Custom Agents

Aura Patricia Aguilar Alonzo
January 15, 2021

CUSTOMS AGENTS

One of the keys to a company's success is its human assets. This delivers a great impact on strategic planning. A human asset from any level (operational, middle or management), with knowledge, experience, career and integrity can make the difference in the market for a company.

The current customs legislation establishes that a customs agent is the legal representative of the companies, as well as an assistant of the public function for the Customs Office. It turns out that a Customs Agent is more than a "representative", a "supplier", or someone from outside the company.

By choosing a customs agent, you are choosing the legal representative for your company (what qualifications should he/she have?). A person is also chosen to translate the company's particular needs into technical and legal language to inform the customs authorities (how much should that person know about the company?). Finally, the customs agent is the one who assists the Customs Office by facilitation trade, with proper and, of course, correct declaration and collection (what is the effect of the person chosen before the Treasury?).

A company aware of the role played by the customs agent should consider that, in addition to the leading roles he/she plays, it presents an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of its foreign trade operations. Why settle for just being the one who "processes" your imports through customs?

Companies know their business. They perform daily operations that allow them to specialize more and more every day. But how specialized is in customs classifications of goods, duty classification, determination of customs value, all the free trade agreements that Guatemala has signed? When selecting a customs agent, there should be a moment to consider that besides hiring a supplier, a professional is being recruited to oversee and communicate the interests of the company, because the working capital will be entrusted to this person. When selecting a customs agent, the following must be considered:

Technical and legal knowledge

Only a correct declaration of goods will allow an effective management of customs clearance that will reduce time and costs, this increases the company's profitability, without generating customs tax risks.

Experience

Knowledge isn't enough. It requires a professional with skills and experience to offer solutions to problems that arise in daily operations. Only someone who knows the internal aspects of customs management, achieved by practice, can be an effective advisor to the company. The experience of a professional person allows a wide vision that will support the decision making. A decision customs management makes could later affect in the payment of additional internal taxes or fines, in commercial competitiveness, commercial image and even in matters that must be solved in criminal  court.

Career background

When evaluating the career of who will be chosen as the representative at the Customs Authorities, you should confirm that their management is aligned with the company's. It can also be a commercial ally that allows to be the distinguishing  factor in the strategy of company competitiveness. It is part of the company's corporate image to select a professional with an impeccable career background.

Integrity

An honest customs agent builds trust for both the company and the authorities. This integrity will allow an accurate translation and communication between company-customs / customs-company. This way an efficient cooperation will be achieved turning your company into innovators in trade facilitation efforts.

When the patent number is added to the importers list, the main question at this point should be: who am I nominating to be my representative? By selecting a customs agent with knowledge, experience, career background and integrity, you are also enhancing the image of the company before the authorities and the business sector.

A customs agent is more than just a signature on a declaration, this person is a commercial ally, an advisor, a high-level representative who oversees the interests of the company and reduces legal, tax  and economic risks.  The customs agent is not the one who seeks to pay less taxes, but rather to apply the regulations correctly by paying the applicable taxes. A customs agent can be a human asset for the company that represents the link in the value chain and makes a difference in establishing a competitive advantage in the market.

How well do you know your customs agent?

Aura Patricia Aguilar Alonzo

General Director of SLI