Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CBE Study Tip 7: How to Read the CBP Regulations

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 “CBP 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 19 CFR 4, containing approximately 45 pages. Only three questions from Part 4 have appeared on the last ten exams; that’s three questions 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, 19 CFR 111, “Part 111” is one of the most frequently tested sections and it contains 15 pages. There have been 52 questions from Part 111 on the last ten exams which means approximately 6.5% of the questions on each exam come from Part 111. Not only will you be reading information that is important for the test, but also 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 CBP Regulations 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 this book. 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 13% 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.

Unfortunately, the regulations haven’t been made into a movie or a song, so there is no substitute for reading them. However, CD’s and MP3s discussing the regulations are available. Pop in the CD and you can study while in the car on the way to work!

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.

Check the Boskage Trade News regularly for more helpful hints on studying for the Customs Broker Exam and other useful news for international trade professionals! We will discuss “How to Use the HTSUS” in the next study tip.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Deductive Value Quiz Answer

In order to complete the deductive value formula, the value of components that are not dutiable must be deducted from the sales price using the list of deductions in Part152.105. The following amounts should be deducted from the merchandise being appraised under the deductive method:

- Any commission usually paid or the addition usually made for profit and general expenses in connection with sales in the U.S. of imported merchandise that is of the same class or kind regardless of the country of exportation.

- The actual costs and associated costs of transportation and insurance incurred with respect to international shipments of the merchandise concerned from the country of exportation to the U.S.

- The usual costs and associated costs for transportation and insurance incurred with respect to shipments of the merchandise concerned from the place of importation to the place of delivery in the U.S.

- The customs duties and other federal taxes currently payable on the merchandise concerned because of its importation.

Notice the "or" in 152.105? If you have a deductive value situation that has both commissions AND profit and general expenses, which one applies?

The Customs Valuation Encyclopedia summarizes a ruling in the Deductive Value section under Deduction for Usual Profits and General Expenses. It's Ruling 543065 and states that "an importer who elects deductive value as a means of appraisement is only entitled to an adjustment of EITHER the commission OR the addition usually made for profit and general expenses. "

Therefore, the answer to Wednesday's question is D - $10.51


- $1.50 - Commission OR $1.50 Profit & General Expenses
- $1.00 Intl Transportation
- $0.85 Domestic Transportation
- $1.14 Duties


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deductive Value Quiz

It has been a slow news week in international trade, so we're going to have a little fun with Part 152 of the CFR. Read and answer the question below. You are welcome to submit answers; however, we won't publish them until Thursday night so that everyone has a chance to work the problem without being tempted to look at the answers that have been submitted. Then on Friday, we will post the answer along with an explanation. Choose wisely; it could be a trick question.

Wilson’s Watermelons, a large fresh foods distributor in Laredo, Texas, imports 400 cartons of watermelons on consignment from a farming operation in Mexico. The watermelons are shipped to Dallas for sale at the Cowboy's Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Market. Once placed for sale at the local market, all of the cartons are sold to unrelated parties within two days. Based on an examination of the merchandise, including identical or similar watermelons, the unit price sold in the greatest aggregate quantity is $15 per carton (300 cartons). The cartons of watermelons are appraised under deductive value. Wilson submits the following cost data per carton.

Commissions $1.50
Profit and General Expenses $1.50
Transportation from Mexico to Laredo $1.00
Transportation from Laredo to Dallas $0.85
Customs Duties $1.14

What is the appraised value?

A.) $9.01
B.) $13.51
C.) $15.00
D.) $10.51
E.) $11.51

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CBE Study Tip 6: 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 a simulated test environment.
Do your best to recreate the actual test-taking environment and conditions. Find a quiet 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 four hours for taking the entire test or two 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 and 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 twelve exams contained 42 questions from Part 24. Fifteen of those 42 questions came from 19 CFR 24.23. Seven of the 42 questions came from 24.1 and five came from 24.5. 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.

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 three 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 2005 Exam may not be valid in 2010. 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.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Gonna Tell!

Remember the old phrase you yelled at your siblings when one of them did something they weren’t supposed to do? I’m telling! Was there a benefit from telling Mom and Dad about the indiscretions of your sibling or were you stuck with the title of tattletale?

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The new legislation protects whistleblowers who report violations of the securities laws to the SEC. The whistleblower could receive 10% to 30% of the total amount of monetary penalties collected in sanctions that exceed $1,000,000. Why is this important? The new legislation expands the coverage to include violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

With increased enforcement actions, the recent trend of imposing higher fines and the poor economy, the financial incentive could draw out more whistleblowers. From this pool, we might find some who are interested in doing the right thing, some who are only in it for the money and a few disgruntled people who want to get even with former employers.

Let’s take a look at some potential awards. A recovery for the lowest penalty of $1,000,000 would result in a payment to the whistleblower of $100,000 to $300,000. On the other end of the spectrum, we find the largest FCPA penalty of $800 million imposed in 2008. If an individual had been responsible for reporting that violation, he or she might have received $80,000,000 to $240,000,000. Would a payment of $100,000 be worth becoming a whistleblower? How about $80,000,000? Your parents may not have given you anything for tattling on your siblings, but the federal government appears to be willing to provide some rewards for tattletales.

The Dodd-Frank legislation is one of many federal statutes that have been passed to protect whistleblowers for reporting various types of violations such as those related to the environment and employment laws. Click HERE for a list of whistleblower protections.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CBE Study Tip 5: Time Management

Now that your study materials and workspace are organized, it is time to discuss time management. Students often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information to be learned in order to pass the exam. Some people feel like they do not have enough time to do all they want to do, so finding additional time to study for the Customs Broker Exam seems like an impossible task.

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have a natural ability to get things done without appearing stressed out, while others are often late in completing tasks and appear to be rushed all of the time? Have you ever thought that certain people accomplish more because they don’t have to work full time, or they don’t have children or they have more money? Even if those reasons were true, it doesn’t change the fact that everyone has the same amount of time each day. The difference is in how you choose to use your time. Time cannot be bought or saved. Once time is gone, you cannot get it back. Your ability to pass the exam as well as accomplish other goals begins with how you manage your time.

What are some of the causes of time management problems? Three of the most important causes of problems related to time management are procrastination, poor planning and wasting time.

Procrastination is a tendency to avoid a harder or less pleasant task in favor of doing an easier one. Procrastination often results in added stress due to missed deadlines or last minute preparation to meet a deadline. No one needs or wants additional stress, and stress is not good for our health. Visualize what will happen if you procrastinate by putting off studying for the exam. Do you see success or failure? Procrastination is not an option when you visualize success!

Poor planning is another culprit that sabotages achieving success. You must prioritize and create schedules to accomplish the tasks necessary to accomplish your goals. Once you make up your mind to take the exam, you must create a study plan and make it a priority. Of course, most aspiring brokers have full time jobs and personal obligations; however, by creating a plan and schedule that allots specific time for study, you can ensure success by following that schedule. You can’t expect to pass the exam unless you make the effort.

Wasting time is one of the biggest problems exam students face. When too much time is spent doing things that are unproductive, you rob yourself of valuable time that could be spent studying for the exam. It may not be the activity itself that is unproductive, but the amount of time spent doing the activity that creates the problem. If you like watching television, watching one favorite show is not unproductive because it provides relaxation and a sense of well-being. However, watching several hours of television to avoid studying is unproductive. Playing a game on the computer for 15 minutes is not necessarily unproductive because it provides a break from the routine that gives your mind a rest. However, playing computer games for hours robs you of time that could have been spent studying.

What can you do to improve time management in order to pass the Customs Broker’s Exam?

The tools and methods adopted to manage time wisely will largely depend on the amount of individual’s experience with issues covered on the exam, learning styles, ability to grasp and retain new information, work schedule and other personal issues. We have provided a few suggestions below. At the end of this article, you can comment on these and provide some ideas of your own.

Create a Calendar
Your calendar should allocate time for work, study, exercise, meals, family and personal time. Set a regular time for study. You may want to check off the items completed each day and keep track of time spent on each task.

Identify Priorities
Prioritize tasks and create a “To Do” List. Complete the most important tasks first. If not all tasks are completed, putting off the least unimportant task isn't procrastination, it's probably good prioritization.

Learn to Say “NO”
Explain to people that you must study to pass the test and you will be available in a few weeks. Six to eight weeks of intense study is a small commitment of time when you think about the rewards of passing the exam and the amount of free time you will have when you no longer need to study.

Make Time for Family
Set aside special time for family each week. Remember, quality over quantity. Your family will appreciate the time you spend with them and be more understanding of your need to study when you devote special time for them.

Set Aside Time for Exercise
Regular exercise reduces stress and promotes good health. Exercise can provide a welcome break from your studies by giving your mind a chance to relax and think of something else. Your choice of exercise can be anything from gardening or walking around the block to a game of softball or a workout at the gym.

• Make Good Use of Unproductive Time

1. Waiting
At one time or another, you will find yourself waiting for something. The wait may be anywhere, from the doctor’s office or at an airport to an unanticipated event, such as a traffic jam. Anticipate circumstances that are likely to create unavoidable delays and be sure to have your notes handy. You can make great use of that time to study. Instead of being upset because you were stuck in the airport for two hours because your plane was late, you can be excited that you were able to devote two more hours to your studies.

2. Commute
Whether it’s by train or car, most people have some type of commute to work. Use the commute time to listen to the audio lectures on CD. Turn that hour spent in a traffic jam into productive study time.

3. Lunch
Do you really need an hour to eat lunch? Consider devoting a portion of your lunch breaks each to study. Eat lunch, then read or eat and read at the same time. Treat yourself to a nice lunch out at the end of the week.

• Reward Yourself
Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. When you have achieved a goal, reward yourself. It may be as small as allowing yourself 30 minutes of television or spending 30 minutes playing a video game to something more significant such as a vacation after receiving news you passed the exam.

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.

Check the Boskage Trade News regularly for more helpful hints on studying for the Customs Broker Exam and other useful news for international trade professionals! We will explore “Using Previous Exams” in the next study tip.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Missing In Action: 19 CFR 163 Appendix

Last week, one of my colleagues asked where she could find a good copy of the list of required documents for recordkeeping. My first thought was to send her to the Appendix to 19 CFR 163, containing the (a)(1)(A) List. Trying to be helpful, I decided to send the link to a document that was nicely formatted for printing purposes. I clicked the CFR bookmark on my computer and was pleased to see the April 2010 version available. A PDF document containing only the list of documents would be preferable for her intended use, but I could not remember whether it was the TXT or PDF document that contained that information. Clicking on the preferred PDF file, I was surprised to see information for foreign trade zones . I must have mixed up my numbers and clicked on the wrong section of the regulations. Going back to the list, I clicked on Part 163 again and then on the TXT document for the Appendix. Again, I found information for Part 146 Subpart H of Title 19. I guess Part 163 Appendix containing the (a)(1)(A) List is missing in action or perhaps taking a vacation from the 2010 version of the regulations. Fortunately, I was go back to the 2009 version and send the link to the (a)(1) (A) List.

So, if you are looking for the (a)(1)(A) list in the 2010 version of Part 163 via GPO Access, don’t be surprised if you find foreign trade zone information. It appears to be a minor error in linking documents, so the (a)(1)(A) List should be back home where it belongs very soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

CBP Trade Outreach Webinars

In an effort to provide timely information to the trade community, CBP periodically offers free webinars on a variety of trade topics. The trade can attend the live webinar or view the recorded versions over the Internet. Space is limited for the live webinars, so register early. Participants in the live webinar will be invited to submit questions to the chat area. The following webinars are currently available for viewing via the Internet. In addition to the webinar recording, CBP also provides the presentation copies in a separate PowerPoint or pdf document.

ISF/”10+2 Webinar for Small to Medium-Sized Companies
Objective: Help importers understand the importance of ISF
Recorded: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Objective: Provide information about CBP’s role in the export process, along with outbound procedures and regulations
Recorded: Thursday, June 10, 2010

CPSC Notices of Detention
Objective: Presentation of the new CBSC Import Safety Detention Policy
Recorded: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Check the CBP website for opportunities to attend upcoming live webinars as well as new postings of completed webinars.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

U.S. Importer Hung Up On Hangars

It’s unusual to read about importers getting caught doing bad things, but recently, a U.S. importer of steel wire garment hangers was arrested and charged with fraud, smuggling and other charges related to the importation of the hangers.

Arturo Huizar-Velazquez and Jesus de La Torre-Escobara allegedly imported Chinese-made hangers to the U.S. via a third country, claiming the third country as the country of origin to avoid payment of dumping duties imposed on hangers manufactured in China. If convicted, Huizar-Velazquez and de La Torre-Escobar face maximum prison terms of five to 20 years per count, various fines and the payment of any applicable dumping duties.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced S.3725 to reduce the evasion of U.S. import duties by certain importers. The Enforcing Orders & Reducing Circumvention & Evasion (ENFORCE) Act of 2010 will provide the International Trade Commission (ITC) and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) additional resources to combat schemes to avoid payment of dumping duties. The act will facilitate more cooperation and information sharing between Customs and the ITC and create a faster response timeline for investigation of alleged violations. The ENFORCE Act would give the U.S. government 60 days, after an allegation of evasion is presented, to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe an importer is attempting to evade an AD/CVD order. If an affirmative preliminary determination is made, the ENFORCE Act would require collection of AD/CVD duties in cash until the investigation is concluded.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CBE Study Tip 4: Organization

Now that you have made the decision to take the October 2010 Customs Broker Exam, it’s
important to develop a study plan that guarantees your chances of success.

Some people are naturally good at organization; everything has a neat orderly place. Have you ever noticed your colleague’s desk or your neighbor’s garage? All of the books are stacked on bookshelves. Papers are filed away or neatly stacked. The tools are hung on a pegboard and two cars actually fit into the garage. On the other hand, you wonder how another colleague can find anything since his or her desk is covered with so many papers, books and other junk that you can’t even see a desk. The neighbor’s two-car garage won’t even hold a bicycle, let alone one car! Organization is another step on your journey to pass the CBE.

What is organization, why is it important and what can you do to become organized for the exam?

What is organization?
Organization is the systematic arrangement or assembly of objects in an orderly manner.

Why is organization important?
For the purposes of the studying for the exam, organizing your materials helps improve time management and increases your comprehension and memory. If your materials are organized, you will not waste time looking for a book or document that you need later on. Obtaining and organizing all of your materials will allow you to easily access information as you need it. This organization will save time on the day of the test.

What can you do to become organized for the exam?

1. Organize Required Materials - You will want to be able to access your materials quickly during the exam. Organizing the CBP Regulations and the HTSUS is easy, because they can be placed in binders so that you have two rather large books instead of a huge pile of loose paper. What remains are the stack of directives and the other supplementary documents required for the exam. If you haven’t purchased these materials already bound, then you may consider placing them together in a separate binder. You can include additional materials to that third binder later. It will be much easier to find information relating to the supplemental materials if they are placed together in one binder instead of having to shuffle through all of those documents stacked in a pile. In addition, placing those documents in a binder reduces the risk of one of them getting lost.

2. Label Required Materials – Consider using tabs to identify the chapters of the HTSUS. If you are looking for Chapter 61 and know that it's in the middle of the book, having a tab with the chapter number listed may help you to locate the exact chapter faster. Time is very important on the exam. We also suggest that you use tabs to mark each part of the regulations. Colored tabs can be used to indicate more important or frequently tested parts. Tabbing also makes certain parts easier to find and will save you time. Finally, you should consider using tabs on the supplemental materials you placed in the binder. As you add notes and other materials to the third binder, you will want to organize your notes so that you can easily locate them. Organizing your materials not only saves time, but it can also increase your comprehension and memory of large amounts of information.

Note: Even though you may use electronic versions of the HTSUS and CFR in your business, you must use the paper versions for the exam. It is a good idea to study using the paper versions to get used to looking up the information the same way you will on exam day.

3. Arrange Your Study Area – Remember the example of the colleague with the desk that looked like a disaster area? If that example sounds like your desk or study area, now is the time to clean it up. Don’t waste valuable study time digging through piles of paper. Get rid of the clutter in your study area and your office. If you have a desk or designated study area at home, create a special place for your study materials. If you study at the office, create a special place for your materials there also. If possible, create a study area that is comfortable and attractive. A bright cheery comfortable atmosphere will be more inviting for study than the dreaded cold gray metal desk with the uncomfortable wooden chair. Don’t get too comfortable; studying in the bed may result in sleep instead of productive study time.

4. Create a Study Schedule - Your schedule will depend on your experience and learning style. Someone who is new to importing may need to devote more time than someone who has more experience. Some students may need study that is more individual while others may prefer some group or interactive activities. Regardless of your preferences, you will be required to do a great deal of reading. Some people require more structure so reading, tests and other assignments are provided on a regular basis. Others may prefer to create schedules that suit their schedules. Just remember that it is important to allow plenty of time for reading and taking practice tests. If you work full time and wait until two weeks before the exam to start reading the regulations, you may find yourself burned out and struggling on exam day. We’ve provided a few examples that may help you when creating your schedule:

• Consider how many weeks you plan to devote to study. If you have 16 weeks to study, then you will not need to read as much each week; however, if you only have eight weeks to study, you will need to read a little more each week.

• Divide the reading into manageable sections. You may consider reading similar sections together. For example, you might want to read and study the requirements for brokers and entry in one week. This would include Parts 111, 141 and 142. You may want to devote another week to the various types of entries and alternatives to entries.

• Determine how many practice tests you want to take and designate dates and times to take them. Students should take at least one complete 4-hour test and are encouraged to take more than one.

Now that you have placed the required exam materials in binders with tabs, arranged your study space and created a schedule, you are ready to begin your studies.

We welcome your comments on each of these articles. Share what has worked for you or what hasn’t worked so that others will benefit from your experiences.

Check the Boskage Trade News regularly for more helpful hints on studying for the Customs Broker Exam and other useful news for international trade professionals! We will explore “Time Management” in the next study tip.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

IPR - Product Identification Guides

Trademark and copyright holders that have created product identification guidelines can submit them to CBP electronically instead of providing hard copies to each port. The new electronic capabilities allow CBP to disseminate the information to all CBP personnel in a more efficient timely manner. Note that only the property rights that have been registered with CBP may be included in the guidelines.

The training guides provide an effective tool to assist CBP personnel in identifying counterfeit and piratical goods. CBP posted instructions on what to include in the product identification guides. The primary topics include

· Company Information
· Registration and Recordation Information
· Product Information
· Product Manufacture and Distribution
· Violation Information

The guide should contain photos that demonstrate the differences between legitimate articles and counterfeit articles. Product catalogs and links to web sites that provide pictures should also be included. CBP suggests that the guides be dated and updated for significant events such as additions for new registrations, changes in contracts or products, etc. The information contained in the training guides will be kept confidential. The guides are required to contain a disclosure provided by CBP on the inside front cover. Click HERE to view the detailed information about information CBP requires for the product identification guides.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CBE Study Tip 3: Using Looseleaf and Bound HTSUS and Regulations

Let’s face it; the materials necessary to study for the Customs Broker Exam are burdensome. Who wants to carry around a bunch of big heavy books? While it’s possible to use online versions while studying, we don’t recommend that you make a habit of this practice. Why? Because you cannot use the online version of the Regulations or HTSUS on the day of the exam. You will also want to make notes in your materials and highlight key words, phrases and sections. Use the online versions after you’ve passed the exam or when you need a quick answer to a client question and you have the online version readily available.

Now that we’ve determined that printed versions are best, what are the options? There are three primary options, looseleaf, paperback (perfect binding) and coil bound.

The looseleaf version is bulky; however, it can be easily updated when supplements are issued quarterly for the Regulations and in summer for the HTSUS. The print is larger than other versions, making it easier to read. There is also more room for making legible notes in the margin. If you use the looseleaf version, make sure you purchase a good quality binder so the pages turn easily and do not fall out of the binder.

Looseleaf editions can also be used in a publication rack, which allows them to sit open on a desk. The pages tend to turn more easily with a publication rack, and the disadvantage of bulkiness is essentially negated. This makes publication racks a popular choice for exam day.

Paperback/Perfect Binding
The Regulations produced using perfect binding resemble smaller paperback versions of the loose-leaf version (The paperback HTSUS is the same size as the looseleaf). The cover is made from heavier paper and is glued together at the spine with strong flexible glue. These books are lighter and slightly less expensive than the loose-leaf versions; however, they cannot be updated. If you are going to use the book regularly and make notes in the book, these might not be the best options. However, if you are looking for a book that is easy to carry for quick reference, then the paperback edition would be an excellent choice.

Coil Bound
Coil binding is commonly used for publications that are frequently opened so that the pages lie flat or back-to-back. Generally, binding is accomplished by punching holes along the entire length of the spine of the page and winding a wire through the holes to provide a fully flexible hinge at the spine. Coil bound versions are smaller and lighter weight than
their looseleaf counterparts are (they are the same size as the perfect-bound). Coil binding is similar to looseleaf; however, the pages cannot be removed and they cannot be updated.

For persons taking the exam, we suggest that you consider the looseleaf book or a coil bound version. Both books are sturdy, and the primary differences relate to the ability to update the looseleaf version versus the ease of carrying the coil bound version.