With the current need greater than ever, learning how to import cleaning products has become of increasing importance. Finding a supplier and then figuring out how to legally bring the goods into the United States are a large factor as well.
Rest assured though: as long as the rules and regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as well as Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are adhered to, being able to import cleaning products should pose few problems to you.
Taking it a step further, finding a great customs broker to help you along with the process can really make the proceedings a lot easier. To that end, the pros at USA Customs Clearance can partner with you to help you get bonded and walk you through the different steps to get prepared to clear customs.
While it seems like a simple question, what is actually considered a cleaning product is actually pretty wide-ranging. Disinfectants, laundry detergents, soaps and air fresheners all fall under this category.
But it also goes further, as cleaning supplies include toilet bowl cleaners, cleaning pads and wipes and pipe cleaner. Many of the different brand names for these products are very familiar — Mr. Clean, Clorox, Purell, etc.
Those are all manufactured in the United States though. There are many other cleaning products around the world that are just as effective and may be less expensive. Two of the most in-demand cleaning products during the coronavirus are hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
With possible supply chain disruptions due to unprecedented demand for certain cleaning products, importation of cleaning products is more of a necessity than a luxury.
The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) was enacted for the purpose of regulating new or already existing chemicals and is administered by the EPA. This was updated by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which updated several aspects of the TSCA act.
Some cleaning supplies are natural and pose little to no threat to humans. However, others are made with chemicals that need to be avoided in certain ways or used with great care. When used as instructed, every cleaning product should be reasonably safe.
Some cleaning products to use carefully include:
These chemicals should never be ingested, but even breathing them in, getting them in your eyes or on your skin can be harmful to both humans and animals. Also, some of the chemicals in cleaning supplies can produce toxic gases if they are mixed together, advertently or inadvertently.
If you are importing cleaning supplies, the assumption might be that they’re automatically safe. However, it’s up to you to make sure whatever you are importing is approved by the EPA
First of all, a customs bond is basically an insurance policy for the U.S. government — which might raise some questions for the importer.
The reason the bond is required is to ensure that duties and taxes paid on imported goods are available to the U.S. government in case your business is unable to pay for whatever reason. The bond holder will then pay the taxes and duties.
Nearly any international shipment is going to require a customs bond, but the official guideline states that any shipment with a value over $2,500 must have one. Also any shipment regulated by a federal agency is required to carry a customs bond. In this case, the EPA oversees any chemicals that enter the country, so the bond would have to be purchased.
The customs bond, also referred to as a surety or import bond, also ensures that the importer complies with the CBP. That includes any disputes or issues that arise with the shipment.
There is one way to not have to buy a customs bond but for many smaller businesses, it’s not a very viable option. You can choose to post cash instead of purchasing a bond. But the cash amount needed is likely to be $50,000 or more in order to fully cover the value of a bond. Also this is not an amazing option because you will have to do this each year, and the money will be tied up for years after your bond is terminated.
Working with the CBP is essential but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is easy. An enterprising business could file for a customs bond itself, but any errors on the paperwork could bring the risk of delays or worse in the process of importing your shipments.
On June 4th 2020, the CBP announced the seizure of nearly a million PPE related products. While many of these goods were identified as counterfeit, some were taken due to not following proper approval procedures. An experienced and knowledgeable customs broker like USA Customs Clearance can work with you to ensure this doesn't happen to your shipments.
A customs broker can provide several very helpful services for a business. This includes:
Many customs clearance companies also offer truckload shipping for once your products reach U.S. shores and may even have additional transportation options as well to move freight.
So for many businesses, buying a customs bond is easily the best route to do.
Once you’ve made the final decision to import cleaning products, let USA Customs Clearance — powered by AFC International — help you navigate getting your shipment to clear through U.S. customs.
Our expert knowledge at how to navigate through the customs of every country will translate to valuable advice for you to get your goods from around the world into the United States. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran at importing cleaning products, USA Customs Clearance can help guide you through the various hurdles of getting that hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes to your consumers.
We offer individualized consulting services for you at reasonable prices and for durations that fit your schedule and budget. If you require a customs bond, we can also provide that for you! So when you’re ready to begin the customs process, call us at 855.912.0406 or visit our website to get more information with no strings attached.