Key Job Duties of a US Customs Inspector
Here are the main job functions of customs officers:
In the role of a customs inspector, a CBP officer aids the growth of the US economy granting access to legitimate travelers, goods, and trade.
Through a thorough check of the cargo at the port of entry or exit, US customs inspectors ensure the contents of the cargo are safe to enter or leave America. Here’s a quote from CBP that reveals the depth and breadth and the importance of this job function of customs officers: “Each year, more than 11 million maritime containers arrive at our seaports. At land borders, another 11 million arrive by truck and 2.7 million by rail. We are responsible for knowing what is inside, whether it poses a risk to the American people, and ensuring that all proper revenues are collected."
The customs inspector assesses and collects duties on imported products. In essence, the officer enforces US trade laws. How much revenue do customs officers collect from duties and taxes? In year 2010, this amount was more than $32 billion dollars. Thus, the US customs inspector has a significant impact on the American economy.
The prevention of the theft of intellectual property (IP) of individuals and companies is also in the array of work of customs inspectors. What does IP include? Trademarks, copyrights and patents are a few examples. As part of their work to protect the IP, customs inspectors detain and seize counterfeit and pirated merchandise at the ports. These professionals also execute court orders on products that infringe on patents.
US custom inspectors check people for prohibited goods and have the authority to make arrests. Here’s a snapshot of that function from the March 30, 2011, online edition of The Washington Post: “A man who recently flew into Dulles International Airport is in jail on federal drug charges after authorities [customs officers] say ingested nearly four pounds of heroin in a smuggling attempt…"
Working as the sentinels against bio and agro-terrorism, the customs officers stop the inflow of plants, fruits, vegetables, meat and other agricultural produce that can harm the US economy and pose a threat to the health, safety and security of the people of America.
Imposing penalty or fines; for example, the failure to declare certain items by an individual at an US port of entry is also among the job duties of a US customs inspector.
Customs professionals keep an eye on human trafficking and stop such activities in their tracks.
Please continue to Page 2 for more on US custom inspector job duties including education requirements and job outlook.