If you frequently import or export goods, then you may be familiar with the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency (US CBP). CBP is a branch of the United States government responsible for ensuring the security of our borders, immigration, and customs. Because of the wide variety of commodities that enter and leave the country, customs officials must collaborate with other government agencies to set and enforce standards for many products that require special attention. These agencies also known as PGAs (Partner Government Agencies) provide CBP with their expertise in different areas.

What is a Partner Government Agency?

A PGA is a federal government entity that regulates and oversees the importation of specific products into the country and the export of many products leaving the country. Currently, there are about 50 PGAs in the US.

Most likely if your company is importing or exporting goods, one or more PGAs have jurisdiction over the commodities you are importing.

Most Widely known PGAs and Their Role

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encompasses everything related to agriculture, including farming and plants. Below are a few PGAs that fall under its umbrella:

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) handles everything related to currency, including economic growth and welfare in our country. The entities below are under the DOC’s responsibility.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for maintaining the welfare and well-being of our citizens. These are some PGAs controlled by HHS:

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as the name suggests, is responsible for all transportation throughout the country, including freight trucks.

Other widely known PGAs are:

  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)

How Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers can Help

PGAs often require permits or additional documentation for products they regulate, which is why many of them have their own import guides. Importers must get familiar with what is required by the PGA overseeing the import of their products to avoid entry refusal or penalties.

Each of these agencies plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our borders and ensuring that no items enter the country unless they are properly vetted, registered, approved, documented, and packaged.

The best approach to ensure that you comply with all PGAs requirements relevant to your shipments is to hire a customs broker. This is especially important if you are new to importing. Having a professional by your side to guide you through the confusing maze of terminology and various government departments and agencies could be quite helpful. Your customs broker should be well-versed in the PGAs that oversee your commodities, and they may assist in directing you on how to obtain the necessary licenses, and permits or simply how to register your company with some of these agencies.

Our licensed customs brokers have years of experience dealing with PGAs and have assisted with the importation of diverse commodities, from cars to medical supplies. Please call us at 1-877-776-6799 to discuss your specific needs.