Purchasing and Business Services Manual (PUR)

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Effective: 5/1/1987

Revised: 7/1/2003

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PUR 401–06: Foreign Purchases

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Purpose

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To assist the user in ordering goods from foreign sources and clearing shipments through customs

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Source

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Purchasing and Business Services

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Background

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Customs Brokers

All shipments received from suppliers outside the geographical limits of the United States must be cleared through U.S. Customs Service. The university contracts with customs brokers to facilitate this process.

Customs brokers are firms that specialize in receiving shipments from outside the geographical limits of the United States and clearing these shipments through customs. The customs broker acts as an agent for the university. Upon notice of receipt of shipment at the port of entry, the customs broker files the necessary paperwork to clear the shipment through customs and forward the shipment to the university. The customs broker charges a nominal fee for these services.


Duty-Free Entry

Some scientific instruments, apparatus, or related repair components may be exempt from duty provided that no instrument or apparatus of equivalent scientific value for the intended purpose is being manufactured in the United States.

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Policy

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Purchase Orders

Purchase orders issued to foreign suppliers will be written in U.S. dollars. The buyer will note the date and rate of exchange on the purchase order.

Note: Many foreign purchases are best handled via the Purchasing Card. Contact the Purchasing Card administrator in Purchasing and Business Services to increase card limits or to obtain a card.

Shipments Received Directly from Customs

All shipments from outside the geographical limits of the United States should generally be processed through a customs broker. Shipments may, however, be received directly from U.S. Customs Service without going through a customs broker. In this instance, it is the responsibility of the ordering department to have the shipment cleared through customs and to pick up the merchandise.


Applications for Duty-Free Entry

Applications for duty-free entry may be filed directly with the U. S. Customs Service or through the university’s customs broker. It is the responsibility of the ordering department to file the application with assistance from Purchasing and Business Services. If the application is filed through a customs broker, a fee will be charged to the ordering department’s account. Applications should be filed prior to purchase. The U.S. Customs Service will return a copy of the application with a notation that duty-free entry has been requested. This copy is filed with customs at the time of entry of the shipment. If the copy of the application is not filed, the university must pay the duty and await the decision of the U.S. Customs Service.


Entry Permits

When plant materials, seeds, or animals are purchased from outside the United States, the ordering department is responsible for obtaining the necessary U.S. Department of Agriculture Entry Permits.

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Procedure

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If the shipment is to clear customs through a customs broker, the department should establish an online RX document for customs charges to Purchasing and Business Services. Purchasing and Business Services will note on the purchase order that shipment is to be made through the customs broker, listing the name and address. Purchasing and Business Services will file a copy of the purchase order with the customs broker.


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