Job Description of an Import Specialist


Import specialists work in private businesses or as a part of the federal government. An import specialist position with the federal government falls under the direction of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department and requires legal expertise. Import specialists in private industry ensure that the business adheres to regulations regarding the import of goods and materials for private business.

Job Duties

  • Import specialists working for the federal government examine and inspect shipping manifests and documentation to ensure compliance with customs law. The specialist also inspects physical cargo in warehouses and cargo terminals.

    The import specialist in a private business also ensures that the country exporting materials and goods complies with federal regulations. Specialists file the necessary information with U.S. Customs.

    Customs import specialists assist businesspersons importing materials and goods into the country by answering questions and providing information on the necessary documentation for importing into the United States.

    Federal import specialists may visit foreign countries to inspect manufacturing facilities for compliance with child labor laws and safety.

    Import specialists working in private business monitor the performance of international vendors and maintain relationships with brokers.


  • Import specialists must have written and verbal communication skills to interact with vendors, buyers, shippers and customs officials.

    The import specialist must have expert knowledge of the particular industry such as textiles, for example, and the customs requirements for importing materials and goods.

    An import specialist should have computer skills and be comfortable working with basic office software.


  • A bachelor’s degree and work experience in the industry is necessary for a position as an import specialist. Import specialists should have a background in international trade and the legalities of importing materials. Education or experience in supply chain management may be required for an import specialist position.


  • The average salary for an import specialist is $56,000 as of July 2010, according to The salary of the specialist depends on the industry and geographic location of the business.

Job Outlook

  • According to, the job outlook for customs employees such as import specialists is favorable.

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