This term, in a US Customs sense, applies to the efforts of an importer working to ensure that all the information about an item being provided to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is as accurate and compliant as possible.
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What is reasonable care?
When CBP implemented the Customs Modernization Act, the most significant effect it had on trade was the implementation of “informed compliance” and “shared responsibility”. This means that the trade community, the importer and broker, must work together to ensure compliance is met through the information and guidance provided by CBP. The importer is responsible for exercising reasonable care, while the broker is responsible for exercising responsible supervision and control. Giving CBP the correct information needed to properly decide whether the merchandise should be released from CBP custody is considered using reasonable care. If CBP audits the importer and finds that reasonable care was not used, there can be heavy fines assessed depending on the amount of non-compliance.
What is needed to achieve reasonable care?
There isn’t one checklist that fits all types of products as the rules vary from one product or industry type to the next. There are some compliance measures that all importers will need to abide by (Valuation, HTS, Origin, PGA declarations, FTA rules, etc). Talk with your broker to make sure you are complying with the regulations, and are providing CBP the correct details for your specific commodity.