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USA Importing/Exporting Regulations


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I wrote to the govt asking for advice on importing/exporting shrimp.  This is what was sent to me.  Others may find this helpful as well.

 

Bryce

 

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Thank you for your inquiry regarding the importation of ornamental shrimp that will require clearance by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Our mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

If you intend to import these ornamental shrimp for commercial purposes, consistent with our definition of commercial, regulations contained in Title 50, of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 14.91, require that you must obtain an import/export license prior to engaging in business as an importer or exporter of wildlife or wildlife products.  The license is valid for one year from the date of issuance and costs $100.00.  In addition, as an import/export license holder, you must pay a user fee for each wildlife shipment imported or exported under the license, regardless of the quantity of specimens in a given shipment.  For information on user fees and how to calculate the user fee that you will be required to pay, please visit our website at: http://www.fws.gov/le/pdf/FeeCalculationChart.pdf   
                   
Any wildlife shipment would be considered commercial if the shipment is being imported or exported " related to the offering for sale or resale, purchase, trade, barter, or the actual or intended transfer in the pursuit of gain or profit, of any item of wildlife and includes the use of any wildlife article as an exhibit for the purpose of soliciting sales." 
                           
You can view our complete definition of commercial at the following website: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=b590e25b197d7cb7de3a7d850e97d02c&mc=true&node=se50.1.14_14&rgn=div8

You can find the application for an import/export license on our website at the following address: http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-3.pdf

You must submit your import/export license application to the regional permit office that serves the region where your business is located.  You can find contact information for our regional permit offices on our website at:http://www.fws.gov/le/regional-permit-offices.html  We suggest that you contact the appropriate regional permit office to discuss the processing time for your application.     

An import/export license only authorizes the importation or exportation of wildlife or wildlife products in general terms.  Please be advised that this license is in addition to, and not in place of, any other licenses or permits required for protected species of wildlife. 

Even though ornamental shrimp are generally speaking, not protected species, we suggest that you consult with the proper government authorities in the country of export to determine if there are any restrictions under that country's laws pertaining to the exportation of these ornamental shrimp.  You can find contact information for proper foreign government authorities at: https://cites.org/eng/cms/index.php/component/cp 

As you prepare to import these ornamental shrimp into the United States, you must also complete Form 3-177, Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife.  You can find this form on our website at the following address:  http://www.fws.gov/le/pdf/3177_1.pdf   This form is not difficult to complete, although you must provide the scientific name for each species of ornamental shrimp that you wish to import.            

We do allow the filing of Form 3-177 on-line using our eDecs system.  You can view information on our eDecs system on our website at: https://edecs.fws.gov/

If you have additional questions regarding the use of our eDecs system, we suggest that they contact our wildlife inspectors at the port where you will be importing these ornamental shrimp for assistance.  You can find contact information for our wildlife inspectors on our website at the following address: http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/inspectors.htm                       

Please have this form completed and have it, a copy of your import/export license, and these ornamental shrimp available for inspection as you prepare to import them into the United States.

You must import these ornamental shrimp at a designated port.  You can find a list of designated ports, and contact information for our wildlife inspectors at those ports, on our website at the following address: http://www.fws.gov/le/designated-ports.html   Since these are live commodities, we require that you contact 48 hours in advance our wildlife inspectors at the port where you will be importing these ornamental  shrimp in order to coordinate their clearance into the United States.

We also suggest that you contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, for information on requirements or restrictions, including the need for a health certificate, that may apply to the importation of these ornamental shrimp into the United States at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/contact_us       

Thank you for your cooperation in complying with our regulations that help protect fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats.  Please feel free to respond to this message with any further inquiries that you may have regarding this matter.    

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And remember to find a customs broker. This is the part that requires most work for the 1st shipment. You must call them, ask if they clear shipments regarding shrimp and their price.

 

Most custom broker don't clear shrimp shipments so this is a tough one.

 

When I called over 50 custom brokers, only 3 of them clear shrimp shipments. Some wanted $400 per shipment, some wanted $150. Keep calling as this will save you lots of money in the long run.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, I'm a bit confused. Does this mean that the "end user" does not need an import license if purchsing from a Canadian location?

 

doesnt matter what country you are purchasing from if its outside the USA same rules apply.

 

you are looking at about $500+ total fees per import.  (that does not include whatever you paid for shipping) 

plus going to the import terminal (usual a major airport) waiting for your broker to handle everything, picking up the boxes and etc. 

over all its not an easy or fun time. this is why so few do it.

 

I stopped because shrimp prices drove down so low the numbers really didnt work in favor of the person doing all the hard work anymore.

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the one part I don't get this is piece of information on the fee schedule

 

 

Any noncommercial shipment imported or exported using the mail, traveling as a passenger or on foot, or as an importer/exporter using their personal vehicle $0-

 

What is the regulation for non-commerical imports?

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no need for import license but $93 fee still required for inspection.

Hmm it's not very clear.. on the PDF with fee schedule the $93 fee is only for cargo shipments. There is a $0 fee if it is a non cargo, non-commerical shipment... But only at designated ports by the looks of it.

4 Shipments are considered cargo if the mode of transport used is other than the mail, passenger travel, travel on foot, or the importer/exporter using their personal vehicle.

So based on that it would seems that there is no fees if you mail it.. But than again how do you mail something thru a designated port?

Maybe that $0 fee is only intended for people travelling by car thru a designated port.. But it is not very clear based on the language used.

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Hmm it's not very clear.. on the PDF with fee schedule the $93 fee is only for cargo shipments. There is a $0 fee if it is a non cargo, non-commerical shipment... But only at designated ports by the looks of it.

4 Shipments are considered cargo if the mode of transport used is other than the mail, passenger travel, travel on foot, or the importer/exporter using their personal vehicle.

So based on that it would seems that there is no fees if you mail it.. But than again how do you mail something thru a designated port?

Maybe that $0 fee is only intended for people travelling by car thru a designated port.. But it is not very clear based on the language used.

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That is what US Wildlife told me when I asked.

 

It's usually like this

Package goes on airline > Package arrives at designated port > US Wildlife examines package > US customs clears package > package available for customer pick up at airline.

 

You must find a custom broker yourself that clears aquatic shipments.

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That is what US Wildlife told me when I asked.

 

It's usually like this

Package goes on airline > Package arrives at designated port > US Wildlife examines package > US customs clears package > package available for customer pick up at airline.

 

You must find a custom broker yourself that clears aquatic shipments.

yup thats pretty much the standard system.  

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where can we find a local custom broker?

http://apps.cbp.gov/brokers/index.asp?portCode=5501

 

 

Basically google US customs broker <state>

 

 

You would find ones near the port you will be using to import and call them one by one asking if they clear aquatic shipments.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

You can clear shipments yourself without a broker if you don't mind driving around a bit to get it done. I did it all the time myself for imports of coldwater marine species from Japan, Australia, Portugal, etc. $100 import license, plus the declaration fee of like $87 (which you can pay and file online with their "edec" system) usually a small fee at customs ($7-10 for me with fish/anemones) the biggest cost is shipping usually.

 

Customs brokers are just middle men filing the paperwork to make a buck. It's totally doable on your own if you have the time :)

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Usually if you can get all the import paperwork filed with USFW the receiving airline will give you all the paperwork you need upon arrival to get it cleared through customs and tell you where to go if you don't know (if they are nice) Make sure you have copies of all the paperwork from the shipper ahead of time just to be sure.  They will send you over to the US customs office to have them look over the paperwork and get it stamped, you pay their fee, then you take all that paperwork back over to the receiving airline that has your shipment and they take their copies and you keep yours, then you pay them whatever they need and they give you your stuff. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/13/2016 at 4:10 PM, AquaticEngineer said:

Usually if you can get all the import paperwork filed with USFW the receiving airline will give you all the paperwork you need upon arrival to get it cleared through customs and tell you where to go if you don't know (if they are nice) Make sure you have copies of all the paperwork from the shipper ahead of time just to be sure.  They will send you over to the US customs office to have them look over the paperwork and get it stamped, you pay their fee, then you take all that paperwork back over to the receiving airline that has your shipment and they take their copies and you keep yours, then you pay them whatever they need and they give you your stuff. 

 

Very cool information, Thanks AquaticEngineer!

I have some questions:

1. So since you are picking up the package and doing the customs yourself, where do you ship the package to?

2. You are using an airline like AA or United Airline to ship your package from taiwan? not DHL, UPS or other shipping broker?

 

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54 minutes ago, usgetata said:

 

Very cool information, Thanks AquaticEngineer!

I have some questions:

1. So since you are picking up the package and doing the customs yourself, where do you ship the package to?

2. You are using an airline like AA or United Airline to ship your package from taiwan? not DHL, UPS or other shipping broker?

 

Packages are shipped by air cargo and will remain at airline cargo area until customs release.

 

Pretty sure if doing this legally, the only way to have it delivered to your front door is if you hire a trucking company to get package from airline cargo area to your door.

 

Your exporter usually picks the airline.

 

Please note that every exporter I've found requires payment first via wire transfer. Wire transfer sucks because if your exporter screws you over, there's nothing you can do to get your money back and it's usually in the thousands. So be careful!

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Packages are shipped by air cargo and will remain at airline cargo area until customs release.

 

Pretty sure if doing this legally, the only way to have it delivered to your front door is if you hire a trucking company to get package from airline cargo area to your door.

 

Your exporter usually picks the airline.

 

Please note that every exporter I've found requires payment first via wire transfer. Wire transfer sucks because if your exporter screws you over, there's nothing you can do to get your money back and it's usually in the thousands. So be careful!

What I don't understand is that if I am doing the customs myself, the exporter (shrimp seller I assume) will just ship the package to the airline cargo area with my name as receiver?

When I was talking to the seller in Taiwan, he asked me to find a shipping company. But when I found a cargo company to do the shipping, they asked me to find a broker who can clear live aquatic animals. (Which I couldn't find any in Miami area)

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