Monday, March 31, 2008

The Future of Incoterms

Developed by the International Chamber of Commerce, Incoterms consist of 13 standard trade definitions used in international sales contracts. As part of the contract between the buyer and seller, Incoterms define the responsibilities of the buyer and seller for delivery of goods, and determine how costs and risks are allocated to the parties. By using Incoterms, a buyer and seller have a standard set of guidelines, which determine the responsibilities of each party, reducing the possibility of costly misunderstandings and disputes. Incoterms are not part of the contract for transportation; however, the terms define which party is responsible for arranging transportation, delivery and international insurance.

The first version of the Incoterms was introduced by the ICC in 1936. To keep up with changes in international trade, the Incoterms have been updated six times, most recently in 2000. Changes to the 2010 edition are now being discussed by the ICC Commercial Law & Practice Committee. One change includes the removal of the year from the title. Currently, the inclusion of the year implies that a new edition would not be released for ten years. Incoterms could be revised at any time, thus a neutral title should help alleviate these assumptions.

What should be changed, added or deleted during these revision discussions? One idea suggests clarification for certain terms that are often misunderstood and misused. Another option would be to remove terms that are not frequently used. With the increased use of the Internet as a means to transact business, is it possible that a new term or terms could be created to apply strictly to Internet contracts? In addition, there were some suggestions that were not implements for the 2000 edition that might be more practical now. Another issue the committee must consider is the changes in relationships and contracts as result of cargo security requirements. It’s still early, but we should be prepared to learn a few new terms and say goodbye to some old ones.

Update: Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS)

In January, CBP announced the pending implementation of the new Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS), Administrative Message notifications by email that were formerly issued through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI).

Now fully operational, CSMS is a searchable database of messages that pertain to ABI Filers, ACE Participants and Air, Ocean, Rail and Truck Carriers. Similar to the CROSS Rulings Database, users can search by topic and keywords. The results can be sorted by publication date, title and CSMS number. Click HERE to see the results of a sample search.

Interested parties can subscribe to receive email notifications that new messages have been posted to CSMS. You can find the CSMS by accessing Imports, then selecting Operations Support and then Automated Systems. It will save you time to bookmark the actual search page. As an added benefit, Spanish translations have been provided CBP as a courtesy to non-English speaking trade community; however, the official CBP text is the English version of the messages and/or documents.

Pack Your Bags: The Custom Broker Exam Checklist

With the exam less than a week a way, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack for the exam. You will be using most of your resource materials up until the day before the exam, so it’s impossible to pack them in advance of the actual test. However, you can use the practical checklist we’ve created to make sure that you have everything on the list packed in your heavy-duty tote bag, large cardboard box or other container the night before the exam. If you are like most people, you may be a little nervous prior to the exam so you don’t want to run the risk of forgetting something important or being late because you couldn’t find your calculator, pens or other materials. Packing everything on your checklist the night before will help you relax and reduce unnecessary stress.

Click HERE to view and print your Customs Brokers License Exam Materials Checklist. You can customize this list to add specific items that you plan take to the exam. No matter what you plan to take, make sure to use the checklist to ensure you have each item packed and ready to go the night before the exam. Remember, electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones are prohibited.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why Do Importers Need Import Compliance Procedures?

Creating import compliance procedures is a tremendous task for an organization, but it is a necessary process for importers, brokers and others with international trade compliance responsibilities. A well-written policy and procedure manual will help your organization fulfill its responsibility for compliance with CBP requirements and provide other benefits. An effective import compliance program includes written policies and procedures that promote the organization’s commitment to compliance.

Why would an importer want to invest time and money to prepare a procedures manual? A customs policy and procedure manual can help your organization:

· Demonstrate Reasonable Care and Compliance
As part of a Focused Assessment, CBP evaluates the importer’s internal controls and requests copies of procedures and evidence that the procedures are followed. Written procedures show CBP that your organization is serious about compliance.

· Provide Training and Decrease the Learning Curve
Procedures can be the roadmap that employees use to learn about importing and how import-related activities are performed. When procedures are written so that they explain the purpose and then provide step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the subject of the procedure, an employee will be able to know exactly what to do in such areas as documentation, recordkeeping, penalties, and other situations by reading the procedure.

· Save Time and Money
Written procedures can be used as guides to bring new employees up to speed faster and answer repetitive questions that are asked by any employee, including those in other departments. Electronic manuals allow for easy access by users. The use of electronic manuals also saves time in updating, printing, copying, and distributing bulky paper copies.

· Improve Efficiency
Creating procedures provides the company with an opportunity to review import-related processes in various functional areas of an organization. When writing procedures, it sometimes becomes apparent that those processes could be improved or changed to make them more efficient, avoid duplication of effort, close loopholes, or save money.

· Centralize Information and Provide Consistency (Electronic Versions)
Some organizations have too many manuals and loose memos so that employees do not know what is important. Policy and procedure manuals are not always up-to-date. An up-to-date, online system will permit those who use or are directly affected by policies and procedures, to have the access they need. Having one place to view the documents with various levels of access can help provide consistency in maintenance of the procedures.

There are numerous types of manuals and ways to write them. Importers have different needs when it comes to procedures. The CBP regulations are the same for all entities, but the application of the regulations may be different depending on the type of operation. A manufacturer’s processes are different from distribution centers. A foreign trade zone has operates differently than a retail importer. Some importers may have a dedicated staff of knowledgeable import professionals, while others may have only one or two employees that rely on outside experts for some of the work. While there is no one, right way to create a manual, importers must develop procedures that are related to the nature of their business and address compliance issues required by CBP.

If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are various helpful resources available for organizations creating a customs compliance procedure manual. We’ve provided information on two of these resources.

CBP provides a sample Internal Control Manual in Exhibit 4a of the Focused Assessment Program Documents. The Regulatory Audit Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection prepared this document for the trade community to encourage importers to develop their own compliance programs. While CBP recommends that the importing community examine this publication for ideas to help develop their own unique compliance manual, this document has no legal or binding authority and was not designed to be all-inclusive.

Boskage Commerce Publications, Ltd. publishes a generic Import Policy and Procedure Manual containing over 150 policy and procedure guidelines with software that makes customization of procedures to fit your organization an easier task. The procedures contained in this publication serve as a convenient reference source and starting point to assist the user in developing a comprehensive import procedure manual. Similar to the CBP disclaimer, this publication is not law, and information contained in this publication is not to be considered legal advice. While every effort was made to include the procedures, which are fundamental to all importers, it is not possible for a publication of this size to cover all of the CBP laws and regulations

Remember, your organization’s Policy and Procedure Manual is not just a stack of documents. Your manual can demonstrate corporate commitment to compliance with CBP regulations, save the organization time and money, provide training and promote efficiency across functional areas.

Next month we’ll discuss the process of creating, customizing and implementing your import compliance manual.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CBE Study Tip 7: Valuation

Customs Valuation (19 CFR 152) is one of the most complex parts of the regulations. This section is one of the most frequently tested on the exam, and the questions are often long and time consuming to answer. When reading Part 152, it would be wise to read each section slowly in order to understand the complex terms discussed. Pay close attention to any examples provided because they help explain and demonstrate the complicated concepts. Highlight important areas of text. Make notes and lists in the margins. Locate the valuation questions in old exams and work through the questions. Make sure to mark each section of the regulations that was used in determining the answers.

Click HERE to view an outline of the most important valuation information found in 19 CFR 152. Read and highlight these sections in your copy of the regulations. Take this outline to the exam with you for a quick reference tool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Customs Broker Exam Study Tip 6: How to Use the HTSUS – Part 2

Classification is a skill that takes time to develop, but the more effort put into the process, the faster one will become more proficient. The actual process of classification is very complex, almost like reading a foreign language. It is important for both experienced and beginner to understand that the strategy for answering classification questions on the brokers exam is a little different from the process used for classifying goods for your companies on a daily basis. The basic steps discussed are similar to those used in daily transactions, but there is more to the process for those classifying goods on a regular basis. On the exam, you won’t be able to consult with experts or use the Cross Rulings Database. Remember, the average time allotted per question on the exam is three (3) minutes. In actual practice, you would likely spend more than three minutes trying to classify a product. The primary difference between classification on the exam and classification in a business situation is that the exam provides five (5) possible answers and you know that one of those answers is correct. In real life, you aren’t provided with a set of answers in which you know for certain one is correct. Another difference is that classification questions found on the exam are intentionally complicated and sometimes tricky. Thus, there is a need for a slightly different strategy for answering the questions on the exam.

1. Carefully read the question and make note of the details.
The first step in answering any classification question involves a careful, thorough reading of the question and making note of the details provided. Some of the details may be critical to answering the question correctly. Remember, exam questions have been carefully worded and may be tricky, so some of the detail may be not be necessary. You may want to highlight the details as you read the question.

2. Look up each answer and eliminate those that are clearly incorrect.
The second step for answering classification questions is to look up all the answer selections and eliminate those that are clearly incorrect. This process may be more difficult than it sounds. Classification questions are typically written in such a way that all or most of the answers appear to be correct. The best way to answer them is by a process of elimination. Consider the following example.

What is the classification of a woven nylon scarf measuring 55 cm x 50 cm?

A. 6214.30.0000
B. 6214.40.0000
C. 6213.90.1000
D. 6117.10.2030
E. 6117.10.6020

Notice that the answers are found in two different chapters, so it is likely that we will be able to eliminate one of the chapters. Indeed, we can eliminate Answers D and E easily because Chapter 61 covers knit articles and our scarf is woven.

3. Read Chapter and Section Notes
The third step is to review the Section and Chapter Notes to make sure that there is not any information there that would preclude one or more answer. Section and Chapter Notes provide valuable information about what items are specifically included and excluded as well as useful definitions. Because of the time constraints, it would be easy to skip the Notes; therefore, the writers of the Exam intentionally include questions that require the applicant’s ability to use the Notes. Remember, the Notes can be long and many of them will not be related to the classification you are checking. You must learn to scan the notes for significant headings and keywords. If you still have several potential answers at this stage, the Notes may help you make a determination between them. You should do this even if you only have one answer remaining after the elimination step. If you have eliminated all answers but one when you reach this step, and find a Note that eliminates that answer, you will have to start over to find the answer you have eliminated incorrectly. Let’s go back to our scarf example.

Answer B should be eliminated because the provision is for artificial fibers and our scarf is nylon, which is a synthetic fiber. If you did not know whether nylon was artificial or synthetic, Chapter 54 and 55 covering man-made fibers would help. It would appear that Answer A is the correct selection for our scarf; however, Chapter 62 Note 7 explains that scarves that measure less than 60 cm should be classified as handkerchiefs under 6213. This is a prime example of the importance of reading the Notes. If we had overlooked the Notes assuming that 6214.30.0000 specifically describing our product was correct, we would have answered the question incorrectly.

In most situations, you will be able to answer questions using these steps; however, there may be a few questions that require an additional step involving the application of the General Notes and/or GRI. For example, a question may require you to select the appropriate duty rate. Once you’ve located the appropriate HTS number, you will select a duty rate based on the country of origin. Given the origin, you may need to check the General Notes to determine if the country is included or excluded from certain free trade agreements.

Now that you are familiar with the organization of the HTSUS and have some tips on how to answer classification questions, it’s time to practice these skills. One of the best ways to practice for the exam is to take past exams. For explanation of these exams, Boskage's Study Plan electronic resources offer expert analysis of each question on the last six Broker's Exams.

For detailed instruction on classification and related topics, check out our online courses at

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Customs Broker Exam Study Tip 5: How to Use the HTSUS – Part I

In Study Tip 4, we provided some suggestions on how to read the Code of Federal Regulations. In this article we will provide some tips on the key components and arrangement of information contained in the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS). In the next article we will provide some helpful information on how to answer exam questions.

If you want to pass the Exam, no subject is more important than classification. On each test, classification accounts for 15% - 25% of all questions asked. If you are not experienced in this process or have not dedicated sufficient study to this area, your chances of success are low. The good news is that by focusing on some basic skills, developing a strategy and answering questions from previous exams, both experienced and beginning students can achieve success! To begin your study of the HTSUS, you should familiarize yourself with the key components and arrangement of information found in the HTSUS and organize your book in a way that allows you to find information quickly. The following points will assist you with these tasks.

1. Familiarize yourself with the components of the HTSUS.
The HTSUS is similar to the CFR in that it is a reference text and not the type of book that is read from page one to the end. It is important to be familiar with the major parts to know where to look for answers and what information is the most important to read.

· General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) – The GRI appear at the beginning of the HTSUS and provide the primary rules for classification.

· General Notes – Covering over 500 pages, the General Notes provide instructions on special duty programs, free trade agreements, duty rates, and other information necessary for proper classification and calculation of duties. The first three General Notes are the most likely source of Exam questions; however, you should be familiar with the topics covered by all of the notes.

· Section and Chapter Notes - Each Section and Chapter contains notes that appear at the beginning of each. Since these notes provide lists of goods specifically included or excluded from a particular section, chapter, heading or subheading and contain definitions of certain terms, it is important to read these notes when classifying imported products.

· Classification Tables - The Section and Chapter Notes are followed by pages of tariff numbers along with descriptions of the products, duty rates and any special rates associated with the tariff numbers. They also contain footnotes and quota code information that can be pertinent in classification questions.

2. Familiarize yourself with the arrangement of the HTSUS.
In the HTSUS, goods are logically arranged so they appear in headings beginning with the most basic substances, and ending with more advanced manufactured goods. This progression is found within the chapters and in the sections.

Section 11 is a good example of the progression. As indicated by the title, this section contains listings for textile and textile Articles. Chapter 50 contains silk threads, yards and fabrics and Chapter 52 covers cotton threads, yarns and fabrics. Chapters 61, 62 and 63 contain articles that are manufactured from the silk, cotton and other raw materials covered in the previous chapters. Notice how the book progresses from a basic item—in this case silk and cotton—to the products obtained from the basic item.

3. Organize your HTSUS
Similar to the hints we provided for the CFR, you should consider using tabs for your copy of the HTSUS. If you are looking for the chapter on cotton and you know that it's in the middle of the book, having a tab with the chapter number and cotton may enable you to locate the exact chapter more quickly. Here are a few suggestions for using tabs.

· Place tabs to designate each of the 22 Sections, or
· Place tabs to designate each of the 99 Chapters, or
· Use both Section and Chapter tabs
· Use tabs to mark the GRI and each General Note.
· Consider using different color tabs to designate different sections.

Now that you are familiar with the key components and arrangement of information in the HTSUS, it’s time to learn techniques to answer exam questions. CBE Study Tip 6 will provide suggestions to help you prepare your strategy for answering classification questions on the exam. Please feel free to add your comments, suggestions and other useful information to the blog!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Customs Broker Exam Study Tip 4: How to Read the CFR

From the time we were children most of us were taught to read a book from the beginning to the end or cover-to-cover, starting with the first page. When reading Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations for the Customs Brokers Exam, you should break that rule. Yes, we really did suggest that you should not read the regulations from the beginning to the end, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read the entire book. The material contained in the regulations is very technical and often quite boring; therefore, it is not the kind of book you can read from cover to cover in a short time.

If you think this idea sounds crazy, pick up the book and read Part 4, containing approximately 45 pages. Only one question from Part 4 has appeared on the last ten exams; that’s one question in a total of 800 questions, which is less than 1% of the questions. This means you’ve just spent valuable time reading material that won’t likely be tested. On the other hand, Part 111 is one of the most frequently tested sections and it contains 15 pages. There have been 59 questions from Part 111 on the last ten exams which means approximately 7.4% of the questions on each exam come from Part 111. Not only will you be reading information that is important for the test, but Part 111 provides requirements for customs brokers. Understanding the requirements for customs brokers is important for passing the exam and for persons who want to be brokers.

The book is lengthy and often difficult to read and understand; however, it is important for importers, brokers, and other parties involved in international trade to have a good understanding of the CBP Regulations. There are numerous reasons for reading, understanding and applying the regulations. For purposes of the exam, knowledge of the regulations reduces time spent looking for answers on exam day. CBP employees and other members of the trade community might tell you that all of the sections are equally important. This is true, but for the purposes of the exam, some sections are not as significant because they are not as heavily tested.

The key to reading the regulations is to match your reading schedule with your study plan. In most situations, this means reading the sections that are most heavily tested first and saving the sections that are rarely tested for later. For example, Week 1 of your plan may require you to read Part 111- Brokers, Part 141 – Entry of Merchandise and Part 142 - Entry Process. These three parts are included in the top five sections that have been tested on the last ten exams and make up about 16% of the total questions on each exam.

Another strategy might be to read sections that are related to each other by a common theme. For example, Parts 18, 114, 127, 132, 143, 144 and 146 contain information about types of entries and alternatives to entry. There are various strategies for reading the regulations. Use what works best for your study plan, but use your time wisely and avoid reading the book from cover-to-cover.

We would like to offer some other suggestions related to reading the regulations. First, use "tabs" to mark each part of the regulations. Colored tabs can be used to indicate more important or frequently used parts. Using tabs also makes certain parts easier to find which can be a time saver during the exam. Second, highlight important facts, which can be used later for making outlines, flash cards or other study tools. Third, make notes in the margins to help you remember certain fact or provide examples that might not be included. Fourth, memorize the titles of each part and/or associate that title with something that will remind you of the information contained in that part.

As always, we welcome your comments on these suggestions and encourage you to add your own ideas to this forum so that other students studying for the exam can benefit from your experiences.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coming Soon: Mandatory AES

As most of the country eagerly anticipates the coming of spring, the trade community will be anticipating the mandatory use of the Automated Export System (AES). The Bureau of Census is in the final stages of requiring mandatory electronic filing using the Automated Export System (AES); therefore, the use of the paper SED will be likely be eliminated sometime in the second quarter of 2008. The original proposal was published in the Federal Register in February, 2005.

On February 25, the proposed revisions to the AES records were published in the Federal Register. The revisions include changes that have been made by Census and CBP since 2005. The changes include (1) edits for rough diamond shipments for the Kimberly Process; (2) e-mail messaging; (3) created the Validated End-User license code; (4) automated carrier code updates; (5) developed background Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC) update process from National Motor Freight Traffic Association file; (6) developed SCAC maintenance log list; (7) developed Consignee screens; (8) allowed Option 4 vessel shipments to proscribed countries; (9) developed method of transportation maintenance screens; and (10) developed edit value type screens.

Census believes that the mandatory use of the AES will provide more accurate export statistics and data to assist in the enforcement of export controls. The export statistics collected from the current collection process are used by a variety of government agencies and the trade community. In addition to the use as economic indicators, the information collected from the SED and the AES records is used to detect and prevent the export of certain items by unauthorized parties or to unauthorized destinations or end users and enforce the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The information can also be used by the trade community to develop new markets and other applications as they apply to the specific sector. For example, carriers can use the shipping information to determine the need for changes to sailing schedules, ports of call, etc.

When implemented, the penalties for inaccurate or late filed information will increase from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation. Not only is the AES a tool for collecting statistical information, but it also becomes a method for enforcing export control requirements. Both exporters and freight forwarders can be held liable for inaccurately filed information. As part of their compliance program, exporters should be reviewing the SED/AES data submitted by forwarders on their behalf. Additionally, forwarders should ensure that they have procedures in place for obtaining information from customers and submitting that information accurately and timely. The trade community should use this time to make sure they are prepared for the implementation of the mandatory filing requirements.

Comments for the proposed information collection requirements must be submitted to Brian Harris-Kojetin by e-mail ( or fax (202-395-7245) by March 26, 2008.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Last Chance To Apply For The April Exam!

The deadline for filing applications to take the April exam is just a few days away. If you are planning to take the April Broker License Exam, don’t let this important deadline pass! All exam applications and the exam fees of $200 must be received and accepted by CBP at the service port where the applicant intends to take the examination on or before the close of business Friday, March 7, 2008. Applications received after Friday, March 7, 2008 will not be accepted- NO EXCEPTIONS.

Click to print your application. Fill it out and take it over to your local CBP office today! If you are not close to an office, send it by express courier, today!

Don’t wait or it will be too late!

Free Trade Agreement Update

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate approved a ten-month extension of the Andean Trade Preference Program that was due to expire on February 29, 2008. The new expiration date has been extended to December 31, 2008, which gives the USTR and Congress additional time to approve the U.S-Columbia FTA and implement the U.S. – Peru agreements.

The U.S. and members of CAFTA agreed to extend the deadline for Costa Rica to complete its obligations under the CAFTA-DR until October 1, 2008. Since Costa Rican voters approved CAFTA-DR in October 2007, Costa Rica has made significant process towards implementing certain requirements by the February 29 deadline, but they needed additional time to implement certain legislative and regulatory requirements.

On a political note, both Obama and Clinton indicate that they would take a tougher position on future trade agreements and might opt out of NAFTA if certain provisions are not renegotiated. In the meantime, President Bush continues to press Congress to approve the U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia.

It looks like 2008 will be an interesting year for free trade agreements.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Customs Broker Exam Study Tip 3: Taking Previous Exams

Taking past exams is an important part of any study plan. Persons studying for the Customs Broker Exam have an advantage because past exams are available for students to review. The exams provide information about the types of questions and format of the test. So, now that you have discovered this gold mine of information, what should you do with it?

1. Familiarize yourself with the test format.
It is not necessary to sit down and take a complete test of 80 questions the first time you review the exam. Take time to read a few questions and become familiar with the way the questions are constructed. Practice looking up answers in the HTSUS and Regulations. Watch out for questions containing the words “NOT”, “MAXIMUM”, “EXCEPT” and other words that appear in all capital letters and bold text. Pay close attention to the terminology. Some questions may contain answer options that appear to be the same such as 10 working days and 10 calendar days. Don’t get in a hurry and select the first answer that contains “10” in it.

Imported merchandise must be entered within _________ days after landing from the vessel, aircraft or vehicle.

A. 10 calendar days
B. 10 working days
C. 15 calendar days
D. 15 working days

The correct answer is C. Part 142.2(a)

2. Take practice exams in simulated test environment.
Do your best to recreate the actual test-taking environment and conditions. Find a quiet spot location to take the test without distraction and threat of interruption. Use only the written reference materials and notes allowed on the exam. Do not use any electronic device other than a battery-operated calculator. Allocate 4 hours for taking the entire test or 2 hours if taking half of the exam. The exam contains 80 questions and the time allotted is four hours, which averages out to three minutes per question. You may take less time on some questions and more on others, but it will be impossible to finish the test if you spend 10 minutes on each question.

3. Review your results.
In addition to preparing you for the test format and testing conditions, taking practice tests as part of your study plan builds confidence allows you to find areas that need more concentrated study. Compare your answers with the answer sheet. Review the questions you answered incorrectly and keep track of the sections of the regulations and HTSUS the correct answer comes from. If you find most of your incorrect answers come from the HTSUS, then devote more time to studying the HTSUS lessons and answering classification questions. If you find that you missed more answers from Part 152 on valuation, then spend more time studying valuation and answering valuation questions. Devoting extra time studying the topics related to the questions missed on the practice exam is a great way to improve your score on the next practice exam and the real exam.

4. Highlight all answers in the CBP Regulations.
As you review the exam questions answered, highlight the correct answers in your copy of the regulations. This will reinforce your knowledge of the regulations and the highlighted information tends to stand out on the page when you are looking for it. Even though the questions for each exam may be worded differently, the answers will still be found in the same texts. The last ten exams contained 33 questions from Part 24. Ten of those 33 questions came from 19 CFR 24.23. Six of the 33 questions came from 24.5 and six came from 24.1. By marking the answers in those three sections, you reinforce the information in your mind and you will be more likely to spot the answer quickly when looking for it on the actual exam.

Click HERE to see a sample of a highlighted page for the answers related to 24.5.

5. Answer test questions as a regular part of study.
In addition to taking practice tests, set aside some study time once or twice a week to answer questions from other exams that you are not using for the simulated practice. Since each question is allotted an average of 3 minutes, you could plan to spend 30 minutes answering 10 questions from an older exam. You could do this exercise four times a week and have completed half of one exam in a week. Alternatively, you could allot one hour and answer 20 questions at a time. If you did this four times a week, you would have completed an entire exam. This exercise will give you practice managing time. Additionally you will gain familiarity with the question, answer formats, and increase your knowledge of the materials.

When taking old exams, be alert for possible inconsistencies in the answer selections. Tariff numbers and duty rates have changed over the years. A tariff number that was listed as a possible answer on the October 2003 Exam may not be valid in 2008. When calculating the duty rates to determine an answer, you may find a slight variance because of the reduction in duty over the years. With the addition of new free trade agreements, duties have been reduced and eliminated for certain countries.

We welcome your comments on these suggestions and encourage you to add your own ideas to this forum so that other students studying for the exam can benefit from your experiences.