. Additionally, the burden for compliance with the regulations was shifted to the importer and customs broker.
The importer’s burden to exercise reasonable care in conducting customs business and in employment of a customs broker means that the importer is expected to know and understand the customs laws and regulations and ensure compliance when conducting customs business. An importer may rely upon the advice and counsel of an expert to be in compliance. This can include a customs broker, a customs attorney, a consultant or other party sufficiently knowledgeable.
It is incumbent upon the importer to be aware of this burden and to take steps to address the compliance requirements. Generally speaking, a customs broker provides a customs clearance service for the specific shipment or shipment(s) they handle based upon the information and documentation presented by the importer or shipper. The broker may not assume the importer is relying upon the broker to advise the importer of all compliance requirements, to double-check all facts stated or not, and to review the importer’s compliance requirements. Both parties need to be clear as to the nature of the relationship.