As an employee of FedEx Trade Networks - I can verify that 99% of delays on international imports are due to CBP, FDA, USDA, DEA, APHIS, EPA, and other government agencies' regulatory processes. These delays are far beyond FedEx control. I can't tell you how often I get screamed at over the phone by frustrated importers who deal with these clearance delays. My job is to work with the importers, exporters, and origin FedEx teams to retrieve whatever information/documentation is required to get these delayed shipments cleared with the previously mentioned government agencies. That being said, there are rules and regulations for importing goods from outside US borders. First and foremost, it is the responsibility of both parties (exporter and importer) to be sure they are in compliance with these rules and regulations. Otherwise, there will be a clearance delay.
For example, these everyday household items are considered class 1 medical devices and require FDA clearance:
- Sunglasses/reading glasses. (21 CFR 886.5850 & 21 CFR 801.410)
- Spectacle frames (21 CFR 886.5842)
- Bandages (21 CFR § 880.5075)
- Tongue depressors (21 CFR § 880.6230)
- Exam gloves (21 CFR § 880.6250)
So do your research on the commodities you're bringing over and see what the process is for clearing CBP and all other applicable government agencies to avoid these delays. Also, be kind to the FTN agents when they call, they're only trying to help you get your stuff to you! :)