CBP Checklist

Minimize your Import Risks

Corporations or individuals importing goods from overseas should manage their reasonable care responsibilities to minimize compliance risks. This term implies the efforts that have been made in good faith to provide U.S. Customs (CBP) the most accurate information possible regarding their shipments. The first step towards achieving this is to start with the basics and become familiar with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reasonable Care Checklist. This list of questions presented by CBP prompt U.S. importers formulate their own internal framework to meet CBP’s import compliance standards.

Basic Legal Requirements

The Customs Modernization Act and amended Section 484 of the Tariff Act make Reasonable Care a legal requirement when importing into the United States.

Failure to attend to these basic legal requirements may increase your risk of delays in the release of your goods and further CBP audits or penalties. In general, when processing import transactions, ensure compliance with the reasonable care standard by:

Verifying your References

Do you have access to the CBP Regulations, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and the U.S. Customs Bulletin and Decisions? Do you have access to the CBP Website, Customs Rulings or other research source that allows you to facilitate compliance with CBP laws and regulations?


Has a responsible and knowledgeable individual within your organization verified your customs documentation ensuring it is complete and accurate?

Discuss with an Expert

If you are working with a Customs Broker (like us) to assist you in complying with customs requirements, have you discussed your imports in advance and provided them with complete and accurate information about the import transactions? Do you follow the advice received and keep a written record of that advice?

Maintain a Compliance Program

Do you have a customs compliance program and procedures in place? Is it accessible to all employees involved in the import process and are they following it?

Stay Consistent

Have you verified if identical transactions or merchandise are being handled differently at different ports? If so, have you brought this fact to the attention of CBP officials? 

Additional Guideline Questions Include:

Merchandise and Tariff Classifications

Do you know or have you established a reliable procedure to ensure that you know what you ordered, where it was made, and manufacturing details?


Do you know or have you established a reliable procedure to know the price paid or payable for your merchandise? Do you know the terms of sale (i.e. Incoterms®), whether there will be rebates, tie-ins, indirect costs, additional payments, whether assists were provided, commissions or royalties paid? Are amounts actual or estimated? Are you and the seller related parties?

Country of Origin

Have you taken reliable measures to ascertain the correct country of origin for the imported merchandise? Have you obtained a “ruling” from CBP regarding the proper marking and country of origin of the merchandise? If so, have you established reliable procedures to ensure that you followed the ruling and brought it to CBP’s attention?

Intellectual Property Rights

Have you established a reliable procedure that permits you to determine whether your merchandise or its packaging bears or uses any trademarks or copyrighted matter or is patented? If so, do you have a legal right to import those items into, and/or use those items in the United States?

Forced Labor

Have you taken reliable measures to ensure imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor (including forced or indentured child labor)? Have you established a reliable procedure of conducting periodic internal audits to check for forced labor in your supply chain?

Disclaimer: This is a partial list only. For more detailed information on Reasonable Care, download the latest Compliance Publication by CBP or visit  U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

At Tradeworks, we understand how to apply reasonable care responsibilities and minimize compliance risks, helping to guide new importers as they jump into the world of global trade.

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