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eCommerce customs clearance doesn’t have to be difficult. Check out Southeast Asian customs information in our all-in-one regional customs clearance guide!
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Customs clearance in Malaysia or in any country is the act of moving goods through customs so they can enter or exit a country. In Malaysia, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department oversees the entry and exit of goods into the country and enforces import procedures. Malaysia follows the Harmonized Commodity Description & Coding System, commonly known as HS Codes for trade with non-ASEAN countries and ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) for trades with ASEAN countries.
Malaysia is known as one of the primary trade hubs in Southeast Asia, further evidenced by its robust growth in eCommerce deliveries. Providing the right details and paperwork will be important in ensuring a smooth customs clearance process.
In Malaysia, the main customs declaration form for imports is known as Customs Form No. 1 or Borang Kastam No. 1. A full and true account of the number and description of packages, inclusive of details such as weight, quantity, value, and the country of origin of the goods must be accurately declared. Failure to declare correctly will result in the shipment being returned to origin, incurring unnecessary time and damages.
Aside from the import declaration form, there are other supplemental documents such as:
When shipping into or out of Malaysia, ensure that your items meet Malaysia’s restrictions on prohibited imports and exports (cannot enter or exit Malaysia) and restricted imports and exports (can only pass through customs if the shipment has an accompanying license and permit issued by the relevant authority).
The full list of items requiring additional permits can be found in the Customs (Prohibition of Imports) Order 2017 and its subsequent amendment, the Customs (Prohibition of Imports) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2022.
Upon submitting the required documents to the Customs, the documents will then be authenticated and verified together with the supporting documentation. Calculation of duties and taxes, if any, will be done at this stage. A physical inspection of the imported goods may also be performed if necessary. The shipment will then be cleared upon all payments of the custom clearance fee.
Considering the highly intricate nature of the customs clearance process, choosing the right customs clearance agent for your needs will be essential. When filtering for the best customs clearance agent in Malaysia, we believe that there are two aspects that must not be neglected.
The primary aspect would be the agent’s familiarity with the local authorities, in this case, the Royal Customs of Malaysia and other government agencies. Although knowledge and experience on shipping terms and particularly on HS codes are important, the extra edge on the ability to skillfully navigate the whole customs clearance process will be the key differentiating factor.
The second aspect would be accessibility. The right agent will have regional offices with dedicated account representatives that allow for constant communication in getting things done. As every shipment delay can be harmful to your business process, it is within expectations that the agent in charge is able to provide round-the-clock support.
The right customs clearance agent is expected to provide value-added services such as cost optimization to help avoid unnecessary expenses. Cross-border shipping is not all about paying taxes only, there are other essential factors that require professional inputs from the agent. Inputs such as pre-emptively planning whether your goods can be stored in a free trade zone or a bonded warehouse can help improve your cash flow and ultimately profitability.
As a matter of fact, some integrated logistics companies facilitate the whole process one step ahead by offering pre-clearance. This means that you are always ahead of your competitors, ensuring speediness even in an otherwise lengthy process.
Janio Asia is a technologically-driven eCommerce logistics solutions company with a foothold in Southeast Asia, providing international shipping solutions across Asia including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Janio has helped numerous merchants to uncover new horizons in the Southeast Asia region. Our expertise in technology has helped streamline an otherwise complicated process via its own proprietary tech portal. Contact us to know more about how we can expedite and smoothen the whole customs clearance process for you.
A customs clearing agent acts on behalf of the shipper and arranges for the customs clearances of goods. They act as the liaison between the shipper and the relevant authorities, compute and manage the taxes and the required customs documentation with the authorities for clearance of shipments.
Most carriers will engage customs clearance agents who are accustomed to the standard procedures and required format of documentation. For a start, carriers will present a commercial invoice, a pro-forma invoice and packing lists. Additionally, if carriers wish to ship without the aid of a logistic partner who can clear customs on your behalf, they will need an air waybill or bill of lading, accompanying insurance policy, receipts of payment of import duty and import-related taxes as well as other relevant permits, licenses, and certificates.
A properly licensed customs clearance agent handles three important components: The official paperwork involved, familiarity and constantly self-updating on local customs rules and regulations and handling of payments, tax and duties. In other words, before your goods have been shipped in or out, they have taken all the above-mentioned measures to ascertain if it can be done, together with the charges involved.