A customs house agent or CHA is responsible to oversee business transactions related to the import and export of goods at the customs station. The agents look after the various stages of entry or departure of any shipment and maintain itemized, updated accounts of the many details related to import and export. They are holder of legal licenses that have to be renewed on a daily basis.
The Functions of a Customs House Agent
- Personal Clearance: There are certain directives that are issued in order to keep the actions of the agents in check. All the documents that are filed by the customs house agent must bear his name at the top and he must not, in any way, try to influence the actions of the customs officials. Additionally, he can only charge fees according to the approved rates.
- Professional Advice: The advice given by the agent is revered and closely followed by importers and exporters. The agents have to ensure that the advice given by them is correct and in compliance with the regulations and legal provisions as mentioned in the law. The client must be given relevant information about the filing of papers. If a client is not willing to comply with the legalities, this must be brought to attention of the authorities by the agent.
The house agents are legally bound to serve their duties in a fair manner and with commendable efficiency. They are also responsible for maintaining records and correct accounts of all the papers filed and the procedures they have gone through. They help the clients get customs clearance in a speedy and efficient manner.
Is it Mandatory to Hire a Customs House Agent?
If you are involved with import and export of goods internationally, you must already be familiar with the various functions of customs agent mentioned above. In simple words, they are responsible for dealing with the formal procedures and formalities of customs necessary for import or import. The agent will deal with the officials on your behalf so that all the formalities are cleared smoothly.
Due to the important nature of their factions, a common query that many people seem to have is whether it is mandatory to hire a customs clearing agent. The answer to this is no, it is not necessary to hire an agent to go through the customs procedures. Any exporter of importer can file their customs documents directly and complete all the formalities personally. A little knowledge of the customs procedure can help you to get a clearance without the help of an agent. This option is taken up by several firms to have a transparent view of the customs clearance procedure.
However, usually several importers and exporters hire a customs house agent to deal with the official part of getting a clearance. This saves a lot of time and effort and helps them focus on their trade and operations. The agents ate believed to have connections and experience with customs authorities and a better understanding of the procedures.