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Shipping: I want to import five large containers of shoes from Italy to the US. What are my options to find out the cheapest prices for the quality I want?
You need a freight forwarder. When you say containers do you mean actual shipping containers or cartons/boxes of shoes.  I have sent 1000's of shoes from Italy to the USA.  Problem with shoes is that they take up a lot of volume and freight costs are all based on volume calculations. You will also need a customs broker. Many times the freight forwarders have their own customs broker in house which you can use to clear your goods through US Customs.  By the way, US Customs is now Dept. of Homeland Security and Border Protection. You will need to pay the customs bill directly to the broker and they will pay US Customs on your behalf.  There is no wiggle room here. You must pay on the exact date US Customs wants the money or there are HUGE penalties.  You will also need to post a bond. You cannot import without this. The Customs broker will give you all the details.  They will also need a power-of-attorney to make decisions on your behalf involving customs. You must know the composition of the materials in the shoes and how the shoes are put together. Are they made from leather, canvas, rubber, cement etc. If you import any exotic material such as snakeskin, crocodile, stingray, lizard, your shipment will be held pending inspection by Dept of Fish and Wildlife. You need a yearly permit to import those items into the USA. Get it before you import anything if you plan on using these materials at any time. After Fish and Wildlife clear your shipment then Dept. of Homeland Security and Border Protection need to clear it as usual.  Allow for delays here. If this is a one time import for your company you can pay to post a bond for a one time import.  If you will regularly do this, it pays to set up an account with US Customs (pay fees) as to not have to post a bond each time.To name a few forwarders that specialize only in shipping clothing type goods from Italy :  Savino Del Bene, Franco Vago, Port Brokers (that's their name) and JAS.  Don't forget the biggies: DHL, UPS and Fedex.  Do not count the biggies out. They are competitive and offer a great service because every step can be tracked online. They all have their own fleets of planes unlike freight forwarders who are using commercial carriers such as Delta, KLM, Alitalia, Lufthansa etc. I always had good luck with JAS and DHL depending on the size of the shipment. Freight forwarders are usually cheaper than the big carriers. That does not mean better service. Not all forwarders can send goods from all ports. They may need to truck your goods over land to get to a port. Guess who pays for over land trucking?  You! Unless you cut a deal to have it all in the price you agree upon.When the goods clear customs you will have to arrange for shipment from the freight forwarder to your final destination in the USA. Do not assume the goods will be delivered to your door for the price you were quoted.  Some forwarders have their own truckers and charge for the delivery on top of the import. Others may just ship the goods to you UPS once they are cleared.  Most forwarders are on the coasts or in main points of entry in the USA. Since I am in NYC, there are many main points of entry. NY ports for freight by sea. JFK and Newark Liberty airports for shipments by air.  I always shipped by air. By sea, even though cheaper, takes too long. Fhas a special phone toll free number for cheap forwarding by air. They give you an immediate quote. Why is it cheap or cheaper? Reason is they need to fill up their planes. If you call in with 3 large cartons they might just have that exact space on a flight leaving Italy and will give you next day or 2-day air for a very low price because they want your freight US bound to fill up the last available space.Here is my contact info if you have any more detailed questions. I imported all types of goods from Italy over the last 30 years, mainly luxury menswear, including shoes. The forwarders I named all have offices in major US and European cities, especially Italy. Good luck. Philip Pravda Founder, http://www.suitcafe.com.
Is it legal for a US customs & border protection officer to go through all the pictures on my phone without asking my permission?
Probably. Border searches are essentially exempt from Fourth Amendment protections. A border/customs officer can decide to do as thorough a search as he might think is necessary, and not require any probable cause or suspicion. Electronic devices can be included in that search.A gray area is when the device is protected by a password. The officer can demand you prthe password, but it’s gray as to whether he could arrest you if you refused. He could probably seize the device and attempt to crack the password, and you might or might not get it back.I haven’t traveled extensively. I’ve come though U.S. Customs maybe a dozen times, total. The closest I’ve ever come to a close examination was a CBP officer asking me where I got the Seiko watch I was wearing. It was a gift from my wife (purchased in the U.S.), and at that moment was over five years old. He took my word for it and said, “Welcome home.”
US customs and border protection? Is it really possible to "secure" US borders?
Borders can be secured if the is the political will to spend the money.The DMZ between North and South Korea is an excellent example.With the massive trade between the US and Canada and the US and Mexico, there will always be people and things that get past at busy birder crossings.However, the areas which are not official border crossings can be sealed up to what ever degree the political system is wiling to pay for.Border crossings can be made better with various high tech tools, like back scatter X rays, chemical sensors, facial recognition, good intelligence, etc.So the borders can be secured against serious radiological threats, etc.Keep in mind the the border patrol and customs may not arrest everyone the can at the border, they may let some one through, so they can track them and identify other conspirators and smugglers.So the borders may actually be more secure than they appear to be.
Why is integrity important to US Customs and Border Protection?
I'm guessing that by "integrity" you mean the integrity of our border or being able to secure our border.It's important to US Customs and Border Protection because that's their job.Here are some reasons it might be important to those who live in the United States:to protect us from criminals who can cross back and forth to commit crimes and escape prosecution.to protect us from serious diseasesto protect us from invasionto protect us from those our military has abused in other countries
How do I get access to public bill of lading databases from Customs and Border Protection?
As stated in the previous answer, this information is not available to the general public.  Here is what CBP says:How can I get information about who is importing or exporting various commodities?Importer names on entry documents are confidential and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not disclose names of importers to the public. However, there are a number of private sector media services that are permitted by the privacy statute, 19 CFR 103.31 (d), to collect manifest data at every port of entry. Reporters collect and publish names of importers from vessel manifest data unless an importer/shipper requests confidentiality.Please be aware that there is a subscription charge for this information.Among the companies that prthis information service are the Journal of Commerce's PIERS database and Ealing Market Data Engineering Co.
What should someone like Sidd Bikkannavar do when asked to unlock a cell phone by Customs and Border Protection?
Robert Clayton , thanks for A2A.Susan Herman’s observation is correct, but in my opinion doesn’t answer the question.Someone like Sidd Bikkshould do exactly what Sidd Bikkdid: he gave his codes to the Customs and Border Protection officer.The funny part is that this practice is totally pointless:We are offering to our clients the option to back-up their phone ROM before they need to travel to/from the U.S.They can store the encrypted ROM in the cloud. Then, they erase their phone memory completely.At arrival, they download the encrypted ROM and restore it in their phone.The procedure is entire automatic, yes it takes about half an hour both ways, but you can do it while in the taxi to/from the airport and it is secure as it uses AES256 to encrypt your ROM.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Is it legal to ship beef from the US to Canada?
In this case NO unless your can supply all the food inspection and veterinary certificates required to import meat into Canada. You said this is a "home made" operation so I doubt that you have this certification. Let me say though that I deal with commercial transactions and that is my outlook. Sending a gift to a friend may not even be looked at by Canada Customs. But if they do they will seize it.
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