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Direct v Indirect Representation for customs brokerage

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For e-commerce sellers who are based outside of the UK/EU, it is crucial that the right partner is chosen not only for shipping and delivery, but for customs brokerage. As per the regulations within the Union Customs Code, businesses without a legal business entity in the UK/EU must import as indirect representation, meaning they will need a UK/EU representative to act on behalf of themselves, the importer. The UK/EU representative assumes joint liability for the information declared. This often presents internationally based e-commerce sellers with an obstacle, as not all freight forwarding, or courier companies will offer indirect representation as a service.

Crossborder Logistics offers indirect representation and import customs clearance services into the UK & EU for internationally based sellers. Get in touch with one of our team today to find out more about how to ensure you remain compliant when importing into the UK or EU.

Direct Representation – In this scenario the Customs agent acts in the name of and on behalf of another party. The party being represented is the declarant and is obliged to meet all the obligations arising from the declaration. The declarant will be responsible for maintaining the Customs records and providing an audit trail.

Indirect Representation – In this case the Customs agent acts on behalf of another person but acts in their own name. It is incumbent on the indirect Customs agent to maintain a full audit trail regarding the Customs declaration. In this case the agent is jointly and severally liable for all Customs liabilities arising from the Customs related transactions.

When acting for a party established outside the UK or EU, the Customs agent will generally be appointed on an indirect basis, some examples of when Direct or Indirect representation may apply.

When a customs agent is acting as an indirect representative for a party outside the UK or EU it is important to note the local customs authorities will likely pursue the customs agent in the event of a future audit/fine because there is no other local party to take action against. Because of this risk not all customs agents will offer an indirect solution and those that do may require additional contractual paperwork to be completed or ensure certain aspects of the entry are determined in a set method – i.e. valuation, some agents may request sales price or a form of deductive method be used as opposed to “cost” price.

Please feel free to contact us for more information.