1) What is 10+2 or ISF? As of Jan 26, 2010, every ocean importer must file detailed shipment information with US Customs and Border Protection. Originally it was 10 elements from the shipper and 2 from the carrier; this number has expanded, so now it is called "ISF" or importer security filing. Importers can file with a broker or forwarder or directly with customs themselves at varying service rates. We can discuss specific service cost alternatives available. 

    2) What are the elements the importer is responsible for? There are ten elements from the importer Customs has identified: 

    •    Manufacturer name and address-Preferred not required 
    •    Seller name and address: required 
    •    Buyer name and address (generally the importer) 
    •    Ship to name and address (generally same as buyer) 
    •    Container stuffing location: importer or forwarder 
    •    Consolidator name and address: if LCL shipment 
    •    Importer of record number: (IRS number) 
    •    Consignee number :(if different from importer) 
    •    Country of origin: see below 
    •    Harmonized number: see below 

    3) Do you know the country of origin of each piece to be shipped? Which rules apply? 

    4) Do you understand the different country of origin rules for GSP, Textiles, Free Trade Agreements, and other items you might import? GSP requires a local value of at least 35% to qualify for free entry. Textiles have more detailed requirements on fiber content to qualify. Some trade agreements such as Australia Free Trade require a change in tariff heading to qualify for a change in origin. For imports from with "normal trade relations" without special trade agreements, such as the England and Germany, a substantial transformation of a new name, character or use could identify a change in origin would apply. 

    5) Do you understand how to classify your goods according to the tariff schedules of the United States and the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI)? 

    6) What does the rule of reasonable care require regarding import classifications? Reasonable care on imports requires the importer to comply with the rules of interpretation and any applicable rulings. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a rulings database that is helpful. 

    7) Do you have binding rulings for your imports? CBP offers a binding ruling to importers to confirm which classification is appropriate for their merchandise. Rulings for a similar product may be applicable to your merchandise. 

    January 26, 2010 was the compliance deadline; did you make it? If not, it's best to get up-to-date as quickly as possible, in order to maintain compliance!