By Tom Reynolds, Export Solutions

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued a final rule which will effectively lower the cost for businesses to clear low-dollar shipments. This rule, which was originally proposed in October 2011, became final on December 6, 2012.

Under the new rule, CBP has increased the limit amount for an informal entry from $2,000 to $2,500 per shipment, which eliminates the previous need for a surety bond. At the same time, Customs has lowered the Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) for informal entries from the $25 minimum to an amount of $2. (This reduced fee assumes the entries are filed electronically.)

The change is being made to help expedite the customs clearance process, as well as to mitigate the effects of inflation, and to meet a commitment of the Beyond the Border Initiative between the United States and Canada.

Customs estimates that the new rule would have impacted about 852,000 formal entries in 2011 (the latest year for which this data is available). You can read the final rule here.

Tom Reynolds is the Vice President of Operations for Export Solutions, a consultancy firm which specializes in ITAR and EAR compliance.